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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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41 Squadron Crest
22.10.1942 No. 41 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM573 F/O. Frank Gillitt

Operation: Training

Date: 22nd October 1942 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 41 Squadron

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BM573 (Presentation Spitfire, 'Abeokuta Province' - from Nigeria)

Code: EB-?

Base: RAF Llanbedr, Gwynedd, Wales

Location: Tarrenhendre, Merionethshire, Wales

Pilot: F/O. Frank Norman Gillitt 108132 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 11:20 hrs on a training flight into clouds - authorised flight with two other aircraft from the Squadron.

The three Spitfires were last seen over the Irish Sea about 20 miles off the coast, base received a radio message shortly after that contact. Nothing further was heard from them.

Left: F/O. Frank Norman Gillitt (Courtesy of his brother Bill - February 2018)

At 14:30 hrs they were declared overdue and a search was commenced, but was severely restricted to due to low cloud cover, so the search was abandoned. The following day the weather deteriorated even further and no further searches were able to be made.

There two different reports into how the crash site was discovered on the 2,000 ft. hill Tarrenhendre. One was that an air search discovered the wreckage of the three burnt out Spitfires at 13:00 hrs on the 24th October.

Another states that they were discovered by a local shepherd. It is clear that all three experienced pilots were, however killed instantly in the crash which had occurred during level flight.

The others:

22 Year old, F/O. Ronald Harrison 119918 RAFVR flying Spitfire Vb R7296 (Presentation Spitfire, 'Newbury 2') - Killed.
20 Year old, F/O. Thomas Roland Scott 115515 RAFVR Spitfire Vb BL518 - Killed.

Burial details:

F/O. Frank Norman Gillitt. Wellingborough Cemetery (Doddington Road). Block S. Grave 47. Born on the 03rd August 1919 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the son of Frank Sydney and Phyllis Ivy Gillitt of Wellingborough and nephew of Margaret Gillitt, of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England.

Others:

F/O. Ronald Harrison. Slough Cemetery (Stoke Road). C of E Plot. Grave 676. Born on the 08th February 1920 in Windsor, the son of William and Catherine Harrison, of Slough, Berkshire, England.

F/O. Thomas Roland Scott. Porthmadog Public Cemetery. Grave 602. Son of Sir Oswald Arthur Scott DSO. KCMG (Ambassador to Peru - 1951) and Hermione Monica Scott, of Winchester, Hampshire, England. His brother 20 year old, 2nd Lt. Richard Oswald Scott MiD. 95645 2nd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps was also killed. He was lost earlier in the war on the 26th May 1940 and buried at Calais Southern Cemetery.

Researched with thanks to Bill Gillitt, brother of Frank who contacted us in February 2018. Page dedicated to all the relatives of these pilots with thanks to sources as quoted below:

KTY - 08.02.2018

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 (both 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', 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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Last Modified: 07 February 2018, 23:56

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