AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List

.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

609 crest
19th August 1944 609 Squadron Typhoon IB JP975 P/O. Stellin

Operation: Armed Reconnaissance

Date: 19th August 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 609 Squadron (motto: 'Tally Ho') 123 Wing. 84 Group. 2nd Tactical Air Force

Type: Typhoon IB

Serial: JP975

Code: PR-?

Base: B7. Martragny, France

Location: St. Maclou-la-Brière

Pilot: P/O. James Kingston Stellin Croix de Guerre avec Palme NZ/421785 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

As researched by Jenifer Lemaire following our Kate Tame's visit to the church in 2013:

James Kingston (‘Joe’) Stellin was one of several thousand New Zealanders who flew with the Royal Air Force over Europe in support of the D-Day landings in 1944. Born in Wellington on 2 July 1922, he was the son of James and Beatrice Stellin of Lyall Bay. He attended Scots College before enlisting in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1942 and beginning pilot training. On 3 June 1944, three days before D-Day, he and two other Kiwi pilots were posted to 609 Squadron, RAF, at Thorney Island airfield, Hampshire. Over the following month, 609’s pilots flew numerous missions over Normandy, targeting German radar stations, tanks and other vehicles. In early July the squadron moved its base to France, arriving at Plumetot, north of Caen, under shellfire and in mud and rain. For the next six weeks Stellin flew almost daily missions against German tank concentrations, strongpoints and motor transport in the Falaise area.

On 18 August, 609 Squadron’s Typhoons destroyed at least seven German tanks and 12 vehicles. Stellin flew again that evening, attacking vehicles on the Vimoutiers–Orbec road and setting five alight. On the 19th, 609 Squadron again targeted German transport trying to escape the Falaise pocket. At 8.30 a.m. Stellin took off from Martragny airfield, flying Typhoon JP975. After destroying several tanks and trucks, Stellin’s aircraft was heading home when he asked permission to descend to attack a vehicle. He did not return to his formation and asked for a homing to find his way back to base. He was given a course but later reported that he was short of fuel. It is thought that his plane was hit by flak near Bernay. A teacher at Saint-Maclou-la-Brière, Monsieur Jacobs, described the scene:

It was 10 o’clock in the morning when the sounds of an aircraft in difficulties first made us look up. The plane was about 1500 to 2000 feet up, and rapidly losing height. Suddenly, on realising the great destruction his plane would cause if it were to crash in the centre of the village, the pilot straightened up his plane with a vigorous and supreme effort, made a half-climb, then turning sharp left at an acute angle, it fell rapidly, crashing less than a mile away.

Stellin bailed out at the last moment, but his parachute failed to open and he was killed. He was 22 years old. His funeral in Saint-Maclou-la-Brière was attended by 1200 people from the surrounding area. His grave in the local cemetery was later designated a Commonwealth War Grave; ever since it has been decorated regularly with flowers. In 1946 M. Jacobs, who had been active in the local Resistance, wrote a moving letter to Stellin’s parents. The following year the Kiwi pilot was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme. The people of Saint-Maclou-la-Brière later engraved Stellin’s name onto the war memorial for the dead of their own village. In 1964 they erected a black marble memorial stone to Stellin outside the gates of their church. In 2001 the area in front of the St Maclou church was named ‘Place Stellin’.

Burial details:

P/O. James Kingston Stellin. Croix de Guerre avec Palme. St. Maclou-La-Briere Churchyard. Born on the 02nd July 1922 at Wellington. Worked as a clerk for James Stellin and Company prior to service. Enlisted on the 07th March 1942. Awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 19th December 1942. Commissioned on the 29th July 1944. Son of James Stellin and of Beatrice Hart Stellin (née Heard), of Lyall Bay, Wellington, New Zealand. 459 flying hours logged and on his 26th operational sortie.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire Kate Tame and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 10-03-2021

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site

x
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2022
Last Modified: 29 April 2021, 16:01

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor