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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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Fighter Command Crest
01/07/1941 No. 55 Operational Training Unit Hurricane I W9150 Sgt. Gill

Operation: Training

Date: 1st July 1941

Unit: No. 55 Operational Training Unit

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: W9150

Code: Not issued

Base: RAF Usworth, Durham

Location: Egton Bridge, Yorkshire

Pilot: Sgt. Harry Lewis Gill R/64935 RCAF Age 18. Uninjured

REASON FOR LOSS:

Sgt. Harry Gill took off from RAF Usworth to carry out a daytime aerobatic training flight, he became lost after flying into poor weather and eventually ran out of fuel. Having being unsuccessful in using his radio because the airwaves were congested at the time he force-landed at 17:30 hrs. near Egton Bridge. The landing was made with the undercarriage retracted and the aircraft was slightly damaged. The pilot was uninjured.

After joining 607 squadron they were then moved to India and based at Alipore as well as other bases in India. On the 17th January 1943 he was shot down during a dogfight with Japanese Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa aircraft and killed close to the Burma border. He was buried close to the crash site but later reinterred after the end of the war by MREU at cemetery shown below.

On the 17th March 1942 awarded the DFM:

"Since joining the squadron in July 1941, this airman has carried out several offensive fighter patrols over enemy territory both by day and by night. Targets attacked included power stations, large concentration distilleries and factories. On one occasion Fl/Sgt. Gill sighted two of our aircraft which had been forced down onto the sea and remained over them until driven off by a formation of enemy fighters. On 12th February 1942 this airman participated in operations against a German battleship and their escorts and pressed home his attack with great determination in the face of fierce enemy opposition. He damaged at least one enemy motor vessel and one enemy aircraft. This airman has always displayed initiative and keenness and has proved himself to be an inspiration to his fellow pilots".

Further comprehensive details of his service career be found within the Paradie Archive, as researched by our Francois Dutil.

Gill Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada is named in his honour.

Burial details:

W/O. Harry Lewis Gill. Maynamati War Cemetery. Grave 4.C.2. Born on the 09th May 1922 at South Devon, New Brunswick, the son of Herbert Spencer Gill and Mabel Gill, of Fredericton, York Co., New Brunswick, Canada. Grave inscription: "He Is Not Dead, He Is Just Away".

Photographs and information kindly supplied by Francois Dutil. Additional information courtesy of Richard Allenby who runs the great 'Aircraft Accidents In Yorkshire' website. For further details our thanks to the following sources:

FD/KTY 19.08.2019

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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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