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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.


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132 Squadron Crest
05.12.1942 No. 132 Squadron Spitfire Vb AB369 P/O. Arthur D. Chiddenton

Operation: Rhubarb (see abbreviations)

Date: 05th December 1942 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 132 Squadron

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AB369 (1)

Code: FF-?

Base: RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England

Location: North Sea of Veurne, Belgium

Pilot: P/O. Arthur Dickens Chiddenton J/16337 RCAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

During a Rhubarb in the afternoon of the 5th December it is believed that the aircraft was shot down by flak. Understood to have crashed into the North Sea off the coast of Belgium. Rhubarb was the codename for a low level attack against a ground target of opportunity: they were not planned and the attacker had little or no information of the weaponry available to the target he was trying to eliminate.

(1) Spitfire AB369 first flew on the 30th December 1941, built at Eastleigh and powered by the RR Merlin 45 engine.

Burial details:

P/O. Arthur Dickens Chiddenton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 100. Son of Sydney James Chiddenton and Phoebe Barbara Chiddenton, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Trained at No. 5 Service Flying Training School, Brantford, Canada - Course 41: October 26th 1941 - January 15th 1942 after training at No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School.

Researched for Terry Perusse, who contacted Aircrew Remembered November 2016. P/O. Chiddenton was his grandfathers cousin - dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to sources as quoted below:

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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John B 2018-03-20

These Rhubarbs were very expensive in terms of RAF losses and one questions why they were persisted with. As a freelance ground attack against targets of opportunity they would certainly take the Germans by surprise, but they opened up the attacker to withering fire from the ground which could not be avoided. Many fine pilots were lost for negligible gains.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
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Last Modified: 20 March 2018, 15:54

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