Blumer, Alexander Gordon Barrett, DFC

Alex was born on the 5th May 1922 in Gosford, NSW and enlisted on the 25th May 1941. He trained in Canada, probably in 1941, and then joined 601 Squadron RAF. With the Squadron, he saw service in the Middle East, Malta, Sicily and Italy before returning to the UK on a posting to 453 Squadron RAAF, which was based at Hornchurch at the time.
 
When he was attached to an Auxiliary Air Force Squadron in Italy, he was Section Leader of an aircraft formation out on a shipping patrol when he saw 14 Messerschmitts dive out of the sun to attack some vessels. Regardless of the heavy odds, he immediately turned to engage them and break up the formation to prevent the attack.

Singling out an enemy aircraft, he attacked from 15 degrees to port, opening fire at 400 yards in order to slow it down. Closing in to 30 yards in line astern, he again fired the cannons and the Messerschmitt was observed pouring forth black smoke and spinning to earth, the trapped Nazi pilot being unable to bale out.

Alex calmly turned to resume his patrol, but a few seconds later he was attacked from behind by three Messerschmitts, which were soon reinforced by three more, with two Focke-Wolf 190s above them, all intent on avenging the death of their fellow airman. Alex turned in towards them with his cannons blazing and damaged one of the Messerschmitts. Next moment, his starboard cannon was rendered useless and his engine began to run rough, causing a loss of power. Both his radiators were holed and a shell exploded on the throttle quadrant, smashing his third and fourth fingers, which later had to be amputated. The glycol temperature was off the clock, so Alex switched off the engine and baled out. Flying Officer Blumer was awarded the DFC as a result of this exploit.

In due course, Alex returned to Australia, now a Squadron Leader. Postings followed to 82 Squadron and 452 Squadron, which saw him at Morotai, and finally with the occupation forces in Japan. The photo is of 452 Squadron Spitfires over Moratai in 1944.Blumer Alexander G.B. Pic 4

Alex was discharged from the forces on the 24th June 1947.

Editor – Incidentall, Alex’s brother, Anthony, also a RAAF pilot, was shot down over France and taken prisoner, but with the help of the underground, he escaped to Switzerland and returned ill to England. Refusing repatriation home, he slowly recuperated and accepted his final mission on which he was killed. A tough lot, those Blumers!

Geoff Ltchfield and Bruce Read
The Spitfire Association