06.06.1944 No. 350 Squadron Spitfire Vb EN950 MN-H Fl/Lt. Francois A. Venesoen DFC
Operation: Patrol (D-Day)
Date: 06th June 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 350 (Belgian) Squadron
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Friston, East Sussex.
Location: English Channel, off Normandy, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Francois August Venesoen DFC (Belgium) 107235 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The invasion of Normandy was the largest amphibious assault ever launched. It involved five army divisions in the initial assault and over 7,000 ships. In addition there were 11,000 aircraft.
In total 75,215 British and Canadian troops and 57,500 US troops were landed by sea on D-Day. Another 23,400 were landed by air.
21 aircraft from fighter Command were lost at various locations,14 pilots died. Spitfire EN950 took off at 04:35 hours on a patrol to cover the ground forces. The aircraft according to the 350 Operational Record Book suffered a glycol leak which forced the pilot, Fl/Lt. Venesoen to bale out.
His wingman, F/O. Siroux witnessed this and said that his parachute deployed fine and he hit the sea. He was seen to be struggling in the water trying to inflate his dingy. 3 launches raced to the scene but no trace of the pilot was found.
Right: Fl/Lt. Francois August Venesoen DFC with Pamela May Webb (courtesy John Jones)
Fl/Lt. Francois August Venesoen DFC Runnymede Memorial. Panel 203. Husband of Pamela May Webb who he married in Anglesey, Wales on the 31st July 1943. Born on the 19th October 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium. He escaped via France to England and arrived on the 23rd June and then joined the RAF. First served as an air gunner on Blenheims with 235 Squadron moving on to 350 Squadron on the 18th December 1941. One of the few Belgians that hd taken part in the ‘Battle of Britain’.
Left: Fl/Lt. Francois August Venesoen DFC (courtesy Johny Recour)
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Johny Recour from Belgium, also to John Jones for information and photograph of the couple - June 2107.