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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 228247
Last updated: 15 June 2020
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Date:26-MAY-1940
Time:08:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia
Owner/operator:65 (East India) Squadron Royal Air Force (65 (East India) Sqn RAF)
Registration: K9912
C/n / msn: 130
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Dunkerque Beach, Dunkerque, Pas de Calais -   France
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Hornchurch, Essex
Destination airport:
Narrative:
K9912: Spitfire Mk.Ia (c/no.130). First Flown 25-3-39. Issued to 65 (East India) Squadron, RAF as 'YT-O' 4-4-39. Damaged by Bf-109 and crash landed on beach at Dunkerque, Pas de Calais, France 26-5-40. Struck Off Charge 14-8-40; test bed for Merlin III engine and DeHavilland 3-blade 2-speed prop.

Took off from RAF Hornchurch, Essex 26 May 1940 for a combat air patrol between Calais and Dunkerque, as part of "Operation Dynamo" - the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk. Shot down in air to air combat, possibly by Hptmn Balathsar. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/572): "Spitfire K9912 landed near Dunkirk, France, 26 May 1940. Pilot Officer Kenneth Graham Hart - injured".

According to unofficial published sources this period of the pilot life was something like this...

"On 26th May twelve Spitfires from the squadron took off at 08:15 led by Squadron Leader Cooke for an offensive patrol over the Calais-Dunkirk area, Hart flying in Spitfire K9912 YT-O. They came across at least 50 enemy aircraft consisting of Bf-109ís with Bf-110ís bombing Calais, along with Henschel 126ís in their reconnaissance role, and immediately engaged them. Pilots of the squadron were soon involved in several dogfights with the Luftwaffe at 8,000 feet, resulting in a final tally of 3 Bf-109ís destroyed, 5 probable or damaged, 2 Bf-110ís destroyed and 1 Hs126 destroyed.

Hart shot down one of the Bf-109ís at about 08:40, seeing it crash in flames onto the beach at Dunkirk, unfortunately his aircraft was hit in the starboard wing (possibly by Hptmn Balthasar (Staffelkapitan of 1/JG1), forcing Hart down onto the same beach alongside the burning Messerschmitt (possibly that of Leutnant M Jaczak).

'During a dogfight in which 65 Squadron were engaged, I sighted several Me 109ís in formation in line astern. I attacked nearest from behind. I fired 2 bursts of 2 seconds at 300 and 280 yards. I then saw the enemy aircraft fall out of the formation and crash to the ground. I was then attacked from behind and forced down. My aircraft was completely unserviceable, and after usual formalities, returned to my base, by sea and rail'.

Hart managed to escape from the damaged Spitfire uninjured, (although the Air Ministry Casualty File No. 5801 of 26.5.40 first records that he gave out a radio message stating he was injured, and intended to torch the Spitfire using his flare pistol). Hart escaped back to the UK via a ship engaged on Operation Dynamo on the 28th May, quickly rejoining 65 Squadron at Hornchurch.

Over 200 sorties were flown on the 26th by the RAF, with the loss of eight RAF fighters and pilots (two returning later to the UK, one being Hart). Having now crash landed twice in four days, on his return, Hart was given leave. He returned to active duties on Saturday 15th June 1940, this time flying Spitfire N3126 on a convoy patrol between 10:20-12:15hrs.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1976 p 80)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/572: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14502210
3. http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=6623
4. http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/65_squadron.html#2605
5. Photo of Spitfire K9912 pre delivery: http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/CrupiRay/11757L.jpg
6. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/p001.html
7. Photo of burnt out wreck of Spitfire K9912: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/478929741596425107/?lp=true
8. http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/HartKG.htm


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
15-Aug-2019 22:48 Dr. John Smith Added
19-Aug-2019 17:56 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]

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