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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.
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08th December 1941 274 Squadron Hurricane IIB BD885 Fl/Lt. Tracey DFC

Operation: Escort

Date: 08th December 1941 (Monday)

Unit: No. 274 Squadron (motto: Supero - 'I overcome') 262 Wing. Western Desert

Type: Hurricane IIB

Serial: BD885

Code: YK-?

Base: LG. 130. Maaten Bagush Egypt

Location: El Adem, Libya

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Owen Vincent Tracey DFC. NZ/42774 Age 26. Killed


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:

KTY 02-04-2021

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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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