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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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402 squadron badge
24.08.1942 No. 402 Squadron Spitfire IX BS122 P/O. MacKay

Operation: Circus 208

Date: 24th August 1942 (Monday)

Unit: No. 402 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: BS122

Code: AE-?

Base: RAF Kenley, Surrey

Location: Near Bolbec, France

Pilot: P/O. Gerald Peabody MacKay J/15208 RCAF. Age 23. Killed


During the afternoon of the 24th August 402 squadron were escortIng United States Air Force B-17's on a bombing operation to the Le Trait shipyards.

During this circus they jumped 8 x Fw190's and during this combat they were then attacked by 40 x Fw190's from JG 26 and shot down near Bolbec. 402 Squadron also lost 3 other aircraft on the same operation:

Spitfire IX BS136 Flown by 21 year old Fl/Sgt Victor Miller, killed.

Spitfire IX BS198 Flown by Fl/Lt. Bland, managed to return to Kenley, wounded.

Spitfire IX BS202 Flown by flown by 22 year old, Fl/Lt. Ian George Keltie, managed to return to Kenley - wounded in the leg. Also survived another incident on the 13th April 1944 (1).

Note: Spitfire BS122 was built on the 20th July 1942 at the Eastleigh factory and delivered to 402 on the 28th July. Fitted with the Merlin 61 engine.

(1) Ian George Secord Keltie DFC died in Toronto, Canada on Jan. 29. He was 86. DFC citation:

"Flight Lieutenant Keltie has completed a very large number of operational sorties, including 75 sweeps over enemy territory. Possessing exceptional qualities of leadership and administrative ability, this officer has led the squadron on many successful operations".

Above: St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery as photographed by our Kate Tame during her visit during 2012. Any relative who would like a copy of the grave photograph please don't hesitate to contact us.

Burial Details:

Fl/Sgt. Victor Howard Miller. St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery. Grave A.15. Son of Dr. Donald Russell MacKay and Alice Maude MacKay and husband of Edith Joyce MacKay, of Upwell, Cambridgeshire, England.

Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 2, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. To our specialist genealogist Kate Tame for grave photographs.

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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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Last Modified: 16 March 2021, 13:03

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