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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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145 crest
06 October 1943 145 Squadron Spitfire LF.VIII JF770 Fl/Sgt. Johnson

Operation: Armed Reconnaisance

Date: 06 October 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 145 Squadron (motto: Diu noctuque pugnamus - 'We fight by day and night') 244 Wing. Desert Air Force

Type: Spitfire LF.VIII

Serial: JF770

Code: ZX-?

Base: Tortorella, Foggia No. 2, Italy

Location: Campomarino, Italy

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Roderick Albert Johnson NZ/414985 Age 20. Killed


Taking off at 05:55 hrs with the squadron as part of the leading section.

When over the target area of Termoli encountered heavy flak exploding amongst the section.

JF770 was seen to be flying erratically and streaming white smoke.

The section leader called him but there was no response. Shortly afterwards JF770 was seen to enter a steep dive and exploded when it hit the ground.

His body was discovered after the hostilities buried on the banks of the Biferno river near Campomarino and reinterred at the Sangro River War Cemetery.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Sgt. Roderick Albert Johnson. Sangro River War Cemetery. XVI. C. 41. Born on the 09th January 1923 at Napier. An apprentice cabinet maker for A. Hannah and S. Taylor of Napier prior to service. Enlisted on the 24th April 1942 at Levin. Awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 06th September 1941. Son of Albert and Mary May Johnson (née Paterson) of Westshore, Napier, New Zealand. 378 flying hours logged and on his 32 operational sortie.

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:

KTY 10-03-2021

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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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