Shot down supporting the Partisans

249 Squadron RAF

249 Squadron RAF

Warrant Officer (Pilot) Cyril Davey, 22 and from Cosham, was flying Mustang fighters with 249 Squadron RAF from Italy when he was killed over Yugoslavia on 19 October 1944.

The allies had invaded Italy in 1943. Yugoslavian partisans, under Tito, had been fighting the Germans hard for several years, and were the only country whose citizens pretty much liberated themselves, albeit with minimal help from the allies. This included fighter bomber missions flown from Italy against German targets, and this is how Davey came to be over Yugoslavia. Allied air superiority meant that fighters could fly with impunity.

Three Mustangs were airborne from Brindisi at 0930 on 19 October (1944), flown by Wt Off Davey (KH428), Plt Off R Andrew (a new pilot, in KH530) and Flt Sgt Clarke (KH422), their task to bomb the railway at Amyntaion in northern Greece, and then to strafe roads to the southern end of Lake Ohrid… (after completing their attack) … they then turned west for base. Over Albania was a thick cloud layer and Clarke lost sight of his companions about 15 miles north-east of Tirana. He made several attempts to call the two pilots, after which he crossed the coast at Lalze Bay and reached Brindisi with the aid of homing directions. Three days later the Squadron received news that Andrew was safe and unhurt. He had baled out when his fuel became exhausted, but of Davey nothing was heard.

Warrant Officer Davey is buried in Belgrade War Cemetery, now in Serbia.

I am very grateful to Peter Clare for drawing my attention to information in ’249 At War:The Authorised History of the RAF’s Top-Scoring Fighter Squadron of WWII’ by Brian Cull.

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Filed under portsmouth heroes, Royal Air Force, World War Two

6 responses to “Shot down supporting the Partisans

  1. John Sippitt

    My mother (Maiden name: Pamela Joan Davey)is the younger sister of Warrant Officer (Pilot) Cyril Davey.

    Only recently after emailing the 249 Squadron Association did we discover the book from where this excerpt was taken. They have been absolutely wonderful and we are now in communication and we are hoping to arrange a possible meeting between my Mother and a Ex Squadron Leader who flew a number of missions with Cyril as his Red Leader.

    Cyril had already been show down once before over the desert and had been returned to the Allies by a Bedouin tribe and was awarded the traditional Flying Boot Badge.

    My mother has an amazing photograph of herself and Cyril taken in the Anderson Shelter in the garden (Albert Road, Cosham) during an air raid. It was whilst watching this very dog fight that Cyril declaired to my Mother that he would one day be a fighter pilot.

    It was tradic that Cyril was shot down and killed at such a young age but he died doing something that he loved. How many of us can say that?

    • James Daly

      Hi John thank you for your comment and thank you for telling us more about what happened to Cyril. His story is an incredible one.

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