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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 220438
Last updated: 4 November 2020
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Date:08-JUN-1944
Time:06:35
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX
Owner/operator:349 (Belgian) Squadron Royal Air Force (349 (Belgian) Sqn RAF)
Registration: MK252
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:rue Georges Landry, Dives-sur-Mer, Calvados -   France
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Narrative:
In the morning of 8 June 1944, Spitfire pilots of 349 (Belgian) Sqn RAF were flying a defensive patrol over the Allied beachhead, their first mission of the day. At 0625 hrs they saw bomb-carrying Fw 190s approaching the beachhead and engaged them. The German pilots dropped their bombs as soon as they were attacked. Two pilots of Blue Section, Flt Lt Gabriel ’Gaby’ Seydel and Wt Off Douglas Clarke RNZAF, claimed one shot down together. Yellow Section was also involved in a brief dogfight and Wt Off Jean-Louis Marie Pierre Gheysens was posted missing.

The Spitfire IX MK252 of Gheysens fell between 0630 and 0640 hrs on the cafe Lasica, rue Georges Landry, at Dives-sur-Mer. People gathered to the scene and one, Robert Ledorze, born in 1928, saw the pilot burning. The house and another nearby were destroyed by the fire that followed, due to the aircraft tanks, and two other were damaged. Firemen were only able to master the fire after one hour. In the remains of the house, they found two heavily burned people who survived and six dead: Mr Stanislas Lasica, born in 1891 in Poland, and Jaboslaus Hrdlicka, a 35-year old Czechoslovak, in the cafe, and in next house the four members of the Corbet family: the father Henri Adrien Edmond, 39, his wife Marguerite Yvonne, 36, and their sons Charle Georges Alfred, 15, and Claude Henri, four months old.

That morning several Jagdgruppen were active in the area between Bayeux, Caen, Le Havre and the Channel, and pilots of four of them (I./JG 2, III./JG 3, II. and III./JG 26 and III./JG 54) claimed nine confirmed victories against 5 Mustangs, 2 P-47, 1 Spitfire and 1 Typhoon, and one unconfirmed one against one P-47. The Spitfire was claimed by Uffz Erwin Schleef of 9./JG 54 at 0640 hrs at 1,500 m in area TU-8.9, north of Caen. But identification errors were common, and another possibility is the claim by Oblt Alfred Teumer of 7./JG 54 for a "Mustang" at 0627 hrs at 1,600 in area TU-9.2, in Dives-sur-Mer area. This claim is the closest to the crash place.

Jean-Louis Marie Pierre Gheysens, born on 2 June 1916 at Folkestone, England, enlisted in the Belgian Army on 1938, joined the Aéronautique Militaire in 1939 and became a pilot on 29 April 1940. In May he followed his unit to France, coming back to Belgium in August. In September he was sent to Germany as a POw, but was liberated in December. He joined the "Armée Secrète", a Belgian underground group, in July 1941, was arrested in June 1942 and interned until 6 November. He then went to Spain with the help of the Comete evasion line. He crossed the Spanish borned on 20 November and reached Scotland on 24 December 1942, having enlisted in the FBGB ("Forces Belges en Grande-Bretagne", Belgian Forces in Great Britain) at Gibraltar. After training at 5 PAFU and 57 OTU, he joined 349 (Belgian) Sqn in September (or June) 1943. On 11 December 1943 he married Jean Isabel Laurie, and their daughter Anne-Marie Jean Cecile was born the next year.

Sources:

"Le Pays d’Auge, 64e année, n°3" (French magazine, May-June 2014)
http://www.ladives1944.com/t%C3%A9moignages/dives-sur-mer/
"Les Victimes Civiles du Calvados dans la Bataille de Normandie 1er mars 1944 - 31 décembre 1945", by Jean Quellien and Bernard Garnier. ISBN 2-908561-16-6
"Batailles Aériennes n° 28: Le débarquement: Combats Aériens, Première partie " (by Philippe Cornil and Jean-Louis Roba. French magazine. Spring 2004)
"Fighter Command War Diaries Volume Four: July 1943 to June 1944", by John Foreman. ISBN 1-871187-43-5
"2nd Tactical Air Force. Volume One: Spartan to Normandy. June 1943 to June 1944", by Christopher Shores and Chris Thomas. ISBN 1-903223-40-7
Luftwaffe claim lists by Tony Wood and Jim Perry (http://lesbutler.co.uk/claims/tonywood.htm)
http://www.evasioncomete.org/fgheysejm.html
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dives-sur-Mer
http://www.gralon.net/plan-ville/planr-rue-georges-landry-dives-sur-mer-240790.htm


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
02-Jan-2019 11:24 Laurent Rizzotti Added

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