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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 157840
Last updated: 15 June 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk I
Owner/operator:609 (West Riding) Squadron Royal Air Force (609 (West Riding) Sqn RAF)
Registration: L1058
C/n / msn: 273
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel off Dunkirk, Pas de Calais, Hauts de France -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Northolt, South Ruislip, Middlesex
Destination airport:
L1058: Spitfire Mk.Ia (c/no. 273) First Flown 14-7-39. Delivered to the RAF at 27 MU RAF Shawbury 22-7-39. Issued to 609 (West Riding) Squadron, RAF 6-9-39. Damaged by Bf 110 and failed to return from patrol off Dunkerque 1-6-40. Struck Off Charge 8-6-40. Pilot killed.

According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/734): "Spitfire L1058 lost in air operations over Dunkirk, France, 1 June 1940. Flying Officer I B N Russell: report of death". A biography of the pilot, Ian Bedford Nesbitt Russell, is as follows:

"37869 Flying Officer Ian Bedford Nesbitt 'Hack' Russell was born in 1912 in South Yarra, Victoria, near Melbourne, Australia. Following an education in the United States of America, Ian joined the pre-war Royal Air Force. In November 1939 he was posted to No. 609 (West Riding) Squadron with the rank of Pilot Officer, flying Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1 aircraft from RAF Drem in Scotland. Promotion to Flying Officer followed, and on 8th May 1940 he was posted to No. 245 Squadron at RAF Leconfield flying Hawker Hurricane Mk.1's – 245 moving to Drem on the 12th.

Subsequently posted to No. 607 Squadron at RAF Croydon, 'Hack', as he was known amongst his colleagues, flew Hurricanes in combat against the Luftwaffe. On 15th May 1940, whilst flying Hurricane P2619 AF-D, Hack crash landed after being wounded whilst flying on a patrol which came into contact with German Heinkel He111 bombers. His aircraft is believed to have been abandoned at approximately 16.30 hours. He returned to 609 Squadron on 22nd May 1940, now stationed at RAF Northolt, 'on orders from the Air Ministry'. F/O Russell was only back with the squadron for only ten days before he was posted as 'missing, presumed killed', having disappeared over Dunkirk in Spitfire L1058 whilst on a patrol covering the evacuation f troops from the beaches of Northern France, during which he had got involved in combat with German Messerschmitt Bf110 ‘Zerstörer’ aircraft.

Ian Russell is credited as having shot down a total of 11 enemy aircraft confirmed destroyed, with a further six probably destroyed. On one particular occasion he got two confirmed victories, after which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. As one of the missing aircrew with no known grave, Ian's name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial"

The 609 (West Riding) Squadron ORB (Operations Record Book - Air Ministry form 540) for 1 June 1940 (the date of his death) reads as follows...

"RAF Northolt. 1/6/40. The Squadron was again called upon to help in protecting the B.E.F. evacuation. Two patrols were made but very little enemy activity was encountered. The attached combat report cover the engagements of Red Section (first patrol) and Yellow Section (second patrol). Flying Officer Russell and Flying Officer Dawson are missing. The Squadron can claim one Bf.110 definite and severe damage to two Heinkels".

Crew of Spitfire L1058:
Flying Officer Ian Bedford Nesbitt Russell, RAF 37869, DFC, posted 01/06/1940, as missing presumed dead

As no trace of Spitfire L1058 or its pilot was ever found, the pilot is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978)
2. Royal Air Force Fighter Losses of the Second World War Volume 1, Norman L R Franks.
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/734:

Related books:

Revision history:

29-Jul-2013 01:54 JINX Added
01-Aug-2013 20:32 Nepa Updated [Operator]
11-Mar-2016 15:53 Red Dragon Updated [Registration, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
15-Feb-2018 08:05 Nepa Updated [Registration]
04-Sep-2019 22:57 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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