Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas St John ‘Pat’ Pattle DFC and Bar, RAF

 Marmaduke Thomas St. John "Pat" Pattle'. Was born in Butterworth, Cape Province, South Africa, on the 3rd of July 1914, the son of English parents who had emigrated to the Union. He attended Keetman’s Hoop Secondary School, South West Africa, and Victoria Boy’s High School, Grahamstown. He joined the SAAF as a cadet on leaving school, but in 1936 transferred to the RAF. From the 24th of August 1936, he was granted a short service commission as an Acting Pilot Officer on probation. He completed his training in the UK in 1937 and on the  29th of  June 1937, he was confirmed as a Pilot Officer. He joined 80 Squadron, which had just re-equipped with Gladiator biplanes. In April 1938, he accompanied the unit to Egypt, where by 1939 he had become a flight commander. In August 1940, the unit moved up to the Libyan border. Pattle first saw action as a member of 80 Squadron during the first North African Campaigns, against the Italians in mid to late 1940. The squadron was afterwards transferred to the Balkans to help the Greek Air Force resistance against the Italian invasion. He later served with 33 Squadron as CO during March and April 1941. Pattle did all his scoring in a bracket of nine months, against Axis opponents who outnumbered the RAF fighter contingent at all times. Amazingly, fifteen of his victories were with the obsolete Glostor Gladiator biplane.



During February 1941 in Greece the RAF fighter component squadrons were quickly re-equipped with the far superior Hurricane Mk I. On his last flight over Athens, suffering from Flu and combat fatigue, he saved another squadron pilot from a Bf 110 before two other Bf 110s of ZestorerGeschwader (ZG) 26 shot him down into Pireus Bay. Pattle was reputed to be a crack shot, a better than average pilot and a capable formation leader in the air. As a squadron commander he demanded more from himself than anyone else, and it is said he died because he should have been grounded because of disease, yet he insisted fulfilling his duty to the end. Pattle' score at the time of his death was 34 cofirmed kill's but, Recent research has suggested that Pattle's true score could be as high as 45 - 50 kills. 

A nice example of a Glostor Gladiator, the Gladiator would fight some of the most dramatic battles of the early war years.