18.08.1944 No 182 Squadron Typhoon Ib JP427 Fl/Lt. Alistair J. Hay DFC
Operation: Falaise, France
Date: 18th August 1944 (Friday)
Unit: No. 182 Squadron
Type: Typhoon Ib
Serial: JP427 XM-?
Base: Helmond Airfield (B86) Holland?
Location: Near Orbec, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Alistair James Hay DFC 67093 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
We would very much like relatives to contact us - a photograph of Fl/Lt Hay DFC would be very much appreciated as would any other information.
REASON FOR LOSS:
During the period of the date described ground and military targets had been attacked around the Faliase area. The Germans had been forced to retreat into this area and had been surrounded on three sides. Savage fighting took place over the next 5 days during which time the fighter bombers pounded German tanks inflicting huge damage.
This Typhoon JP427 flown by Fl/Lt Hay was hit by flak and crashed in the Orbec area.
DFC Citation gazetted on the 23rd June 1942:
“Pilot Officer Hay was pilot of the Hurricane on board ship fitted with a catapult. On the approach of enemy aircraft he was catapulted off and immediately proceeded to attack and drive off a formation of six Heinkel IIIs and II5s which were preparing to deliver a torpedo attack on the port bow of the convoy; not only did this prevent synchronisation with an attack which developed from the starboard bow, but he destroyed one Heinkel III and slightly damaged another. Pilot Officer Hay was himself wounded and he then baled out and was picked up by one of His Majesty’s ships of the convoy escort. He showed great gallantry and his spirited attack was a great encouragement to all the convoy and escorts, and cannot but have been a great discomfort and surprise to the enemy.”
Subsequent research revealed that the Convoy concerned was PQ16, and that the CAM ship (Catapult Armed Merchantman) which Alistair Hay flew from was the Empire Lawrence. His baling out in this incident would have qualified him to apply for Membership of The Caterpillar Club. Co-incidentally, the Skipper of the rescue ship which picked him up was another ‘Old Boy’ of SATA ‘General Botha’.
Fl/Lt. Alistair James Hay DFC. St. Desir War Cemetery, France. Grave V.D.4. Son of Frederick John Gordon Hay and Catherine Hay (née Metherell) of South Africa. Further information: Born Johannesburg, 13th September 1921. Educated at Christian Brothers’ College, Pretoria. Member of Boys Naval Brigade, Cadet Draft 1937-38, at the South African Training Ship General Botha, and after leaving there he joined the Union Castle Company where he remained until 1940. Joined the RAF as a Sergeant and he was Gazetted as a Pilot Officer on 18 May 1941, Flying Officer on 18 May 1942, and Flight Lieutenant on 18 May 1943.
Right: Grave of Fl/Lt. Alistair James Hay DFC. at St. Desir War Cemetery, France
Researched by David J. Mole (November 2014) and dedicated to relatives of this pilot.