SPITFIRE FINALE

THE SPITFIRE’S LAST VICTORIES OF WORLD WAR TWO WERE MADE OVER BORNEO SHORTLY BEFORE VJ DAY AS ANDREW THOMAS RELATES

Sitting on alert on the evening of June 20, 1945, Flt Lts Gillian Campbell and George Scrimgeour of 457 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), were adjusting to Borneo. Their unit had arrived at their new base, Labuan Island, two days previously.

Both pilots had seen action before, over North Africa and Malaya, and knew that this posting was probably their last opportunity to see action against the Japanese. Their Spitfire VIIIs were superior to anything the enemy had available.

In May 1945 Australian troops had landed on Labuan off the coast of North Borneo as part of an operation to drive the Japanese out of the region. It was going to be a bitter campaign.

At 18:35 hours, Campbell in A58- 620 and Scrimgeour in A58-631 were scrambled. The squadron diary recorded: “They were then sent to 12,000ft to the vicinity of Sipitang… Whilst orbiting this point a Dinah [Mitsubishi Ki-46] was sighted at 6 o’clock to the section and 1,000ft below.

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