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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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453 Squadron Crest
12.07.1944 No. 453 Squadron Spitfire LF NH274 FU-V W/O. R. Lyall

Operation: Armed Recce

Date: 12th July 1944

Unit: No. 453 Squadron

Type: Spitfire LF

Serial: NH274

Code: FU-V

Base: Advanced Landing Ground B.11 Longues, France

Location: East of Falais, France

Pilot: W/O. Roderick Lyall AUS/409160 RAAF PoW - Escaped and evaded (note)


Taking off in the afternoon on an armed recce as No. 2 to Fl/Lt. George Roberts AUS/409322 Blue Leader, when he was hit by anti-aircraft fire.

Blue Leader noticed white vapour pouring from NH274 and called W/O. Lyall that Glycol appeared to be coming from his radiator - W/O. Lyall replied that his engine temperature was very high. Blue Leader advised him to drop his revs and boost and head North and that he would accompany him with Blue 3.

After flying for a further minute he called on the R/T “My engine is on fire.” Blue Leader replied “It is not on fire yet but liable to seize up at any time.” W/O. Lyall replied “I am losing height” Blue Leader then said “miss the village in front and choose a good field to land.”

W/O. Lyall then made a successful belly landing. Blue Leader circled the Spitfire with Blue 3 and then W/O.Lyall called “I am OK”. They last saw him running away from the aircraft into some woods about 300 yards from the aircraft.

Above: 453 Squadron pilots with their mascot ‘Sprog’ L-R: W/O. ‘Clarrie’ Clarence Alfred Seeney AUS/414519 RAAF, F/O. Roger Bush AUS/15326 RAAF (2), Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Kinross AUS/409147 RAAF (3), Fl/Sgt. Herbert Frank Watts AUS/413296 RAAF (4), Fl/Sgt. Roderick Lyall AUS/409160 RAAF (5), W/O. Jock Young (6), F/O. F.J. Catchpole (7), Fl/Lt. Henry Walter Ritchie Sharp AUS/261892 (8). (courtesy Australian Archives)

(1) Some publications have the aircraft serial number listed as PL227.

(2) 25 year old, F/O. Roger Bush - Engineer Officer. Born 01st September 1918 in Kent, England. Married to Maisie. Prior to service worked as a cabinet maker. Survived the war - no further details.

(3) 22 years old, Pilot - Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Kinross from Essendon, Victoria, Australia. Flying Spitfire IX sadly blue on blue accident - shot down by USAAF P-47 South-West Bayeux and killed. Buried at Bayeux War Cemetery. Grave IV.E.10.

(4) 22 years old, Pilot - Fl/Sgt. Herbert Frank Watts. Born 10th September 1922 in Taree, New South Wales, Australia. A farmhand previous to service, which he left in December 1945 as a F/O. 514 flying hours logged. Injured during an attack on the Squadron airfield, Hottet-Les-Bogues, Normandy France on the 13/14th August 1944 when 20 year old, W/O. Mervyn John Watson AUS/421610 RAAF of Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia, was killed, W/O. Ronald Francis Cross AUS/413366 RAAF seriously injured, W/O. Joseph Armstrong Boulton AUS/420544 RAAF seriously injured, others include: P/O. R.F. Cross 413366, Sgt. Coates 14921, LAC W. Marchant 1699424 RAF.

(5) Fl/Sgt. Roderick Lyall 12th July 1944 - Flying Spitfire IX NH274 FU-V Hit by flak, captured by the SS, escaped and evaded capture returning back to his base on the 15th August 1944. From Newton, Geelong, Australia.

(6) ‘Jock’ Young RAF Radio Officer - no further details.

(7) F/O. F.J. Catchpole RAF Intelligence Officer - no further details.

(8) 35 year old, Fl/Lt. Henry Walter Ritchie Sharp - Medical Officer - no further details.

(note - some reported are that he was in fact liberated by US troops on the 13th August 1944)

Burial details:

None, W/O. Roderick Lyall survived the war. Born on the 02nd April 1922 and enlisted on the 19th July 1941. Commissioned on the 07th November 1944. Lived at 39 Aphrasia Street, Newton, Geelong, Victoria, Australia - understood that prior to service worked as a mechanic.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Australian Archives and other sources as quoted below:

KTY 04.01.2017

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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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