07.06.1944 No. 198 Squadron Typhoon Ib JP503 W/O. Stokes
Operation: Normandy Invasion
Date: 07th June 1944 (Wednesday)P
Unit: No. 198 Squadron 84 Group (motto: Igni renatus - 'Born again in fire')
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF Hurn, Dorset
Location: Les Moutiers-Hubert, France
Pilot: W/O. Gordon Jeffrey Stokes AUS/412747 RAAF Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Day two of the invasion of Normandy - the largest invasion the world has ever seen. The RAF fighters were told to defend the bridgehead and prevent German reinforcements from reaching the area.
The formation from the Squadron consisted of 12 Typhoons led by 29 year old, Sq/Ldr. Idwal James Davies DFC 63418 RAF (1) and were flying in 3 sections of 4. The section that W/O. Stokes was in located a tank south of Cormeilles and dived to attack. A machine gun emplacement opened fire from near the target and another pilot noticed tracer fire. W/O. Stokes was seen to pull up from the attack with a small frame appearing from the under the starboard wing. The pilot then climbed to about 1200 ft. when the formation leader noticed an object fall away from the Typhoon which was thought to be the canopy.
The aircraft was then seen to come out of the cloud and crash to the ground - none of the others saw a parachute descending in the vicinity.
On the 30th January 1946 the No. 1 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit led by Fl/Lt. J. Marchissio discovered that the aircraft had crashed at 11:00 hrs killing the pilot in the area shown on the map as Les Moutiers-Hubert. The Germans had removed all objects that could identify his body and buried him as 'Unknown British Airman'. However, close to the crash site a cigarette lighter and a watch - both engraved with the name of the pilot were found by some children and handed to the local resistance movement. Later handed to the local Mayor and then to the RAF.
(1) Sadly, Sq/Ldr. Idwal James Davies was killed later on the 22nd June 1944 flying Typhoon Ib JR197 TP-I. Hit by flak and baled out but killed over the Cherbourg area.
W/O. Gordon Jeffrey Stokes. Les Moutiers-Hubert Churchyard. Born on the 18th July 1922 in Paris, Ontario, Canada, the son of Albert Harry and Lily May Stokes, of Engadine, New South Wales, Australia. Prior to service worked with Philips Radio, Mallett Street, Camperdown. Enlisted on the 20th July 1941 in Sydney, Australia. Trained on the DH82 Tiger Moth and the Wirraway aircraft. Posted into 198 Squadron on the 10th December 1943. Grave inscription reads: "A Voice That We Loved Is Still. A Brave Heart Sleeps". A beautiful memorial has been place at the cemetery for the pilot, together with other CWGC casualties from WW1.
It seems that his last will (dated 07th March 1944) he appointed a Miss M. Brobyn of 3 St. Mary Street, Worcester, England as executor and that a Mrs. Joan M. Aspinall ('friend') of the same address to receive all his personal effects and monies - accordingly the RAF honoured this and as such these were delivered to Mrs. Joan M. Aspinall. It seems that at the time his parents had sadly separated.
Sq/Ldr. Idwal James Davies DFC. Bayeux War Cemetery. Grave II.G.3. Son of Joseph and Maud Davies and husband of Irene Mary Davies, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Our Life Together Was Short But Sweet God Grant Again That We Shall Meet".
Shown below extracts from former Typhoon pilots and video footage.
For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.