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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.

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27.10.1941 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire Vb W3601 Fl/Sgt. Thompson

Operation: Fighter Sweep

Date: 27th October 1941 (Monday)

Unit: No. 401 RCAF Squadron (The Rams)

Type: Spitfire Type Vb

Serial: W3601

Code: YO-?

Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent.

Location: Martin Hill near Deal, Kent

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Stanley Lewis Thompson R/61455 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)


With eleven other aircraft from 401 Squadron while making a sweep over the French coast near Dunkirk, the formation was suddenly attacked by a large force of Me 109’s from JG26.

Although, during the engagement, Fl/Sgt. Thompson’s Spitfire was severely damaged, he managed to nurse the aircraft back to Dover where, in his attempt to bail out, he was killed.

The sortie was particularly costly for the Ram’s with five aircraft being lost.

In addition to Thompson, F/O. Clarence Wallace and P/O. John Small were killed in this action, while Fl/Lt. Floody (2) and Sgt. Hodgkinson (3) were shot down and became prisoners of war.

A further 401 squadron Spitfire was lost this day, with Sgt. Whitney bailing out safely over Sandwich, Kent.

It is interesting to note that Fl/Lt. Wally Floody OBE was a key member of the mass breakout from Stalag Luft. III known as ‘The Great Escape’. Floody, who had a mining background, was instrumental in the building of the tunnels by which over seventy airmen made their escape from captivity.

(1) Thompson Creek in Saskatchewan is named after Fl/Sgt. Thompson

(2) Some publications have Fl/Lt Floody as killed - this is of course not the case.

(3) Sgt Hodgkinson became the Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland's 93rd victory.

Left: Grave of Fl/Sgt. Thompson at Brookwood Military Cemetery

Burial Details:

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Lewis Thompson. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref. 36.A.2. Son of James Harry and Olivia Thompson, brother to Olivia and May, of 83 St. Clair Avenue West, Davidson, Saskatchewan, Canada. Enlisted in the RCAF in June 1940, trained in Toronto.

Jennifer Thompson wrote to us on the 13th November 2016: “I am a niece of Stanley Lewis Thompson. He had thirteen siblings, two named Gladys and Nettie died of influenza in 1919, before he was born. His other siblings were Bertha, Lillian, Helen, Olivia, May, Robert, Harriet, Leslie, Glen, Alex, and Grace. May and Olivia lived on St. Clair Avenue, Toronto during the war, the family home was Davidson, Saskatchewan.”

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist, Colin Bamford for relatives of the pilot. With thanks also to Jennifer Thompson for further family details.

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 13 November 2016, 22:21