ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 227958
Last updated: 15 June 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Ia
Owner/operator:74 (Tiger) Squadron Royal Air Force (74 (Tiger) Sqn RAF)
Registration: K9867
C/n / msn: 85
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Clairmarais Woods, 2 miles North East of St. Omer, Pas de Calais -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Hornchurch, Essex
Destination airport:
K9867: Spitfire Mk.Ia (c/no 85); First Flown 14-2-39. Issued to 74 Squadron 18-2-39 (as ZP-J): Written off (destroyed) when lost (failed to return) Missing from combat air patrol patrol over Calais 23-5-40. Pilot survived, bailed out, but was captured and taken as PoW. According ot the official Air Ministry file into the incident: "Spitfire K9867 failed to return from patrol of the south of Calais, France, 23 May 1940. Flying Officer V G L D Byrne - prisoner of war".

While on patrol shot down by ground fire in a Spitfire I over Clairmarais Woods, 2 miles North East of St. Omer, Pas de Calais; wounded in leg & captured. Aircraft hit in radiator the pilot force landed. This Spitfire is always quoted as the first in captivity. That is, to be captured by enemy forces. Although Spitfire I K9867 ZP-J was the first to be captured it was not the first to be captured intact. Not only was the radiator damaged but upon detailed inspection it was found that the heavy landing had caused the fuselage skin to ripple distorting the airframe slightly.

Pilot F/O Byrne shot down same day as Roger Bushell; taken to Dulag Luft, later to Stalag Luft III; had minor involvement in "the great escape" of 1944; was finally repatriated after spending much time in persuading the Germans that he was mentally ill. (This was the inspiration for the episode "Tweedle Dum" in the 1973 BBC TV Series "Colditz" where a PoW pretended to be mentally ill in order to be repatriated. However in the TV series, the pretence went too far, and the PoW actually became mentally ill).

Crew of Spitfire K9867:
Flying Officer Vincent George Lowther Davey ("Paddy") Byrne, RAF

The reported crash location of Clairmarais Woods is near a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France, 2 miles (3 km) northeast of Saint-Omer, on the D209 road, at approximate Coordinates: 5046′27″N 218′03″E


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James Halley, Air Britain, 1976 p 80)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/506:

Related books:

Revision history:

07-Aug-2019 01:26 Dr. John Smith Added
08-Aug-2019 05:18 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description