13.06.1942 No. 350 Squadron Spitfire Vb W3446 MN-R Sgt. Raes
Operation: Convoy Patrol
Date: 13th June 1942 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 350 Squadron (Belgian)
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Debden, Essex
Location: 120 Sprowston Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Pilot: Sgt. Maurice Herman Marceun Raes 1299915 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16:50 hrs to patrol a northbound convoy 8 miles east of Martlesham. Some 10 aircraft taking part from the Belgian squadron. After the patrol off the Norfolk coast he became separated from his unit and in extremely bad weather he was provided a vector back to his base at RAF Debden in Essex.
He came in very low over Norwich in a south easterly direction and perhaps due to recent air raids on the city in April and May, the barrage balloon units stood to. They perhaps thought it was an enemy aircraft coming in. His Spitfire hit one of the balloons and it is thought that as he was over a residential area he remained in the aircraft trying to steer it away from houses, when he could have simply baled out.
Sadly, his aircraft crashed at the rear of 120 Sprowston Road at 18:27 hrs, killing him, with the aircraft burning out.
The people of Norwich honoured him on the 10th October 2006 naming a street after him. It is the first time in Great Britain that such an honour was bestowed on a Belgian pilot!
Sgt. Maurice Herman Marceun Raes - initially buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery on the 18th June 1942 at 15:00 hrs, but after the war he as were most Belgian aircrew, was reinterred at the Brussels Town Cemetery in the Airman's Field of Honour. Born on the 17th June 1921 at Mons in Belgium. We hope to shortly have a photograph of his grave in Belgium.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Barry Youngs for bringing this loss to our attention in November 2017 and also to sources as quoted below: