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25 July 1940 - Archibald Finnie shot down near Kingsdown, Dover

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Archibald Finnie was born in 1916, possibly in Lugton, Ayrshire, and was working for the British Linen Bank when he joined the RAFVR in November 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He carried out his initial training at 12 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School at Prestwick.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he went to 10 FTS Tern Hill in early November where he completed his training on No. 16 Course. This ran until 11th May 1940 and he was commissioned shortly afterwards.

Image courtesy of Richard C Smith.

His next posting was to No. 1 School of Army Co-Operation at Old Sarum, where he undertook No. 7 Course from 20th May till 22nd June 1940. Finnie arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 23rd June 1940 for a conversion course on Spitfires. He joined Johnnie Allen, Al Deere and others in 54 Squadron at Rochford on 8th July 1940.

On the 24th he made a forced-landing at Great Bainden Farm, Mayfield after sustaining damage attacking Do17s bombing a convoy in the Channel off Dover. He later returned to Rochford. On the day after Johnnie Allen was killed, Finnie was himself shot down and killed the next day in Spitfire I R6816 during combat with Me109s off Dover. The aircraft came down at Knights Bottom, near Kingsdown, Dover.

He was 24 years old and is buried in Margate Cemetery, Kent near his comrade, Johnnie Allen.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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