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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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65 crest
29th January 1945 65 Squadron Mustang IIIB FB356 Sq/Ldr. Strachan

Operation: Escort

Date: 29th January 1945 (Monday)

Unit: No. 65 Squadron 'East India' (mott0: Vi et armis - 'By force and arms') 13 Group

Type: Mustang IIIB

Serial: FB356

Code: YT-N

Base: RAF Banff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Location: North Sea

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Ian Douglas Stuart Strachan 40326 RAFVR Age 27. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 13:30 leading 12 others to escort 27 Beaufighter's taking off from RAF Dallachy who were to go on anti-shipping strike off Norway.

One Mustang crashed on take off, two others returned early, one with compass trouble and the other acting as his escort.

Down to 10 Mustangs the squadron flew on but encountered heavy rain and snowstorms a few minutes from the coast of Norway. Sq/Ldr. Strachan ordered the formation to return to base.

He was last seen banking steeply at less than 100 ft. His body was never knowingly recovered.

The remainder of the squadron formed up to return. The weather conditions were so bad that all airfields in the north of Scotland were closed so they were forced to divert to the Orkneys.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Ian Douglas Stuart Strachan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 265. Born on the 20th May 1917 at Christchurch. Worked as a clerk for Richardsons, McCabe and Company prior to being selected in the RAF on a short service commission on the 30th June 1937. Awarded his wings on the 09th July 1938. Son of Leslie Eldred and Mildred Athol Strachan (née Frankish). Husband of Patricia Josephine Strachan (later Stewart) of Wainui Beach Gisborne New Zealand. Took over 65 Squadron as commanding officer on the 01st January 1945. Previously served with 80, 123, 195, 129, and 234 Squadrons and 16 operational sorties with 485 (NZ) Squadron.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to 'A Separate Little War', compiled by Andrew Bird, 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 12-02-2021

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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Last Modified: 07 April 2021, 11:21

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