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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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26th August 1944 92 Squadron Spitfire LF.VIII JF661 Fl/Lt. Montgomerie DFC. MiD

Operation: Patrol

Date: 26th August 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 92 Squadron (motto: Aut pugna aut morere - 'Either fight or die'). 244 Wing Desert Air Force

Type: Spitfire LF.VIII

Serial: JF661

Code: QJ-?

Base: Loreto - On detachment to Rosignano, Livorno, Italy

Location: Airfield at Rosignano

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Leighton John Montgomerie DFC. MiD. NZ/412377 RNZAF Age 22. Injured

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from Rosignano at 18:30 hrs on a dusk patrol over Gorgona - Spezia area.

Whilst over Spezia harbour dived down in pursuit of an enemy aircraft but count cath him. He did come under intense flak during this attack, it is not known if he had been hit.

Reported that his low fuel level was lit he requested to land. During the downwind leg of the circuit he called again I can't make it, I am pulling my wheels up. then turned towards the airfield and crash landed at 20:10 hrs.

He was taken to the American hospital with head injuries but he died early the following morning. Buried the same day at Follonica but reinterred at Florence after the end of hostilities.

DFC Citation LG 07th July 1944:

'Throughout two tours of operational duty, Flight-Lieutenant Montgomerie proved himself an outstanding pilot and a fine leader. During his first tour he participated in operations over Europe and later in the North Africa campaign. In April1944, while engaged on a bomber escort, a number of enemy aircraft attempted to attack. Flight -Lieutenant Montgomerie immediately engaged one of the enemy fighters, which he destroyed before resuming his escort duties. Nine days later, when he was flying in formation of eight aircraft 15 fighters were engaged and he destroyed one, Altogether he has destroyed at least three enemy aircraft and damaged others'.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Leighton John Montgomerie DFC. MiD. Florence War Cemetery. Grave VIII. G. 1. Born on the 13th May 1922 at New Plymouth. Prior to service he worked on his fathers farm at Sentry Hill. Enlisted on the 12th April 1941 at Levin. Awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 02nd January 1942. Son of John Eglinton Montgomerie and of Irene Agnes Montgomerie (Née Cameron), of Sentry Hill, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. 1188 flying hours logged and on his 334 operational sortie. Credited with 4 enemy aircraft destroyed and 2 as damaged.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Ian Banks, Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 27-02-2021

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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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