Gloster Gladiator Mk.II, "YK-W", N5832, No. 80 Fighter Squadron RAF,
pilot Flt M.T. Pattle, Albania December 1940
original painting, oil on canvas, 70x40 cm

Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas St. John "Pat" Pattle DFC & Bar (3 July 1914 – 20 April 1941) was a South African-born World War II Flying ace for the Royal Air Force. He was an ace with a very high score, and is sometimes noted as being the highest scoring British and Commonwealth pilot of World War II. He has been unofficially credited with about 50 victories. In total, 26 victims were Italian; 15 were downed with Gladiators, the rest with Hurricanes.

"Pat" Pattle was born in Butterworth, Cape Province, South Africa, on 3 July 1914. He joined the South African Air Force as a cadet on leaving school, but in 1936 transferred to the RAF. In June 1937 as a Pilot Officer  joined 80 Squadron, which had just re-equipped with Gloster Gladiator biplanes.

In April 1938, he accompanied the unit to Egypt, where by 1939 he had become a flight commander. Following the outbreak of war, the unit moved up to the Libyan border, where in August 1940, he first saw action. In November, the squadron was transferred to the Balkans to help the Greek Air Force against the Italian invasion on the Albanian Front. Here Pattle was to enjoy his significant success. On 19 November 1940, Pattle with eight other pilots from of 80 Squadron attacked Fiat CR.42s and Fiat G.50bis near the Italian airfield at Koritza. Three CR.42s from 160o Gruppo and a G.50 from 355a Squadriglia, 24o Gruppo, were shot down and the four pilots killed. Pattle claimed two CR.42s that day. On 2 December, in the Argyrokastron area, he shot down a IMAM Ro.37bis from 42a Squadriglia, 72o Gruppo O.A., and Sergente Luigi Del Manno and his observer, Tenente Michele Milano, were both killed. In the afternoon Pattle shot down another Ro.37bis from 72o Gruppo O.A. near Premet, killing both members of the crew. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 11 February 1941, and a bar to his DFC on 18 March 1941, for which the citation read:

In March 1941, during an engagement over Himara Flight Lieutenant Pattle shot down three enemy fighters. This courageous and skilful fighter pilot has now destroyed at least 23 enemy aircraft. Amazingly, his victories thus far were with the obsolete Gloster Gladiator biplane, but as the Allied forces encountered Luftwaffe units after 6 April 1941, the RAF fighter component squadrons were quickly re-equipped with the far superior Hawker Hurricane Mk I. On his first encounter with the Luftwaffe on 6 April 1941, Pattle claimed two victories over the Bf 109Es of 8. Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 27.

Pattle later served with 33 Squadron as Commanding officer during March and April 1941. Pattle scored multiple kills on several days. On his last combat operation, over Athens, suffering from combat fatigue and influenza with a fever over 39˚C he tried to save one of his pilots (F/Lt Woods) from a Bf 110 before two other Bf 110s of Zerstörergeschwader (ZG) 26 shot him down over Eleusis Bay, some five miles SW of Athens.

Pattle is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial at El Alamein together with 3000 other Commonwealth airmen who lost their lives in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Greece, Crete and the Aegean, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Somalilands, the Sudan, East Africa, Aden or Madagascar during the Second World War, and who have no known grave.

Purchase information:

Giclée reproductions Limited Giclée print edition
Giclée reproduction on Hahnemühle Canvas Artist matte 340 gsm

70x35 cm ... 60 EUR
90x45 cm ... 90 EUR

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Limited edition of 50,
matting paper 230 gsm,
format A2 (594x420 mm)
English text

price ... 25 EUR

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