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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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488 Squadron Mosquito NF.XII HK203 F/O. James Athol Gunn

Operation: Patrol

Date: 15th September 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 488 Squadron (motto: Ka ngarue ratau - 'We shake them'). 11 Group

Type: Mosquito NF.XII

Serial: HK203

Code: ME-?

Base: RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex

Location: North Sea

Pilot: Fl/Lt. James Athol Gunn NZ/402866 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. James Affleck 130906 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 20:15 hrs on a Foreness patrol. During the patrol off the Kent coast at 16,000 ft they were informed of bandits at Angels 3. They dived down to Angels 4 and closed in quickly and shot down the Heinkel III at 21:40 hrs but Fl/Lt. had been killed by returning fire.

Mosquito HK203 crashed into the sea, the body of the pilot was later recovered with bullet wounds to his face and body and was buried two days later. Sadly the body of F/O. was not recovered.

Wreckage of the Heinkel was washed up later confirming the destruction.

Above L-R: F/O. James Affleck, Fl/Lt. James Athol Gunn with another unidentified 488 Squadron crew. (Courtesy Mike and Murray McBey)

Burial and additional details:

Fl/Lt. James Athol Gunn. Margate Cemetery. Section 50. Grave 162. Born on the12th February 1920 in Gisborne. Educated at Gisborne High School. A mechanic with Cook County Council in Gisborne. Served 3 years in the territorial army. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 31st August 1940. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 29th September 1940. No. 2 Flying Training School 23rd November 1940. Pilot badge awarded on the 18th January 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 01st March 1941.

Embarked for England on the 27th March 1941. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 19th May 1941. 54 Operational Training Unit flying the Blenheim on the 26th May 1941. 1451 Flight on the 19th August 1941 flying Boston and Havoc. Baled out on the 02nd September 1941. 1459 Flight on the 21st September 1941 flying the Havoc on 27 operational sorties.

Awarded his commission on the 08th December 1941. Uninjured during a take off accident on the 22nd August 1942. Joined 488 squadron on the 26th August 1942. Flew a further 16 operational sorties including 3 air sea rescue operations. Attached to Flying Instructor School for a staff pilot's course 08th June - 02nd July 1943. A total of 1100 flying hours logged and on his 43rd operation.

Son of James and Ivy Ada Frances Gunn (née March), of Gisborne, Auckland, New Zealand. Husband of Daphne Beatrice Gunn (née Bell) of London, England.

F/O. James Affleck. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 122. Enlisted on the 07th July 1939 as a pilot under training. With No. 5 Initial Training Wing. Re-mustered as air gunner June 1940. With 54 Operational Training Unit August 1941. Joined 29 squadron October 1941 flying the Beaufighter. Awarded his commission on the 09th June 1942. Joined 488 squadron in September 1943.

Son of James and Elizabeth Affleck. Husband of Euphemia Affleck, of Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland.

Above L-R: Rear; MD Cullinane, Edward Leslie Sadler NZ/402091 ✞, Malcolm Albert Peterson NZ/402892, H.E.H Sharp, Alexander Douglas McMurtrie NZ/402908 ✞.

Centre; Warren Robert Martin, E.A Campbell, J.H.G Cooke, Charles Albert Fountaine NZ/402862, James Athol Gunn NZ/402866 ✞, Lindsay Blair Renolds NZ/402899, Paul Middleton Brewer NZ/402565 ✞.

Front; Norman Watson Thompson NZ/402914 ✞, Porokoru Patapu Pohe NZ/402894 ✞, M.C.P Jones, L.C Ford, Leslie Treloar Baker NZ/402906 ✞, G.H Fish, Everest George Edmunds NZ/40331 ✞, T.C.B Cooper. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew, 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, Mike and Murray McBey (Nephews of James Affleck), other sources as quoted below:

KTY 31-08-2022

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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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