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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 22246
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Time:16:00 LT
Type:Boulton Paul Defiant Mk I
Owner/operator:264 (Madras Presidency) Squadron Royal Air Force (264 (Madras Presidency) Sqn RAF)
Registration: L6967
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Hornchurch, Essex, England. -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:RAF Hornchurch, Essex
Destination airport:RAF Hornchurch, Essex
The first attack on Hornchurch took place on the afternoon of Saturday August 24, 1940. During this attack 264 Squadron Boulton Paul Defiant turret fighters fared badly in the face of the enemy mainly over Thanet and Manston; in all, seven of these aircraft were mauled, four being lost or written off in combat operations.

One of the seven, L6967, was shot down over its home aerodrome in combat with Messerschmitt Bf-109s of JG51 at 16:00 hours. Pilot Officer R S Gaskell was slightly injured but his gunner Sergeant W H Machin died of the wounds he received. The aircraft was written off.

Crew of Defiant L6967:
Pilot Officer Richard Stuart Gaskell (pilot) - wounded
Sgt William Howard Machin (Air Gunner) Service Number 968717, aged 20 - killed on active service, buried in Handsworth Cemetery.

P/O Gaskell moved to 249 Squadron at North Weald on 7th December 1940 and was posted from there to 8 FTS Montrose on the 13th, presumably as an instructor.His subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was released from the RAF in 1946.

Gaskell rejoined the RAF in 1952 and retired on 4th January 1963 as a Flight Lieutenant in the General Duties Branch, qualified in Photographic Interpretation. He died in September 1997, aged 78.

NOTE: Some sources claim that this aircraft was shot down over Manston, Kent, but there is little doubt that it returned to its home base at Hornchurch. Also, the Defiant involved was L6967 and not, as reported in several published sources, L6965 (Defiant L6965 was shot down on 13 May 1940 near Zevenbergen in Holland).


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1979 p 48)
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/2767:

Revision history:

06-Aug-2008 08:51 Anon. Added
07-Jan-2012 03:47 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Destination airport, Narrative]
27-May-2019 02:17 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Registration, Operator, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
27-May-2019 02:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
30-May-2019 12:49 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
16-Apr-2020 15:12 Allach Updated [Operator, Location, Operator]

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