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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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132 Squadron Crest
19.11.1942 No. 132 Squadron Spitfire Vb BL781 F/O. Mervyn J. Mills

Operation: Rhubarb

Date: 19th November 1942 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 132 Squadron (11 Group)

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BL781

Code: (FF) Not known - Blue 3

Base: RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk

Location: Western Schelde Estuary, Netherlands

Pilot: F/O. Mervyn Jack Mills NZ/414321 RNZAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 14:00 hrs in a Rhubarb to Furnes (Veurne) area. At 14:25 hrs the section crossed the Belgium coast. 40 minutes after take off he commenced his attack.

Crashed near Dunkirk after attacking barges thought that he may have overshot the leader from beneath and possibly coming into his line of fire. Either this or flak from the ground caused a glycol leak. With the engine failing the aircraft disappeared into cloud as the pilot tried to gain height to bale out.

Two minutes later heard to be calling Mayday - but was not seen again.

Crashed near Dunkirk after attacking barges though that he may have overshot the leader from beneath and possibly coming into his line of fire. Either this or flak from the ground caused a glycol leak. With the engine failing the aircraft disappeared into cloud as the pilot tried to gain height to bale out.

Two minutes later heard to be calling Mayday - but was not seen again.

However, further research by Brian Vonlanthen reveals that he was intercepted and shot down by Fw. Edgar Dörre (1) of 9./JG26 10 km north of Zeebrugge. The Spitfire is believed to have come down in the area of the Western Schelde Estuary in the Netherlands.

Note: Mr. Brian Vonlanthen (see credits) kindly sent us many other photographs of his training in Canada and others taken back home in New Zealand - alas too many to be included within his page.

(1) Fw. Edgar Dörre born on the 24th November 1919, serving first with the German Artillery, later transferring to the Luftwaffe. His first claim of the war had been a Spitfire at 14:28 hrs on the 25th July 1942. Later shot down and killed on the 08th September 1943 - he had claimed some 9 allied aircraft. Buried at the Bourdon German Cemetery in France. Block 32. Row 9. Grave 331.

His list of claims include:

25th July 1942 Spitfire - 19th August 1942 Spitfire - 19th november 1942 Spitfire - 23rd January 1943 B-17 - 16th February 1943 B-17 - 12th March 1943 Spitfire - 25th June 1943 B-17 - 28th July 1943 B-17 - 17th August 1943 B-17.

Burial details:

F/O. Mervyn Jack Mills. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 114. Born on the 19 February 1923, the son of George William Alfred Worthy Mills and Gwendoline Eleanor Mills, of 22 Scarborough Terrace, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. 273 hours logged and on his 16th operation.

With thanks to the nephew of the pilot, Mr. Brian Vonlanthen for the many photographs. Researched and dedicated to the other relatives/friends of this pilot with thanks to sources as quoted below but in particular to Erroll Martyn for his work on the “For Your Tomorrow” volumes:

KTY - Page updated 18.11.2016 with new information from Mr. Brian Vonlanthen

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: 26 April 2017, 22:20

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