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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. C L M Forsyth

 

Colin Leo Malcolm Forsyth was born in Tauranga, New Zealand on 11th February 1914. He was educated at Te Kuiti District High School and was employed at the Oropi saw mills. He volunteered for aircrew duties in late 1939 and began his ground training at Weraroa on 12th February 1940. He completed a Lewis gunnery course at Ohakea and sailed from Auckland for the UK in RMS 'Rangitiki' in late April.


In mid-July Forsyth was posted to 5 OTU, Aston Down and he joined 23 Squadron at Ford on 21st September 1940 as an air gunner on Blenheims. The squadron began night intruder operations in December 1940 and on 8th March 1941 Forsyth's crew damaged a He111 and a Do17. On 26th July 1941 Forsyth suffered injuries and burns in a crash during take-off and was admitted to Margate General Hospital and, although he later rejoined the squadron, he was rested from operations.

He was posted to 418 (RCAF) Squadron on 1st December 1941, newly-formed at Debden for intruder work. From 22nd March 1942 it flew regular night sorties over the Continent, attacking strategic targets and intruding over enemy airfields.


Forsyth was awarded the DFM (gazetted 15th November 1942) and commissioned in December. He was posted to 180 Squadron at Foulsham on 5th July 1943, operating in Mitchells on daylight raids. He moved to Dunsfold on 11th March 1944 to join 98 Squadron, also flying Mitchells.


On 8th May 1944 Forsyth was one of the crew in an aircraft captained by the CO, Wing Commander RFK Bell-Irving. After attacking the target, the Mitchell had turned for home when it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The nose was blown off, the aircraft fell from 12,000 down to 7,000 feet and then banked and crashed in flames in a field at Cambron, near Abbeville. All aboard were killed.


Forsyth is buried in Abbeville Cemetery, Abbeville. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 12th April 1945)


 

 

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