AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

72 crest
27th August 1941 72 Squadron Spitfire Vb P8609 F/O. Rutherford

Operation: Circus 85

Date: 27th August 1941 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 72 Squadron (motto: 'Swift')

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: P8609

Code: RN-?

Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent

Location: Base

Pilot: F/O. John Rutherford Aus/402254 RAF Age 20. Safe


The operation was to escort Blenheims from 139 squadron on their way to bomb Lille power station. The Blenheims arrived at the rendezvous 30 minutes early so the Blenheims returned.

The squadron then made a sweep over the St. Omer area. Engaged by enemy aircraft and forced to bale out over the English Channel but rescued and returned to the unit.

Also lost during the same operation F/O. Henryk Skalski P0156 flying Spitfire Vb W3408 (a sponsored Spitfire from Mr. and Mrs. Albert Ehrman) He survived as a PoW No: 3749 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan.

F/O. John Rutherford returned to Australia in 1943 and was involved in an incident whilst off duty in Port Hedland, Western Australia on Sunday, 14th February 1943, died of injuries received from an accidental gunshot.

F/O. Henryk Skalski was born on the 22nd September 1908 at Lodz in Poland. Joined 72 squadron on the 3rd March 1940 from 306 squadron. He settled in London postwar and died there on Tuesday the 23rd August 1977. Buried at Acton, Park Royal Cemetery.

Burial details:

F/O. John Rutherford. Geraldton War Cemetery. Plot B. Row B. Grave 5. Born on the 17th July 1920 at Nyrang, New South Wales. Enlisted in Sydney on the 22nd July 1940. Son of George Washington Rutherford and Phyllis Arabin Rutherford, husband of Janet Ellis Rutherford, of North Sydney, New South Wales.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Australian Archives, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 19-05-2021

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 18 January 2022, 14:18

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor