14.06.1944 Typhoon Ib MN661 Sq/Ldr. Henri A.C. Gonay DFC Croix de Guerre, Bronze Palm
Operation: Recce - anti-shipping
Date: 14th June 1944 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 263 Squadron
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF Harrowbeer, Yelverton, Devon.
Location: Northern part of Jersey, Channel Islands
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Henri Alphonse Clement Gonay DFC Croix de Guerre with Bronze Palm. 81635 RAFVR Age 32. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
During an anti-shipping attack with 8 other typhoons MN661 was hit by the heavy flak defences on the island or the ships they were attacking. He attempted to crash land the aircraft but was killed on impact.
Above: Typhoon Ib, this one from 164 Squadron
Left: Sq/Ldr. Henri Alphonse Clement Gonay DFC Croix de Guerre with Bronze Palm (courtesy Johny Recour)
His DFC Citation (awarded posthumously on 2nd July 1944) reads:
"Sq/Ldr. Gonay has completed 138 operational sorties and has displayed outstanding ability, courage and determination which have contributed largely to the successes achieved by his squadron. Squadron Leader Gonay has destroyed one enemy aircraft (Heinkel He 59 of Seenotflug-Kommando 2) and damaged a further three. He also sunk a 100 ton support vessel."
Formerly buried in St. Helier War Cemetery, Channel Islands, but was reinterred in Belgium in 1949.
Sq/Ldr. Henri Alphonse Clement Gonay DFC Croix de Guerre with Bronze Palm. Brussels Town Cemetery Belgian Airmen's field of honour, Evere, Belgium. Next of Kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information? He was married and had a daughter we understand.
Further information: Born in Theux on 21st July 1913, at 18 he joined the Belgian Air Force in 1931 - proved to be an exceptional plot and was soon placed as an instructor. Boarded the Queen Emma after France capitulated arriving in England on the 23rd June 1940. Trained on Blenheims within Coastal Command. After that he trained with 58 OTU on Spitfires. Later converted to Typhoons and joined 263 Squadron
Researched for relatives of the pilot with thanks to the following for further information, Johny Recour from Belgium, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 3, Aircrew Remembered own archives.