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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 90908
Last updated: 28 August 2020
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Date:26-MAY-1940
Time:09:50 approx
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia
Owner/operator:19 Squadron Royal Air Force (19 Sqn RAF)
Registration: N3200
C/n / msn: 441
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sangatte, near Calais -   France
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Hornchurch, Essex
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Shot down by German Luftwaffe fighter ace Fw Erich Rudorffer (2./JG 2) - over Sangatte, North West of Calais at 09.47 hrs - his 6th victory. This aircraft was based at RAF Hornchurch with 19 Squadron RAF (coded "QV", with no individual letter) and was detailed to patrol the Dunkirk-Calais area. Following an attack on Ju.87s over Dunkirk, the squadron was attacked by Messerschmitt Bf109s of 1./JG1 and 2./JG2.

This aircraft was hit in the radiator and forced to belly land on the beach at Sangatte, west of Calais at around 8.45am. It is likely that this is one of the Spitfires claimed by Fw. Rudorffer of 2./JG2. The pilot, Squadron Leader G.D. Stephenson, was captured. In all, the squadron lost three Spitfires in the engagement, with one further aircraft damaged.

Stephenson remained a prisoner for the rest of the war, including a period spent at Colditz Castle, while his Spitfire gradually sank under the sand.

Stephenson continued his RAF career after the war but was killed in 1954 while test-flying in America. His Spitfire was recovered from the French sands in 1986 after strong currents revealed it, more than 45 years after it sank. The wreckage was excavated during the spring of that year and, though largely intact, very few parts could be salvaged.

The Spitfire was restored to flying condition from December 2000 onwards, and returned to the air on 26 March 2014, before it was donated to IWM in 2015. (The civil registration G-CFGJ was allocated to allow test flying). During a visit to the museum in July of that year, the Duke of Cambridge watched an air display by the Mark 1a fighter, sat in its cockpit and visited Duxford’s Battle of Britain exhibition – housed in the very same hangar that No 19 Squadron’s Spitfires were kept during the war.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1977 p 18)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/611: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14502303
3. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/p003.html
4. http://www.luftwaffe.cz/rudorffer.html
5. http://dunkirk1940.org/index.php?&p=1_196
6. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/p003.html
7. https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-spitfire-lost-for-almost-50-years
8. http://warbirdsnews.com/warbird-restorations/spitfire-mk-ia-n3200-flies.html
9. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3155260/Spitfire-faithfully-restored-40-years-buried-French-beach-sells-world-record-3-1million-fee-auction-proceeds-going-charity.html
10. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/11565774/WW2-Spitfire-shot-down-over-Dunkirk-on-sale-for-2.5m.html
11. https://www.aircraftrestorationcompany.com/mk1s


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
24-May-2011 15:02 ThW Updated [Source, Narrative]
24-May-2011 15:03 ThW Updated [Narrative]
01-May-2018 15:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
06-Oct-2018 05:28 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
24-May-2019 19:26 TigerTimon Updated [Time]
21-Aug-2019 22:04 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
09-Mar-2020 15:55 Iwosh Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]

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