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Charles Alexander Ogilvy - Squadron leader’s records uncovered 70 years after he took to the skies in Battle of Britain

Charles Alexander Ogilvy, seated centre, with colleagues. Inset: His war decorat

Published: 30 July 2010
by TOM FOOT

HE was a Battle of Britain squadron leader and risked his life flying Spitfires during the Second World War.

But the heroics of Charles Alexander Ogilvy have never been officially recognised, his name mysteriously omitted from official records.

That was until his daughter, Susan, found details of her father’s secret life while rummaging through her late mother’s files. 

It means that 70 years after Squadron Leader Ogilvy took to the skies to defend his country in the Battle of Britain, his memory can for the first time be immortalised along with his fellow war heroes.

He joins a list of 2,963 whose names are engraved on a public war memorial at the Victoria Embankment.

Susan Oglivy, who lives in Oxford, said: “I am grateful that my father’s name has been added and that he will be honoured along with all those other young men who fought for their country.

“My father became a squadron leader, and, although he never talked about the war, it is right that his name appears on the memorial. It is something for our family to be proud of.” 

Mrs Ogilvy found her father’s Battle of Britain clasp, and his records, in her mother’s belongings after she died. 

It showed he had flown Spitfires and the records included details of two dangerous missions that took place in October 1940.

She hired a researcher and contacted the Battle of Britain Memorial Committee, which verified her father’s wartime records, confirming he was among those who fought in the Battle of Britain – between July 10 and October 31. 

He joined 610 Squadron at Acklington on October 14 and flew two operational sorties on the 25th of that month, which qualified him for the clasp. 

He was later posted to RAF Cranwell as a flying instructor, where he trained more than 120 pilots over a three-year period in more than 1,000 flights.

He later took part in a series of important operations including Operation Manna, in 1945, where food parcels were delivered to starving civilians in occupied Holland. And VE Day did not end the operations for the Lancaster crews: Operation Exodus, run by the Allied forces, saw the bombers converted to bring home prisoners of war.

The mystery of Mr Oglivy’s omission may never be solved – but it is believed lost or damaged records are to blame.

London Monument committee member Edward McManus said: “We are delighted to be able to honour the bravery of Sq Ldr Ogilvy in this way.

“It’s a mystery as to why the October 1940 entries that registered his eligibility for the clasp were not picked up at the end of the war and he otherwise vanished without trace from the usual records.”

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