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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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504 Squadron Spitfire IIb P8576 Fl/Sgt. Edward Denis Cannon

Operation: Scramble

Date: 09th February 1942 (Monday)

Unit: No. 504 Squadron (motto: Vindicat in Vetis 'It avenges in the wind'). 82 Group

Type: Spitfire IIb

Serial: P8576 (Presentation Spitfire - City of Bundaberg and district - Queensland, Australia)

Code: TM-?

Base: RAF Kirkistown, County Down

Location: Irish Sea

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Edward Denis Cannon NZ/403424 RNZAF Age 25. Killed


Taking off at 12:30 hrs on a scramble to find one section. Visibility was poor but the weather was described as OK. Four Hurricanes from Kirkistown with five from Long Kesh.

Whilst over the Irish Sea the aircraft suffered a glycol leakiest of the Isle of Man. Baled out of the aircraft and despite a search by he squadron, his section leader, P.O. Mackenzie remained over the area but when he realises that he had just seven gallons of fuel left returned. Unable to make it back to base (now covered in 10/10 cloud), he force landed his Spitfire AB240 in a ploughed field in Scotland. He suffered no injuries and his aircraft only suffered a damaged propeller and damage to the flaps.

No one could find Fl/Sgt. Cannon or any trace of his aircraft.

He was found the following day in a dingy washed up on a beach some 6 miles north of the Mull of Galloway, it seems that he had died of exposure.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Sgt. Edward Denis Cannon. Stoneykirk Cemetery. Sec. C. Grave 134. Born on the 11th May 1916 in Stratford. Educated at Stratford Technical High School. A butcher for F. Cool in Stratford. A member of the New Plymouth and Stratford Aero Clubs. Flew 5 hours duel.

Enlisted at Levin on the 29th of September 1940 as a pilot under training. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School 27th December 1940. With No. 3 Flying Training School08th February 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 24th March 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 03rd May 1941. Embarked for England on the 26th of May 1941. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the 03rd July 1941. 9 Personnel Reception Centre 23rd July 1941. 61 Operational Training Unit on the 30th September 1941 for training on the Spitfire. Joined 504 squadron on the 23rd December 1941. A total of 249 flying hours were logged.

Son of Henry Harry (died 1946) and Lucy Cannon (née Phillips - died 11th June 1928, age 53 - married 14th October 1898 in Sefton, Waimakariri) and husband of Linley Zita Cannon (née Hulbert - died 1995, married in 1941 - later Scriven, remarried 1946) of Stratford, New Zealand.

Above L-R: Rear; Eric Reginald Jones NZ/404375 died 27th May 2001, Arthur Ronald Cook NZ/404338 - killed 19th May 1943, Gordon Russell Cameron NZ/403940 - killed 06th February 1942, Gordon Stuart Bolton NZ/403502 - killed 03rd July 1942, Donald Fraser Ayson NZ/402538 - died 14th February 1981, Henry Drury Alcock NZ/403928 - died 24th October 1972, R.D McNabb, Neil Frederick McLean NZ/403876 - killed 31st October 1941, Louis George William Volzke NZ/404432 - killed 15th December 1941, R.T Maunsey, G.D Steel, Harold Kay NZ/404371 - killed 12th May 1942, Horace Victor Sole NZ/404419 - died 30th June 1973.
Front; Loch Lomond Bentley NZ/404936 - killed 23rd December 1941, Hansford Ward Chambers NZ/404334 - died 06th August 1977, H.F Christensen, F.B Forge, F.B Gray, K.F Heald, Edward Denis Cannon NZ/403424 - killed 09th February 1942, E.J Garnett, H.G Viles, Thomas Young Wyllie NZ/404011 killed 08th November 1941, Clyde McGregor Simpson NZ/40415 - died 02nd September 2002, Graham Robert Wilson NZ/40953 - killed 20th March 1941, Thomas Kay NZ/39557 - killed 05th June 1941, David Mitchell Keane NZ/404441 - killed 14th October 1942. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Air 27-1966-3/4, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 02-08-2022

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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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