09.08.1941 No. 452 Squadron Spitfire IIa P7590 Sgt. C.G.B. Chapman
Operation: Circus 68
Date: 09th August 1941 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 452 Squadron (RAAF)
Type: Spitfire IIa
Code: Not known (Krakatau)
Base: RAF Kenley
Location: Salperwick, north of Saint-Omer, France
Pilot: Sgt. Christopher Geoffrey Blomfield Chapman AUS/404198 RAAF Age 28. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
During a Circus (1) in the morning shot down by Bf109e from 6/JG26 over Salperwick in France at 11:00 hrs.
In September 1946 enquiries from the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit visited the cemetery and general area to try and obtain additional information. The Unit interviewed local police and the Mayor who was the first on the scene who reported that the the Spitfire was flying very low at the time and witnessed the aircraft pull up, the pilot then jumped but it was too low for his parachute to deploy fully and he was killed.
Local Woodcutters in the area who witnessed the crash of Sgt. Haydon and assisted the recovery of the pilot’s body carved into a tree nearby “Il mort pour la France 1941” (He died for France 1941) Sgt. Haydon also baled out too low for his parachute to open.
Also lost on this operation from the Squadron:
29 year old, P/O. Justin Hilary O’Byrne AUS/408022 RAAF Flying Spitfire IIa P7682 PoW No: 3735 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria. Shot in the foot during the engagement and also suffered a head injury - treated satisfactory by the Germans. After the war he became a politician and served as Senator for Tasmania. He passed away aged 81 on the 10th November 1993. (shown below)
Details on the PoW photo: Fl/Lt. Sydney Thomas Wickham AUS/402268 RAAF - captured 04th May 1944 at Sid Barani in Egypt, P/O. Justin Hilary O’Byrne AUS/408022 RAAF, Fl/Lt. Charles Keith Teulon Thompson AUS/404066 RAAF - captured 23rd February 1942 in Italy, Josef Bryks (AKA Joe Ricks, Czeck pilot - Hurricane Z2508 pilot captured 17th June 1941), Fl/Lt. Patrick Leslie Dixon AUS/40407 RAAF - captured 15th July 1941 North Sea, Netherlands, Fl/Lt. Tom Leslie Walker AUS/404271 RAAF - captured 10th September 1941 in Germany.
19 year old, Sgt. Gerald Barrington Haydon AUS/404100 RAAF Flying Spitfire IIa P8361 killed and buried next to his colleague in the cemetery at Longuenesse.
(1) Circus: The codename Circus was given to operations of British Royal Air Force during World War II where bombers, heavily escorted by fighters, were sent over continental Europe to bring enemy fighters into combat. These were usually formations of 20 to 30 bombers escorted by up to 16 squadrons of escort fighters. Bomber formations of this size could not be ignored by the German Luftwaffe.
Sgt. Christopher Geoffrey Blomfield Chapman. Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery (St. Omer) Plot 9. Row C. Grave 21. Born on the 27th January 1913 at Uralla, New South Wales, Australia, the son of Christopher Charles and Catherina Chapman, of Buderim Mt., Queensland, Australia.
Sgt. Gerald Barrington Haydon. Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery (St. Omer) Plot 9. Row C. Grave 20. Born on the 24th December 1921 at Southport, Queensland, Australia, the son of Harry and Gertrude Haydon, of Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these pilots with thanks to sources as quoted below, as well as the Australian Archives: