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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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485 Squadron Crest
28.11.1942 No. 485 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM232 OU-Y Sgt. F.W. Norris

Operation: Rhubarb

Date: 28th November 1942 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 485 Squadron RNZAF 12 Group

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BM232

Code: OU-Y

Base: RAF Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire

Location: Kruiningen, Netherlands

Pilot: Sgt. Francis William Norris NZ/412724 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 11:20 hrs. with five others from RAF Kings Cliffe in Northamptonshire on a 'Rhubarb' operation to Oosterschelde.

2 of the squadron failed to return, another returned to RAF Kings Cliffe after a remarkable escape.

The squadron successfully attacked a tanker barge on the Westerschelde and were then proceeding to the designated target area at Oosterschelde.

They then continued and attacked a train, Some reports state they were attacked by Fw109's during an attack on a He115. Other reports state that they were hit by anti-aircraft fire.

Understood that 27 year old, P/O. Michael Moray Shand NZ/391268 was shot down flying Spitfire Vb EP595 and take PoW. He ended up in Stalag Luft Sagan and was one of the last to emerge from the tunnel during the 'Great Escape'. He was soon recaptured and luckily was not 'chosen' to be one of the '50' murdered by the Germans. PoW number: 833. He was released from the camp in early May 1945 and returned to New Zealand on the 23rd September the same year. Went on to the Reserve on the 10th April 1946 and then took up farming at Wairarapa, in the south-east of North Island. He retired in 1978, passed away on the 10th December 2007, age 94.

20 year old, F/O. Hugh Somerset Tucker NZ/415042 RNZAF had a remarkable escape - some reports state that he landed damaged but managed to take off again in Spitfire Vb EP115 (1), either way it appears he was hit but managed to fly his aircraft back to RAF Kings Cliffe where it was repaired and placed back into service. F/O. Tucker survived the war passing away on the 05th February 2009, age 87.

21 Year old Sgt. Norris was not so lucky. Again hit by it is thought (and claimed) by Uffz. Heinz Fuchs of 4./JG1 at around 12:10 hrs crashing in the area of Kruiningen. (Fuchs information courtesy of our Tom Kracker - Kracker Archives) The aircraft caught fire on crashing, but his body was recovered by the Germans - buried on the 02nd December 1942.

(1) Spitfire EP115 after being repaired, went back into service. Sadly lost on the 13th February 1943 - this time flown by 23 year old, Sgt. Revell Jackson Steed NZ/414354 RNZAF during 'Rodeo 168 to Le Touquet. Pilot buried at Abbeville Military Cemetery, France. The pilot was from Gisborne, New Zealand.

Burial details:

Sgt. Francis William Norris. Flushing Northern Cemetery (Vlissingen). Row D. Grave 16. Son of Thomas and Lily Catherine Norris of Hataitai, Wellington, New Zealand. Prior to service he worked for the State Advances Corporation in the legal branch. 304 flying hours logged and on his 7th operational sortie.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Sue Morey (née Norris) and family, 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 - 19.11.2017

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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