26.06.1942 No. 350 Squadron Spitfire Vb AA835 MN-E P/O. Roger de Wever
Operation: Circus 195 - Hazebrouck marshalling yards
Date: 26th June 1942 (Friday)
Unit: No. 350 Squadron
Type: Spitfire MkVB "Stella Maris"
Location: Crash landed near Oye-Plage, France.
Pilot: P/O. Roger De Wever 87692 RAF Age 24. PoW No: 482 CampL Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
REASON FOR LOSS:
Shot down by German Fw190 flown by Fw Ernst Christof of 1./JG26.
Roger De Wever was born in Bordeaux on the 20th May, 1917. In 1936 he started a officers career by acceding the Royal Military School in the promotion Infantry and Cavalry. Three years later he also succeeded an Observer course in the Aéronautique Militaire. He asked for conversion to pilot and is accepted in the 83rd promotion. The invasion of the Germans into Belgium obliged the Flying School to retreat to Capriquet in France. When France capitulated, the Flying School arrived at Oujda, Morocco. He departed to Great Britain via Gibraltar. Once he arrived in Cardiff, enlisted the VR of the RAF. He started training that lasted one year.
On August 26th, 1941, Roger together with several other countrymen were posted to 131 Squadron at Ternhill. One of these flights formed the nucleus of 350 squadron, where he and his companions where transferred to on November 14th, 1941 but where he arrived after a short leave on 23 November 1941. After several months of training, the squadron was declared operational and moved to the frontline. De Wever performed his first operational sortie on the 5th May 1942. He named his plane "Stella Maris" after the daughter of a Scottish family, who accepted him as their own son when arriving from Belgium.
On the 29th June, 1942, the squadron flew Circus 195 - escorting a formation of Boston's to Hazebrouck. The 350 engaged a formation of FW-190 and Roger, who saw a lone FW-190, engaged him. His opponent, Fw. Ernst Christof (1./JG26) matched to hit De Wever, whose plane started to dive to the sea. Roger succeeded to belly-land his plane in the near of the French Oye-Plage. Taken PoW, a picture of him with his plane was published in "Der Adler". Sent to Stalag III, he helped with the preparations for "The Great Escape". He succeeded to escape before, during a visit to a swimming pool. Recaptured and isolated, he didn't manage to participate in "The Great Escape", which probably saved his life, most of the recaptured prisoners were executed by order of the Fuhrer, including his fellow squadron member Fl/Lt. Henri A Picard.
Liberated at the end of War, De Wever returned to the UK and joined the Belgian Section of the RAF. He married a WAAF and stayed in the Belgian Air Force till 1964, when he retired as Lt-Colonel. He returned living in England where he died on the 1st May 1990 and was buried at Lowestoft.
None - survived the war, now buried in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.
Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered, October 2015. Photo of pilot courtesy André Bar - crash photos Michel Beckers collection.