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Thread: Spitfire P9363.

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    Default Spitfire P9363.

    Hallo,

    The excellent Air-Britain 'AEROMILITARIA' series on Spitfire I individual histories records that P9363 with 234 Squadron was abandoned on 15 August 1940 by Sgt. Z. Klein. Then that it was salvaged by 50 MU on the 21st and that it reached AST for repair on 3 September 1940.
    Next it is shown going to 92 Squadron as QJ-Y on 30 September 1940, then to 6 MU on 17 December 1940, seemingly going on as a test aircraft until 1942.
    I cannot find any trace of it in the September or December 1940 F.541 parts of the 92 Sqn. ORB. Unfortunately there are no proper F.541s for the months of October and November.
    Bearing in mimd the 92 Sqn. unit code above, one assumes there must be some evidence for this.

    Can anyone please confirm if P9363 served with 92 Squadron in late 1940, or if it was definitely written off on 15 August 1940 ?

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Hi,

    The Spitfire production record entry for Spitfire Mk I P9363, c/n 547, makes no reference to any service with 92 Sqdn. In fact the Spitfire does not appear to have flown again after the 15th of August 1940 crash.

    "...abandoned nr Twyford Hants C3 15-8-40 AST to 3371M 1 SoTT 13-10-42. "

    I suspect that 13-10-42, if meant to be the arrival date at 1 School of Technical Training, is incorrect and is more likely to have been 13-10-40.

    a15.

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    Hallo 'A15',

    Thanks for that helpful clarification. It would seem that details from another Spitfire have been added in error to the history of P9363.

    Regards,

    Martin.

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    Default Crashed Spitfire P9363

    Hello Martin

    Unfortunately the numbered original pencil entries in the Hants EP Emergency Chart at Hants CRO logging crashes and incidents on 15th August 1940 have been rubbed out and then written over with fewer incident entries for the day.

    The RAF Faygate No. 49 MU ORB, states the salvage/collection date for Spitfire P9363 was 18.8.1940 and they collected the Spitfire from Christchurch, Hants.

    The Christchurch ORB states:-

    "Christchurch 15.8.40. 17.15 Air Raid warning sounded. Enemy aircraft overhead. One SPITFIRE forced landed badly damaged by enemy action, pilot safe and later flown by aircraft of this station to MIDDLE WALLOP. Guard sent to crashed SPITFIRE in BOURNEMOUTH, pilot killed."

    Therefore, Klein must have force landed at Christchurch and this would tally with the location that P9363 was collected from.

    Cleaver baled at Bishops Waltham according to a letter from the AHB.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 5th December 2012 at 08:19. Reason: correction re Christchurch Station ORB

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    Hallo Mark,

    You have clearly done serious study of this loss, far more than I. Your post leaves me more certain now that P9363 crashed and that the pilot baled out. Anything after 15.8.1940 in the 'AEROMILITARIA' entry has nothing to do with P9363 it seems. It mentions 50 MU as the salvaging unit but this unit was based near Oxford at that time. So unlikely to have recovered it. 49 MU seems more logical. On my next trip to Kew I will try to check the ORB for the former. I will also order a copy of the F.78 for P9363 - just to be sure !

    One odd point. As I look at a map Twyford seems quite a distance from Christchurch. Could the reference to Christchurch be the error here ? It seems it only appears in the 49 MU ORB. The crash location of P/O Hight's Spitfire, R6988, seems closer to Christchurch.

    Regards for now and thanks as ever,

    Martin.

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    Martin

    Since posting I have had to amend my post as I have just found the Christchuch ORB photocopy pages and a Spitfire did force land at Christchurch 15.8.1940. Spitfire P9363 was collected by 49 MU from Christchurch.

    Hight was at Bournemouth.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 5th December 2012 at 00:49.

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    Hallo Mark,
    .
    Got it ! I don't know how but it appears the circumstances around the losses of both Klein and Cleaver's aircraft have become mixed up. Thanks to you mainly, especially for the Christchurch ORB and Cleaver inputs, I believe we can solve this puzzle.
    .
    It seems clear now from the Christchurch and 49 MU ORBs that P9363 was force-landed in a damaged state by Klein on Christchurch airfield. Also that he was then flown from there to rejoin his unit later that day at their new base at Middle Wallop and that P9363 was salvaged on the 18th by 49 MU. So far so good, but Twyford is a problem as you suggest.
    .
    Your reference to Cleaver made me look at his loss. Indeed he seems to have been the only pilot to bale out successfully in that area of southern England on August 15th. All four locations given for his bale out and loss of his Hurricane P3232 are 8 miles apart at most. Winchester where the combat took place, Durley and Bishops Waltham over which locations he abandoned the Hurricane, and Lower Upham where he landed by parachute. All are a minimum of 25 miles from Christchurch (town).
    .
    I then found a note about Cleaver referring to an item about him in the February 2000 issue of 'AEROPLANE (Monthly)', page 79. In the regular Aviation Art section, this time dealing with a painting by John Howard Worsley of the instant when Cleaver's perspex canopy was shattered and just before his bale out. What happened to him after that was most interesting and not in my copies of 'MEN of the BATTLE of BRITAIN' (1989 and 1993). Hence the reason I noted it. But the real gem was the line "He landed near Twyford village."
    .
    Twyford is between Winchester and the other three locations mentioned above, actually about 2 miles south of the former. So for reasons unknown Cleaver's parachute landing site became mixed up with Klein's forced landing at Christchurch airfield.
    Where exactly did Cleaver's P3232 crash I wonder ? That would be most interesting to learn ! Still another part of the puzzle to solve.
    .
    Likewise the exact history of Klein's P9363 after 15.8.1940 is still unclear. Part of the 'AEROMILITARIA' entry seems incorrect (the 50 MU and 92 Squadron references at least).
    .
    Many thanks Mark for helping to sort out what happened to P9363 on 15 August 1940. Great working with you !
    .
    Regards,
    .
    Martin.

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