24.08.1942 No. 402 Squadron Spitfire IX BS122 P/O. MacKay
Operation: Circus 208
Date: 24th August 1942 (Monday)
Unit: No. 402 Squadron (RCAF)
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: RAF Kenley, Surrey
Location: Near Bolbec, France
Pilot: P/O. Gerald Peabody MacKay J/15208 RCAF. Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
During the afternoon of the 24th August 402 squadron were escortIng United States Air Force B-17's on a bombing operation to the Le Trait shipyards.
During this circus they jumped 8 x Fw190's and during this combat they were then attacked by 40 x Fw190's from JG 26 and shot down near Bolbec. 402 Squadron also lost 3 other aircraft on the same operation:
Spitfire IX BS136 Flown by 21 year old Fl/Sgt Victor Miller, killed.
Spitfire IX BS198 Flown by Fl/Lt. Bland, managed to return to Kenley, wounded.
Spitfire IX BS202 Flown by flown by 22 year old, Fl/Lt. Ian George Keltie, managed to return to Kenley - wounded in the leg. Also survived another incident on the 13th April 1944 (1).
Note: Spitfire BS122 was built on the 20th July 1942 at the Eastleigh factory and delivered to 402 on the 28th July. Fitted with the Merlin 61 engine.
(1) Ian George Secord Keltie DFC died in Toronto, Canada on Jan. 29. He was 86. DFC citation:
"Flight Lieutenant Keltie has completed a very large number of operational sorties, including 75 sweeps over enemy territory. Possessing exceptional qualities of leadership and administrative ability, this officer has led the squadron on many successful operations".
Above: St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery as photographed by our Kate Tame during her visit during 2012. Any relative who would like a copy of the grave photograph please don't hesitate to contact us.
Fl/Sgt. Victor Howard Miller. St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery. Grave A.15. Son of Dr. Donald Russell MacKay and Alice Maude MacKay and husband of Edith Joyce MacKay, of Upwell, Cambridgeshire, England.
Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 2, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. To our specialist genealogist Kate Tame for grave photographs.