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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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83 Squadron Crest
02.09.1940 No 43 Squadron Hurricane I V7420 P/O. Charles A. Woods-Scawen DFC

Operation: Patrol

Date: 02nd September 1940 (Monday)

Unit: No. 43 Squadron

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: V7420

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Tangemere

Location: Ivychurch, Kent

Pilot: P/O. Charles Anthony Woods-Scawen DFC. 40778 RAF Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

The day started with an enormous effort from the Luftwaffe to wipe out the RAF - attacks concentrating on airfields of 11 Group. Over 200 German aircraft formed up over France and then split into smaller groups as they approached the English coast. The RAF scrambled several squadrons to patrol and intercept.

During one such patrol, P/O. Woods-Scawen (shown below left) engaged with an Me109 at 13:30 hrs over Ivychurch in Kent. Aircraft caught fire during the combat but the pilot baled out too low for his parachute to deploy fully.

He had escaped earlier after baling out over France on the 7th June 1940 - arriving back at his base just over a week since he was shot down. Then on the 16th August 1940 after combat with Ju87’s over Sussex crash landed his Hurricane P3216 despite being slightly wounded he recovered and was back in service.

His DFC reads:

“This officer has taken part in all engagements carried out by his squadron since the commencement of hostilities. He has destroyed a total of six enemy aircraft and serviously damaged several others. In June 1940, Pilot Officer Woods-Scawen was shot down, landing some 25 miles within French territory, but succeed in making his way back to his squadron. In spite of the fact this pilot has been shot down six times, he has continued to fight with unabated courage and enthusiasm, and has shown outstanding qualities as a resourceful and determined leader.”

His older brother, F/O. Patrick Philip Woods-Scawen DFC 40452 RAFVR (shown right) also lost his life serving with 85 Squadron on the 01st September 1940, just the previous day! Flying Hurricane I P3150 engaged in combat with Me109’s near Kenley. He managed to bale out but tragically his parachute failed to open. His body was not found until the 6th September. He had two earlier escapes - On the 17th May 1940 baled out from his Hurricane I N2319, wounded after combat with Me109’s of 1./JG3. Then, just a couple of days later on the 19th May, again he baled out after another combat in Hurricane I P2547 - landed safely and returned to his unit.

His DFC citation reads:

“During May 1940, this officer destroyed six enemy aircraft and assisted in the destruction of others. On one occasion, although heavily outnumbered, he attacked without hesitation a large formation of enemy aircraft, shooting down two of them. His own aircraft was hit by a cannon shell and he was slightly wounded, but succeeded in escaping by parachute and rejoining his unit. He has displayed great courage, endurance and leadership”

In addition to the loss of his brother, the family also lost a cousin, another pilot, 19 year old Sgt. Gerald Edgar Francis Woods-Scawen 1190555 RAFVR of 92 Squadron. Flying a Spitfire Vb AB779 shot down during the afternoon of the 3rd October 1941 during ‘Circus 105’ - his body washed up on the shores of Holland on the 20th October 1941.

Burial details:

P/O. Charles Anthony Woods-Scawen. Hawkinge Cemetery. Plot O. Row 1. Grave 25. Son of Philip Neri Woods-Scawen and Kathleen Florence Woods-Scawen, of South Farnborough, Hampshire, England.

Other family members:

F/O. Patrick Philip Woods-Scawen DFC. Caterham and Warlingham Burial Ground. Sec A. Grave 180. Next of kin details as above.

Sgt. Gerald Edgar Francis Woods-Scawen. Noordwijk General Cemetery. Plot 1. Joint Grave 3. Son of John Joseph Francis and Rose Woods-Scawen, of Farnborough, Hampshire.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to sources as quoted below:

KTY - 18.07.2016

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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