29th January 1945 65 Squadron Mustang IIIB FB356 Sq/Ldr. Strachan
Date: 29th January 1945 (Monday)
Unit: No. 65 Squadron 'East India' (mott0: Vi et armis - 'By force and arms') 13 Group
Type: Mustang IIIB
Base: RAF Banff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Location: North Sea
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Ian Douglas Stuart Strachan 40326 RAFVR Age 27. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 13:30 leading 12 others to escort 27 Beaufighter's taking off from RAF Dallachy who were to go on anti-shipping strike off Norway.
One Mustang crashed on take off, two others returned early, one with compass trouble and the other acting as his escort.
Down to 10 Mustangs the squadron flew on but encountered heavy rain and snowstorms a few minutes from the coast of Norway. Sq/Ldr. Strachan ordered the formation to return to base.
He was last seen banking steeply at less than 100 ft. His body was never knowingly recovered.
The remainder of the squadron formed up to return. The weather conditions were so bad that all airfields in the north of Scotland were closed so they were forced to divert to the Orkneys.
Sq/Ldr. Ian Douglas Stuart Strachan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 265. Born on the 20th May 1917 at Christchurch. Worked as a clerk for Richardsons, McCabe and Company prior to being selected in the RAF on a short service commission on the 30th June 1937. Awarded his wings on the 09th July 1938. Son of Leslie Eldred and Mildred Athol Strachan (née Frankish). Husband of Patricia Josephine Strachan (later Stewart) of Wainui Beach Gisborne New Zealand. Took over 65 Squadron as commanding officer on the 01st January 1945. Previously served with 80, 123, 195, 129, and 234 Squadrons and 16 operational sorties with 485 (NZ) Squadron.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to 'A Separate Little War', compiled by Andrew Bird, Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: