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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 90909
Last updated: 5 December 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:65 (East India) Squadron Royal Air Force (65 (East India) Sqn RAF)
Registration: P9437
C/n / msn: 600
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel NW of Calais, between Calais and Dunkirk -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Hornchurch, Essex
Destination airport:
P9437: Spitfire Mk.Ia (c/no. 600). First Flown 29-3-40. Delivered to RAF at 6 MU 1-4-40. Issued to 65 Squadron 11-5-40. Shot down by AAA during combat with Bf-110s near Calais Flying Officer J Welford killed 26-5-40. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/576): "Flying Officer J H Welford: report of death; Spitfire P9437 in air operations over the French coast, 26 May 1940".

Took off from RAF Hornchurch, Essex for a combat air patrol over Calais and Dunkirk areas. Shot down by German Luftwaffe fighter ace Fw Erich Rudorffer 2./JG 2 - North West Calais: 2.500 m. 09.45 (his 5th victory in air to air combat). Pilot of Spitfire P9437 was Flying Officer John Hylton Welford, whose parachute did not have time to deploy, and he was killed

Crew of Spitfire P9437:
Flying Officer (Pilot) John Hylton Welford, RAF 39588, age 22, killed in action 26/05/1940, buried at Minster (Thanet) Cemetery, Kent, UK

According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Kent & Sussex Courier" - Friday 31 May 1940):

The death is announced of Flying Officer John Hylton Welford, eldest son the late Mr. Hylton Welford and of Mrs. Welford, of 12, Thorpe Avenue, Tonbridge, who was killed in action this month. Flying Officer Welford was at Tonbridge School from 1931-36 and represented the school at squash racquets, being awarded his Colours in 1936."

John Hylton Welford: Born Dec 1917 Morpeth, Northumberland. Note that several unofficial published sources state that the Flak/AAA that brought down Spitfire P9437 was "friendly fire" - that is British AAA and not enemy AAA, and NOT by air to air combat with the enemy.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft P1000-P9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 53)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/576:

Related books:

Revision history:

24-May-2011 15:00 ThW Updated [Source, Narrative]
24-May-2011 15:03 ThW Updated [Narrative]
25-Apr-2013 01:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
27-May-2013 06:01 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
16-Aug-2019 01:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Location, Source, Narrative]

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