LEST WE FORGET
Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft NV199), Norway, 9 February 1945
Beaufighter NV199 took off from RAF Dallachy at 1345 hours on 9 February 1945 to carry out an anti shipping patrol over Sandoy-Bremanger at a height of 800 feet. Eleven Beaufighters from the Squadron took part in the sortie and two of these including NV199 failed to return. The 455 Squadron aircraft were accompanied by 11 Torpedo-equipped Beaufighters (No. 404 Squadron RCAF), 8 Anti-flak Beaufighters plus 2 Outriders (No. 144 Squadron RAF), escorted by 12 Mustangs (No. 65 Squadron RAF) and 2 Air-Sea Rescue Warwick aircraft (No. 279 Squadron RAF). The Force attacked 2 Destroyers, 2 Mine Sweepers plus 2 unidentified vessels, and a Sperrbrecher. Photos established there were eleven vessels in the area.
The crew members of NV199 were:
Flying Officer Leslie Leonard MacDonald (421749) (Navigator Wireless) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 1 November 1945
Flight Lieutenant Robert Charles McColl DFC (413227) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 1 February 1946
In a 1945 statement Flight Lieutenant McColl reported: “After attacking a convoy in the Forde Fjord, Norway, we were jumped by an FW190 which made 4 separate attacks. Assisted by accurate instructions from the Navigator was able to avoid being hit. Unfortunately while taking violent evasive action, I flew over a 20mm coastal battery and the aircraft was hit three times, one of which set my starboard nacelle petrol tank on fire. The engine was feathered and the fire extinguisher used but all to no avail, and I was forced to ditch close to the main coastline. The aircraft crashed on the Norwegian coast west of Tendi Fjord. Both the crew got clear unhurt but were captured and were PoW’s. Released by the Russians on 1st May 1945.”
No. 455 Squadron lost Beaufighter NV196 (Warrant Officer Donald Ernest Mutimer (410694) (Pilot)) on 9 February 1945.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951