26.07.1943 No. 504 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM145 Fl/Lt. McCarthy-Jones
Date: 26th July 1943 (Monday)
Unit: No. 504 Squadron
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Churchstanton, Somerset (Later renamed RAT Culmhead to avoid confusion with RAF Church Fenton
Location: Coutrai, Belgium
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Christopher Cecil McCarthy-Jones RAFVR Age 27. Injured - PoW No: 2020 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria.
REASON FOR LOSS:
During the afternoon of the 26th July 1943 he was part of a flight of aircraft escorting Mitchell's to their target in Lille, France. As the formation approached the target 20 plus unidentified aircraft were observed by 504 Squadron some two miles away climbing towards the formation at 12 0'clock. Red 1 (Fl/Lt. Christopher Cecil McCarthy-Jones) immediately led his section into the attack.
During the attack, heavy flak was also encountered which was described as accurate - the Me109's were later described during the debriefing as coloured dark green and brown with small black crosses - not easily seen in white circles on the upper surface of the wings. Several pilots reported that some of the enemy aircraft had Italian markings instead of the black cross.
The escorting units of 504 and 66 Squadron returned to Coltishall by 16:00 hrs.
He was shot down by a Luftwaffe fighter from JG26. Injured with a head wound he was blindfolded, interrogated at Roubaix then taken to Prince Albert Hospital near Lille for treatment. He was in hospital from the 26th July 1943 until the 5th August the same year. Then transferred to Stalag Luft III. During his period at the prison he was partly responsible for map making and took part in the 'Long March' in 1945.
Above - Course 22A Grangemouth Scotland - 1942: Front row: P/O Smith K.J., P/O. Draper G.C., Fl/Lt. McCarthy-Jones C.C., P/O. Draper J.W.P., P/O. Hawkins J.B., P/O. Dunn P.H.
Centre Row: P/O. King R.L., P/O. Stevenson A.G., P/O. Winchester A.G., P/O. Ernst J.D., P/O. Glenwright G.E., P/O. Spretzel J.R.
Rear Row: F/O. Strozak R.P., P/O. Ellington P.M.A. P/O. Holmes H.C.H. P/O. Butler W.M., P/O. Falls T.M., P/O. Peppler G.E., P/O. Chandler R.J., P/O. Podobinski S.
F/O. Ryszard Józef Stróžak killed 20th November 1942 with 65 Squadron. P/O. William Manley Butler killed 18th June 1942 whilst with 58 OTU. F/O. Tom Montague Falls killed on the 17th January 1943 whist with 111 Squadron. F/O. Stanisław Podobinski killed on the 14th December 1943 whilst with 303 Squadron. F/O. Richard Lander King missing on the 02nd December 1942 whilst with 122 Squadron. P/O. Jack Douglas Ernst missing on the 24th August 1942 whilst with 276 Squadron.
Notes: Spitfire Vb BM145 was built at the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory, fitted with the Merlin 46 engine.
None: Fl/Lt McCarthy Jones survived the war.
He died from Polio in 1960 just two years after his retirement on the 17th October 1958 in Lagos, Nigeria. Born in Bushey, Hertfordshire in 1916.Educated at Watford Grammar School 1925 - 1930 and then Oundle from 1930 - 1935, Joined as Sgt in September 1939, working his way through the ranks until his retirement in 1958 as a Wing Commander with the OBE, AFC, AFEA, with others. Sold at auction (with log book, hip flask and other items) in 2006 for £3,220 to a 'private bidder'.
Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied by the 1333 (Grangemouth Spitfire) Squadron and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust
who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 2, Spinks Auctions and the Watford Observer. We are very grateful for information supplied by Colin Archer-Richards (son of P/O. Wright who took part in this operation) and also to Andrew Critchell
who has researched this day and is hoping to publish a book on the subject.
Right: Medals and other items auctioned at 'Spinks' in 2006