26.05.1940 19 Squadron Spitfire I N3200 Sqn Ldr. Geoff Stephenson
Operation: Operation Dynamo.
Date: 26th May 1940 (Sunday)
Unit: 19 Squadron, RAF
Type: Spitfire I
Location: On beach, Dunkirk, France.
Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Geoffrey Dalton Stephenson 26165 RAF PoW No: 254 *
* Oflag 4c, Colditz Castle, Colditz in Lower Saxony, Germany
(Note: Discovered in the 1980’s after sands had shifted on the beach. The wreck is recovered and then stored for over 25 years in a Normandy Museum. Purchased by American enthusiasts, then finally shipped to Duxford for restoration/rebuild by the Aircraft Restoration Company. Mr Guy Martin joined the team and a documentary is planned for screening on Channel 4 in October 2014.)
REASON FOR LOSS:
His aircraft was shot down in combat whilst covering the evacuation at Dunkirk and forced landed on the beach near Dunkirk. Sqn Ldr. Stephenson was captured and became a PoW.
He spent the war in a number of German prison camps, making many escape attempts, and eventually was sent to Colditz Castle in Poland, the ultimate high security German Prisoner of War camp. He was part of the team that built the famous Colditz glider.
Above N3200 being examined by German soldiers (archives)
None - Survived the war
Before the war, he was a member of the RAF aerobatic team
He was also personal pilot to King George VI.
Air Commodore Stephenson headed a six-man team from the central fighter establishment RAF, whose headquarters are at West Raynham near Fakenham, Norfolk. They were at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, home of the Air Proving Ground Centre, on an exchange tour.
He was killed on the 8th November 1954 whilst test flying a F-100A-10-NA Super Sabre of the USAF at Eglin Air Force Base. The aircraft went out of control and crashed before he could eject.
He was flying at 13,000 feet as he joined formation with another F-100, flown by Capt. Lonnie R. Moore, jet ace of the Korean campaign, when his fighter dropped into a steep spiral, impacting at 14:14 hrs in a pine forest on the Eglin Reservation, one mile NE of the runway of Pierce Field, Auxiliary Fld. 2.
Above: F-100A Super Sabre similar to the type flown by Air Commodore Stephenson when he was killed in November 1954
With thanks to Juliet Hodgkinson for pointing out an error, now corrected. Guy Martin, Mark Sublette, from South Carolina, USA for his work with the Wikipedia page. Thanks to Sean for pointing out the error regarding PoW details (Nov 2021) Additional acknowledgments below.