LE ROUX,Johannes Jacobus -SQUADRON LEADER -RAF NO. 42240
‘Chris’ Le Roux was one of the high scoring South African born aces,who is generally credited with 18 aerial victories against Bf109s and FW190’s in 3 operational tours which put him third on the South African list after Pattle and Malan, but he is most famous for his shooting up of Rommel just after D-Day in 1944.
There is now, however, some doubt as to whether he really was the pilot who shot up Rommel as several pilots have recently stepped up to claim this honour. I have chosen to present Le Roux’s combat record as generally presented and accepted in literature and then at the end discuss the various views and opinions as to who shot up Rommel’s staff car and let you be the judge.
Often bracketed with the immortal “Sailor” Malan as a South African military legend, Le Roux vanished in mysterious circumstances during a flight over the English Channel in August 1944. Le Roux was born in Heidelberg in 1920 and was educated in Springs,however he received part of his education at Durban High School,thereafter working as an apprentice in the Springs Mines, saving money for a trip to the UK. In July 1944 he made what may have been one of the war’s most crucial air attacks. After having shot down two planes and damaged two others in a dogfight over France he spotted a German Hotch staff car below and immediately dropped down to strafe the vehicle. The car was carrying Rommel, who was thrown out of the vehicle.He suffered a fractured skull, taking him out of the Axis war effort when he was Commander of German forces on the Western Front.
Le Roux and a friend tried to join the SAAF but had been rejected due to the Air Force’s small budget. He volunteered for the Royal Air Force in 1938, winning his first Distinguished Flying Cross in October 1941. He won a second D.F.C. in December 1942, and athird in July 1943, and was shot down 12 times along the way. However, Franks’ research does not record a single incidence of him being shot down from 1939-1941. He was one of only 42 pilots to receive the DFC and 2 bars, and one of only two South Africans.
It is believed that on completion of his training, Le Roux was posted to one of the Fairey Battle squadrons of the Advanced Air Striking Force (AASF) in France, but which one is not known. Tidy states that Le Roux joined No. 73 Squadron where he took part in the latter stages of the debacle, the squadron withdrawing from France on the 17 June 1940. En route to England tragedy was to strike the squadron as roughly 40 ground crew were to perish with HMS Lancastria, when the ship was sunk off the coast of St Nazaire. He was wounded in France in 1940 and spent six weeks in hospital. On recovery he became an instructor near Chester for a while, but in February 1941 was posted to 91 Squadron.
Le Roux is said to have been shot down on no-less than 12 occasions during 1940. No proof of this could be found. No Battle of Britain clasp was awarded to Le Roux so it is unlikely he did sufficient flying to be shot down so many times. Shores clears up the mystery. Le Roux attended 6 OTU in May 1940, but on 16 May he was the subject of a Court Martial enquiry for low flying. The same day, however, he was reported posted to 85 Squadron in France. Due to the destruction of that unit’s records a few days later, his arrival is not recorded. It is surmised therefore that he did not fly in the (Fairey) Battles in France, but Hurricanes. Since he does not appear again until later in 1940, it is assumed he was wounded soon after his arrival, only resuming operational flying on recovery.
Promoted to Flying Officer in April 1941, he was to make six claims by the end of the year, becoming a flight commander in September and receiving the DFC. His tour ended in December and he was posted as an instructor to 55 OTU until March 1942, when he was posted to Rolls-Royce as a production test pilot flying Spitfire MkVs modified into MkIXs through the installation of a Merlin 61 Engine. On 16 May at 14:30 F/L J.J. Le Roux and Sgt J.E. Cooper shared in the damage of a Bf109 south of Folkestone, both were flying 91Squadron Spitfires. His first aerial victory was on 17 August 1941 when he shot down a Bf109E near Boulogneat 16:35. Acting Flight Lieutenant Jacobus Johannes Le Roux (42240),No. 91 Squadron was awarded the DFC,with the citation in the London Gazette, 4 October 1941 reading: “This officer has carried out over 200 operational sorties which have included shipping reconnaissances, during which much valuable information has been obtained, and numerous attacks on shipping and enemy aerodromes in the face of heavy enemy fire. Flight Lieutenant Le Roux has destroyed 3 hostile aircraft in combat and at least 1 on the ground.
He left the Squadron en route to join 111 Squadron on 23 November 1942. He was awarded the Bar to his DFC on 8 December 1942. The citation read: “Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross this officer has destroyed a further five enemy aircraft. In addition to his air victories he has attacked shipping and targets on the ground with considerable success. At all times Flight Lieutenant Le Roux has displayed a fine fighting spirit.”
On 11 January 1943 he was posted to Tunisia, North Africa to join 111 Squadron. F/L “Jimmy” Baraldi, a fighter pilot at the ripe old age of 30 was having problems with his eyes and was therefore replaced. His replacement was F/L J.J. “Chris” Le Roux. He led the squadron through the rest of the Tunisian Campaign until 30 April, claiming several further victories. He then received the second Bar to his DFC and became a fighter controller. Whilst he was there, he found a tortoise, which soon became the squadron’s mascot. For many months the tortoise walked around, gaily decorated with the name Oscar painted on one side of its shell: ‘III’’ daubed on the other side; and its rear end displaying a red, white and blue roundel.
During the evening of 14 January 1943 Spitfires of 111 Squadron were on patrol between 16:15 and 17:30 and were jumped by 6 Bf109s, F/L le Roux damaged one. Lt Willhelm Esser of Stab/Jg 53 was injured when he force-landed after engine failure, later being reported in hospital in Tunis with a fractured skull. Le Roux was flying Spitfire Vc ER597. Shores’ and Massimollo’s recent research (2016) indicate that the Allies claimed 1 probable and 3 109s shot down whilst the Luftwaffe report losing one aircraft, but not from JG12 and not JG23 as they had earlier reported.
At 16:10 on Monday 18 January 1943, 6 & 2 Squadron aircraft with 11 more from 111 Squadron escorted 6 Hurri-bombers from 241 Squadron to attack tank concentrations east of Bou Arada, Six Bf109s of I/JG 53 being seen over the target area. Wing Commander Gilroy, F/L le Roux and F/Sgt Jonsson of 111 Squadron each claimed one destroyed, Le Roux also claiming a probable, but P/O Moss was shot down. One of the Bf109s shot down was flown by Ofw. Eduard Burger of 2/JG 53 who was killed. Shores and Massimello add some more detail to the day’s action. Le Roux and his Squadron comrades shot down the Bf 109s west of Pont Du Falas. On the day the Commonwealth Air Forces claimed 3 Bf109s shot down and 2 damaged whist the USAAF claimed 3 shot down, 2 probables, and 6 damaged. The Luftwaffe records indicate one Bf109G force landed but 100% destroyed from combat and that in fact Obfw Eduard Burger had been shot down and killed in Bf 109G-2 WNr 10487 White 4. A considerable gap!
On 26 January 1943 “Chris” Le Roux took over command of 111 Squadron from Tony Bartley.
On 23 February 1943 Spitfire V (JG746) flown by Sqn Ldr JJ Le Roux was damaged by flak in the Sbeitla-Kasserine area. Le Roux was not injured.
On 3 April 1943 11 Spitfires from 111 Squadron scrambled from Waterloo landing Ground at 13:45; ten minutes later six Fw190s appeared and dropped bombs on Victoria. S/L Le Roux, flying Spitfire Vc (JG746) was vectored onto some of the attackers north of Beja and met four of them circling at 2000 feet, attacking two and shooting down the second into the hills.
At 11:20 on 6 April 1943 Spitfires from 72, 11 and 243 Squadrons escorted 17 B-25s to Enfidaville, The were attacked by two Bf 109s and both were damaged, one by S/L le Roux flying Spitfire Vc (JG746) and one by Sgt Day, flying Spitfire Vc (ER845 ‘H’) of 243 Sqn. Claims wise it was a very interesting day. I only looked at Bf 109s to make it simpler as they were most of the claims. Commonwealth pilots claimed 3 Bf 109s shot down, 2 probably shot down and 8 damaged. USAAF fighters claimed 1 shot down, 1 probable and 3 damaged and the USAAF bomber gunners claimed 3 Bf 109s and 9 e/a (no type description) shot down, 3 probables and 2 damaged. And so what were the Luftwaffe’s recorded losses? 3 destroyed in combat, two belly-landed after combat – 35% damaged, 1 destroyed on ground by bombs and one destroyed on ground by own troops. Once again there is quite a difference.
At 10:10 on Good Friday, 23 April 1943, Hurri-bombers of 241 Squadron strafed Axis ground forces; no flak was seen, but Fl Lt C.H.S. Kirkus’ Hurricane was observed to burst into flames and crash. 111 Squadron swept over the area from 10:25, seeing Fw190s and Bf109s about to bomb British forces near Medjez El Bab. The Spitfires attacked, S/L Le Roux claiming one Fw190 and one Bf109, with F/L Gale claiming a second Bf109 probably destroyed. Le Roux was flying Spitfire Vc JG746. The Luftwaffe records do not record the loss of a FW190 on this day.
S/L “Chris” Le Roux ended his tour with 111 Squadron on 30 April 1943, being replaced by George Hill to become a controller. He had added four victories to his score during his time in Tunisia.
He commenced his third tour in 1944 when he took over command of 602 Squadron in France in July. More successes followed at once, and, after claiming a Bf109 shot down on July 17, he strafed a staff car in which it was claimed Feldmarschall Erwin Rommel was travelling. Rommel suffered a fractured skull which removed him as Army Commander on the Western Front.
The following account of the attack on Rommel from the German perspective is given by Young quoting Captain Lang. Returning to base after a visit to the front at about 6 pm, Rommel’s spotter, Sergeant Holke warned of two aircraft flying along the road heading towards the car. The Driver, Daniel, was told to accelerate and head down a side road to the right about 300 yards ahead which would offer some protection. Before they reached it, the enemy aircraft flying at great speed only a few feet above the road, came to within 500 yards before the first opened fire. The left-hand side of the car was hit by the first burst. Rommel was wounded in the face by broken glass and received a blow on the left temple and cheek-bone which caused a triple fracture of the skull and made him loose consciousness immediately. As a result of severe injuries the driver lost control of the car. Rommel was thrown out and lay stretched in the middle of the road. A second aircraft flew over and tried to drop bombs on those lying in the road. Rommel was carried to safety by Captain Lang and Sergeant Holke.
The loss of Rommel at this vital stage is described by Ernst Junger as follows: “The blow that felled Rommel on the Livarot road on July 17, 1944, deprived our plan of the only man strong enough to bear the terrible weight of war and civil war simultaneously, the only man who was straightforward enough to counter the frightful folly of the leaders of Germany. “
On 27 July 1944 the British Cabinet met to consider how to deal with the incredibly demoralising V-1 and V-2 threat. V-1s were already falling on England in increasing numbers after being launched from mainland Europe and the first V2 strike would be just six weeks later. The outline of what needed to be done was clear – reconnaissance to find the manufacturing and launch sites, followed by bombing to eliminate the threat. The operation was code named Big Ben. Four Squadrons were initially tasked with mounting Big Ben Missions, including 119, 303, the Royal Australian Air Force’s 453 Squadron and Chris le Roux’s 602 ‘City of Glasgow” Squadron. They flew a mixture of Spitfires (Mk Vb, Mk IXc and Mk IXe).
Another qualification to be a fighter aces was the ability to handle an aircraft right to the limits of its manoeuvrability. Le Roux illustrated this with his 17th victory on 31 July 1944 when he was on an armed reconnaissance over Normandy hunting for enemy vehicles. “We had already attacked Met (mechanical transport) and were running short of ammo. Kenway (the ground controller) then asked us to investigate some Met in the Falaise area. I took my number two there and used up the rest of my ammo on the met. I lost my number two and decided to make for home. Leaving the Falaise area at 3000 feet I was bounced by six Fw190s at 9000ft. I had no ammunition and had to take violent evasive action. The E/A in turn tried to get on my tail. On each occasion I turned tightly to starboard and simulated attempts to get on his tail, since I did not want them to know I was out of ammunition. On one occasion when we were at 300 ft I turned very tightly to starboard and got on the Fw190’s tail. He took violent evasive action, turning to starboard. Suddenly he stalled, flicked over on his back and crashed straight into the ground where he blew up. Being very short of fuel I landed at the first strip I saw which was A4 (landing ground at Deux Jumeaux). The enemy aircraft crashed eight miles SW of Vire. I claimed this Fw190 destroyed.”
On 29 August 1944 Le Roux took off from landing ground B-19 to fly to England in bad weather flying Spitfire MkIX PL155 but returned due to bad weather. He set off again in the evening but failed to arrive and was reported missing.
Le Roux was to leave behind an English wife and two children, the family resident at the time in mainland Europe and the first V2 strike would be just six weeks later. The outline of what needed to be done was clear – reconnaissance to find the manufacturing and launch sites, followed by bombing to eliminate the threat. The operation was code named Big Ben. Four Squadrons were initially tasked with mounting Big Ben Missions, including 119, 303, the Royal Australian Air Force’s 453 Squadron and Chris le Roux’s 602 ‘City of Glasgow” Squadron. They flew a mixture of Spitfires (Mk Vb, Mk IXc and Mk IXe).
On 29 August 1944 Le Roux took off from landing ground B-19 to fly to England in bad weather, flying Spitfire Mk IX PL155, but returned due to the bad weather. He set off again in the evening but failed to arrive and was reported missing. According to Paddy Barthrop, Chris Le Roux was without a dingy , and was sitting on numerous bottles of champagne, which, as Barthrop points out, do not float.
Le Roux left behind an English wife and two children, the family resident at the time in Shropshire.
Squadron-Leader J.J. “Chris” Le Roux is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 200.
His cheerful personality and good looks had made him one of South Africa’s most popular fighter pilots and he was mourned by all who had known him. The No 111 Squadron’s Operations Record Book contains a magnificent “line” which remains a fitting memory to Le Roux. It quotes him as relating the story of his having made a good landing in very dirty weather and mud. Le Roux finishes the tale: “I didn’t realise I was down until I heard the ground crew clapping!”
ROMMELS STAFF CAR INCIDENT 17 JULY 1944
For many years it has been accepted that ‘Chris’ Le Roux had been the one that had shot up Rommel’s staff car. Recently the Canadians, the French and the New Zealanders have all staked a claim for this famous incident.
The two main incidents that sparked the “Staff Car” debate are the publication of a new edition of Pierre Clostermann’s The Big Show in 2004. In the new edition the author devotes a whole new chapter to the “staff car” incident, whilst my 1973 version (a reprint of the original 1951 version) of The Big Show makes no mention of the incident. Why in 2004 does he suddenly remember /find the need to write a chapter on the incident? At this time Mr Clostermann was under attack in the media and on most aviation history websites about the accuracy of his claims in WW2 i.e. that they were inflated. He was not alone – Pappy Boyington of Baa Baa Black Sheep fame suffered similarly. Could there have been a connection?
Putting the above aside let’s examine what Clostermann had to say. He states that 6 Spitfires took off on 17th July 1944 at 15:40 hrs. In the course of their sortie they spotted Bf109s. Chris Le Roux, a South African was leading the flight, which was made up of Jacques, ‘Mouse’ Manson, Jonssen the Norwegian, Robinson, and the New Zealander, Bruce Oliver. Oliver opened fire with his two 20mm. guns and his four 303 machine guns. A second shell hit the car at the height of Rommel’s back, indeed, Jacques Remlinger, in the second Spitfire, also fired, killing the motorcyclist. (The Big Show, 2004, Pierre Clostermann).
Bruce Oliver was sadly killed in a flying accident in 1959. He was flying a crop duster that had hit overhead power lines and had crashed fatally. However, Bruce Oliver’s daughter has his logbooks. For the 17th of July 1944, whilst recording that he flew a sortie that day, he does not mention attacking a staff car, although, on the 19th of July he does record such an attack. Did he get the dates mixed up?
So we have dealt with the French and New Zealand claims now for the Canadians. A U.S. air crew initially claimed to have fired on Rommel’s car. Many historical accounts say South African pilot J.J. Le Roux carried out the strike. Other possible attackers have been cited over the years.
But a Quebec historian researching the controversy at Library and Archives Canada says the official operational record book of Mr. Fox’s unit, 412 Squadron, puts the Ontario-born pilot in the air at the right time and place to have taken out Rommel. “Charley Fox is probably the guy that fired at Rommel’s car,” concludes Michel Lavigne, author of several books about the Second World War. “This is the official account from the time, usually filled out by a clerk with the squadron, recording when planes took off and came back. It’s very precise, very exact.” Mr. Lavigne’s findings confirm Mr. Fox’s own log entry from that.
Putting the above aside lets examine what Clostermann had to say. He states that 6 Spitfires took off on July 17th 1944 at 15:40 hrs. In the course of their sortie they spotted Bf109s. Chris Le Roux, a South African was leading the flight, which was made up of Jacques, ‘Mouse’ Manson, Jonssen the Norwegian, Robinson, and the New Zealander, Bruce Oliver. Oliver opened fire with his two 20mm. guns and his four 303 machine guns. A shell hit the car at the height of Rommel’s back, and, Jacques Remlinger, in the second Spitfire, also fired, killing the motorcyclist. (The Big Show, 2004, Pierre Clostermann)
Bruce Oliver was
sadly killed in a flying accident in 1959. He was flying a crop duster that hit
overhead power lines and crashed fatally.
However Bruce Oliver’s daughter has his log books. For the 17th of July 1944, whilst recording that he flew a sortie that day, he does not mention attacking a staff car, although, on the 19th of July he does record such an attack. Did he get the dates mixed up?
So we have dealt with the French and New Zealand claims now for the Canadians.
A U.S. air crew initially claimed to have fired on Rommel’s car. Many historical accounts say South African pilot J.J. Le Roux carried out the strike. Other possible attackers have been cited over the years.
But a Quebec historian researching the controversy at Library and Archives Canada says the official operational record book of Mr. Fox’s unit, 412 Squadron, puts the Ontario-born pilot in the air at the right time and place to have taken out Rommel “Charley Fox is probably the guy that fired at Rommel’s car,” concludes Michel Lavigne, author of several books about the Second World War. “This is the official account from the time, usually filled out by a clerk with the squadron, recording when planes took off and came back. It’s very precise, very exact.” Mr. Lavigne’s findings confirm Mr. Fox’s own log entry from that day and his recollections of swooping down on a German staff car and watching the bullet-riddled vehicle veer off the road.
“As soon as we got airborne at Bernieres-sur-mer, we started heading towards Caen and we split up into three sections of four, and we were to look for ‘targets of opportunity’ — anything that was moving. It was the other side of Caen, and I saw this staff car coming along between a line of trees on a main road,” says Mr. Fox. “I made no motion until it was just about 9 o’clock, and I did a diving, curving attack down and I probably started firing at about 300 yards. I saw hits on it and I saw it start to curve and go off the road — and by then I’m on my way.”
Incidentally there was also a book about to be published about Mr Fox titled “Why not me?” Nice publicity – “I shot Rommel”?
So you have two chaps trying to punt books, one in addition having his integrity/claims questioned versus the traditional version of events. Two support the idea that it was 602 Squadron, one not. I don’t believe anyone will ever definitively be able to give a final ruling.
There is now now a web page dedicated to this question, but they do not draw any conclusions.
LIST OF VICTORIES
Sims and Tidy credit Le Roux with 23½ victories whilst Delve , Foreman & Shores and Shores & Williams credit Le Roux with 18 victories. The table of Le Roux’s victories was compiled from Shores & Williams and for the period Le Roux served with 91 Squadron 1941/2 additional information from Baker has been incorporated.
|Spitfire Vb||S Folkstone at 16:35||91|
|31 July||Ju 88 |
|Spitfire Vb||Gris Nez at 13:00||91|
|29 Aug||Bf109E||Spitfire Vb||Calais-Griz Nez at 14:15||91|
|4 Sept||2 Bf109Fs||Spitfire Vb||10m W Bertck-sur-Mer at |
|22 Sept||Bf109F |
|Spitfire Vb||NW Boulogne||91|
|28 Oct||Bf109F||Spitfire Vb||Calais at 15:45||91|
|11 Nov||Bf109F||Spitfire Vb||Dover at 13:55||91|
|2 FW190s damaged||Spitfire Vb – EP500||Over own airfield, Hawkinge and 5m NE of |
|31 Oct||2 FW190s||Spitfire Vb – |
|15 E Dover at 17:20||91|
|Spitfire Vc – |
|18 Jan||Bf109||Spitfire Vc – ER597||E Bou Arada||111|
|Spitfire Vc – |
|E Bou Arada||111|
|6 Apr||Bf109 |
|Spitfire Vc – |
|23 Apr||FW190||Spitfire Vc – |
|Near Medjez el Bab||111|
|Bf109||Spitfire Vc – |
|Near Medjez el Bab||111|
|FW190||Spitfire IXb – MK775||SE Caen||602|
|Bf109||Spitfire IXb – MK775||S Caen||602|
|16 July||FW190||Spitfire IXb – MJ884||Bayeux||602|
|17 July Op1||Bf109||Spitfire IXb – MK775||Near Flers||602|
|17 July Op1||Bf109 |
|Spitfire IXb – MK775||Near Flers||602|
|17 July Op2||Bf109||Spitfire IXb – MK775||3m at sea off Trouville||602|
|17 July Op2||Bf109 |
|Spitfire IXb – MK775||Caen-Cabourg||602|
|31 July||FW190||Spitfire IXb – MK144||8m SW Vire||602|
|17 Aug||Bf109E||Spitfire Vb||Griz Nez-Boulogne at |
|3 Apr||FW190||Spitfire Vc – |
Total: 18 destroyed, 2 probables and 8 damaged.
Le Roux’s Aircraft
Some of the Spitfires Le Roux flew in July 1944 July 9: MK232 + NM470 not allocated but NH470 served in 602 Squadron
July 10: MJ584
July 11: MJ584
July 12: MJ584 (2 flights)
July 14: MK775
July 15: MK775
July 16: MJ884 + MK775
July 17: MK775
July 18: MK775 (2 flights)
July 20: MK775
July 24: MK144
July 25: MK144 (3 flights)
July 26: MK144 (2 flights)
July 27: MK144
July 28: MK144
July 29: NH171 + MK144 (2 flights)
July 30: MK144
Spitfire Vb EP500 M45M 9 Maintenance Unit on 28 June 1942. Transferred to Le Roux’s 91 Squadron. Transferred to 317 Squadron 1 May 1942. 412 Squadron on 29 June 1942. 126 Squadron on 10 August 1942. 611 Squadron 22 June 1944. Then the Spitfire was transferred to 42 Operational Training Unit on 25 May 1945. %87 Squadron on 7 June 1945. 570 Maintenance on 5 October 1945 CGS category E. Struck off charge 24 September 1949.
Spitfire Vb EN844 6 Maintenance Unit on 4 May 1942. Transferred to 91 Squadron on 31 May 1942. Failed to return from a sortie on 23 September 1942, obviously Le Roux not flying.
Spitfire Vc ER597 45 Maintenance Unit on 29 October 1942. Transferred to 222 Maintenance Unit on 12 November 1942. On the ship Bluff IV on 21 November 1942. Landed at Gibraltar on 8 December 1942. Transferred to North West Africa on 28 February 1943 and then on to the Middle east on 1 September 1943. On 31 October 1943 she was transferred to North Africa Strategic Command.
Spitfire Vc JG746 39 Maintenance Unit on 15 December 1942. Transferred to 76 Maintenance Unit on 21 December 1942. Shipped on SSJ62 on 3 January 1943 arriving at Gibraltar on 18 January 1943.Transfered to North West African on 28 February 1943. Malta Sic Middle East 30 September 1943. On 31 October 1943 she was transferred to North Africa Strategic Command.
Spitfire IXb MJ584 Movement card shows no time at 602 Squadron,[v] but this is the famous “Betty” that the Royal Air Force’s official photographer F/O A. Goodchild took his famous picture of Le Roux in. “Betty was coded LO-A and was based at B11/Longues, Normandy when Le Roux flew her.
Spitfire IXb MJ884 39 Maintenance Unit on 28 December 1943. 312 Squadron on 12 February 1944. CAC 21 May 1944. 310 Squadron 8 July 1944. 602 Squadron 13 July 1944 in time for Le Roux to fly her on the 16th. 412 Squadron CE ops 27 September 1944.
Spitfire IXb MK144 Joined 33 Maintenance Unit on 20 January 1944. Was transferred to 410ARF 11 February 1944 and then onto 132 Squadron on 15 June 1944. The Spitfire reached Le Roux’s 602 Squadron on 20 July 1944 before being transferred to 442 Squadron on 24 August 1944 only to return to 602 on 28 September 1944. On the 3rd of February 1950 it was sold to R J Coley.
Spitfire LFIXb MK232 9 Maintenance Unit 20 January 1944. 416 Squadron 1 February 1944. Flying Accident Category B 4 February 1944. 602 Squadron 15 June 1944. CAC ops 19 August 1944. 412 Squadron 22 August 1944.CE ops 3 December 1946.
Spitfire IXb MK775 Transferred to 33 Maintenance Unit on 4 March 1944. 84 General Service Unit on 23 March 1944. 312 Squadron on 8 June 1944 and 350ISU on 22 June 1944. The Spitfire reached Le Roux’s Squadron 602 on 13 July 1944 before being transferred to 64 Squadron where she failed to return from operations on 1 September 1944.
Spitfire IX NH171 8 Maintenance Unit 30 April 1944. 322 Squadron CAC ops 30 June 1944. 125 Wing 9 July 1944. 602 Squadron CAC ops 13 July 1944. 412 Squadron 17 August 1944. 453 Squadron 23 September 1944. General Aircraft Limited 30 November 1944 mods 16SS 20 May 1945. 322 Squadron 15 November 1945.
Spitfire LFIX NH470 33 Maintenance Unit 23 April 1944. 602 Squadron 6 July 1944. Failed to return from operations on 8 August 1944.
Spitfire LFIX PL155 45 Maintenance Unit 30 June 1944. General Aircraft Limited 22 July 1944. 602 Squadron Fighting Area failed to return 29 August 1944.
Below are two examples of 602 Squadrons Spitfires during Normandy 1944, including “A” and serial MJ584 before she acquired the name “Betty”. Thanks to Phil Listemann and Bill Dady.
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Newspapers and Gazettes
- The London Gazette of 4 October 1941, Issue 35312. Retrieved 1 October 2014 http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/search
- The London Gazette of 8 December 1942, Issue 35819. Retrieved 1 October 2014 http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/search
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- Foreman, John & Shores, Christopher F 1986. The Aces – Year of the Spitfire 1936-1986. Flypast, November 1986, p11-15.
- Foreman, John & Shores, Christopher F 1986. The Aces – Year of the Spitfire 1936-1986. Flypast, December 1986, p18-20.
- Johnson, Peter 2011. Operation Big Ben, Airfix Model World, Issue 14, Jan 2012, pp38-40.
- Tidy, Squadron Leader D P 1968. South African Air Aces of World War II. Military History Journal 1(2) p30-32.
- Tidy, Squadron Leader D P 1969. South African Air Aces of World War II – No. 3 Squadron Leader J J Le Roux, DFC and Two Bars. Military History Journal 1(4) p19-20.