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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 136953
Last updated: 19 November 2021
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Time:06:50 LT
Type:Boulton Paul Defiant Mk I
Owner/operator:264 (Madras Presidency) Squadron Royal Air Force (264 (Madras Presidency) Sqn RAF)
Registration: L6960
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Polder Moordplaat, Drimmelen, Noord-Brabant -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk
Destination airport:
Took off at 04.15 hrs from RAF Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk along with 5 other Boulton Paul Defiants, together with 6 Spitfires from 66 Squadron. The object being to patrol the Dutch coast between Ijmuiden and the Hague to attack German troop transport.

They flew across the North Sea, making landfall about ten miles north of The Hague at 05:15 hrs, after which all aircraft turned north.

Over IJmuiden they were fired on by Dutch anti-aircraft guns located on the south side of the harbour. The guns were firing accurately but they ceased fire immediately the British signalled the Dutch letter of the day. All aircraft turned about and flew south along the coast. More fire, this time German, was met over Maassluis which caused sections to take evasive action.

Shortly after, the No. 66 Squadron Spitfires turned east towards Rotterdam where there were fires raging in various places while the Defiant's followed a more southerly route. Approaching Rotterdam, the crews of both flights saw about seven German Ju 87 Stukas (belonging to 12. Staffel of Lehrgeschwader 1) dive-bombing a target to the south-east.

The Defiant's went in to the attack and a ferocious air battle developed. Shortly after, Bf 109s from 5. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 26 joined the battle, which then developed into a series of individual dogfights.

It must have been this aircraft that Thomas saw exploding above the Biesbosch after it had been shot down by a German fighter. Judging by a fairly large piece of fuselage wreckage it seems that it had broken off just behind the rear turret. The Defiant crashed in a creek known as ‘Gat van het Zuiderklip’ just west of Moordplaat island in the Biesbosch wetlands and both crew members, Gordon Chandler and his gunner, LAC Douglas McLeish were killed.

McLeish's body, almost completely covered with a thick layer of mud, was found six weeks after the crash by Dutch labourers working in a marsh known as the Kwestieus polder, a little distance south of the crash site. It was transported by boat to Werkendam where it was placed in a coffin, taken to the local cemetery and buried the next day.

Crew of Defiant L6960:
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Gordon Emery Chandler, RAF 33559, age 20, killed in action 13/05/1940, buried at Made-en-Drimmelen Protestant Churchyard, Netherlands
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gunner) Douglas L. McLeish, RAF 581467, age 20, killed in action 13/05/1940, buried at Werkendam Protestant Cemetery, Netherlands


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 48)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/360:

Revision history:

29-Jun-2011 00:44 ThW Added
07-Jan-2012 03:34 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Departure airport]
01-Feb-2013 14:42 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Aug-2013 13:30 JINX Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source]
13-Aug-2013 15:46 Nepa Updated [Operator]
14-Aug-2013 20:25 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
04-Mar-2014 21:20 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Jul-2019 00:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Jul-2019 00:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2020 12:37 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source]

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