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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 228521
Last updated: 11 September 2021
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Time:23:00 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic whtl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B.Mk V
Owner/operator:77 Squadron Royal Air Force (77 Sqn RAF)
Registration: N1432
MSN: AWA.1586
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Airon Saint Vaast, 2.5 km SW of Campigneulles-les-Grandes -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V N1432 (KN-R) 77 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) when lost (failed to return) for combat operations on the night of 28-29 May 1940. All five crew killed. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/650): "Whitley N1432 crashed near Campigneulles-les-Grandes, France, 28/29 May 1940. Sergeant C H Butler, Sergeant K C Chatfield, Sergeant L J Brooks, Sergeant A Fryer and Flying Officer T J Geach - report of deaths".

Airborne at 20:27 on the evening of 28 May 1940 from RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire. Target: Hirson. Crashed, with one engine on fire, killing the entire crew, cause unknown, at 23:00 hrs, and aircraft exploded on impact. Crash location reported as the Culbute Rang-du-Fliers road, near Airon Saint Vaast, 2.5 km south west of Campigneuelles-les-Grades (Pas-de-calais) 5 km SW of Montreuil-sur-Mer, France.

As stated above, all five crew were killed. They were initially buried close to the crash site, and were later exhumed and re-buried in 1943 at Campigneulles-les-Grandes Churchyard, Pas de Calais, France

Crew of Whitley N1432:
Sergeant (Pilot) Leonard John Brooks, RAF 742103, age 23, killed in action 28/05/1940
Sergeant (Observer) Charles Herbert Butler, RAF 745989, killed in action 28/05/1940
Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner) Kenneth Charles Chatfield, RAF 630838, age 18, killed in action 28/05/1940
Sergeant (Air Gunner) Arthur Fryer, age 20, RAF 626227, killed in action 28/05/1940
Flying Officer (Pilot) Trevor James Geach, RAF 33311, age 22, killed in action 28/05/1940

The reported crash location of Airon-Saint-Vaast is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France, some 19 miles (30 km) south of Boulogne-sur-Mer, at approximate Coordinates: 5025′56″N 140′05″E


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Brtiain, 1977 p 8
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File Air 81/650:

Revision history:

26-Aug-2019 01:11 Dr. John Smith Added
26-Aug-2019 01:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Narrative]
27-Aug-2019 06:41 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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