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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 193250
Last updated: 12 November 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIa
Owner/operator:74 Squadron Royal Air Force (74 Sqn RAF)
Registration: P7741
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Unknown
Location:English Channel, off Cap Griz Nez, Pas-de-Calais -   France
Phase: Unknown
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
In the afternoon, the RAF launched Circus 2, a raid by five Blenheims of 139 Sqn against Boulogne docks under escort by nine fighter squadrons: 24 Hurricanes of 1 and 601 Sqn and 12 Spitfires of 303 (Polish) Sqn flew close escort, 36 Spitfires from 66, 74 and 92 flew rear cover and 35 Spitfires and Hurricanes of 54, 64 and 611 flew a Channel sweep. Flak gunners claimed a Blenheim but all returned safely, having seen in the target area seven Bf 109s that made no attempt to intervene.

As the force was leaving the target area, two Bf 109s from I./JG 3 dived on the bombers but Sqn Ldr W Whitney-Straight, leading 601 Sqn, fired a burst at the leading Messerschmitt, scoring hits on the fuselage and wing and claiming it shot down at 1340 hrs at 5,000 feet over Boulogne. The German pilot, Uffz Günther Pöpel of 1./JG 3, was wounded in one eye by fragments. He managed to crash-land 3 km southeast of Boulogne, wrecking his Bf 109 E-8 WNr 6384. Pöpel had only slight wounds and returned to his unit but was again shot down on 7 May 1941, this time over Kent, and was captured.

Pöpel’s wingman was attacked by Hurricanes of 1 Sqn and received four bullets through the fuselage, Flt Sgt Karel Miroslav Kuttelwascher (a future Czech ace) and Flg Off N P W Hancock each claiming a Bf 109 damaged at 1355 hrs at 10,000 feet over Boulogne.

The Biggin Hill Spitfires flying rear cover arrived over Boulogne at 20,000 feet and found six Bf 109s below them. Sqn Ldr Adolf Gysbert Malan took 74 Sqn down to engage. He and Sgt R J Payne each claimed one destroyed at 1355 hrs 5 miles NW of Boulogne, while Sgt Smith claimed a probable, but no German fighter was seriously hit at this time. One of the British pilots, Sqn Ldr Eric John Churston Michelmore, on attachment from 611 Sqn, was killed when his Spitfire IIa P7741 was shot down over the Channel by Ltn. Friedrich Geißhardt of 1.(J)/LG 2, who claimed a Spitfire shot down 40 km west of Cap Gris Nez at 1530 hrs (German time) as his 8th victory.


"1941 the turning point. Part 1", by John Foreman, ISBN 1-871187-22-2
Luftwaffe claim lists by Tony Wood and Jim Perry (
RAF Fighter Command activity in 1941 file, by Tony Wood (
"Les pertes de la chasse de jour allemande en France 1939-1945. Vol 2: 1941", by Pierre Watteeuw (Hors Série Avions n° 15). ISBN 2-914017-XXX,%20ERIC%20JOHN%20CHURSTON

Related books:

Revision history:

03-Feb-2017 10:48 Laurent Rizzotti Added

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