14 May 1940

Plusieurs renforts arrivent au sein du No.615 (County of Surrey) lorsque la RAF décide de détacher plusieurs Flight pour renforcer les unités en France : Pilot Officer John E. Collins [1], Malcolm Ravenhill [2] and Victor B.S. Verity [3] of No.229 (RAF) Squadron (B Flight) ; and Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young [4] from No.601 (County of London) Squadron.

Once again the events of the day are most confused. According to the ORB several patrols are carried out, without further details, from the airfields of Abbeville, Vitry-en-Artois and Douai where the B Flight passes overnight.

We know some details about one of the day’s sorties, a clash between a section of Hawker Hurricane Mk I and a German bomber in the morning (around 06h00). A victory is then claimed by Flying Officer Hedley N. Fowler [5]. Once again this event poses more questions than it offers an answer. Thus, no combat report is found, and it is therefore difficult to confirm or not this victory. In addition, sources diverge about the potential victim. Arnaud Gillet reports a Dornier Do.17 during a mission to defend the grounds, questioning the veracity because of lack of confirmation in the archives. For his part, Brian Cull refers to Junkers Ju.88 A-1 7A + BH of 1. (F) / 121 (Oberleutnant Heinz Spillmann, Oberfeldwebel Richard Schnegotzki, Unteroffizier Wihelm Colleseus and Walter Gers, all killed) doing a reconnaissance of the Brussels – Kortrijk – Ghent – Antwerp sector. [7] The aircraft crashes at Winkel-Sainte-Croix, north-east of Ghent, at 06h00. Finally, Peter Conrwell provided another interpretation. For him, the 1. (F) / 121 aircraft was reportedly the victim of No.504 (RAF) Squadron, while it was a Junkers Ju.88 A-1 of the 3. (F) / 123 F6 + BL which would be related to the claim of Flying Officer Hedley N. Fowler. The German aircraft then reconnoitered aerodromes along the French north coast when it was intercepted by British fighters. The engine was damaged and the Junkers Ju.88 was forced to land at Aalst at 06h15 hours. Unteroffizier Willi Reissmann was killed and the rest of the crew captured (Feldwebel Friedrich Küttner and Eugen Lauterbach, Unteroffizier Erwin Maxrath) [8].

[1] John Edward Collins (n° 41830).

[2] Il a rejoint la RAF (n° 40750) en mars 1938 et rejoint le No.229 (RAF) Squadron, le 9 mars 1940. The Battle of Britain London Monument – F/O M Ravenhill : http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Ravenhill.htm ; One of the Few – Flying Officer Malcom Ravenhill : http://www.oneofthefew.co.uk/pilots/mravenhill/mravenhill.php

[3] Victor Bosanquet Strachen Verity, né le 5 novembre 1919 à Timaru (Nouvelle-Zélande). Il rejoint la RAF en 1938, puis le No.229 (RAF) Squadron en novembre 1939. The Battle of Britain London Monument – P/O V B S Verity : http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Verity.htm

[4] Pour plus d’information, voir : Aircrew Remembered – Cecil R. Young : http://www.aircrewremembered.com/young-cecil-reginald.html

[5] FOREMAN, John. RAF Fighter Command Victory Claims of World War Two : Part One 1939 – 1940. Walton-on-Thames : Red Kite, 2003. p.42.

[6] GILLET, Arnaud. La Luftwaffe à l’ouest — Les victoires de l’aviation de chasse britannique (10 mai 1940 – 23 mai 1940). Béthenville : Arnaud Gillet, 2008. p.408.

[7] CULL, Brian ; LANDER, Bruce ; WEISS, Heinrich. Twelve Days in May. The Air Battle for Northern France and the Low Countires, 10 – 21 May 1940, as seen through the eyes of the fighter pilots involved. London : Grub Street, 1999. p.117. ; ROBA, Jean-Louis. La RAF en France — 2e partie : Hurricane sur le contient — Tome 1 : du 9 septembre 1939 au 14 mai 1940. Batailles Aériennes, n°68 (Avril – Juin 2014). p. 80.

[8] CORNWELL, Peter D. The Battle of France, Then and Now : Six Nations Locked in Aerial Combat, September 1939 to June 1940. Old Harlow : After the Battle, 2007. p.276.

06h00 or 06h15

Flying Officer Hedley N. Fwoler

Ju.88 A-1 7A+BH de la 1.(F)/121 or Ju.88 A-1 de la 3.(F)/123 F6+BL

Winkel-Sainte-Croix, north-east Gand or Aalst

Inconclusive claim, lack of available sources.

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