09.07.1943 No. 85 Squadron Mosquito NFXII HK172 VY-S Fl/Lt. John P.M. Lintott DFC
Operation: Raider interception
Time: 17.27 hrs (Approx)
Unit: 85 Squadron
Type: Mosquito NFXII
Serial: HK 172
Base: RAF West Malling
Location: North Downs, Boxley
Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Peter Marley Lintott D.F.C. 61056 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: P/O. George Grevile Gilling-Lax D.F.C. 145494 RAFVR Age 34. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The aircraft took off from RAF West Malling at 17.00hrs, to intercept an enemy raider. At approx. 17.19 hrs they made contact with the enemy aircraft. The Mosquito was about 1 mile behind the raider at around 6000 ft. Just after this both aircraft were lost from the plotters. Witnesses in the Boxley area heard an aircraft coming up from the south in cloud. Anti aircraft guns to the north opened fire and the shells appeared to be bursting directly over Boxley - 2 - 3000 yards ahead of the aircraft. Further witnesses heard a burst of cannon fire and pilots as far away as RAF Biggin Hill also reported cannon fire.
Very shortly after this "zooming" noises were heard and the Mosquito broke cloud in small pieces. The main wreckage crashed near Boxley and burst into flames whilst the smaller parts were spread out over a half a mile. Both the crew were killed in the crash. At the same time a second aircraft which was heard like it was in difficulties and soon after a Dornier 217 crashed in a vertical high dive at Bicknor, some 5 miles east of Boxley. The weather at the time was poor with low cloud.
The A.A. guns tried to claim the Dornier but later it was established that the Mosquito had fired its cannons during the engagement and the squadron claimed the kill.
It had been decided by the Air Accident Investigators that the probable cause was over-stressing of the airframe causing structural failure during a dive following loss of control. There was no evidence that enemy action was the direct cause of the loss of control but the possibility remains that the pilot had to take violent action to avoid overtaking the enemy aircraft or to clear portions of it.
The primary failure occurred in the wings under conditions of excessive loading and that there is no evidence that any of the detached parts had been weakened or damaged either by enemy action or indeed gun fire from the ground.
Peter Lintott is buried west of the church at Banstead (All Saints) church. Only son of Mr and Mrs Percival Lintott of 60, Woodmansterne Lane, Banstead, England. Husband of Shirley Winifred Lintott (nee Parke)
George Gilling-Lax is buried at Rusthall (St Pauls) Church, block 7, grave 78. Son of Revd. Canon Thomas Graham Gilling-Lax M.A, and Mary Frances Gilling-Lax M.A, of Grayshott, Hindhead, Surrey, England.
We are indebted to the great research of Mark Stanley and Lewis Wood from the Banstead War Memorial (see our links page) who have researched this aircraft with brilliant professionalism. The information they had found has been passed to the relatives who requested it. Most of the photographs used in this article have also been supplied by them. Anybody who does have any further information on this crew please pass it on to us and it will be forwarded to Mark and Lewis and subsequently on to the relatives.