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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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616 Squadron Spitfire VB AD543 Sgt. George Leslie Davidson

Operation: Exhibition flight?

Date: 13th April 1942 (Monday)

Unit: No. 616 Squadron (motto: Nulla Rosa Sine Spina - 'No rose without a thorn'). 12 Group

Type: Spitfire VB

Serial: AD543

Code: YQ-?

Base: RAF Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.

Location: As shown

Pilot: Sgt, George Leslie Davidson NZ/404904 RNZAF Age 26. Killed


Took off at about 14:40 hrs and whilst attempted a slow roll immediately after taking off from Kings Cliffe at around 100 ft. during a visit to 616 Squadron by a party of reporters and press photographers.

Control was lost in the manoeuvre and the Spitfire hit the ground in a field next to the airfield.

Above: Pilots of 616 squadron unknown date and place. Labelled Left to Right: P/O. Strouts, Sgt. Davidson, Sgt. Miller; F/O. Johnson and the dog 'Pusher’ (Courtesy of Bob Miller).


P/O Harley Richard Strouts J/15207- Spitfire VB Serial AD375 - Posted missing after a Circus mission escorting 12 Bostons to Hazebrouk mashalling yards.

F/O. James Edgar 'Johnnie' Johnson DFC and Bar, DSO and 2 Bars 83267 RAFVR (passed away on 30th January 2001, aged 85) See this report for additional details.

Sgt. Phillip Charles Miller Aus/404939 RAAF Age 25. (Passed away in 1995, aged 78)

Burial details:

Sgt, George Leslie Davidson. Wittering (All Saints) Churchyard. Row B. Grave 13. Born on the 12th May 1915 in Patea, South Taranaki. Educated at New Plymouth Boys High School. A farmer on his fathers farm at Opaku. New Zealand territorial army for 18 months, A member of the New Plymouth Aero Club where he had completed 109 flying hours. Enlisted at Levin on the 30th November 1940 as a pilot under training. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School on th 19th January 1941.

Embarked for Canada on the 27th March 1941. With No. 6 Service Flying Training School 21st April 1941. Pilot badge gained on the 03rd July 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 21st July 1941. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the 16th August 1941. Further training with No. 61 Operational Training Unit 21st August 1941. Joined 616 squadron on the 06th October 1941. Carried 26 operational sorties. At Wittering from the 10th February - 15th March 1942.

Son of Stanley George Davidson (died 23rd July 1966, age 82) and of Mabel Adelaide Davidson (nêe Burgess - died 24th July 1961, age 81), of Opaku, Taranaki, New Zealand and husband of Joan Katherine Mabel Davidson (née Hunter - later Austin - died 25th June 2010, age 93) and father of 1 son, of Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Bob Miller, Ralph Snape, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 11-07-2022

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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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