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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 22115
Last updated: 17 September 2020
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Time:10:30 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk I
Owner/operator:616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron Royal Air Force (616 (South Yorkshire) Sqn RAF)
Registration: K9804
C/n / msn: 24
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Dunkerque Beach, Dunkerque, Pas de Calais -   France
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Rochford, Southend, Essex
Destination airport:
K9804: Spitfire Mk.Ia (c/no 23) Delivered direct to 66 Squadron as 'RB-P' 23-10-38 (reportedly their first Spitfire) Transferred to 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron 20-10-39 as "YQ-P"; damaged night landing at base 5-40. Missing from patrol over Dunkerque 28-5-40. Total Flying Hours 234.45.

According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/621): "Spitfire K9804 failed to return from an operational flight over Dunkirk, France, 28 May 1940. Flying Officer R O Hellyer missing, later reported safe".

On May 28th while patrolling over Dunkirk with 19 and 65 Squadrons, 616 Squadron was bounced by 30 Messerschmit Bf 109's. In the ensuing battle three Messerschmit's were shot down but the Spitfire of the CO Squadron Leader Robinson was forced to crash land badly damaged by enemy fire.

Pilot Flying Officer Richard Owen Hellyer survived the forced landing of Spitfire K9804 on the beach at Dunkirk, although he was slightly injured in the crash. According to a biography of the pilot:

"Richard Owen Hellyer was born in North Ferriby near Hull on 16th May 1916 and attended Aysgarth School in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He joined 503 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in November 1936 and was awarded his flying badge on 3rd July 1938.

In late 1938 it was decided to disband 503 and form 616 as a new bomber squadron at Doncaster. Squadron Leader the Earl of Lincoln began forming 616 on 1st November 1938 and Hellyer joined as a founder-member. On 15th November the squadron became part of Fighter Command.

Called to full-time service at the outbreak of war, Hellyer was shot down and wounded on 28th May 1940, operating from Rochford. His Spitfire K9804 came down by Dunkirk beach. He was unhurt and was able to get back to England.

He flew with the squadron until 8th September 1940 when he was posted to 56 OTU Sutton Bridge. In April 1941 he was appointed 'A' Flight Commander. Hellyer joined the MSFU at Speke on 25th June 1941, staying until 28th December when he was posted to 6 FIS for an instructors course, after which he went to 28 EFTS at Wolverhampton on 2nd May 1942 to instruct. On 25th April 1944 Hellyer moved to 5 (P) AFU at Hutton Cranswick.

He was released from the RAF on 24th October 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant. He later settled in South Africa and died there on 28th October 1995. He is buried in Tangmere churchyard."


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1976 p 79)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/621:
7. Photo of Spitfire K9804:

Related books:

Revision history:

03-Aug-2008 23:17 Anon. Added
28-Aug-2011 20:39 angels one five Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Source, Narrative]
29-Dec-2011 12:33 Nepa Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Phase, Departure airport, Narrative]
08-Nov-2012 16:50 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Location, Narrative]
25-Feb-2014 01:12 angels one five Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
13-Jun-2015 16:54 Fuck Dun Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Narrative]
22-Aug-2019 21:04 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
23-Aug-2019 16:30 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
23-Aug-2019 21:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Country]

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