Bio / Text:
Courtesy of rcaf association (rcafassociation.ca) ...
BALLANTYNE, FS James Hamilton (R85860) - Distinguished Flying Medal - No.229 Squadron - Award effective 1 December 1942 as per London Gazette dated 4 December 1942 and AFRO 2069/42 dated 18 December 1942. Born 18 January 1918 in Toronto; home there; clerk for three years with General Accident Assurance Company); enlisted there 20 December 1940. Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 10 April 1941), No.1 EFTS (graduated 28 May 1941) and No.2 SFTS (graduated 8 August 1941).
Flight Sergeant, 1 June 1942; WO2, 8 August 1942; commissioned 29 October 1942. To Halifax, 10 August 1941; arrived overseas 2 September 1941; to No.58 OTU, 28 October 1941; to No.222 Squadron, 10 January 1942; to HQ, Middle East, 26 May 1942; flew off HMS Eagle on 3 June 1942 and assigned to No.603 Squadron; to No.229 Squadron, August 1942 upon disbandment of No.603 Squadron; to UK, 16 November 1942; to No.59 OTU, 3 December 1942; repatriated 30 September 1943; arrived Canada, 29 October 1943; returned to UK, 21 December 1943; to No.403 Squadron, 4 January 1944; killed in action, 8 March 1944.
Crashes include the following: 12 December 1941 while dogfighting with another Spitfire became lost and R/T went unserviceable; touched down in a field, lifted over a fence, settled again and aircraft was on soft ground, went on nose and then on back; 31 July 1942, with No.603 Squadron, Luqa, engine failed, had to retract wheels to avoid going into ravine; 22 December 1942 at No.58 OTU crashed a Hurricane when he took off on gravity tank and failed to switch to main tank. Photo PL-14178 is a portrait; PL-15688 (with P/O Henry Keane); PL-15691 taken after investiture (F/O Wayne Merrick, Ballantyne, P/O Henry Keane); PL-15694 also taken after investiture (with Scottish relatives); PL-28558 shows him in his Spitfire.
Since June, 1942, this airman pilot has destroyed at least five enemy aircraft and damaged others. One day in July 1942, he became separated from his section but with courage and determination attacked three Messerschmitt 109s, destroying one. Some days later Flight Sergeant Ballantyne was leading his section when the squadron attacked a formation of enemy heavy bombers. The bombers were successfully intercepted and pursued to within ten miles of the Sicilian coast. On yet another occasion this pilot attacked two Junkers 88s and then while separated from his squadron was attacked by four enemy fighters. By skilful maneouvering and great tenacity he fought off the enemy fighters and landed his aircraft safely. Flight Sergeant Ballantyne is a most courageous and brave fighter pilot, who has played a worthy part in the defence of Malta.
NOTE: Public Records Office Air 2/9606 has recommendation transmitted to Air Ministry on 4 November 1942 which was thereafter edited to the form above. Original text as follows:
This airman pilot arrived at Malta on 9th June 1942 and his score up to date is five and one-quarter enemy aircraft destroyed, one and one-half probably destroyed and six damaged.
Between 11th and 16th October when intense aerial activity was experienced over Malta, he destroyed four enemy aircraft and damaged four. On 1st July 1942 he was separated from his section and attacked three ME.109s with great determination, destroying one of them and probably destroying another. On 12th October he was leading his section when the squadron attacked a formation of Ju.88s approaching the island from the north. The enemy bombers were turned back and he with others pursued them to within ten miles of the Sicilian coast.
Flight Sergeant Ballantyne badly damaged two of the Ju.88s and separated from his squadron was attacked by four ME.109s. By skilful maneouvering and great tenacity he fought off the enemy fighters to within a few miles of Malta, landing his aircraft safely. He has led his section on numerous occasions with outstanding courage and keenness. Pressing home his attacks in the face of odds, he is a most courageous and brave fighter pilot who has played a worthy part in the offensive fighting from Malta.
KIA 1944, 8 March, age 26 (J16085)
Shot down by Flak over Evereux France
Burial: Communal Cemetery, St. Andre-De-L'Eure, Eure, France