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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 54477
Last updated: 14 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: L6969
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Donge river near Geertruidenberg, Noord-Brabant -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk
Destination airport:
Defiant L6969 (PS-R) of 264 Squadron, RAF: Took off at 04:15 hrs from RAF Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk, along with 5 other Boulton Paul Defiant's and 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 0515, 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 109's from 5. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 26 joined the battle, which then developed into a series of individual dogfights.

Flight Lt George SKLETON (pilot) - Injured, captured, taken as POW
Pilot Officer (40474) Jack Elmer HATFIELD (Air Gunner) RAF - evaded capture

Both returned by boat to England. Flight Lt G.F.A. Skelton survived the war, stayed in the RAF, and ended his career in the RAF as Air Commodore in 1959. Died in 1985 aged 79.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 34)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/362):

Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
29-Jun-2011 00:41 ThW Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Phase, Source, Narrative]
07-Jan-2012 03:33 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Source]
21-Jul-2013 06:23 JINX Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source]
13-Aug-2013 15:40 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport]
14-Aug-2013 20:20 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
10-Nov-2014 17:31 Anthony COX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
11-Nov-2014 13:48 Siczak Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Jul-2019 00:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2020 12:50 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Cn, Other fatalities, Location, Source]

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