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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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350 Squadron Crest
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

Serial: EN950

Code: MN-H

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)

Burial details:

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.

KTY Page updated 03.06.2017

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: 03 June 2017, 21:46

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