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
Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent
Pilot: F/O. John Rutherford Aus/402254 RAF Age 20. Safe
REASON FOR LOSS:
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.
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: