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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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222 Squadron Crest
03.10.1943 No. 222 Squadron Spitfire IX MH783 Fl/Lt. Hesselyn

Operation: Ramrod 259

Date: 03rd October 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 222 Squadron

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: MH783

Code: ZD-?

Base: RAF Hornchurch, Essex

Location: Near Beauvais, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Raymond Brown Hesselyn DFM. DFC. NZ/404362 RNZAF Age 22. PoW No: 1371 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Hornchurch in Essex at 16:10 hrs to escort bombers. Whilst over Beauvais they were attacked by enemy aircraft - the squadron claimed two 1when his section was about to attack another Luftwaffe section when they were attacked.

He was hit, the aircraft on fire he was forced to bail out and landed at about 17:00 hrs. Captured almost at once but sent to a hospital at Beauvais for treatment to burns to his hands and face.

DFM Citation: "Sergeant Hesselyn is a skilful and gallant pilot. Undeterred by odds, he presses home his attacks with outstanding determination. He has destroyed 5 enemy aircraft, 20 of which he shot down in one engagement."
DFM Bar Citation: "During a period of four days operations in May, 1942, this airman destroyed five enemy aircraft, bringing his victories to ten. Although fighting at great odds in the heavy raids on Malta, Flt. Sgt. Hesselyn never hesitates in his efforts to destroy the enemy. His courage and devotion to duty are outstanding."
DFC Citation: "This officer has destroyed at least 17 enemy aircraft. His successes are a fine tribute to his great skill, courage and keenness."
MBE Citation: "For distinguished service while prisoner of war."

Burial details:

Born on the 13th March 1921. New Zealander Raymond Brown Hesselyn MBE. DFC. DFM. survived the war. Sadly, he was admitted to hospital at RAF Uxbridge and died of natural causes on the 14th November 1963, age just 42. (cancer of the stomach) Buried at Hillingdon and Uxbridge Cemetery. Had previously served with 249, 27, 222 and 41 squadrons. One of the top New Zealand scoring pilots of WW2 (Some 18 confirmed claims). He was the only New Zealand pilot to have been awarded a bar to his DFM. Thought to have completed over 160 operational sorties at the time of his capture.

He co-authored the book "Spitfires Over Malta" with P/O. Paul Brennan DFC. DFM. (1) in 1943. A later revised edition has been republished by Mr. Paul Lovell in 2012. ISBN 13: 9780955364655 - available at Amazon - please use link on the left of the page, this helps us and costs you no more. Any problems ordering please contact us.

(1) Then a Fl/Lt. 23 year old, Virgil Paul Brennan AUS/404692 RAAF was seriously injured in an accident on the 13th June 1943, he died on the way to hospital.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 07.08.2018

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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