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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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185 Squadron Crest
23.10.1942 No. 185 Squadron Spitfire V EP685 Fl/Lt. Lindsay

Operation: Patrol

Date: 23rd October 1942

Unit: No. 185 Squadron

Type: Spitfire V

Serial: EP685

Code: GL-Not known

Base: RAF Hal Far

Location: Dingli, Malta

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Alec Ian Lindsay 83982 RAFVR Age 24. Killed


This is a rather special page! One of our leading researchers, Linda Ibrom - her parents were very good friends during the war with the mother of this pilot. Linda inherited her parents wartime album and as she had met Alec’s wife when she was a little girl she had tried to track his son down to re-unite him with all the photos that she had of his mother. after about a year of research and postings on various websites they finally met, Gordon Lindsay flew over from Australia and she managed to provide him with many letters about his mother helping him to understand her years in her earlier life.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Born on 14th August 1918, to parents who owned a coffee plantation in Nairobi, Kenya. Alec was educated at Kings School, Bruton, Somerset and joined the RAFVR in approximately June 1939 as Airman U/T pilot (75445), doing his weekend flying at 6E and RFTS Sywell.

He married Marjorie (Micky) Syrett on 29th June 1940 at St. Mary and St. Peter's Church, Montrose, Scotland. They had one son Gordon Robin Brierley Lindsay, born in November 1941 in Bedford..

Served in:

No. 6 EFTS - Sywell - No. 8 FTS - Montrose - No. 5 OTU - Aston Down - 64 Squadron - Kenley / Hornchurch - 72 Squadron - Biggin Hill - Battle of Britain - Joined at Croydon on 11th September 1940 as Pilot Officer, flying his first operation on 15th September 1940 (Battle of Britain day) with a patrol over Canterbury during which the Squadron claimed three enemy aircraft destroyed and two damaged. 222 Squadron - Coltishall - No. 58 OTU. - Grangemouth (Instructor) - Squadron - Hawkinge - MFSU. - Farnborough - MFSU. - Speke - SS. - Empire Franklin - SS. - Empire Gale - SS. - Empire Faith - No. 3 - Delivery flight - SS. - Empire Faith - 132 - Squadron - 118 - Squadron - 185 - Squadron.

Training:

1st Instruction - 29th November 1939 - 1st Solo - 16th December 1939 - Qualified as a first day and night pilot - 15th May 1940 - Commissioned (London Gazette) P/O (83982) with effect from 27th July 1940 and senority of 21st July 1940, promoted to Flying Officer 27th July 1941 and seniority of 21st July 1941, promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 27th July 1942 and seniority of 21st July 1942.

Active Service:

1st Scramble - 05th September 1940 - Shot down - 14th September 1940. This was his 1st engagement with enemy aircraft- he engaged the enemy 6 times during the following 6 days - all ME 109s - 1st Instruction - 30th January 1940 - 1st Catapult by rocket from a Merchant ship - 11th June 1941. His log entry is one succinct word - "amazing"

Aircraft Flown:

Tiger Moth - Master - Hurricane Mk. 1 - Spitfire Mk. 1 - Magister - Havard - Spitfire Mk. 2 - Spitfire Mk. 5 - Fulmar - Sea Hurricane - Harrow - Blenheim - Dominee - Hurricane Mk.2 - Hudson - Spitfire Mk. 5B Long Range - Spitfire Mk. 5B Tropical - Spitfire Mk. 5C.

Lead 4 Spitfires from HMS Furious to Malta under Operation Bellows - 17th August 1942 - 14 Pilots arrived for the squadron on this day - sadly 7 of these were later killed and another taken PoW.

In a letter to Ian's step Mother,” Micky “described what occurred according to Cyril Locke who used to play rugby with Ian for the Park and happened to be on the Furious at the time. "They went with the big convoy that had so much trouble on the way - and apparently had a very hectic time getting there. Nerves were pretty frayed by the time they reached their destination and the first 'plane that took off went straight into the sea. This was an added strain on their nerves – but Alec(aka Ian) went off next and according to Cyril - like a bird - and he led the Squadron to their 'drome in record time." Ian's entry in his log 17/8/42 says "Led 4 Spitfires from H.M.S. Furious to Malta. Shaky do !".

Details are a little vague as to his loss, but we include details of his RAF career and events that had occurred during his short life.

It is understood that this Battle of Britain fighter pilot could have been a victim of friendly fire.

The aircraft of F/O Lindsay crashed on the outskirts of Dingli (believed to be Ta'Netta Ta'Falzon), between 06:40-07:38 hours. There were no claims made by Luftwaffe pilots during the raid, but the AA Gunners claimed two aircraft shot down. One was a Bf109 flown by Uffz. Herbert Wagner, which crashed into a field at Zebbieh at approximately 07:00 hours, the other aircraft could have been that of Fl/Lt. Lindsay which was seen to dive into the ground from minus 20,000 feet minus its tail unit.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Alec Ian Lindsay. Malta Naval Cemetery (Capuccini). Plot E. Coll. grave 3.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by our own Linda Ibrom - June 2017. Grateful thanks for family and flying history to Alec's son, Gordon Lindsay and to Marion (née Ripley) Simms and Vernon Harcourt Simms, (parents of Linda Ibrom), wartime friends of Alec’s wife. Clive V. Simms for photo's of Battle of Britain Memorial, Kent. Also to Kevin Mifsud (Malta). Finally to the great researcher, Henk Welting for further details.

lI - 11.06.2017

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), 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 UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 11 June 2017, 21:37

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