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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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453 Squadron Crest
29.09.1944 No 453 Squadron Spitfire IX MJ223 F/O. Ferguson

Operation: Armed Recce

Date: 29th September 1944 (Friday)

Unit: No. 453 Squadron RAAF (motto: 'Ready to strike')

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: MJ223

Code: FU-?

Base: ALG B.70 (Antwerp)

Location: Ostend area

Pilot: F/O. James Humphrey Ferguson AUS/403917 RAAF Age 23. PoW


Taking off from the advanced landing ground with 10 there from the squadron at 17:00 hrs. Some publications state that they were on an armed recce - Squadron records state that they were relocating to RAF Coltishall in Norfolk.

They were routed to cross the coast over Ostend and it was when they were flying over the City at between 1,000 - 1800 ft. they encountered light ant-aircraft fire. F/O. Leith noticed smoke coming from MJ223 which then turned inland. Flames were then observed from the Spitfire - seconds later a large explosion was seen in the area that F/O. Ferguson was flying at around 500 ft. No communications were made by the pilot and no parachute was seen to deploy.

The Squadron were so sure that he had been lost, the Commanding Officer, Sq/Ldr. Esau, wrote to his parents on the 01st October explaining that he was missing in action and believed killed, his personal effects had been collected in order to return them to his family.

Burial details:

None - survived the war as a PoW. Born on the 09th January 1921 at Rupanyup, Victoria, Australia. The son of Mr. Alexander Royston Ferguson of 107 Frederick Street, Merewether, New South Wales, Australia.

Photographs courtesy Paul Watts (Father served with 453 Squadron - many photographs received). For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.

KTY 07.09.2019

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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