Pilot Officer Alistair MacKenzie FINNIE

Service No: 401781
Born: Brighton VIC, 3 February 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 March 1941
Unit: No. 602 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Detling, Kent
Died: Air Operations: (No. 602 Squadron Spitfire aircraft MH730), English Channel, 18 October 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Augustus and Helen Bannerman Finnie, of Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brighton VIC
Remembered: Panel 191, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the 18 October 1943 Spitfire MH730 flown by Pilot Officer Finnie took off from Detling together other with Spitfires from No. 602 Squadron. The No. 602 Squadron aircraft joined in combat with Spitfires from No. 132 Squadron RAF who were in combat with 30 Me109s and approximately 25 Fw190s in the Lille area. No. 602 Squadron aircraft became split up and Pilot Officer Finnie stayed with his leader Flight Lieutenant William Walter John Loud RAF DSO DFC & Bar, an experienced fighter pilot and Flight Commander. At all times they attempted to engage different formations of the enemy, but were unsuccessful. After a period in the area they made their way homeward towards Calais. On reaching the Calais area they were the target of very heavy anti-aircraft fire, so they turned intending to cross the coast between Cape Gris Nez and Dunkirk flying at about 15,000 feet and about 1,500 feet below cloud.

They were attacked by two Me109s and Pilot Officer Finnie’s aircraft was hit. Loud continued to engage the two enemy aircraft to give Finnie a chance to bring his aircraft home. Finnie called Mayday, and when Loud disengaged after about 4 to 5 minutes, he crossed the coast and searched for Finnie. He saw an oil patch 6 miles north west of Cape Gris Nez but no sign of the pilot. He continued to circle and called Mayday until relieved by two Air Sea Rescue Spitfires when he returned due to lack of fuel. He did not see Finnie bale out, and it is assumed Pilot Officer Finnie was lost at sea.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/13/143

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