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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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41 Squadron Crest
19.08.1942 No. 41 Squadron Spitfire Vb BL777 Sq/Ldr. Hyde

Operation: Operation Jubilee

Date: 19th August 1942

Unit: No. 41 Squadron (motto: 'Seek and Destroy')

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BL777

Code: EB-?

Base: RAF Tangmere

Location: Dieppe, France

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Cochane Hyde 37403 RAF Age 27. Killed


In preparation for the Dieppe operation the Squadron were brought to readiness at 04:30 hrs. At 05:45 hrs the Squadron were ordered to patrol off Dieppe at 4 - 5000 ft. They reached the target area at about 06:05 hrs and patrolled off the beach for about 30 minutes acting as cover for the allied bombers. Pilots reported heavy and light flak but not classed as accurate. The Squadron all landed safely back at Tangmere at 07:25hrs.

They then took off again after rearming and feeling at 09:50 hrs. to escort some Hurricane bombers to Dieppe - they met up and approached to the west of the target area at zero feet. They were then ordered to climb to 2,000 ft and cover the withdrawal of the Hurricanes. Four Fw190's tried to bounce them from the rear but they were ready for them. Sgt. Imbert (1) of the FFAF performed a violent skidding action after seeing a 109 on his tail, the luftwaffe pilot overshot and Imbert then opened fire noticing white smoke pour out of the 109 cockpit. Several other pilots from the Squadron also engaged the enemy with no losses with a couple of claims of damage to the enemy. The Squadron all returned safely at 11:25hrs.

Such was the importance of this operation that they yet again they took off at 13:00 hrs together with other Squadrons to escort more Hurricane bombers to Dieppe. Many enemy aircraft were seen but they were ordered not to engage. Again the Squadron experienced heavy and light flak - it was during that the Squadron lost sight of their C/O. Sq/Ldr. Hyde - it seems that he became a victim of the anti-aircraft fire and was sadly killed. The remaining members returned to Tangmere at 14:05 hrs.

Left: Newspaper report on the loss of Sq/Ldr. Hyde - Royal Leamington Spa Courier and Warwickshire Standard, June 4 1943 (courtesy Graeme Brookes)

A great deal has been written regarding this operation but we include a description from Wikipedia:

The Allied air operations supporting Operation Jubilee resulted in some of the fiercest air battles since 1940. The RAF's main objectives were to throw a protective umbrella over the amphibious force and beach heads and also to force the Luftwaffe forces into a battle of attrition on the Allies' own terms. Some 48 fighter squadrons of Spitfires were committed, with eight squadrons of Hurricane fighter-bombers, four squadrons of reconnaissance Mustang Mk Is and seven squadrons of No. 2 Group light bombers involved. Opposing these forces were some 120 operational fighters of Jagdgeschwader 2 and 26 (JG 2 and JG 26), the Dornier Do 217s of Kampfgeschwader 2 and various anti-shipping bomber elements of III./KG 53, II./Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG40) and I./KG 77.

Although initially slow to respond to the raid, the German fighters soon made their presence felt over the port as the day wore on. While the Allied fighters were moderately successful in protecting the ground and sea forces from aerial bombing, they were hampered by operating far from their home bases. The Spitfires in particular were at the edge of their ranges, with some only being able to spend five minutes over the combat area.

The raid on Dieppe saw the baptism of fire for the new Spitfire Mark IX, the only British fighter that was equal to the Fw 190 fighter. Six squadrons, four British and two Canadian were flying the new Spitfire Mark IX at Dieppe. During the battle, the RAF flew 2,500 sorties over Dieppe, and achieved a narrow victory over the Luftwaffe.

The intense air fighting prevented the Luftwaffe from making major attacks on either the landing or the evacuation of the Allied forces, who consequently did not suffer very much from attacks from the air. However, in achieving the goal of the "greatest air battle" that would cripple the Luftwaffe over France, Operation Jubilee was less successful. During the air battles over Dieppe, the Royal Air Force lost 91 aircraft shot down and 64 pilots (17 taken prisoner, the rest all killed) while the Royal Canadian Air Force lost 14 aircraft and nine pilots. Additionally, the British lost six bombers over Dieppe. The Luftwaffe lost 48 aircraft, another 24 seriously damaged with 13 pilots killed and seven wounded.

However, RAF intelligence at the time claimed that the Allies had shot down 96 German aircraft, thus winning a major victory. In reality, the Luftwaffe in France was back to full strength within days of the raid. In an assessment, Copp wrote that Dieppe failed to register the knock-out blow against the Luftwaffe that the RAF was seeking. But Copp further noted that even though the Allies continued to lose on average two aircraft for every 1 German aircraft destroyed for the rest of 1942, the superior economic productivity of the aircraft industries of the United States, Britain and Canada combined with the better pilot training programme of the Allies led to the Luftwaffe gradually losing the war of attrition in the skies above France. Copp concluded that: "The battle for air superiority was won many fronts by continuous effort and August 19, 1942 was part of that achievement".

(1) 23 year old, Sgt. André Norbert Imbert 791047 (then using the FFAF No 35.007) was shot down and killed on the 25th July the following year. Flying Spitfire Vc EE603 SK-M, one of three killed from 165 Squadron (10 Group) on a Ramrod operation to Ostend during the afternoon. The others:

23 year old, Fl/Sgt. William Brown AUS/409288 RAAF from Victoria, Australia - Killed. 28 year old. Flying Spitfire Vc EP555 SK-E. Fl/Sgt. John Henry Curry 1335808 RAFVR from Charlton, London, England - Missing believed killed. Flying Spitfire Vc AR609 SK-C. Fl/Sgt. Curry had previously been shot down flying Spitfire Vb BM518, on the 09th February 1943 - evaded capture and returned to his unit on the 25th July 1943. On that same day, another pilot from the Squadron, F/O. Richard Granville Lewis 67061 RAFVR Flying Spitfire Vb BM450 lost his life.

Course 17-1, 58 Operational Training Unit (OTU) Grangemouth, Scotland.

Front row: Sgt. Hardy, F/O. Bronisław Kuzniar P-0759, P/O. Zygmunt Jelinski 782004, P/O. Hoben, Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Cochane Hyde 37403, F/O. Tigler-Wybrandi, F/O. Klink, F/O. Stanisław Domanski 782357 KIA, Sgt. Sayers. Rear row: Sgt. Holbert, Sgt. Wood, Sgt. Józef Paweł Karczmarz 780874, Sgt. Arkadiusz Bondarczuk 793159 KIA, Sgt. Stanisław Eustachy Lucyszyn 783213, Sgt. Bonie, Sgt. Thompson, Sgt. Mildeau, Sgt. Evans.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Cochane Hyde. Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-Sur-Mer. Grave D.34. Husband of Pamela Hampson Hyde, of Elford, Staffordshire, England.

Others mentioned within this report:

Sgt. André Norbert Imbert. Born on the 04th May 1920. Initially buried in Vlissingen (Flushing) in 1949 exhumed and reinterred in Kapelle (French Field of Honour in Netherlands) No further details.

Fl/Sgt. William Brown. Flushing Northern Cemetery (Vlissingen). Row F. Grave 28. Born on the 04th December 1919 at Patrick, Scotland, the son of John and Isabella Spiers Brown, of Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "He Chose The Hard Road. Lived And Died Our Loved One And Hero".

Fl/Sgt. John Henry Curry. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 136. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Curry, of Charlton, London, England.

F/O. Richard Granville Lewis. Grandcourt War Cemetery. Grave A.8. Son of P/O. Granville Vernon Loch Lewis, RFC, died on service October 5th, 1917, and of Myfanwy Jacob Lewis, of Ewell, Surrey, England.

With many thanks to Graeme Brookes - relative of the pilot for his research. N/A - AIR/27/425. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.

KTY 21.01.2019

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