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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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401 Squadron Crest
08.11.1942 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire IX BS202 Fl/Lt. Morrison DFM. DFC.

Operation: Circus 235

Date: 08th November 1942 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 401 Squadron

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: BS202

Code: YO-?

Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent

Location: Calais, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Donald Robert Morrison DFM DFC J/15475 RCAF Age 22. PoW - Repatriated


Fl/Lt. Donald Morrison was born in Toronto, Ontario on Monday, the 20th June 1921. Graduated from North Toronto Collegiate before enlisting in the RCAF in October 1940. After joining 401 Squadron he quickly started to make an impact. In total he had 4 confirmed with 3 others shared as destroyed, 4 other probables with another shared plus 5 others confirmed as damaged.

On Wednesday 06th May 1942 on a Circus 160 operation flying Spitfire Vb BM429 he was hit by cannon fire but managed to crash land at Shoreham. The aircraft was repaired and the pilot suffered no injuries.

Then during the ill fated Dieppe operation on Wednesday the 19th August 1942 flying Spitfire IX BS119 was shot down during combat with a Fw190. the pilot baled out into the English Channel but was rescued by a HSL. During that rescue whilst on the launch he manned the machine guns to fire at attacking enemy aircraft which sunk another rescue launch. During one of the attacks this pilot jumped into the sea to rescue one of the naval ratings.

For the Circus Operation on this day they were escorting 38 x B-17’s that were to bomb Fives/Lille with 12 other B17’s on a diversion raid to Abbeville/Drucat. The entire Gruppe from JG26 were scrambled as well as others from III./JG2. Despite 7 Spitfires being shot down, the escort defended the bombers well. P/O. Gimbel from 401 Squadron claimed one Fw190 together with Sq/Ldr. Hodson.

Fl/Lt. Morrison was one of these shot down, sadly during this he was also hit in the leg. Captured shortly afterwards by the Germans who operated on him but his left leg was badly damaged and they had to amputate. He was repatriated the following year in October 1943. He then returned to Canada in November becoming an instructor with 20 EFTS in Oshawa. Following that he was posted to Trenton. Released on the 14th March 1945. In August 1947 he returned to England and joined the RAF seeing service in Malaya. Completed his service in 1951, working later for Trans Canadian Airways in the Toronto sales office.


DFM - LG. 30th June 1942:

Fl/Sgt. Morrison R/80521 has displayed outstanding ability and skill as a pilot during combats with the enemy. He has destroyed two and damaged several other enemy aircraft besides sharing in the destruction of two others. Fl/Sgt. Morrison has participated in 57 operational sorties and in May 1942, after his port elevator had been shot off by enemy cannon fire near Le Havre, he successfully brought his aircraft back to this country and performed a difficult landing with little additional damage.

DFC - LG. 16th July 1943:

This officer displayed great skill and tenacity in air operations and has destroyed fifteen hostile aircraft. His gallantry was amply demonstrated on one occasion when a few minutes after being picked up by a rescue launch in the North Sea, after being compelled to leave his damaged aircraft by parachute, he plunged overboard and rescued a naval rating from drowning. Flight Lieutenant Morrison's conduct was worthy of high praise.

Burial details:

None - survived the war - He died on Friday 28th January 1994, survived by his wife Kathleen Jean Griffin and a son and daughter. Buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to François Dutil - Squadron archivist also to sources as quoted below:

KTY - 01.10.2017

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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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