The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. I S Ritchie
Ian Small Ritchie was born in 1910, gained a law degree at Edinburgh University and afterwards worked for a firm of solicitors in Edinburgh. He joined 603 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in December 1937 and began his initial training.
He was called to full-time service on 23rd August 1939. On 10th January 1940 Ritchie and three other pilots were detached to Montrose for convoy protection duties. He rejoined the squadron at Prestwick on the 14th.
Above: (L to R) Sgt. JR Caister, P/O HK MacDonald, P/O GK Gilroy, P/O JS Morton, F/Lt. GL Denholm, F/O IS Ritchie
He was again detached on 19th February 1940, this time to RAF Turnhouse for Ops duties. He rejoined 603 on 1st March.
Ritchie shared in destroying a Ju88 on 3rd July 1940 and shared in the destruction of a He111 on the 16th. He was wounded in combat with Me109's off Dover on 28th August and returned to Hornchurch in his severely-damaged Spitfire, R6989.
He was admitted to Oldchurch Hospital, Romford and returned to the squadron on 5th September.
Ritchie was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1st December 1941.
His subsequent service is currently undocumented until 1944 when he was commanding the University Air Squadron at St. Andrews.
He was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Wing Commander and returned to practicing as a solicitor.
He maintained close contacts with 603 Squadron and with his war-time friends until his death in 1987.