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  Spitfire Mark Vc Serial Number A58-68 Code QY-W
No. 457 Squadron

Former assignments
1 AD
1 FW
452 Squadron

Pilot  P/O Anthony Thomas Ruskin-Rowe, 411389 (KIA) Double Bay, NSW
Crashed  June 20, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Supermarine. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number BS174. Disassembled and loaded aboard SS Hoperidge. Shipped overseas to Australia arriving on October 23, 1942.

Wartime History
On November 2, 1942 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Spitfire A58-68. Reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD) with Merlin M46 engine number 79957. On November 10, 1942 assigned to 1 Fighter Wing (1 FW) and the next day assigned to 452 Squadron. Coded "QY-W". No known nickname or nose art. On May 24, 1943 assigned to 7 RSU, then to 457 Squadron on June 9, 1943.

Mission History
On June 20, 1943 took off from Darwin Airfield at 09:10 piloted by P/O Ruskin-Rowe as wingman for F/O Bisley with call sign "Troppo Blue 2". This aircraft was one of forty-six Spitfires that scrambled to intercept an incoming Japanese air raid against Darwin (Raid No. 55).

Together, the pair climbed to an altitude of 22,000' before making a firing pass against the enemy Ki-48 Lilys and "Zekes" roughly ten miles North of Cape Hotham. P/O Ruskin-Rowe was last seen on the port side of F/O Bisley, making an attack on the bombers. After taking evasive action from attacking A6M Zeros, F/O Bisley found he was alone. It is assumed that this aircraft was shot down making his attack.

In fact, this Spitfire crashed nine miles southeast of Koolpinyah Station. During July, the wreckage of this aircraft was spotted from the air. On July 11, 1943 an Australian party led by F/O Pollard located wreck with the help of Aborigines, a few miles inland from Hope Inlet.

Inside the wreckage, the remains of the pilot were found still strapped into the cockpit with head wounds suggesting he was hit by machine gun fire from one of the Ki-48 Lily bombers he was attacking. His remains were recovered, also his gun camera film. When developed his film showed that he probably destroyed the bomber he was attacking. Officially, this aircraft was written off on August 13, 1943 and converted to components.

Ruskin-Rowe was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were recovered, he was permanently buried at Adelaide River War Cemetery at grave F. A. 7.

ADF Serials - Spitfire A58-68
CWGC - Anthony Thomas Ruskin-Rowe
NAA: AMSE W/O 28/06/43 per file 9/16/899
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
July 30, 2020

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