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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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71 Squadron Crest
12.04.1942 No. 71 Squadron Spitfire Vb AB810 P/O. Ben F. Mays

Operation: Circus 122

Date: 12th April 1942 Sunday)

Unit:: 71 Squadron (Eagle)

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AB810

Code: XR-?

Base: RAF Martlesham Heath

Location: South East of Saint-Omer, France

Pilot: P/O. Ben Freeman Mays 106509 RAFVR Age 29. Killed


Circus 122 to Hazebrouck Marshalling Yards. Shot down at 13.34 hrs. by Fw190 from 7/JG26, flown by Oblt. Mietusch his 15th Victory.

After a lone attack on No. 71 (Eagle) Squadron. Oblt. Mietusch dove behind the Spitfire formation, zoomed up and fired a short burst at the rear aircraft in a flight of four, half-rolled, and dove away. The Spitfire, it's pilot probably dead, entered a steep dive and crashed.

American 71 Squadron pilots taken the year previous - showing the Hurricanes that they initially used (IWM)


P/O. Ben Freeman Mays. Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery (Saint-Omer), France. Plot 8. Row A. Grave 22. Son of Edgar Elmo and Delia Elizabeth Mays, of Wharton, Texas, USA.

KTY - 30-12-2016

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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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