14.05.1943 No. 124 Squadron Spitfire VII EN496 Fl/Sgt. Eric J. Phelps
Date: 14th May 1943 (Friday)
Unit: No. 124 Squadron
Type: Spitfire VII
Base: RAF North Weald, Epping, Essex
Location: English Channel, East of Deal
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Eric John Phelps 1291762 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
We are indebted to Peter Phelps who submitted this information to Aircrew Remembered in September 2014.
REASON FOR LOSS:
During a patrol off the coast of Deal, Kent it appears that he blacked out due to oxygen starvation, he quickly recovered and climbed again to rejoin his unit. Again, oxygen starvation took place, his Spitfire dived into the English Channel off Deal in Kent.
Fl/Sgt. Phelps had received his basic flying training at No. 4 BFTS (British Flying Training School) in Mesa, Phoenix, Arizona between 1941 - 1942 at Falcon Field. A friend, LAC Alex Brooks
, that he trained with, was killed on the 20th October 1941. In total, 23 RAF cadets lost their lives during training here out of more than 2,000.
Taken during training at No. 4 BFTS, Mesa, Texas. LAC Phelps 2nd from cleft (courtesy Peter Phelps)
On left: Fl/Sgt. Phelps with unknown - can you identify him? (courtesy Peter Phelps) Right: With his girlfriend, Ileta Walker from Glendale, Phoenix.
One of the famous operations he was involved with was the Dieppe raid (Jubilee) on the 19th August 1942. Described as one of the RAF’s greatest air battles with the allies losing over 100 aircraft , with many others damaged. 124 Squadron lost one on this operation, Spitfire Vb flown by Sgt. J.B. Shanks, crash landing after combat, taken PoW.
Fl/Sgt. Eric John Phelps. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 138. Son of Thomas Phelps, and of Adelina (‘Lena’) Phelps, of Manor Park, Essex, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Peter Phelps - Peter also has a great Facebook page dedicated to his Uncle. Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 1-3, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. ‘Runnymede Memorial Data Base’.