Neil Gillespie Russell

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Dominion Airmen Battering at Supply Lines Constantly, Strafe Troops

The following dispatch has been received from Flight Lieutenant Kenneth MacGillivray, public relations officer, R.C.A.F., in the Middle East, and former Hamilton newspaperman.
At an R.A.F. Airport Beyond Tripoli, Jan. 28, 1943 — (Delayed) — (BUP) — Battering at enemy supply columns and transport whenever they show themselves, Canadian pilots in R.A.F. fighter squadrons are maintaining the strafing operations which played such an important part in Rommel's exodus from Tripolitania.
Leading his flight in daily patrols over enemy territory, Flight-Lieut. Gordon Troke, of Wolfville, N.S., has destroyed an estimated 31 enemy lorries and five grounded aircraft, while his aerial combat claims total of four shot down and as many damaged. Flight-Lieut. Troke has been involved in 56 "dog fights," in the air.
Another Canadian fighter pilot, Flying Officer Neil Russell, 2339 Dow avenue, New Westminster, B.C.; had a narrow escape a few days ago in a duel with a Messerschmitt 109 at Kir Dufan. Slightly wounded in the back of the head, Flying Officer Russell was momentarily stunned. He fell forward on his stick, which threw the plane into a sharp dive. All the time, his hand was clenched on the firing button. He recovered consciousness in time to pull out and inflict damage on the Messerschmitt.
In hospital, surgeons removed seven small pieces of shrapnel from his scalp. After four days rest, he was back in the air, eager to add to his score of one enemy aircraft destroyed, several damaged, and several destroyed on the ground.
Also in the thick of current fighter "strafing" operations is Warrant Officer Frank Pledge, 103 Morrison Avenue, Toronto. His plane has been several times damaged by ground firing.
Warrant Officer Hugh O'Brien; 10033 91st avenue, Edmonton, had a close shave this week when driven off his course by bad weather. He emerged from a low-hanging cloud to find himself directly over enemy anti-aircraft guns.
With his plane riddled with "flak" and the controls damaged, he managed to return to his base without injury.
Other R.C.A.F., fighter pilots in this area of the Middle East include Sgt. Jack Nichols, of Digby, N.S.; Sgt. Charles Swan, of Chauvin, Alta., and Sgt. John Maloney, Cope street, Hamilton, Ont.


Born at Vancouver, 6 August 1919.
Home in New Westminster B.C.
Worked as a bank clerk.
Enlisted in Vancouver on 12 February 1941.
Posted to No.2 Manning Depot, then did
Guard duty at No.3 SFTS, Calgary, March-April 1941.
To No.2 ITS, 22 April 1941
(graduated and promoted LAC, 27 May 1941).
To No.2 EFTS, 27 May 1941.
To No.11 SFTS, 26 July 1941
(graduated and commissioned 7 October 1941).
To Embarkation Depot, 11 October 1941.
To RAF overseas, 3 November 1941.
Arrived in UK, 8 January 1942, & in Egypt 8 March 1942.
Further trained at No.71 OTU.
Flew a tour with No.250 Squadron (20 June 1942 to
3 July 1943).
Promoted to Flying Officer, 1 October 1942.
On 14 January 1943 he was wounded (and his aircraft
badly damaged in the Bin Dufan area).
Briefly with No.203 Squadron (3 - 25 July 1943).
Served at No.73 OTU, Abu Sueir (25 July 1943 to
10 January 1944).
Promoted to Flight Lieutenant, 7 October 1943.
After leave in Canada he returned to Britain (7 May 1944).
Undertook refresher training at No.53 OTU (24 May
to 23 June 1944).
With No.416 Squadron (4 July 1944 to 29 March 1945).
Returned to Canada, 2 May 1945.
Released from the RCAF on 26 July 1945.
See War Service Records 1939-1945.
(Canadian Bank of Commerce, 1947)

Soon thereafter he articled to become a chartered
accountant in the early 1950s.
He stayed in public practice where he became a partner
for his long successful public accounting career until his
retirement at age 75.
He was honored as Chartered Accountant of the year in 1999.
Closely involved in the community of New Westminster
where he worked and received a Citizen of the Year Award
in 1995 in recognition of outstanding service to the city and
enhancement to community life.
He was a Paul Harris Fellow member of Rotary.
He was also an active volunteer at the Royal Columbian
Hospital where he served as a Trustee from 1977 to 1996
and as Chairman of the Fraser Burrard Hospital Society
from 1984 to 1988 where he aided in overseeing the
construction of RCH's new wing and donation fund raising.
For his many years of service at RCH, and to health care
in the community, he was honored by having a boardroom
named the "The Neil Russell Room" at RCH.
Died in Vancouver, 24 August 2010.


RUSSELL, F/O Neil Gillespie (J8136) - Mention in Despatches - No.203 Squadron
Award effective 14 January 1944 as per London Gazette of that date &
AFRO 874/44 dated 21 April 1944


Fliers Win DFC's

Ottawa, Jan. 1, 1945 - (CP) - Air Force Headquarters tonight announced the award of three bars to the Distinguished Flying Cross and of 30 DFC's to RCAF personnel serving overseas.
Two of the DFC's went to F/L Douglas Warren and F/L Bruce Warren, twin brothers from Ponoka, Alta., who are serving with the same squadron overseas. The recipients:

S/L W. A. Olmsted, Hamilton
F/O D. W. Goodwin, Maynooth.
F/O D. R. C. Jamieson, 148 Gilbert Ave., Toronto

S/L W. M. Foster, Guelph
S/L E. H. Lapp, Redcliffe, Alta.
S/L A. E. Monson, North Hollywood, Ca.
S/L A. H. Sager, Vancouver
S/L E. P. Wood, Renfrew
F/L W. D. Burton, Brantford
F/L J. M. Ballachey, High River, Alta.
F/L W. C. Fox, Dunnville
F/L R. E. Evans, Cleveland, Ohio
F/L P. L. Gibbs, Harlan, Sask.
F/L D. W. A. Harling, Westmount, Que.
F/L J. E. McLurg, Westmount, Que.
F/L H. J. Nixon, Hamilton
F/L J. D. Orr of Victoria
F/L W. B. Peglar, 144 Glengarry Ave., Toronto
F/L D. B. Rodd, Concord, Mass.
F/L N. G. Russell, New Westminster
F/L B. Warren, Ponoka, Alta.
F/L D. Warren, Ponoka, Alta.
F/L G. M. Smith, Nelson, B.C.
F/O W. K. Carr, Grand Bank, Nfld.
F/O W. F. Cook, Clinton
F/O D. H. Kimball, Oromocto, N.B.
F/O J. P. Lumsden, Hamilton
F/O H. F. Morse, Haney, B.C.
F/O G. F. Ockenden, Edmonton
F/O P. Slayden, Houston, Texas
F/O A. M. Sauve, Hull, Que.
F/O W. R. Weeks, Loggieville, N.B.
P/O J. A. Kerr, Alexander, Man.


RUSSELL, F/L Neil Gillespie (J8136) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.416 Squadron
Award effective 18 December 1944 as per London Gazette dated 29 December 1944 and
AFRO 379/45 dated 2 March 1945. Award presented 13 July 1946.

During two tours of operations Flight Lieutenant Russell has completed numerous sorties. He has destroyed or damaged at least thirty mechanical vehicles. In addition he has destroyed four enemy aircraft and damaged a further two. On his first tour he participated in many dive bombing missions and attacks against various ground targets. He has always displayed a fine fighting spirit, keenness and courage which merit high commendation.


Victories Include :

27 Oct 1942
4 Nov 1942
7 Nov 1942

28 July 1944
25 Sept 1944
27 Sept 1944
29 Sept 1944
one MC202
one MC202
one MC202

one FW190
one FW190
one FW190
one FW190

E of Sollum

NW of Caen
250 Sq
250 Sq
250 Sq

416 Sq
416 Sq
416 Sq
416 Sq
Kittyhawk FR241
Kittyhawk FR243, LD-R
Kittyhawk FR243, LD-R

Spitfire NH611
Spitfire MJ770
Spitfire MK838
Spitfire ML250

4 / 0 / 3

score from 'Those Other Eagles' by Chris Shores




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