22.02.1944 No. 263 Squadron Typhoon Ib MN249 Sq/Ldr. Warnes DSO DFC
Operation: Shipping reconnaissance
Date: 22nd February 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 263 Squadron
Type: Hawker Typhoon Mk1B
Base: RAF Harrowbeer, Devon
Location: Ditched North-west of Guernsey
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Berrington Warnes DSO. DFC. 78429 RAFVR Age 29. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
After refuelling at Harrowbeer, nine aircraft carried out shipping reconnaissance west of the Channel Islands. No enemy action took place, but Warnes was forced to ditch his aircraft after an engine failure. The others observed him swimming towards what looked like an uninflated dinghy.
21 year old F/O. Robert Bruce Tuff AUS/409257 RAAF flying Typhoon JR302 said that he was going to bail out to help him, Fl/Lt. Gerald Geoffrey Racine (1) DFC. J/5800 RCAF informing him to remain in his aircraft, but his order was ignored or not heard. F/O. Tuff was never seen again.
Despite many calls for him to be awarded a posthumous bravery award it was decided that the only one suitable considering the circumstances was a MiD.
A detailed report on the loss of F/O. Tuff can be found on his page of remembrance.
A third pilot, F/O. Robert Hunter 150009 RAFVR flying Typhoon JR304, who was circling the area also crashed at the same area, north west of Guernsey. His body was also never recovered.
(1) Fl/Lt. Gerald Geoffrey Racine was hit by flak the following month on a patrol over the Île de Groix. Flying Typhoon Ia MN170 engaged enemy fighters over Île de Batz was then forced to bale out at about 21:00hrs. He landed in a field about 3 km north of Plouezoc'h. With the great assistance from local French inhabitants he managed to evade capture and escape back to England - rejoining his unit just days later in mid April. Awarded the DFC in September 1944. He was then posted back to Canada and served with 124 Ferry Squadron until released from service in 1946. Born on the 21st May 1920 and from Hampstead, Montreal, Canada.
Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Berrington Warnes. DSO. DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Son of Clifford Norman and Dorothy Warnes and husband of Peggy Warnes.
F/O. Robert Bruce Tuff. MiD. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Born on the 11th July 1922 at Seddon, Victoria, the son of Robert H. and Margaret Campbell Tuff, of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. A clerk working at the Federal Taxation Department in Melbourne prior to enlisting on the 20th July 1941.
F/O. Robert Charles Hunter. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 207. Son of Charles Henry and Elsie Dora Hunter, of Wolverhampton, England
Researcher Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - January 2019. With thanks to Peter Syevens for photo of Sq/Ldr, Warnes, the remainder the collection of Michel Beckers.