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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 219672
Last updated: 18 March 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX
Owner/operator:403 Sqn RCAF
Registration: MJ570
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Saint-Lambert, Calvados -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Only two armed recces were flown by 403 Sqn RCAF on 14 July 1944 and they lost a pilot on each mission. Shortly after noon 12 aircraft, whilst on the first armed recce of the day in the Falaise/Lisieux area, split up into sections and spread out. The four Spitfires of yellow section spotted a convoy consisting of about 30 armoured vehicles, flak-gun vehicles and trucks moving through the little village of St. Lambert about four miles south-west of Thury-Harcourt. The Spitfires destroyed the lead and trailing vehicles and were just beginning to attack the rest when a half-track flak gun hidden beside a house in the town fired point blank at the Spitfire of Flg Off Donald John Shapter as he flew low overhead. Shapter tried to climb his Spitfire IX MJ570 and circle for a place to set down, but crashed at the top of a nearby hill and was killed.

The villagers extracted Shapter’s remains from the twisted wreckage of his Spitfire, arranged a funeral and buried him in the yard surrounding the small parish church in St. Lambert. His grave became a symbol for the villagers and to this day they replace the flowers that nearly always adorn the grave. He is known as ’our Canadian’ and one citizen, a man named André Louis-Auguste, built a flying three-quarter scale Spitfire replica, painted it in the colours of Shapter’s Spitfire and flew it for many years after the war. As a ten-year-old boy he had seen Shapter shot down and was there with other villagers when they removed parts of the crashed Spitfire. Monsieur Louis-Auguste had incorporated parts of the Shapter aircraft inside his replica Spitfire as a living memory. The tragedy of Shapter’s death is that his wife gave birth to a baby girl just a week before - a father who never saw his daughter and a girl who never saw her father.


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Revision history:

18-Dec-2018 12:58 Laurent Rizzotti Added

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