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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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No. 611 Squadron
09.07.1941 No. 611 Squadron Supermarine Spitfire Vb W3325 P/O. Robert Alan Johnston

Operation: Escort, Circus 41 (St. Omer area)

Date: 9th July 1941 (Wednesday)

Unit: No 611 Squadron

Type: Supermarine Spitfire Vb

Serial: W3325

Base: RAF Hornchurch, Essex

Location: St Omer, Pas-de-Calais, France

Pilot: P/O Robert Alan Johnston 86369 RAFVR Age 23 Killed


P/O Johnston was escorting Stirling bombers on an operation to Mazingarbe, Pas-de-Calais. It is believed that his aircraft (Newcastle-On-Tyne 1) was shot down by a Me 109 in the St. Omer area

Circus operation - Fighter-escorted daylight bombing operations against short-range targets with the aim of bringing the enemy air force to battle. The number allocated depicts the area 

Spitfire aircraft of No. 611 Squadron

Burial details:


Pihen-Les-Guines Communal Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France (courtesy of CWGC) Part of the War Memorial stone in St. Perter's                                                                                                     Churchyard (courtesy Rev. Margaret Preuss-Higham)

Left: Part of the memorial plaque in St. Peter's Church, Portesham, Dorset (courtesy 

P/O Robert Alan Johnston. Pihen-Les-Guines Communal Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France. Grave Ref: Row B. Grave 3. Son of Robert Hector and Kathleen Hariot Johnston of Putney, London. Born in Chesterton on the 15th April 1918. Robert was granted a commission as Pilot Officer on probation in September 1940 and in November 1940 was confirmed as Pilot Officer. The Spitfire Robert was flying was a presentation aircraft named Newcastle-On-Tyne I. Robert is remembered on the Church of St. Peters War Memorial Plaque, Portesham, Dorset. Robert's brother Sgt. Henry Bruce Stirling Johnston was killed in action on the 19/20th August 1941 in (Wellington R1455) while serving with No 9 Squadron

Left: JU88 type aircraft claimed by P/O Johnston and F/Lt Leather

While serving with No 611 Squadron and stationed at RAF Tern Hill, Shropshire P/O Robert Alan Johnston claimed a shared 'victory' with F/Lt William Johnson Leather by shooting down a Ju88 at Blewbury, Newark at 14.45hrs on the 13th November 1940

Dorothy Robinson, aunt of Alan and Bruce and sister of Richard Stirling Robinson put up a memorial for her family in Putney Vale Cemetery in June 1945

On the 20th August 1940 the Newcastle Spitfire Fund was inaugurated to provide a Spitfire or Hurricane plane to be named "Newcastle upon Tyne"

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Special thanks to Rev Margaret Preuss-Higham, St Peters Portesham, Anne and Martyn Gardiner, Newcastle Libraries - Local Studies Factsheet No 4

KT 4 July 2015

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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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