Obituary: Colonel Allan M Ogilvie (Joe)

Joe Ogilvie, who died on December 30th 2000, came from Newfoundland.

He was an Observer in the RAF, in which he served from 1940 to 1944.

He was shot down over France in 1943 and successfully evaded to Spain. In 1944 he transferred to the RCAF, in which he had a distinguished post war career. He was a member of the Canadian Branch of the Royal Air Forces Escaping Society.

He did his early training in Toronto, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba during 1940-1941. Over in England he went through No. 25 OTU Finningley, Yorks, Sept-Dec 1941. He joined 83 Squadron at Scampton, Lincolnshire in January 1942. 83 Squadron were operating in the Pathfinder role at Wyton, Huntingdonshire when he was shot down in 1943. The basic facts are:

11/12 Mar 1943 - 83 Sqn - Lancaster I - ED313 OL-B Op: Stuttgart

t/o 2031 Wyton. Homebound, shot down by a nightfighter and crashed at Sogny-en-L'Angle (Marne) 37 km SW of Chalons sur Marne, France.  Both Air Gunners rest in Sogny-en-L'Angle Churchyard. F/L Mackie later escaped from captivity.  The DFMs awarded to F/S Barrett and F/S Lynch appeared in the London Gazette on 29 December and 13 February 1942 for their respective service with 207 and 144 Squadrons. Sgt Henderson gained a similar award following his evasion and details of this were promulgated on 23 July 1943.

It is reliably reported that the Lancaster was attacked three times and the survivors eventually baled out having descended to 2,500 feet in their efforts to get away from the fighter.

Pilot: F/L N A J Mackie DFC - POW briefly, then escaped to Switzerland
Flight Engineer: Sgt R Henderson - EVD
Navigator: F/L A M Ogilvie DFC - EVD
Air Bomber: F/S W E Barrett DFM - POW: Camp 357, POW no.886
Wireless Operator: F/S L E J Humber - POW: Camp 357, POW no.1006
Mid Upper Gunner: F/S A Lynch DFM - KIA
Rear Gunner: Sgt K W Chipchase - KIA

Camp 357 was Stalag Kopernikus

Mr Barrett is a member of the 207 Squadron RAF Association, living in Australia and Wing Commander Mackie lives in Surrey, England. The Ogilvie family would very much like to have contact with the other surviving members of the crew or their families - contact details are given at the end of this page.

Norman Mackie, the pilot told the crew to bale out, but did not have his parachute on. Joe went back to check on him and helped him with his parachute. They baled out at 2000ft. "Norman says that Joe saved his life".

Ralph Henderson was actually a pilot who was aboard that night for operational experience. On return to the UK he went back to operations, something Joe was not allowed to do.

Sadly, after all he had been through P/O Ralph Henderson DFM was killed in action with all his crew on a Berlin raid just months later on the night of 22/23 November, aboard another OL-B (Lancaster JB424 OL-B). His DFM was Gazetted on 23rd July 1943. He and his crew are buried in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery.

The night of 11/12th March 1943 was Joe Ogilvie's 51st op. Having bailed out successfully he made contact with the French underground. After 88 days he reached Spain over the Pyrenees.

In the book 83 Squadron 1917-1969 Joe Ogilvie gave this account of his 'home run':

"On the way back from Stuttgart we were attacked by an Me 110 and despite violent evasive action and our gunners firing back, he finally shot out our two engines, and the whole plane was quickly on fire. Following other members of the crew, I baled out, and made a heavy landing in a field in north east France, about ten miles south of Verdun.

In a daze and limping and I began walking and kept to small back roads, passing close to the small French villages of Lassencourt, Sommaisne, Vaubecourt and Sommeille. I was tired, hungry, shaken up and my knee hurt.

As I approached the village of Heiltz I saw my first Frenchman, an old farmer early to start work. I walked over to him and in awkward high school French told him I was R.A.F.  He took me to his hut and gave me a piece of bread, and did what he could to help. He was very frightened that the Germans would come, so I started out again heading towards Vitry le Francoise. As I walked along a German soldier suddenly came along but he gave me a stupid look and walked on.

In Vitry le Francoise I sent into a cafe, asked for a glass of lemonade and then asked the woman for help. She became very excited and went to the telephone. I panicked (she had in fact telephoned for someone to help me) and ran out of the cafe, along a canal and hid in nearby woods.

I hid in the woods for several hours and then walked back along the canal where a friendly Frenchman called me, rowed me along the canal and hid me in a hut. His name was Pierre de Paep, and he quickly introduced me to several of his friends. These people did not belong to any organized Underground Group, but did their best to help me.

That night I moved on and reached Blaise-sous-ar-Illiers. Here, again, I received help and was taken to a house where our Flight Engineer, Ralph Henderson, was also hiding. It was great to see him again. We slept for nearly twenty four hours, were given French clothes and shown French mannerisms.

We were taken to meet a member of the Resistance, who told us to make for a cafe in Toulouse kept by Madam Bardou, an Englishwoman married to a Frenchman. We went to Paris by train, were hidden in a flat for a spell, and after several narrow escapes from arrest, continued by train over the border into unoccupied France to Toulouse.

We found the cafe and Madam Bardou, were able to clean up, had my bad foot treated and was given an excellent meal of ham and eggs. Our next move was to an apartment, which was an official clothing bureau, and here we were hidden for eleven days, given help and fake identity cards.

Here we met an Englishman, Eugiene, who had been planted in that part of France to organize the Resistance in the area. We again moved on by train to a magnificent estate owned by a Monsieur Leven, a member of the Underground. He was very wealthy and we spent three weeks with him, living in a life of luxury, and also having a good rest. In May the Gestapo suddenly swooped in the area and arrested several of those who had helped us, and we had to move quickly.

We met a guide, Raoul, who was to guide us to the Spanish border for a fee of 6,000 francs (paid by Leven). By train, bus and walking we reached the foothills of the Pyrenees. We climbed high amongst them, along precipices, with sheer drops to valleys far below; it was the most difficult part of our journey. At last we reached the Spanish border, and here Raoul left us.

After several hair raising adventures we reached the town of Lerida. Here we were arrested and put in a grim Spanish prison where conditions and food were appalling. Finally after five days in prison the British Consulate arranged for our release. We were then treated with every consideration, had comfortable rooms and good food."

The prison diet made Joe so ill he could not immediately travel back to England, unlike Ralph who wanted to get back to his family. Joe went to a Spanish summer resort on May 20th 1943 to rest and recuperate. On May 26th he left Gibraltar and arrived in Glasgow June 6th 1943. He married Winnifred Sharman on July 21st 1943.

He was awarded his second DFC for his evasion. His first was for navigating his Lancaster back to the UK after his pilot had been badly wounded by flak.

Joe was Navigation Officer for PFF NTU Nov 1943 - May 1944  (A/S/L) and was Group Navigation Officer Officer for No. 6 (RCAF) Group May 1944 - May 1945.

After the war he was PSO to CAS (Robert Leckie A/M) and when A/M Harris came to Montreal in 1947 Joe was his Personal Aide. [one of his sons, Steve Ogilvie, has a book by A/M Harris and autographed by him with a comment regarding Joe, which must be wonderful to have]

Joe contracted TB in late 1947 and was hospitalized from Oct 1947 to Sept 1948.

On retirement from the RCAF in 1975 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Military Merit. From 1980 to 1986 he was the executive director to Maj Gen Gus Cloutier, the Sergeant at Arms in the House of Commons, Ottawa.

Joe had his biography written up by a RCAF Public Relations officer and this was published in 1994:

Title: All the Luck in the World
Author: Allan M Ogilvie
Editor: John Parsons (he resides in St. John's Newfoundland)
Publisher: Creative Publishers, St. John's, Newfoundland 1994
ISBN number: 1-895387-43-4

He was one of the most decorated Newfoundlanders from WW2 (Newfoundland was a Dominion until 1947 when it joined the Confederation of Canada and became a Province.)

He leaves his wife, sister Ruby, his sons Steve, Robert and Donald, his daughters Claire and Jill, and seven grandchildren.

Anyone with further information on Joe Ogilvie is invited to contact his family via one of his sons, Steve Ogilvie:

Steve Ogilvie
277 East Steep Mountain Drive
Draper, Utah
84020 US
tel 1.801.572.7962 (replace AT with @ before sending email)

Steve Ogilvie
'Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War', W R Chorley (Midland Counties Publishing)

OGILVIE, F/L Allan McPherson, DFC (20509) - French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star - Award as per AFRO 485/47 dated 12 September 1947. Pilot. See Field of Honour (Bank of Montreal, c.1950).

Enlisted in RAF, August 1940; overseas August 1941. Posted to No.83 Squadron and commissioned April 1942. Completed 51 sorties with the unit.

Awarded DFC (London Gazette 12 March 1943), Bar to DFC (London Gazette, 27 July 1943) and Mention in Despatches (London Gazette dated 1 January 1945).

Aircraft attacked by a fighter, 11 March 1943 and he baled out. Landed in Alsace-Lorraine, about ten miles from Franco-German border. Rescued by French Underground, taken to Paris and then to southern France.

Spent several weeks in Toulouse and Montaubain before resuming escape via St. Girons across Pyrenees to Spain. After three days in mountains he was arrested by Spanish police but released a week later and made his way to Gibraltar - three months after being shot down.

Returned to duty with a Pathfinder Navigational Training Unit, and later Group Navigation Officer in No.6 Group. Returned to Canada for "Tiger Force" work; remained in RCAF after war. Following citation from Field of Honour:

Squadron Leader Ogilvie, while serving as Navigator with 83 Squadron, completed two tours of operations and rendered outstanding service to the French cause.

quoted with two corrections to the no. of ops and the date of loss from RCAF Personnel - Awards & Honours at which scroll down page for OGILVIE, F/L Allan McPherson.

last update 13 Dec 13

Royal Air Forces Escaping Society 1945-95