Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by spidge, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. spidge


    This seems an approriate place to post this bio of another Aussie in the RAF. This lad was killed on the 1st of June 1940 however remembered at Runnymede!

    He was also an "Ace" at this early phase of the war with 11 kills.

    Good info from the 609sq activities over Dunkirk from the [FONT=&quot]RAF Form 540, Operations Record Book [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]37869 Flying Officer Ian Bedford Nesbitt 'Hack' Russell was born in 1912 in South Yarra, Victoria, near Melbourne, Australia. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Following an education in the United States of America, [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Ian joined the pre-war Royal Air Force. In November 1939 he was posted to No. 609 (West Riding) Squadron with the rank of Pilot Officer, flying Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1 aircraft from RAF Drem in Scotland. Promotion to Flying Officer followed, and on 8th May 1940 he was posted to No. 245 Squadron at RAF Leconfield flying Hawker Hurricane Mk.1's – 245 moving to Drem on the 12th.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Subsequently posted to No. 607 Squadron at RAF Croydon, 'Hack', as he was known amongst his colleagues, flew Hurricanes in combat against the Luftwaffe. On 15th May 1940, whilst flying Hurricane P2619 AF-D, Hack crash landed after being wounded whilst flying on a patrol which came into contact with German Heinkel He111 bombers. His aircraft is believed to have been abandoned at approximately 16.30 hours. He returned to 609 Squadron on 22nd May 1940, now stationed at RAF Northolt, 'on orders from the Air Ministry'. F/O Russell was only back with the squadron for only ten days before he was posted as 'missing, presumed killed', having disappeared over Dunkirk in Spitfire L1058 whilst on a patrol covering the evacuation f troops from the beaches of Northern France, during which he had got involved in a[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]combat with German Messerschmitt Bf110 ‘Zerstörer’ aircraft. Ian Russell is credited as having shot down a total of 11 enemy aircraft confirmed destroyed, with a further six probably destroyed. On one particular occasion he got two confirmed victories, after which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. As one of the missing aircrew with no known grave, Ian's name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial
    [FONT=&quot]RAF Form 540, Operations Record Book
    [FONT=&quot]Drem 29.11.39. Flying Officer I.B.N. Russell reported for flying duties.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Kinloss. 7.1.40. Yellow Section on general flying practice. Yellow 1 out of R/T touch and only one wheel lowered. Pilot - Flying Officer Russell abandoned aircraft and landed safely by parachute. The aircraft - Spitfire L.1064 crashed at Crook of Alves and burnt out on impact.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Drem. 25.1.40[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]07.39. Yellow Section on Dawn Patrol - May Island.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]08.47. Yellow Section landed.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]15.10. Red Section patrolled Crail at 10,000 feet. No interception.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The second instance occurred of sticking of one of the undercarriage legs. Flying Officer A.R. Edge had great difficulty in operating his port leg. He eventually got the[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]leg down and landed safely. The aircraft was immediately put U/S and is now being very carefully examined.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Flying Officer I.B.N. Russell damaged his Airscrew and Flaps on landing and running into a slight drift of snow and mud which caused the tail to lift. Aircraft repaired same day.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Drem. 8.5.40. Flying Officer I.B.N. Russell posted to No. 245 Squadron Leconfield.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Information was received today from Headquarters No. 13 Group to the effect that the Heinkel 111 attacked by Red Section at 09.45 hours on 29th January, 1940 and lost in the clouds had been riddled by bullets but had been able to regain its base. The aircraft was later shot down at Wick and the pilot volunteered this information.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Northolt. 22.5.40. Flying Officer I.B.N. Russell returned to Squadron from No. 607 Squadron on instructions given to him by Air Ministry.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Northolt. 30.5.40. A really fine achievement on the part of these men led by Flight Sergeant Evans who worked unceasingly through day and night to get our Aircraft armoured. By 12.00 hours today 13 aircraft were finished.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The order to stand by for action over the French Coast has been received from Group Captain Vincent during the previous night and at 12.00 hours the following 12 pilots took off for the first rendezvous at Biggin Hill to form up with the other squadrons and prepare the plan of action.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Red Section Green Section Yellow Section Blue Section[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]F/Lt D. Persse-Joynt F/O I.B.N. Russell F/O Howell. F/Lt P.H. Barran[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]F/O G.D. Ayre P/O C.N. Overton F/O J. Dawson F/O S.G.Beaumont[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]F/O A.R. Edge S/Ldr M.T. Avent F/O J.C. Dunda F/O J.C. Gilbert[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]It is felt to be an honour to the Squadron to be chosen for such an important task as this one of covering the evacuation of the B.E.F. from Dunkirk. The attached Intelligence Report covers the days operations from which it will be seen that Flying[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Officer G.D. Ayre was killed. He apparently ran out of petrol and must have spun in on his approach to force land in the grounds of an explosive works at Oakley near Harwich. Flying Officer J.C. Dundas force landed at Frinton and damaged a[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]mainplane. Flying Officer F.J. Howell also force landed nearby but refuelled and returned undamaged to Northolt. (Appendix "D".)[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Northolt. 31.5.40. Squadron received orders to rendezvous at North Weald at 12.30 hours and stand by at 30 minutes availability. The attached Intelligence Report covers both patrols, the first at 14.00 hours when the squadron took the top patrol at 20,000 feet, the second at 19.00 hours when the squadron were on patrol with a squadron of[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Defiant's at 10,000 feet with an above guard from No. 111 Squadron. Flight[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Lieutenant D. Persse-Joynt is missing from the first patrol, and Flying Officer J.C. Gilbert from the second. Sergeant Bennett is thought to have come down in the sea near Dover and be picked up by a boat which was directed to him by Flying Officer I.B.N. Russell.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The squadron can claim quite definitely the following:-[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]3 Heinkel 111.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]2 Me.109's.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1 Do.17.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]In addition the following are probable but not confirmed:-[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1 or 2 Heinkels 111.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1 Ju.88.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Sergeant Bennett's report is not yet in.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]First Patrol:[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Red Section:- Yellow Section:- Blue Section:- Green Section:-[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]F/Lt D. Persse-Joynt. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]F/O F.J. Howell. F/O. J.C. Gilbert. F/O P. Drummond-Hay.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]F/O I.B.N. Russell. F/O J. Dawson. Sgt. Bennett. F/O A.J. Blayney.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]P/O C.N. Overton. F/O J.C. Dundas. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]P/O J.R. Buchanan.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Second Patrol:-[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Red Section:- Blue Section:- Yellow Section:-[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]F/O I.B.N. Russell. F/O P. Drummond-Hay. F/O F.J. Howell.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]P/O C.N. Overton. F/O J.C. Gilbert. F/O J. Dawson.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Sgt. Bennett. F/O J.R. Buchanan. F/O J.C. Dundas.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]NOTE:- F/Lt. P.H. Barran could not take off and F/O A.J. Blayney had to return with engine trouble. Neither took part in the days operations. (Appendix "E".)[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Northolt. 1/6/40. The Squadron was again called upon to help in protecting the B.E.F. evacuation. Two patrols were made but very little enemy activity was encountered. The attached combat report cover the engagements of Red Section (first patrol) and Yellow Section (second patrol). Flying Officer Russell and Flying Officer Dawson are missing. The Squadron can claim one Me.110 definite and severe damage to two Heinkels.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] The Sections were composed as follows:-[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1st Patrol "Red" 2nd Patrol "Yellow"[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Flying Officer Russell Flying Officer Howell.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Flying Officer Edge. Flying Officer Dawson.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Flying Officer Dundas.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Flying Officer Russell has been recommended by Group Captain Vincent for the D.F.C. Since May 13th he has shot down 11 E/A confirmed and 6 more unconfirmed, and further effected the rescue of a pilot from the sea. (Appendix "A".) ‘Ye Booke’, the diary of Flight Sergeant ‘Tich’ Cloves[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]7th Jan 1940 found us still in occupation and also provided an exhibition of how a Spitfire can fly without a pilot. Fg Off Russell in L1064 prepared to land but only one wheel decided to come out. He circled round and tried everything. The wheel that was down wouldn’t go up; neither would the one that was up go down. The emergency lowering gear had no effect; there was only one thing to do, ‘Bale out’. Having throttled back and set the kite on a nice even keel heading seawards, Fg Off Russell duly baled out and made a successful landing. The Spitfire continued flying on its own, but inevitably and eventually, it crashed, burst into flames, and was burned out.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Plt Off Dundas, who was in the air at the time, did a spot of formation flying[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]alongside and gave a good running commentary over the R/T.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]On 13th Mar Fg Off Russell in L1058 force landed at Beal after being caught in a snowstorm while on patrol. A wire fence damaged the starboard elevator and trimming tab. A party from Acklington fractured the trimming tab in endeavouring to straighten it. They went away for another but didn’t come back; after waiting patiently practically all the next day, Fg Off Russell stowed the trimming tab, which had been removed, in the cockpit, and took off. He returned to base in good order, which was a good show.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]25th May. Fg Off Russell taxied out in L1068 in a big hurry and collided forcibly with a brand new Command Reserve Aircraft P9427, which was dispersed on the edge of the taxiway. Both aircraft beyond unit capacity to repair.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]31st May. Twelve aircraft taxied out to patrol Dunkirk, but only eleven took off. Flt Lt Barran in L1083 struck a contractors wagon on the taxiway and wrote off his starboard wingtip. Early in the afternoon, Plt Off Blayney returned in N3223, which he said was b------ awful. The remaining ten went into action, with the following results:[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Fg Off Drummond-Hay in L1095 met a Dornier flying along on one engine. He put a burst into the other engine and put that out of action. Crew baled out and Dornier disappeared. Fg Off Russell in L1058 shot down 2 Heinkels and a Messerschmitt 109.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]One of the Heinkels was well on its way down when Plt Off Overton in L1082 gave it another short burst. He found a good spot, the Heinkel just blew up. Plt Off Overton also accounted for a Messerschmitt 109. Plt Off Buchanan in N3023 shot down a Me109 and a ME110. Fg Off Dundas in L1096 shot down a Heinkel. Fg Off Howell in N3024, with the help of Fg Off Dawson in L1065 seriously damaged a Heinkel III and put it out of control. He also attacked a Junkers 88 with Fg Off Dundas and put it out of action. Fg Off Gilbert in L1081 shot down a ME109 and a ME110. After that he disappeared and no news as to his fate was available. Flt Lt Persse-Joynt in N3202[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]led Red Section down in a dive over Dunkirk and finding they were over AA[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]batteries, gave the order to climb. This was the last that was heard of him.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Sgt Bennett in L1087 shot down a Heinkel. His aircraft was badly shot up, but he attempted to return to base, accompanied by Fg Off Russell in L1058. About 2 miles from Dover he suddenly nose-dived into the Channel. He was seen to get out of the aircraft by Fg Off Russell, who apparently signalled a tug at Dover, which put out and picked up Sgt Bennett.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]News of the missing pilots was anxiously awaited, but no confirmation either wa was received. They were posted as missing. The squadron had given the enemy something to think about, but our own losses were a sad blow. We now realised what we were up against and what the future held.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1st June. Squadron again ordered to patrol Dunkirk. Only eleven aircraft remained serviceable and these took off for the job in hand. The five ‘B’ Flight aircraft returned intact, not having made any contact in their sector. ‘A’ Flight fared differently.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Fg Off Russell in L1058 and Fg Off Edge in N3222 dived on a formation and were just pulling out on ascertaining they were friendly when a ME110 appeared and got i a burst on Fg Off Russell. He was seen to go down but appeared to get the aircraft under control when low over the water. He might have been able to make the beach;[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]we hoped so. Fg Off Edge turned his attention to the ME110 and shot it down. Fg Off Dundas in L1096 gave a Heinkel all he’d got and seriously damaged it. The crew smartly jettisoned their bombs and beat it. Fg Off Howell in N3024 also attacked a Heinkel, setting one engine on fire. This crew also smartly jettisoned their bombs, as did three others in the vicinity. Fg Off Dawson swapped aircraft with Fg Off Edge as his own hadn’t been re-armed and took N3222 to complete Yellow Section. He was last seen attempting to finish off the Heinkel set on fire by Fg Off Howell.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Information came through that he had force-landed but this was not confirmed.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]In three days, the squadron had lost six pilots, five from ‘A’ Flight and one from ‘B’ Flight. They lost their lives assisting in the protection of the BEF on their withdrawal from Dunkirk. Lost in a very good cause; that of saving many who were destined to fight again.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Citation for the Distinguished Flying Cross. London Gazette 14th June 1940 : 3622 Russell. Ian Bedford Nesbitt. FO. (37869). RAF. 609SQN.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]By shooting down two enemy aircraft one day in May, 1940, this officer has a total of ten enemy aircraft to his credit and possibly a further six have been destroyed by him.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]After this combat he was instrumental in saving the life of another British pilot by guiding a trawler to an aircraft which had alighted on the sea.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Miscellaneous Information[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Ian's father, Francis Arthur Russell, was the grandson of Reverend Garrett John Russell, who came to Australia from Ireland in 1856 with his mother, his wife and 7 of their 8 children. At the time of their arrival Frank's father, Robert Frederick Russell, was 3 years old. He was later to have a successful career in Education, and was a journalist, writer and general entrepreneur. He married twice, Frank being the third child from his first marriage to Harriet Crook, who died of typhoid shortly after the birth of their sixth child. He later remarried, his second wife being Lucy Coles Gammon.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Frank was born during 1882 in Sandhurst, Victoria, Australia, He married Phyllis May Nesbitt in 1909 in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia Phyllis was the daughter of Charles Connolly Nesbitt and Mary McCullock Russell. She was born during 1888 in Kyneton, Victoria, Australia, and died in 1930 in East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, as the result of a road accident. Frank was a journalist and writer who won a literary prize for his romantic novel 'The Ashes of Achievement'. He also became a barrister later in life, articled to his older brother. He travelled extensively, finally dying (probably of pneumonia) in London, England, in 1945.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Franks sister was horrified to read that her nephew Ian had once flown his plane under the Sydney Harbour Bridge![/FONT]

    Flying Officer
    Royal Air Force
    United Kingdom
    Panel 6.
    UK Surrey


  2. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    This seems an approriate place to post this bio of another Aussie in the RAF. This lad was killed on the 1st of June 1940 however remembered at Runnymede!

    He was also an "Ace" at this early phase of the war with 11 kills.

    Thanks for that Geoff, I'll add him to my BofB Aces list...
    Looks like his aircraft was a Mk1A Spitfire
    ASN Aircraft accident 01-JUN-1940 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IA L1058
    and here is a rather curt bit of info from
    L1058 Ia 273 EA MIII FF 14-7-39 27MU 22-7-39 603S 6-9-39 Damaged by Bf 110 and failed to return from patrol off Dunkerque 1-6-40 SOC 8-6-40

    There may be more info on but I am not a member
  3. spidge


  4. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Thanks Slaphead - A big list it is!

    These arent my list (I wish!) Nope, I am just starting mine.
    The idea is to link the man to the plane and squadron letters of the plane, and hopefully find an image of the plane and the man.

    So 609 squadron was PR-? and Russell flew (amongst others) Spitfire 1A L1058 but what was its callsign letter?

    I doubt if I am going to get very far with this since even the primary sources get things wrong, for example in one record, 3 months after Russell is killed and L1058 is destroyed, the plane turns up at RAF Grangemouth in Scotland and decapitates James (Hamish) Sommerville in a landing accident.
    Other sources put the plane as L1059, but if official sources cannot track the aircraft number correctly I am not sure what chance I have or linking the aircraft number to the squadron letters!
  5. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Are you using the official BoB List as the basis for your own List?
    The Battle of Britain - Home Page

    I would have thought it could be copied into Excel and your own aircraft research added in subsequent columns.... Only about 3,000..... of which some 1173 RAF planes were lost....

    Good luck!!
  6. bill2b

    bill2b Junior Member

    Hi Folks
    I'm new to this forum I got here following a google link to FO Russell.
    I am trying to find some pictures on the net of both "Hack" Russell and a 609 Sqn aircraft that he flew "PR-E" L1064. So far I have found out a fair bit of info but have only got one picture of the Spitfire that crashed up North.
    I am after the info because I am a member of a car racing team that is racing at Silverstone (UK) in late October in the Birkett 6 hour endurance race, our teams have decided to name ourselves after RAF Sqn's to commerate the anniversary of the Battle of Britain and we are 609. My aircraft is PR-E but all I know is it crashed near where I used to live!
    We will be marking our cars with the aircraft and Pilots markings so any help will be gratefully received
    Robin Hood 2B Kitcar
    Babs the sheep
  7. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    I presume you all know that 609 Sqn is still around as an Auxiliary Air Force Sqn. I was out in Gulf War 2 with some of their guys and gals and they are a great bunch. I am sure if Bill contacts them they would love to hear more about this thread.
    Spidge am currently toasting this young hero with some Coonawarra Shiraz! Seems appropriate...
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Runnymede panel

    Attached Files:

  9. bill2b

    bill2b Junior Member

    Hi Oggie, CL1
    I do know that 609 Sqn is an Auxiliary Air Force Sqn and my teams leader has told them all about the race and yes they are very interested and hopefully some of them will get to the race.
    It has been left up to the individual to research their Pilot and Aircraft hence my post on this site. Unfortunately so far I have only found 1 picture of PR-E and none of Flying Office Russell.
    I am ex RAF and went to Gulf war 1 with 31 Sqn seems like a lifetime away lol
    Thanks again
    Robin Hood 2B Kitcar
    Babs the sheep
  10. spidge


    I presume you all know that 609 Sqn is still around as an Auxiliary Air Force Sqn. I was out in Gulf War 2 with some of their guys and gals and they are a great bunch. I am sure if Bill contacts them they would love to hear more about this thread.
    Spidge am currently toasting this young hero with some Coonawarra Shiraz! Seems appropriate...

    Hi Dee,

    Glad you have got the taste for a nice heavy muddy Coonawarra. Some magnificent wines come from that area of South Australia.

    Concerning F/O Russell he has a very interesting family history doesn't he?

    The Aussie lads like many others from Commonwealth countries came from everywhere to help Britain in their hour of need.

    Britain definitely was not alone.


  11. ssg keay

    ssg keay Member

    Spidge, if you need some photos from cemeteries in Germany, let me know. Danny
  12. spidge


    Spidge, if you need some photos from cemeteries in Germany, let me know. Danny

    Hi Danny,

    I originally required 1399 RAAF lads in Germany. I have all cemeteries except:

    Sage War Cemetery (1)

    Rheinberg War Cemetery (244)

    Rheinberg is a mammoth task that I will probably have to do myself one of these days.

    I thought I had received all of Sage however the photographer missed (1).

    A few guys on the forum here have got most of the cemeteries for me.

    If you are near Sage I would love to get that one.



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