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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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616 Squadron Crest
15.04.1942 No. 616 Squadron Spitfire Vb BL754 Sgt. Miller

Operation: Circus C-1

Date: 15th April 1942 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 616 Squadron 10 Group (motto: Nulla Rosa Sine Spina - 'No rose without a thorn')

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BL754

Code: YQ-?

Base: RAF Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire

Location: English Channel

Pilot: Sgt. Phillip Charles Miller Aus/404939 RAAF Age 25. Injured


During a Circus the aircraft developed engine trouble and the pilot was forced to ditch some 4 miles south of Dungeness in the English Channel.

He was rescued by a Royal Air Force High Speed launch and he was transferred to the Union Road Hospital, Dover suffering slight injuries.

He also survived a crash landing on the 05th February 1943. On the 13th April 1943 he was posted back to Australia (reasons not known)

Above: Sgt. Phillip Charles Miller and Sgt. Ralph Ernest Waters (note) on leaving the Empire Air Training Scheme 1941 in Canada back to United Kingdom.

Note: Whilst based at RAF Andreas on the Isle Of Man, Sgt. Ralph Ernest Waters was killed on Friday, the 10th April 1942 flying a Spitfire with 452 Squadron. During training and carrying out practice formations he was seen to be lagging in the formation. After an order to 'break' Sgt. Waters was not seen and it wasn't until the unit returned to base that they realised that he was in fact missing? The Coast Guard later informed the unit that they had observed a Spitfire crashing into the sea off St. Bees Head, neither his body or the aircraft were recovered.

Burial details:

None: Sgt. Phillip Charles Miller survived the war and shortly after this incident transferred back to Australia to continue his service. Born on the 03rd August 1917 at Launceston, Tasmania. Son of Robert Brand Miller of Hillwood, East Tamar,Tasmania. Husband of Christine Mary Miller, 90 Balmoral Street, Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia. Enlisted on the 03rd January 1941 and a timber contractor prior to service. Enlisting on the 03rd January 1941. Joined 616 Squadron on the 24th February 1942. Passed away in 1995, age 78.

After returning to Australia on the 03rd February 1945 the then F/O. Miller was piloting a Boomerang A46-220 when he was involved in a landing accident. The aircraft developed an uncontrollable swing to starboard and hit a pile of scattered timber at Breddan Strip 11:45 hrs. - he survived but the aircraft suffered major damage. The accident board placed the blame as pilot error.


25 year old, Sgt. Ralph Ernest Waters. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 113. Born on the 26th April 1916 at Armadale, Victoria, the son of Ernest Charles and Ethel Caroline Waters, of 40 York Street, Sandy Bay, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. A bank clerk prior to service into which he enlisted on the 31st January 1941 at Hobart. Trained on the Tiger Moth and Harvard aircraft.

Researched for relatives of both of these pilots. Detailed information supplied by Australian Archives. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.

KTY 17.05.2019

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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