04.05.1942 No 485 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM196 W/O. David M. Russell
Operation: Rodeo 18
Date: 04th May 1942 (Monday)
Unit: No. 485 Squadron RNZAF
Type: Spitfire Vb
Serial: BM196 (Borough of Brentford and Chiswick)
Base: RAF Kenley, Surrey
Location: English Channel
Pilot: W/O. David Malyon Russell NZ/403553 RNZAF Age 25. Injured
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Kenley in Surrey at 19:05 hrs and whilst still climbing were attacked by 4 enemy fighters. Having seen them off they continued to the area of Fort Du Boulogne where they were again intercepted by some 20 enemy aircraft. With damaged aircraft he tried to return back to base over the Channel.
Not being able to make it back he decided to bale out from his Spitfire. 30 year old, fellow New Zealander P/O. John Checketts also in the same trouble, baled out of his Spitfire Vb BM259. Both pilots landed without problems, P/O. Checketts was picked up from his dingy about an hour later. Sadly, W/O. Russell who was also picked up this time by a friendly trawler but after several hours in the Channel died of exposure later that night.
W/O. David Malyon Russell. Whyteleafe Churchyard (St. Luke) Row 1. Grave 30. Son of John and Beatrice Hawes Russell, of Pukekohe, Auckland, New Zealand and husband of Violet Ada Russell, of Manurewa, Auckland. 245 flying hours logged.
Note: The family also lost his old brother, 35 year old LAC John Wilfred Russel NZ/4210478 RNZAF was lost without trace on the 05th June 1943. He was one of 14 crew and passengers when a No. 6 Squadron RNZAF PHBY-5 Catalina NZ4006 was lost without trace on a Ferry flight between Fiji and New Zealand.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, JS, volunteer with Find A Grave for grave photograph. Other sources as quoted below: