P/O Douglas Spencer Aitken – Age 21 – 8 March 1942

Any information about P/O Douglas Aitken?

A reader sent me this comment both in English and in French.

Can you tell me the description of the aircraft piloted by Douglas Spencer Aitken, J-7013 ? It is supposed to be a Spitfire that crashed on 8 March 1942, registred BL-661, in service with the 403 Sq. I doubt of it. Your lights will guide me.

Bonjour Pierre,
Êtes-vous en mesure de me fournir les détails du Spitfire piloté par Douglas Spencer Aitken le 8 mars 1942 avec la 403e escadrille ? Le volume THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD prétend qu’il s’agit du BL-661 alors que ce chasseur était piloté par le W/C Anthony Eyre, de la RAF, aussi abattu lors de cette mission en France.

Information here about the ORBs from 403 in 1942 where Aitken’s name is mentioned.

Sunday, 8 March, 1942

Thick haze fairly low.  At 0915 hours, Red and Yellow Sections went on Convoy patrol.  At 0950 hours White Section was scrambled, landing at Hunsdon at 1100 hours and returning to North Weald at 1345 hours.  At 1503 hours, the Squadron went on a sweep as close escort to five Havocs who were to bomb the Comfines Power Station, North of Lille with Northolt, Hornchurch and 12 Group Wings acting as cover.  We rendezvoused at Bradwell bay at 1536 hours, entering France South of Dunkirk.  Funny to see our Wing suddenly start weaving like bats out of he– when the flak started to come up.  We reached the target okay, though 121 Wing were not with us as they did not make the rendezvous.  Just North of St. Omer on the way home, FW 190s and ME 109s tried to bounce the Havocs. 

During the engagement, we lost a very good little pilot, P/O Aitken, (it was his first show).  Nobody saw what happened to him. 

Also a great loss, our Wing Commander, W/C Eyre, was shot down by a 109 and was seen going down with glycol pouring out.  121 Wing came in by Dunkirk to pick us up on our way home.  They also tangled with 109s and lost one.  We brought the bombers back safely.  During the circus, the following combats took place.  Blue Section – F/L Wood saw two ME109Fs come down out of the sun on the tail of Blue 4.  The leader fired and hit Blue 4 on the port aileron.  F/L Wood attacked and the 2 109s broke away.  He gave the first 109 a burst of cannon and machine gun and then closed  with the second 109, giving a continuous 6 or 7 second burst from 200 yards at quarter astern.  There was an explosion just behind the pilot’s seat.  The e/a poured white, then dark blue smoke and went down in flames.  This was confirmed by Blue 4.  One e/a claimed destroyed.  Blue 3, WO Rainville, got in three different bursts of about 3 to 4 seconds from 150 to 200 yards astern of a ME 109F and saw strikes in the wing root of the e/a and white smoke.  The e/a went into a steep dive and was lost to sight.  This e/a is claimed as damaged.  Yellow 1, P/O Dick was attacked by two ME109Fs as he gave the leader a burst of cannon and machine gun at 300 yards, thirty degrees off head-on position.  The e/a dived below Yellow 1 who saw a large piece of his tail unit break away.  This e/a is claimed as damaged.  At 1740 hours, all a/c, with the exception of W/C Eyre and P/O Aitken returned to base.

Days Score 1 ME109F destroyed and 2 ME 109fs damaged.
Days losses 2 Spitfires, Mk VB.


March 1942 RCAF 403 Squadron are available here.


10 thoughts on “P/O Douglas Spencer Aitken – Age 21 – 8 March 1942

    • I was curious and I asked Bob why he was looking for that information…

      This is his reply.

      A promise I made 12 years ago to my spouse’s uncle who flew on a Halifax with the 427 Squadron during WW2, now passed away.

      I wrote the first book of 14 about the RCAF. From THEY SALL GROW NOT OLD, a very good book of compilation, I took each name and searched all about those men. Aitken is one of those 19 000 aircraftmen. I found there were 2 fighters shot down the same day and the one mentioned in this book isEyre’s name, mistaken for Aitken’s name. Anthony Eyre DFC, service number 90408 was killed in 1946 in a crash. AITKEN, J-7013, is the son of David and Elsie Marie Aitken from Alberta. I know he was shot down by a German fighter soon after 3 PM the same day than Eyre, South of Mardyck, Pas-de-Calais (France). So any infos will be appreciated.

      I started a new collection named SACRIFICE in 2004. Now this collection has 7 books. Three of them dedicated to the Canadian Navy awarded in 2013 the Diamond Jubilee Medal of the Queen Elizabeth and are exposed to public at Québec, Ottawa, Esquimalt and Halifax HQ and naval museums.

      All that work as volunteer.



  1. Aitken fut abattu le 8 mars 1942 lors d’un opération sur la centrale d’énergie électrique de Comines (Nord-France) et non
    Comlines power station comme indiqué dans l’ORB.

    Voir aussi dans l’ORB 24 mars 1942 où il est indiqué Commines au lieu de Comines.

    • Merci Francis.

      En effet comme l’écrivait Pat Murphy, les ORBs contiennent des erreurs.
      Mon vétéran mitrailleur du 425 Alouette me l’a confirmé.
      Son logbook avait des informations contradictoires avec les ORBs du 425.
      Le logbook était donc plus fiable.

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