Bio / Text:
Sgt Bruce William Bailey joined 145 Squadron RAF on 12th January 1942 from 81 Squadron, a Hurricane squadron recently returned from Russia. I suspect that he joined 81 in December 1941 with a number of other new pilots.
According to the Yorkshire Aircraft site Sgt Bailey damaged BL344 in a heavy landing on his first Spitfire flight on 25 January with 145 Squadron at Catterick.
145 Squadron was then based at Catterick for a period of training before going overseas. In February 145 Squadron started the journey to the Middle East. They started operations flying Spitfires in June 1942, the first ME squadron to receive Spitfires. The Operation Record Book is not very helpful with serials as most of the flights give only the aircraft letter and the three digits of the serial.
On the 26th of June Bailey failed to return from an operation with Sgt Maxwell Mahady (RAAF 403003) who had also joined 145 in January. The squadron spent the day on a standing reconnaissance at 12,000 feet over Sidi Barrani aerodrome. The ORB complains that “the enemy only has to send out a defensive patrol to a higher altitude and the Spitfires will be jumped.”
Bailey was taken prisoner and Mahady also ended up as a POW.
Data on Ancestry suggests that Bailey may have been born on 31 May 1919 in Nelson, New Zealand and died on 7 Dec 2002 at Waikanae, Kapiti Coast, Wellington, New Zealand. If so his ashes have been spread in the serviceman's section.