Operation: Convoy patrol
Date: 15th June 1942 (Monday)
Unit: No. 601 Squadron ('Millionaire Squadron')
Type: Spitfire Vc
Base: Luqa, Malta
Location: Mediterranean Sea
Pilot: Sgt. Jack Nock McConnell NZ/405293 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Scrambled at 13:03 hrs together with F/O. Clyde Russell Scollan J/15263 RCAF and P/O. Jerrold Alpine Smith J/6280 RCAF to protect a convoy from enemy dive bombers escorted by fighters. The two Canadians each claimed a Ju87 with P/O Smith claiming a Bf109 damaged as it was seen streaming oil.
During the engagement BR306 was shot down, the body of the pilot was not knowingly recovered.
The two Canadians were also to lose their lives the same year, details below.
Burial and personal details:
Sgt. Jack Nock McConnell. Malta Memorial. Panel 5, Column 2. Born on the 05th January 1921 at Gisborne. A cadet/messenger for Postal and Telecommunications Department prior to service. In the NZ Territorial army for 18 months before enlisting in the RNZAF on the 22nd December 1940 at Levin. Awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 08th August 1941 after training in Canada. Joined 601 squadron on the 05th April 1942 from 61 Operational Trains Unit. Embarked for Malta on USS Wasp with the squadron on the 13th April 1942. Operation Bowery; the delivery of 47 vital Spitfires to the island. Arrived in Malta after taking off from the carrier on the 20th April 1942. Son of Thomas and Irene Nelly McConnell (née Nock), of Gisborne, New Zealand. Credited with 1 enemy aircraft destroyed, 3 probable, 1 damaged and 1 shared damaged. Also flew with 126 Squadron.
F/O. Clyde Russell Scollan. Alamein Memorial. Column 263. Missing - believed killed on the 10 November 1942. Born on the 08th January 1916 in Hull, Canada. Prior to service worked for E.B. Eddy Company Ltd. Son of Mrs. Florence Scollen and the late George Scollen of 142 Crichton Street, Ottawa, Canada. Received his commission on the 17th March 1942. With 601 Squadron based at LG.13 - Sidi Haneish, Egypt. Spitfire EP451 attacked by 8 Me109s, In the dog fight P/O. Scollan's aircraft was seen to be out of control on falling in flames.
P/O. Jerrold Alpine Smith. Malta Memorial. Panel 4, Column 2. Missing - believed killed on the 10th August 1942. Born on the 26th March 1921 at Regina. Enlisted on the 22nd October 1940. Son of Donald Alpine Smith and Blanche Smith, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Spitfire Vc BR366 with 126 squadron last seen chasing a Ju-88 before is is assumed he crashed in the Mediterranean Sea. His brother, Roderick Illingworth Alpine Smith DFC and bar J/4561 RCAF also served and flew together. Retired as a fighter ace and as a Wing Commander. Died on the 16th April 2002 in Vancouver. His ashes were scattered over the area his brother was lost by a Spitfire that was taking part in an air show.
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: