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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 228811
Last updated: 15 June 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia
Owner/operator:266 (Rhodesian) Squadron Royal Air Force (266 (Rhodesian) Sqn RAF)
Registration: N3197
C/n / msn: 438
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North Sea, off Dunkerque, Pas de Calais, Haut de France -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk
Destination airport:
N3197: Spitfire Mk.Ia (c/no. 438) First Flown 27-11-39. Delivered to the RAF at 8 MU Little Rissington 2-12-39. Issued to 266 (Rhodesian) Squadron 15-2-40 as "UO-S". Shot down by Bf 109s over Dunkerque 2-6-40; pilot killed. Total Flying Hours 71.00.

According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/747): "Spitfire N3179 [*sic] failed to return from air operations over Dunkirk, France, 2 June 1940. Pilot Officer J W B Stevenson: report of death"

2 June 1940 was 266 Squadron's first combat air patrol over Dunkirk, during which the squadron lost two Spitfires and two pilots. The squadron had moved to RAF Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk, using this location as a "forward operations base" for Dunkirk patrols. 266 Squadron found its first action when it engaged some Bf 109s whilst Yellow section attacked some Bf 110s, one of which was shot down by Pilot Officer R M Trousdale to claim 266's first kill. The squadron was also credited with four Bf 109s probably destroyed, but lost Pilot Officer Stevenson in Spitfire N3197/UO-S and Sergeant Kidman in N3092/OU-V (both killed).

Crew of Spitfire N3197:
Pilot Officer James Walter Bryan Stevenson, RAF 42158, age 24, posted 2-6-1940, as missing in action, presumed killed.

As no trace of Spitfire N3197 or its pilot was ever found, he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Note that the Air Ministry file AIR 81/747 contains an error, in that it transposes the "last two" digits of the serial number - N3179 instead of the correct N3197. (Spitfire N3179 was written off when it hit trees landing at RAF Wittering 3-5-40. The confusion seems to stems from the fact that both Spitfires were with 266 (Rhodesian) Squadron).


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/747:

Related books:

Revision history:

08-Sep-2019 20:11 Dr. John Smith Added
17-Sep-2019 19:57 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Operator]

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