Leading Aircraftman Ian Taylor RAF (649184) of RAF 113 squadron was stationed at Maaten Bagush, between Mersa Matruh and Alexandria in Egypt during August of 1942. In April of 1938, the squadron had moved the Middle East. Italy declared war in June of 1940 and the squadron started their campaign by attacking Italian forces in Libya. In March 1941, they were moved to Greece, but a month later they had to retreat to Crete. All of RAF 113 Squadron’s Bristol Blenheim aircraft were lost in two days: to Junkers JU87 (Stuka) dive bombers (14 April 1941) and on the following day by strafing Messerschmitt Bf 109s. During this time, the squadron was equipped with Bristol Blenheim Mk I/IV/V light bombers and fighter types.
By June, they were back in Maaten Bagush. The squadron was quickly back in action in Egypt, they notably attacked a force of 100 tanks in Libya that month.
Taylor was on 8 August 1941, the first Caputh lad to pay the supreme sacrifice in the Second World War. It was reported that he died of burning injuries; he was 26. The squadron lost no aircraft on that day or previous days. His injuries may have been the result of an accident or happened during a Luftwaffe attack on the airfield.
The last squadron aircraft lost was on 8 July 1941: a Blenheim destroyed by raiding Messerschmitt Bf 110s.
Taylor was the eldest son of Raymond and Mary Elizabeth Taylor, Caputh, and is buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. He had joined the RAF before the outbreak of war and was posted to the Middle East early in 1940. Taylor attended Glendelvine School and Perth Academy. He served his apprenticeship with McMurray & Archibald, coach builders in Perth.
Perthshire Advertiser, 13th August 1941
“TAYLOR.-On active service in the Middle East, as a result of burning injuries, on 8th August, L.A.C. Ian Taylor, R.A.F., eldest son of Mr and Mrs Raymond Taylor, Caputh. Deeply regretted.”
“AIRMAN DIES FROM BURNING INJURIES
“The first Caputh lad to make the supreme sacrifice is Leading Aircraftman Ian Taylor.
“Intimation was received by his parents, Mr and Mrs Raymond Taylor, on Saturday to the effect that their son has died as a result of burning injuries on August 8th. Twenty-six years of age, he joined the R.A.F. be-fore the outbreak of war and was posted to a Middle East squadron early in 1940.
“He served his apprenticeship as a coach trimmer with the firm of McMurray and Archibald, Perth, in whose employment he was for six years. Eldest of the family of Mr and Mrs R. Taylor, of Caputh, he was born at Rattray, and educated at Glendelvine School.
“The passing of such a promising young man has occasioned feelings of deep regret in the district.”
Ian Taylor is also commemorated on the Caputh War Memorial, and the Caputh Parish Church War Memorial.
RAF 113 Squadron mainly flew operations from Sidi Haneish airfield, this was regarded as a satellite of Maaten Bugush. RAF 113 Squadron records covering the period December 1940 to May 1941 were lost during the Greek campaign.
By November of 1942, the Africa Corps under General Erwin Rommel were losing about 70% of their supplies, sunk in the Mediterranean by Allied aircraft. As a result, more Luftwaffe aircraft were used to ferry in supplies. Sidi Haneish airfield was the scene of one of the most daring raids of the war, at the time, the airfield was under Luftwaffe control. The Special Air Service (SAS), detachment ‘L’ was ferried by members of the Long-Range Desert Patrol Group (LRDG) to attack the airfield in the evening of 26 July 1942. A convoy of 18 Jeeps destroyed 18 German aircraft and damaged many more. Each jeep was armed with four Vickers K machine guns, firing Buckingham rounds, .303 incendiary bullets.
Sir David Stirling, the founder of the SAS, was born in his family’s ancestral home, Keir House, in the parish of Lecroft, west of Bridge of Allan (formerly in Perthshire). Stirling was captured by the Germans in January 1943, escaped, and was re-captured by the Italians. He made four more escape attempts before being sent to Oflag IV-C, better known as Colditz Castle, where he remained for the rest of the war.
Ian Taylor, Perthshire Advertiser 13 August 1941
ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, 1939-1943. (CM 18) Armourers of No. 113 Squadron RAF place 20-lb Fragmentation bombs into a Small Bomb Container, and prepare .303 ammunition, for loading into one of the Squadron’s Bristol Blenheim Mark Is at Ma’aten Bagush, Egypt, before a raid on Italian positions at Tobruk. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208707
BRITISH FORCES IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 1945-1947 (E 32216) Two children take a keen interest in one of the Royal Air Force Halifax aircraft of 113 Squadron that were used to fly out British non-essential personnel and civilians from Aqir airfield in Palestine to Almaza aerodrome in Egypt as part of ‘Operation Polly.’ Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208188
AIRCRAFT IN ROYAL AIR FORCE SERVICE, 1939-1945: BRISTOL TYPE 160 BLENHEIM V. (CI 21) A Blenheim Mark V of No. 113 Squadron RAF based at Asansol, India, in flight with other aircraft of the Squadron during a bombing raid over Burma. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209733