Flight Sergeant Charles Williston McKim
On the 13th May, 1943, No.403 and No.416 squadron, R.C.A.F., had a nerve shattering day escorting short range bomber attacks. Three pilots didn’t make it back to Kenley after the second sortie of the day, Ramrod 71.
It was a large operation involving more than 100 B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th USAAF, whose main target was the Potez aircraft factory at Meaulte. A diversionary raid was aimed at Fort Rouge and Longuenesse airfield, near St.Omer. The Kenley Wing, led by Johnnie Johnson, was to provide Third Fighter Cover. They took off at 3.40pm and everything went according to plan until the formation reached the target area and was attacked by 50 Messerschmitt BF109’s and Focke Wulf FW190’s coming from all angles. The combat continued back to Le Touquet. At around 4.40pm, Sergeant Uttley was “bounced” and shot down in the Doullens area. Squadron Leader F. H. Boulton DFC, of No.416 Squadron, was hit by flak, baled out and was taken Prisoner of War.
At 4.35pm, Flight Sergeant Charles Williston McKim of 416 squadron, R.C.A.F., flying Spitfire F, Mk.IX (BR626), reported that he was badly hit and baled out over the English Channel, 15 miles west of Le Touquet.
Wing Commander Johnson saw a parachute in the water and led 403 and 416 back to the area after the operation to search for McKim. Aircraft wreckage and an oil patch were seen but no sign of their comrade.
“Mac” was 21 years old, the son of Robert Taylor McKim, a clergyman, and Mary Annetta Renfrew Gilchrist, of Westfield, New Brunswick. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was studying Medical Science at Dalhousie University, when he enlisted in the Spring of 1941. He was considered immature, but capable and intelligent, during his training, and received his Pilot’s Flying badge on 19th June, 1942. He arrived in England in December, and, after the usual spell at No.53 Operational Training Unit, was sent to No.416, his first and only squadron, at Kenley, on 11th March, 1943.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.