04.12.1942 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire IX BS277 Fl/Sgt. H.M. Batters
Date: 04th December 1942 (Friday)
Unit: 401 Squadron (The Rams)
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: RAF Biggin Hill
Location: English Channel, off France
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Harold Mark Batters R/95487 RCAF Age 24. Killed
We are extremely grateful to Francois Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in October 2017.
REASON FOR LOSS:
During the afternoon, taking off from RAF Biggin Hill on a Rodeo sortie over France when they were engaged by fighters from JG26.
He was shot down over the English Channel and killed.
Also lost from the Squadron:
21 year old, Fl/Sgt. Bruce Herbert Nickel R/99760 RCAF - Flying Spitfire BS317 - from Ontario, Canada - it is thought possible that the pilot had blacked out due to oxygen starvation as his aircraft was seen to spin into the ground. Sadly his body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
P/O. J.W. Flander RCAF Flying Spitfire BS536 - baled out but rescued with slight injuries. He also escaped death again on the 18th December 1943 flying Spitfire Vb MB199 on a Ramrod operation when his aircraft suffered a Glycol leak over Dieppe after an engagement. He again baled out and was rescued by a Walrus.
Above Front L-R: Sgt. Smith, Sq/Ldr. Douglas, P/O. Whitham, P/O. Murray, F/O. Blakeslee, Sgt. Cosburn, Sgt. Gimbel, Sgt. McLennan, P/O. Tucker, Fl/Lt. Harley. Front L-R: Sgt. Pope, P/O. Merritt, P/O. Ferguson, Sgt. Flander, P/O. Dennison, P/O. Ormston, Sgt. Mathewman.
(1) Batters Lake, southwest of Wabishkok Lake, Manitoba, Canada was named after Fl/Sgt. Harold Mark Batters in 1988.
Fl/Sgt. Harold Mark Batters. Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery (St. Omer). Plot 8. Row A. Grave 6. Born on the 02nd September 1918, the son of Harold and Rowena Batters, of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Beloved Son Of Harold And Rowena Batters, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada”. Prior to service he was keenly interested in raising pure-bred cattle and took an active part in the Boys Cattle Club of Portage as well as the Seed Grain Club.
Fl/Sgt. Bruce Herbert Nickel. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 105. Born on the 30th June 1921, the son of William Fred and Gertrude Elizabeth Nickel (née Yundt), of Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
We are unable to find any further information on P/O. Flander - any assistance greatly appreciated.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to François Dutil and sources as quoted below: