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Thread: Spitfire KH-W lost in Normandy

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    Default Spitfire KH-W lost in Normandy

    Hello

    In connection with the case of F/Sgt Ronald McElroy (my other post on him), the local community forwarded me a photostat copy of a 'J' file, captured german document, which seems to confuse the case of McElroy with another allied fighter loss.

    This document refers to a machine with the code KH 'English cockade' W, which would make it a No. 403 Squadron Spitfire.

    The serial number is said to be MH400. Trouble is that MH400 was not issued, it's in a blank sequence of serials issued to a production batch of Spitfire IXs, stopping at MH390 and restarting at MH413. Otherwise it would fit the Spitfire of No. 403 Squadron...

    The plane was burnt, the pilot was killed.

    Thanks for any pointers and opinion about this.

    Regards

    Joss

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    Joss

    Is this J File dated the same date as McElroy's loss? July 19th 1944?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hello Simon,

    Yes, it's about a presumed crashed Typhoon. I think that the serial should in fact read MN400, which was a Typhoon used by No. 266 Squadron, and indeed flown ealier by McElroy. So a mistake of one letter on the wreckage might explain the difference. Similarly, the KH code might be a badly deciphered ZH, which was the code of No. 266 Squadron.

    John E sent me the ORB, and it shows for that date, in the form 541 that McElroy was flying MN860... Yet another problem, as according to the Air-Britain file, this Typhoon flew with 197 and not 266. I'll ask Hendon for a copy of the form 78.

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,

    There is a thread on WW2talk on this loss that gives McElroy's a/c as MN751

    http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads...cer-raf.43390/

    It seems that 266 lost three Typhoons that day, all with Rhodesian pilots, the other two being J.H. Meyer and J.C. Harrold. It seems that J.C. Harrold is buried closest to Lisieux, although I'm not entirely clear where Meyer's original grave was before concentration at Ranville. Harrold was also flying an a/c with a serial starting 'MN' (MN133).

    ETA: The serials given in that thread match "The Typhoon & Tempest Story" - Shores & Thomas.

    https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/c...john-cheshire/

    https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/c...nnes-hermanus/

    There was a 403 Sqn Spitfire lost on 20 Jul 44, but I think that may have been in or near Rennes

    https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/3078888/powers,-william-charles/

    Good luck with your search!

    Regards,

    Jeff
    Last edited by RecklessRat; 2nd June 2019 at 06:49. Reason: Updated with reference

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    Hello Jeff

    Thanks for your input. Indeed 266 lost 3 Typhoons out of 8 in that operation. One pilot claims a Me 109 shot down in return, I haven't checked yet the German losses.

    MN751 is the serial also quoted in "Fighter Command Losses" and "2nd T.A.F.", as in "The Typhoon and Tempest story". I know think that the correct serial is MN400, and it seems Chris Thomas has also come to that conclusion, as suggested by Mojmir in an e-mail.

    Regards

    Joss

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    Yes, I also came to the conclusion that F/Sgt R.McElroy was in Typhoon MN400, ZH-W, when shot down on 19 July 1944. 266 Sqn's ORB is particularly inaccurate in that period, at least as far as losses are concerned. The serials quoted often appear to be that of the replacement aircraft or the previous holder of the same code letter. Of the other two losses that day, MN133 for F/Sgt J.C.Harrold is correctly quoted but Flt Off J.H.Meyer, given as flying JR303 was actually in MN751 (this and MN400 confirmed by casualty records via AHB5). JR303 was not reported with 266 sqn until 27 July 44.

    'MN860' quoted in the ORB for McElroy is unlikely to have been with 266 Sqn at all as (noted by Joss earlier) it's F.78 states 197 Sqn and FB catB with that unit on 13 July 44 (very probably OV-G that was badly shot up while flown by Johnny Rook). This meant it was returned to the UK for repair and would have been somewhere in that process on 19 July. The only likely candidate for 'MN860' would seem to be MN680 which was with 266 Sqn at that time.

    Apologies for my part in the confusion!
    Chris

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    Hello Chris,

    Thanks for your message. Your suggestion that the serials quoted being that of the replacement Aircraft is really interesting. If the form 541 was typed / compiled at the end of the month, or only a couple of days after the missions took place, is a good explanation.

    I'd already forwarded these hypothesis to the townhall of Norolles, near Lisieux, which is where MH400 crashed, and where McElroy was initially buried, up to 1953, when he was transfered to St Valéry-en-Caux franco-british cemetery.

    Regards

    Joss

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