NSG 9 badge

No. 601 (County of London) Squadron RAF

7 March 1944

At 08.00 hours, 8 Spitfires took off to patrol the ANZIO BEACH HEAD Battle area… the formation patrolled the area at 14,000 feet. At 09.10 hours enemy aircraft were reported, North West of ANZIO flying at 20,000 feet. The Squadron formation immediately climbed to 21,000 feet where 10 plus Me 109’s and FW 190’s were seen flying in line astern. The enemy aircraft dived and went down towards the beach head. The Spitfires gave chase, caught up and attacked the enemy. A general engagement ensued and the following results were obtained.

No. 129238 F/O D. IBBOTSON RAFVR/GD pilot in one of the Spitfires engaged one of the enemy aircraft (Me 109); closed to 300 yards and fired from quarter astern. Pieces were seen to fall off the E/A and it finally blew up. This pilot attacked another ‘109 and observed cannon and M.G. strikes before black smoke poured from the enemy and obscured any view for a while. This E/A was last seen at 6,000 feet spiralling down to earth. F/O IBBOTSON claimed 1 Me 109 destroyed and 1 Me 109 probable.

No. SA.209544.V. Lieut. P.D. POTE (South African) pilot in another of the Spitfires made an attack on an Me 109. Opening fire from 300 yds, cannon and M.G. Strikes were observed on the wing roots and engine. Black smoke poured from the engine and Lt POTE again fired; this time, the E/A burst into flames, rolled over and went to earth. 1 Me 109 destroyed.

No. 1383977 F/S EID A.E. (Belgian) in another Spitfire engaged a Me 109 making a beam attack. This pilot’s first burst caused the E/A to blow up immediately. The enemy pilot was seen to bale out and the aircraft go crashing down to earth. Claim — 1 Me 109 destroyed.

No. 120740 F/O (A/F/L) W.R. HENDERSON RAFVR/GD leader of our formation and his No. 2, No. J.10152 F/O G.A.M. THOMAS (Canadian), on meeting the enemy formation half rolled and went down on to 2 FW 190’s. The leader apparently did not see 2 E/A which appeared behind him so the No. 2 gave warning by R/T. At this F/Lt HENDERSON gave violent evasive action in a steep climbing turn. F/O THOMAS lost sight of his leader in this move and on making an attempt to contact him again, was forced to defend himself against 2 of the enemy. F/O THOMAS observed Cannon and M.G. strikes on one of the enemy and pieces were also seen falling off the E/A. This was claimed as damaged. later, approx. 2 to 3 minutes, F/O THOMAS heard his leader, F/Lt HENDERSON give his position as being over the ANZIO AREA and that he had destroyed an E/A. At this stage enemy aircraft were again encountered and a dog-fight developed north of ANZIO in the CORI area. After this last attack and on reforming, it was found that the leader was missing and although called on the R/T, there was no reply. On return to base, No. 120740 F/O (A/F/L) W.R. HENDERSON RAFVR/GD and the Spitfire J.F. 806 were reported as ‘MISSING PARTICULARS UNKNOWN’. The final result of this operation was :- 3 E/a destroyed, 1 E/a probably destroyed and 1 E/a damaged. 3 of our formation landed at the NETTUNO Landing Strip to refuel and returned to base later in the day.