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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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RAF Crest
11th March 1942 231 Squadron Lysander III T1577 P/O. Rattray

Operation: Reconnaissance

Date: 11th March 1942 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 231 Squadron (motto: 'Prepared to Attack')

Type: Lysander III

Serial: T1577

Code: VM-?

Base: RAF Maghaberry, Co. Antrim.

Location: Near Coalisland, Northern Ireland

Pilot: P/O. William Russell Rattray NZ/41938 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnt. Sgt. Leslie George Chapman 967658 RAFVR Age ? Killed


Taking off from RAF Maghaberry on a low flying reconnaissance during army manoeuvres.

At 08:25 hrs struck the chimney of a far house between the villages of The Bush and Coalisland.

A local lady, Mrs. Margretta Oliver witnessed the Lysander circling the area with smoke pouring from the aircraft and called the police, her husband Cpt. T.E. Oliver 12535 RAMC was first on the scene but there was nothing that could be done for the young crew.

Burial and personal details:

P/O. William Russell Rattray. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extension, Section AS, Grave 120. Born on the 06th February 1920 at Dunedin. Worked as a clerk for Kemphorne Prosser and Company in Dunedin prior two service. Enlisted at Levin on the 09th February 1941. Trained at No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School joining them on the 22nd March 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 26th May 1941. Further training with No. 10 Service Flying Training School joining them on the 10th June 1941. Pilots badge awarded on the 01st September 1941 and received his commission on the same day. Embarked for England on the 15th September 1941. With 41 Operational Training Unit joining on the 14th October 1941 flying the Lysander. Joined 231 squadron on the 21st December 1941. Son of George James (died 01st February 1954) and Helen Inglis Rattray (nee Cameron - died 03rd February 1963), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. A total of 226 flying hours logged with 153 of these solo and 73 on the Lysander.

Sgt. Leslie George Chapman. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extension, Section AS, Grave 119. Son of Captain J.E. Chapman of Dublin, Ireland and the husband of Kathleen V. Chapman of 52 Old Cavehill Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Wartime Northern Ireland and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 15-08-2021

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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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