10th April 1943 415 Squadron Hampden TB.I P1151 W/O II. Cline
Date: 10th April 1943 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 415 Squadron (motto: Ad metam, lit - 'To the mark') 16 Group
Type: Hampden TB.I
Base: RAF Thorney Island, Sussex - on detachment to RAF St. Eval, Cornwall
Location: Bay of Biscay
Pilot: W/O II. Gordon Alton Cline R/106223 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed (1)
Obs: F/O. Wilfred Blythe Keown 120133 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Mcmahon Ryan NZ/412357 Age 20. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O II. Alexander Michael John Kelly R/82376 RCAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16:32 hrs from RAF St. Eval, Cornwall on a anti-shipping strike in the Bay of Biscay with others from the squadron.
The targets were a 8000 ton merchant vessel which was heavily guarded by a destroyer and three escort ships.
Despite intense anti-aircraft fire the squadron attacked at 20:31 hrs. During the run in on its torpedo attack P1151 was hit by either flak or shrapnel. It seems that the pilot managed to ditch the aircraft successfully as Fl/Sg. Batten reported that he was some of the crew hanging on to the dingy. Sadly nothing further was found or seen of the crew.
(1) Cline Lake southeast of Jordan Lake was named after W/O II. Cline in 1986.
Burial and personal details:
W/O II. Gordon Alton Cline. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 179. Born on the 25th June 1918 at Glenboro. Worked as a warehouseman at the Cassidy and company Ltd. Enlisted May 1941. Received his wings on the 20th December 1941. Son of A. R. Cline and Elizabeth Cline, of Glenboro, Manitoba, Canada
F/O. Wilfred Blythe Keown. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 125. Son of William Keown, and of Annie G. Keown, of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Lancashire, England.
Fl/Sgt. John Mcmahon Ryan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 199. Born at Wellington on the 04th July 1922. Prior to service worked as a refrigeration engineer for H.W. Clarke Ltd. Enlisted on the 13th April 1941 at Levin. Embarked for Canada for training on the 26th May 1941. Awarded his wireless operator/air gunner badge and promoted to sergeant on the 24th November 1941. After conversion training with No. 5 Operational Training Unit he joined 415 squadron on the 23rd January 1943 completing at least 2 operational sorties. Son of Edward and Elizabeth Ryan, of Newtown, Wellington City, New Zealand. A total of 198 flying hours logged.
W/O II. Alexander Michael John Kelly. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 180. Enlisted July 1942. Son of Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Kelly of 853 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to 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: