05.06.1944 No. 175 Squadron Typhoon Ib MN456 W/O. Pugh
Operation: Cherbourg Harbour
Date: 05th June 1944 (Monday)
Unit: No. 175 Squadron (motto: 'Stop At Nothing')
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF Holmsely South, Hampshire
Location: English Channel, off Cherbourg
Pilot: W/O. John Halstead Pugh AUS/416998 RAAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
At 08:45 hrs whilst returning from an operation to Cherboug harbour he reported over the radio that his engine had 'cut out'. He attempted to restart the engine but as that failed he baled out at around 3000 ft. some 15 miles north of Cherbourg harbour into the English Channel.
Despite searches carried out by seven others from the squadron his body and neither that of the aircraft were found. They saw him hit the water whilst still attached to his parachute - but no dingy was seen. The others remained over the area for some time and the last aircraft to leave the search area left some 20 minutes later. Other sections stayed over the area until 13:30 hrs but the search was then abandoned!
Although there had been no evidence of him being hit by flak some light flak was reported over the target area. It is thought that the pilot had sadly drowned.
W/O. John Halstead Pugh. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 259. Born on the 04th October 1919 at Murray Bridge, the son of Angelo Victor and Millicent May Pugh, of Railway Terrace, Murray Bridge, South Australia. A bank clerk prior to service to which he enlisted on the 08th November 1941. W/O. Pugh had joined the Squadron on the 27th May 1944.
For further details our thanks to Australian Archives and to the following sources: