03.08.1943 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire Vb BL339 F/O. Ralph B. Delbridge
Operation: Non - operational.
Date: 3rd August 1943
Unit: No. 401 Squadron RCAF
Type: Supermarine Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Redhill, Surrey.
Location: Underhill Farm, Buckland, Surrey
Pilot: F/O. Ralph Balkwill Delbridge J/9490 RCAF Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
This aircraft was flying at low level when it suddenly dived to the ground and crashed. Sadly, the pilot was killed instantly.
F/O Ralph Delbridge - Ralph was the Uncle’s best friend of Kathleen Fraser at High School - graduation photo 1938 (courtesy Kathleen Fraser) We were advised in July 2017 that the photo on the left was taken outside the camp in Sudan by the Uncle of Wanda Robinson in July 1942.
History of Spitfire Mk.Vb (BL339)
Built by Vickers Armstrong at Castle Bromwich. Contract No. B981687/39
Third order for 1000 Spitfires, 23rd October 1940
Built as a Mk. Vb October / November 1941
Serial range between BL231 BM653.
Armament: Two 20mm Hispano Cannons and Four .303 Browning Machine Guns.
Delivered to No. 8 M.U. on the 15th November 1941
To No. 74 Squadron 23rd November 1941
To No. 232 Squadron 8th April 1942
To A.S.T. MR. (Air Service Training, Marwell) 9th June 1942
To No. 332 Squadron 20th August 1942
To No. 431 Squadron 21st November 1942
To No. 412 Squadron 3rd February 1943
F.A.A.C. (Flying Accident Category AC) Cat: AC Repair is beyond the unit capacity (May be repaired on site by another unit or contractor)
ROS 4165 (Repaired on site, Station 4165) 25th May 1943
To No. 401 Squadron 1st June 1943
3rd August 1943 D.I.G. (Dived into the ground) Underhill Farm, Buckland, Surrey, Category E. (Cat: E Aircraft write-off)
Grave of F/O. Ralph Balkwill Delbridge at Brookwood (courtesy Charlie)
F/O. Ralph Balkwill Delbridge. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 45. C. 5.
Son of Franklin James Delbridge - died 1944, buried at Exeter Cemetery, Ontario, Canada and Eva Delbridge (née Balkwill) died 1971, buried at Exeter Cemetery, Ontario,of Exeter..
Family grave photo shown below (courtesy Kathleen Fraser)
With thanks to Wanda Robinson who contacted us in July 2017. Also to Kathleen Fraser who sent the original photographs.