08th December 1941 274 Squadron Hurricane IIB BD885 Fl/Lt. Tracey DFC
Date: 08th December 1941 (Monday)
Unit: No. 274 Squadron (motto: Supero - 'I overcome') 262 Wing. Western Desert
Type: Hurricane IIB
Base: LG. 130. Maaten Bagush Egypt
Location: El Adem, Libya
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Owen Vincent Tracey DFC. NZ/42774 Age 26. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 11:25 hrs on an escort duty for 18 Blenheims over the El Adem area in Libya.
A large number of enemy aircraft (Macchi C.200) were engaged over the target, heavily outnumbered two Hurricanes were seen to go down, one in flames and the other in a vertical dive. Another force landed near Tobruk.
The New Zealand pilot was buried at the crash site and later reinterred.
He was awarded the DFC for his actions on the 01st December 1941. Engaged by enemy fighters in the Sidi Rezegh area he sawn of the squadron hurricane make a forced landing. The pilot. Lt Harry Hoffe SAAF (note) escaped injury. Fl/Lt. Tracey landed his Hurricane behind enemy lines, picked up Lt. Harry Hoffe and although a very tight squeeze took off and landed back at the base LG. 130.
(note) Harry Hoffe passes away on the 24th May 2014 age 95.
Burial and personal details:
Fl/Lt. Owen Vincent Tracey DFC. Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery. Grave 23. C. 7. l. Born on the 15th March 1915 at Dunedin. Worked as a store hand for Wright Stephenson and Company prior to service. Obtained his 'A' pilots licence whilst with Otago Aero Club on the 01st July 1937 after logging 44 hours. Selected for a RAF short service commission by the 30th May 1939 and left for England. Attached to no 10 EFTS for a course as an instructor on the 28th April 1940. Joined 79 squadron on the 06th July and served with them through the Battle of Britain. On the 05th April 1941 he then joined 274 squadron. Embarked for Egypt on the 04th March 1941. Son of Owen Tracey and of Margaret Tracey (née Laffey), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand and husband of Frances Elsie Victoria Tracey (née Slater), of Dunedin. Credited with six enemy aircraft destroyed, three probably destroyed and one other as damaged.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Ian Banks, Jenifer Lemaire 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: