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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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609 Squadron Crest
27.07.1944 No 609 Squadron Typhoon Ib JP843 P/O. Price

Operation: Rocket attack

Date: 27th July 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 609 Squadron. 123 Wing, 84 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force (motto 'Tally Ho')

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: JP843

Code: PR-? (Red 2)

Base: B7. Martragny, France

Location: Poussy-la-Campagne

Pilot: P/O. Peter March Price NZ/424518 RNZAF Age 20. Killed


The third day of 'Operation Cobra' - an offensive launched by the United States Army to break through German defences and supported by a concentrated air attacks from thousands of allied aircraft. Although a success it cost the allies 8 fighter pilots killed, 1 PoW, 1 evaded capture, 4 others surviving. 4 Typhoons, 1 Tempest, 2 Mustangs and 7 Spitfires all lost on this day alone!

Taking off at 17:30 hrs with 3 others, Red 1 - P/O. John Donald Buchanan J/86932 RCAF. Red 3 - Fl/Sgt. Robert Knox Adam 182164 RAFVR (2). Red 4 - W/O. Raymond Eldon Bavington AUS/403895 RAAF (3) to attack troops and transport South East of Caen in France.

Flying at 2,500 ft the section encountered flak, Red 1 (Buchanan) followed by Red 3 (Adam) broke away to the left whilst Red 4 (Bavington ) with Red 2 (Price) broke right. P/O. Price was last seen disappearing into a rainstorm. Red 1 called him twice but received no reply.

The others continued to the target area when Red 3 (Adam) was hit in the tailplane and forced to return to base. Red 1 (Buchanan) flying Typhoon Ib MN494 (1) was seen flying low over the target area with vapour trails from his wingtips. The Typhoon was seen to flick over on its back at around 150 ft and crash in flames about 400 yards from the target.

(1) Some publications list this as JP483 - but that was lost on the 02nd March 1944 whilst with 1 Squadron. That pilot W/O. Neil Dean Howard AUS/409307 RAAF managed to force landed his Typhoon and with the assistance of the local resistance evaded capture until war end.

(2) Fl/Sgt. Robert Knox Adam was also killed, just four days later on the 31st July 1944 flying Typhoon MN239 over Viessoix, France.

(3) W/O. Raymond Eldon Bavington MiD. survived the war - no further information available. He did survive an earlier incident flying a Typhoon Ib R8224 PR-H when a wing became over-stressed during a dive on the 13th September 1943. (shown below)

Mr. Robert Upton of New Zealand visited his grave in 2019 and sent us the photographs.

Burial details:

P/O. Peter March Price. Ranville War Cemetery. Grave 1X.F.22. Born on the 06th March 1924 at Auckland, the son of Captain Frederick Ashton Price, M.C., and Hazel Maud Price (née Wilson, later Raven - understood that her first husband died in 1934), of Auckland City, New Zealand. A total of 472 hours flying logged and on his 10th operational sortie.

P/O. John Donald Buchanan. Ranville War Cemetery. Grave V.F.4. Born on the 8th April 1922 in Toronto, the son of Robert Russell Buchanan and Onadell Buchanan, of 132 Second Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "He Loved Honour And Feared Not Death". A RCAF Police constable prior to becoming a pilot in October 1942.

P/O. Robert Knox Adam. Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery. Grave XIV.C.8. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched with the assistance of Robert Upton and Brian Ramsey of Medals Reunited New Zealand, dedicated to the relatives of these pilots with thanks to Simon Moody of the Airforce Museum of New Zealand, for photographs, the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Mr. Graeme Sutherland ofMr. Graeme Sutherland of the Typhoon Legacy for their fine work regarding the restoration work in Canada on the Typhoon based on JP843, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

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KTY 21.07.2019

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