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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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54 Squadron Crest
28.08.1940 54 Squadron Spitfire I X4053 Sq/Ldr. Finlay

Operation: Patrol

Date: 28th August 1940

Unit: No. 54 Squadron (motto: Audax omnia perpeti - 'Boldness endures anything')

Type: Spitfire I

Serial: X4053

Code: KL-?

Base: RAF Manston, Kent

Location: Ramsgate / Westbere Lake, Kent

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Donald Osborne Finlay 36031 Age 29. Slightly injured


During a patrol attacked by a Me109 and shoot down.

Despite suffering injuries he managed to bale out at 17:17 hrs over Ramsgate. The Spitfire is thought to have crashed into Westbere Lake.

Fl/Lt. Al Deere DFC from the same Squadron was shot down by a Spitfire earlier that afternoon, but he also parachuted to safety.

Above 41 Squadron pilots. L-R: F/O. John Noble Mackenzie DFC (died 28th March 1993), Fl/Lt. Anthony Desmond Joseph Lovell DFC (killed on the 17th August 1945), Sq/Ldr. Donald Osborne Finlay DFC, Fl/LT. Edgar Norman Ryder (died in 1995) DFC, Sgt. Roy Clement Ford (died 13th December 2002).

Burial details:

None - survived the war. Born on then 27th May 1909 in Christchurch, Hampshire, England. Joined the RAF in April 1935. Retired from the RAF in February 1959 as Group Captain DFC and AFC. Prior to the war represented Gt. Britain in the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games winning a bronze and silver medals respectably in the 110 metre hurdles. In 1966 was severely injured in a car accident which left him paralysed - he died on the 19th April 1970 at Great Missenden, England. Aged 60.

KTY 29.10.2019

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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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