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Squadron Leader Bruce Ingram D.F.C.

13-12-1921 to 11-08-1944

Bruce Ingram,(christened Mervyn Robert Bruce) was born in Dunedin on the 13th December 1921 and was a clerk prior to joining joining the RNZAF on the 28th July 1941. He was completed his flying training as a Sergeant-Pilot and was posted to join 66 Sqdn in the UK, moving shortly afterwards to 611 Sqdn. After being commissioned in March 1942 he was posted to 486 Sqdn, which was then being formed as New Zealand’s second fighter Sqdn in Britain.

However Ingram’s stay there was short and he was posted again ,this time to 601 Sqdn. The units pilots and their spitfires embarked on the American aircraft carrier USS “ Wasp” and on the 20th of April 1942, flew off to Malta. By the time the squadron moved on to Egypt in June Ingram had destroyed a Ju 88 and shared in the destruction of two more.

Reunited with its ground crews, who had travelled by ship via the Cape to Egypt, the unit moved into the Western Desert. Ingram shared in destroying a Bf 109 on the 14th of July and shot down another a week later. During September and October 1942 he destroyed two more and damaged a further three.
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On the 7th of November, when 601 intercepted Stukas over Matruh, Ingram shot down one of the escorting Bf 109’s and shared in the destruction of a Ju 87. On the 8th of December he scored his last victory in the middle east, a Bf 109 shot down over El Agheila. Ingram, by then a flight commander was awarded the D.F.C. .

In August 1943 he was given command of 152 Hyderabad fighter Squadron, then based at Lentini East in Sicily. On the 3rd of September the allies landed in southern Italy. Ingram damaged an FW 190 on the 18th, destroyed one on the 19th and shared another on the 22nd. The Sqdn was now based in Italy and moved forward with the Army until November 1943, when it was posted to India.

The unit was operational there from mid-December, flying defensive patrols over Calcutta and making offensive sweeps against Japanese airfields in central Burma. In March 1944 the Sqdn moved to Chittagong and began patrolling the Imphal plain as well as escorting transports and bombers. As Japanese air activity decreased the unit also attacked enemy supply lines and carried out small scale attacks on ground targets of opportunity.

Returning from a ground strike, Ingram crashed-landed short of the strip, suffering a broken nose and a badly lacerated face. He was taken to a field hospital at Imphal, where he contracted malaria and then tetanus. Air HQ sent two nurses in by air to attend him but despite all efforts Ingram died on the 11th of July 1944.
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