This is a sad story of a young Canadian Spitfire pilot.
It’s worth reading…
At 1050 hrs, as they passed Pantelleria, David Rouleau and everyone else in his group spotted distant specks in the sky above and to the south of them. His throat was now dry as dust, and his heart started to race. Low on fuel, they all flew on not really knowing what to do. They watched as the specks altered course as if circling and watching. Sharks sizing up a school of fish. They watched as the specks turned toward them and grew into 109s. They flew on.
Then someone recalled a pilot in a Spitfire with the letter code “T” shouting over the radio “They’re attacking!” Immediately, Johnny Plagis did what any experienced Malta hand with these odds would do. He rolled over and dove for the sea. He left the others on their own and without his experience. The fast moving 109s swung round from behind and shot “T” right out of the sky. His Spitfire caught fire, pulled up and then rolled over, spiraling to the sea. A surviving pilot witnessed the man falling forward in his cockpit. At this, it was every man for himself and all the others rolled and made for the sea. There was a running gun battle past the island and all the way to Gozo, the island north west of Malta. Spitfires were being chased everywhere, zigzagging over the surface of the sea, German lead slicing past, ripping up the sea. But not all their rounds found just the sea. After “T”s death, three more Spitfires were shot down. One of the pilots (an NCO according to Malta ace Flying Officer Daddo-Langois) was seen floating on the sea near Gozo. “Daddy-Longlegs”, as he was called by his friends, spotted him in the water after the battle was over and circled for an hour overhead, but no help came. Later they would find an empty dinghy.
Of the 31 pilots, only 27 would make it to Malta. By all accounts, the 9 of Plagis’ group bore the brunt of the attack. It seems that the four shot down were in that last group. David’s group. His new found friend Hugh MacPherson was also lost. I cannot begin to recreate the last minutes of that day and what happened to David Rouleau, but he was indeed one of the four who did not land at Takali or Hal Far. He was one of the four that were never seen again.