AR banner
Search for phrases in quotes eg "Alan Smith"

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the AddInfo button, or send us email from the Helpdesk.
277 squadron crest
25.07.1942 No. 277 Squadron Defiant V1117 Fl/Sgt. John Arundel

Operation: Air Sea Rescue

Date: 25th July 1942

Unit:No. 277 Squadron

Type: Boulton Paul Defiant

Serial: V1117

Code: BA-?

Base: R.A.F. Martelsham Heath, Suffolk

Location: English Channel off Dunkirk

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Stanley George Arundel J/83862 R.C.A.F. Age 21. Missing (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William George Bunn 940626 R.A.F.V.R. Age 24. Missing


While so many aircrews were lost defending the British Isles or attacking targets held by the enemy, others were lost in the relatively unheralded support roles of Ferry Command, weather reconnaissance and Air-Sea Rescue.

The story of the last Defiant to be lost in action, V1117 and her crew of Fl/Sgt. John Arundel and Sgt. William Bunn.

The Defiants, which had been withdrawn from fighter squadrons due to their lack of any forward firing armament making them easy targets for the Luftwaffe, were now being re-assigned to training and Air-Sea Rescue squadrons.

277 Squadron Defiant V1117 Fl/Sgt. Arundel shown left and Sgt. Bunn, right (courtesy Veteran Affairs Canada)

Arundel and Bunn had previously been involved in a number of successful rescue attempts flying a Supermarine Walrus sea plane. On the afternoon of Saturday, July 25th however, they were scrambled in a Defiant along with two Spitfires to search for a downed pilot off the French coast.

No sooner had they reached the search area when six Fw 190’s appeared on the scene. Badly outnumbered, one of the Spitfires was hit and crashed into the sea.

Unteroffizier Karl Börner of 9 Staffel JG26, flying ‘Yellow Eight’, seized upon the opportunity to claim his first kill. The almost defenceless Defiant, being easy prey for the vastly superior 190, was sent plunging into the sea from a short burst of cannon fire blowing up as it hit the water.

The bodies of Fl/Sgt. Arundel and Sgt. Bunn were never recovered.

Fl/Sgt. Arundel graduated from No. 6 SFTS Dunnville, receiving his wings on September 14, 1941.

Burial Details:

Fl/Sgt. John Stanley George Arundel. Runnymede Memorial Panel 102. Son of S. George Arundel, and of Laura Arundel, of Millbrook, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. William George Bunn. Runnymede Memorial Panel 79. Son of George Bunn, and of Hannah Lucy Bunn, of Norwich, Norfolk, England.

(1) Arundel Lake in northern Ontario is named after Fl/Sgt. John Arundel.

Researched by Colin Bamford for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives and friends of the crew.

CHB 06.03.2011

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
Click any image to enlarge it
Do you have more information or corrections to this story? Use our AddInfo facility

Readers Interested In Further Reading:
More personal histories and associated material
Show Research Material
You can lay a wreath on this page to show your respect in an everlasting way.
Add us to your address book. Clickhere

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered
Last Modified: 29 January 2017, 21:39