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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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121 Squadron Spitfire Vb AD498 Fl/Sgt. Frederick Carleton Austin

Operation: Rodeo

Date: 17th April 1942 (Friday)

Unit: No. 121 Squadron (motto: 'For liberty')

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AD498

Code: AV-?

Base: RAF North Weald, Essex

Location: Hardighen, France

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Carleton Austin R/58580 RCAF Age 24. Killed


At 15:10 hours the Wing was airborne again on a Fighter Sweep. Southend was reached at 15:34 hours, Dover at 15:59, St. Inglevert at 15:57, and Lumbres at 16:04. The French coast was left at Boulogne. Our Squadron flew at approximately 27,000 feet and was top cover.

Fl/Lt. Thomas Allen and P/O. Gene Fetrow fired at an Fw. 190 but observed no results. This occurred roughly 10 miles east of St. Omer in both cases. F/O. Edner while 15 miles east of St. Omer fired a 3 second burst from 400 yards at an Fw.190 at 9,000 feet, he saw bullets entering the fuselage and fired again at 5,000 feet, a 3 second burst was seen to strike at 400 yards range. The Enemy Aircraft was not seen to be affected by these hits. F/O. Selden Edner says that in all cases he is sure his bullets pierced the Enemy Aircraft although it would be difficult, I should say, to be certain at a range of 400 yards.

F/O. Fonzo Smith got into difficulties and had his tail plane practically shot off by enemy action. He did not engage the enemy, and landed in this condition at Manston. Fl/Sgt Austin of this Squadron is missing from these operations. Pilots landed at North Weald at 16:45 hours.

Fl/Sgt. Austin's Spitfire AD498 was claimed by JG26. He crashed at Hardighen, France, where he was also buried.

Above L-R: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Austin, F/O. Selden Edner, F/O. Gene Fetrow and F/O Fonzo Smith

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Sgt. Frederick Carleton Austin. Hardinghen Churchyard. Military Plot. Grave 4. Bornon the 22nd August 1918 in Omaha, Nebraska. Educated at Cumnock High School and Lawyer Business School. 8 hours duel and 47 solo hours gained pre service with Morton Air Service. Employed as an Investigator by Pinkerton Detective Agency. Enlisted on the 30th August 1940. Trained with No. 8 Flying Training School. No. 3 Service Flying Training School. Further training with 56 Operational Training Unit. Wings awarded on the 28th March 1941. Flight sergeant on the 01st August 1941 and posted to 133 (Eagle) squadron. Posted to 121 (Eagle) Squadron (Spitfires), North Weald, on the 01st April 1941.

Son of Captain James Buchanan Austin (killed 09th October 1918 n France, age 32) and Erminie Idah Austin (née Calvin - died 18th October 1983, age 88) of 340 South McFadden Place, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the National Archive Kew, Paradie RCAF Archives, WW2 RCAF Archives of Canada.

Other pages that may interest you:

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Pages detailing RCAF losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 21-11-2023

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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