Spitfire ML248 KH-J + F/O W.H.Rhodes, RCAF 403 Sq

Flying Officer J.25141 William Horace ‘Bill’ Rhodes was born on 11 Feb 1913 and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on 22 Jan 1942, flying with RCAF 403 Squadron from RAF stations in the UK and France. Here’s a transcription of the 1944 Operations Record Book (Form 540: ‘Summary of Events’) for 403 Sqn, where he appears thirteen times…

http://rcafassociation.ca/magazine/canadas-military-air-power-heritage/403-squadron-orb/403-squadron-operations-record-book-1944/

In Jun 1944 he made two Combat Reports, for his encounters with enemy aircraft on the 17th and the 26th…

IMG_20150304_141027 v2

IMG_20150304_141116 v2

There is no Combat Report for his 28 Jun encounter, mentioned in the Summary of Events and in these blurry photos of Form 541…

IMG_20150304_141658 v2

IMG_20150304_141829 v2

IMG_20150304_142759 v2

This is because on 28 Jun 1944 he made a forced landing, and went on the run. He met up with men also evading capture, and for several weeks did the same, managing to cut a German comms wire. Almost back to Allied lines, he was finally caught, and despite two attempts to escape was interned in the POW camps Stalag XIIA (Limberg) and Stalag Luft I (Barth).

With the end of the war, he was liberated and returned to the UK to be debriefed. We lose touch with him after this, although his address is tantalisingly given as “121 Gilchrist Road, Great Neck, NY, USA”…

There are a number of online mentions of him, his airframe and his crash, and here are links to some in case any of them helps with others’ research. There are some mistakes here, so please tread carefully…

http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/02232.php

http://aircrewremembered.com/rcafnotes-surnames-r-z.html

https://rcaf403squadron.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/fo-james-leon-lanfranchi-j18918-r-c-a-f/

http://www.worldnavalships.com/directory/squadronprofile.php?SquadronID=342

http://www.conscript-heroes.com/escapelines/LIB-3330-301-550.htm

http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?8704-Spitfire-Kh-J

http://www.avialogs.com/index.php/aircraft-production-data/spitfire-and-seafire/ml248.html

http://aircrewremembered.com/Paradie/ParadieArchiveR.html

https://rcaf403squadron.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/

http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/squadrons.html

http://www.merkki.com/PageR.htm

http://rcafcampborden.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/rafexpow/SL1roll/Canofficers_NCOs_SL1.htm

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3 thoughts on “Spitfire ML248 KH-J + F/O W.H.Rhodes, RCAF 403 Sq

  1. PIerre, right on ,though on that date I was part of a group os clerks in the orderly room and any one of them could have typed it. Thank you all for allowing me to be part of your exclusive membership. As. James Cagney would say ..like in his movie “My family thanks you,and I. thank you” And from the bottom of my heart I am sincerely honoured. John B.

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