Ian was born on the 19th October 1920 in Nundah, Queensland, and he enlisted in the RAAF on the 20th July 1941 at Brisbane, Queensland.
After completing his initial training in Australia, Ian embarked for Canada and then England. When he completed his Spitfire training, he was posted to 132 RAF Squadron in December 1942.
132 Squadron had reformed in 1941 as a fighter unit equipped with Spitfires. Ititially, it provided air defence from Peterhead over northern Scotland, and then in September 1942, it moved to southern England. There, it spent another year flying offensive sweeps over occupied France. Ian remained with the Squadron in southern England until he was recalled to Australia in September 1943. The photo is of pilots and ground crews of the Squadron posing for the photographer with their Supermarine Spitfire Mark VBs, lined up at Newchurch, Kent.
After various postings, Ian joined 452 Squadron in September 1944. A few months later, on the 18th December 1944, he ferried a Spitfire from No.9 Repair and Salvage Unit (RSU) at Sattler in the Northern Territory to the Squadron, which had just set up base in Morotai in the Dutch East Indies a week earlier on the 11th December. The Squadron was in Morotai to join the 1st Tactical Air Force and to support the Australian operations in Borneo at Kalimantan.
According to an ADF Serials report for his aircraft, A58-520, Ian had to return to Merauke in Papua New Guinea due to bad weather. On landing at Merauke, the port eleo was torn out of wing and the aircraft crashed after colliding with other Spitfires. Luckily, Ian was not injured
Unfortunately, Ian’s luck ran out. On the 24th December 1944, while flying an offensive patrol over Halmaheras led by Wing Commander caldwell, the engine of his aircraft stopped about ten minutes after take-off from Morotai, while at 4,500 feet. He left the formation and tried to re-start the engine without success. He then bailed out at about 2,000 feet over the sea. Ian was seen to land successfully in the sea near the impact site, but when Air Search and Rescue (ASR) arrived, all they found was the parachute. Ian was reported missing, presumed drowned.
Ian Allison Markwell is remembered at the Ambon Memorial in Indonesia.
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association