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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 227959
Last updated: 18 June 2020
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Date:23-MAY-1940
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Ia
Owner/operator:92 (East India) Squadron Royal Air Force (92 (East India) Sqn RAF)
Registration: N3194
C/n / msn: 435
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:East of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas de Calais, Hauts de France -   France
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Tangmere, Chichester, Sussex
Destination airport:
Narrative:
N3194: Spitfire Ia (c/no. 435). First Flown 25-11-39. delivered to the RAF at 27 MU 2-12-39. Issued to 92 Squadron as 'GR-Z' later 'QJ-Z'. Written off (destroyed) 30-3-40 when shot down by Bf 109s near Calais 23-5-40. Total flying time 46.50 Flying Hours. According to the official Air Ministry file on the incident (File AIR 81/507): "Spitfire PN3194 failed to return from an operational flight, shot down near Boulogne, France, 23 May 1940. Pilot became Prisoner of War. Squadron Leader R J Bushell - report of death; attempted to escape whilst a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft III ('the Great Escape'), 25 March 1944".

Shot down on a combat air patrol between Dunkirk and Calais by a Bf 109. Bailed out, survived, but captured and taken as PoW. Aircraft came down East of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas de Calais, Hauts de France, at approximate Coordinates: 50°43′35″N 1°36′53″E.

Crew of Spitfire N3194:
Squadron Leader Roger J Bushell (pilot), RAF 90120, aged 29. Captured and taken as a PoW (PoW no. 621) - survived interment in PoW Camps Stalag Luft I and Stalag Luft III. Killed 29/03/44 (aged 33) while in captivity - see below.

While a PoW, he was moved from one Prisoner of War camp to another because of his ability to escape, eventually being moved Stalag Luft III, which was located in Sagan, Germany (now Zagan, Poland), and was supposed to be escape proof. At this camp, he became known as "Big X", the leader and escape planner for the prisoners. His efforts facilitated the the digging of three tunnels, with a plan to have 200 prisoners escape from the camp.

This plan would culminate in escape of 76 men on the night of March 24, 1944. Nearly all were recaptured, including Bushell, with only three men making it back to Allied lines. On the night of March 29, 1944, while he was being transported to what he believed was a new prison camp, Squadron Leader Bushell and forty nine other escapees were murdered by Gestapo officials under the command of Emil Schulz just outside Saarbrücken, Germany, on the orders of German dictator Adolf Hitler. Their bodies were all cremated and placed in fifty urns, which were given back to the PoWs after a few weeks as a warning that escape would be met with certain death.

The urns were moved at the end of the war from Sagan to the Old Garrison Cemetery in Poznan, Poland, where they lie in a common grave in the Commonwealth Section, located in the southeast end. In 1950 author Paul Brickhill, who had been a prisoner at Stalag Luft II but was not among the escapees, published the work "The Great Escape" detailing the men and events surrounding the attempt. In 1963 it was adapted into a motion picture of the same name, with actor Richard Attenborough portraying "Roger Bartlett", a character that was heavily based on Squadron Leader Roger Bushell.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-N9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1977)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/507: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14502128
3. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2194208/bushell,-roger-joyce/
4. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/p003.html
5. http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=4329
6. http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/92_squadron.html
7. http://aircrewremembered.com/bushell-roger.html
8. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14091429
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag_Luft_III#Murders_of_escapees
10. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222565/He-shot-hero-Great-Escape-cold-blood-But-Nazi-DIDNT-deserve-hang.html


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Aug-2019 01:58 Dr. John Smith Added
07-Aug-2019 20:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
08-Aug-2019 05:18 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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