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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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401 Squadron Crest
04.12.1942 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire IX BS277 Fl/Sgt. H.M. Batters

Operation: Rodeo

Date: 04th December 1942 (Friday)

Unit: 401 Squadron (The Rams)

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: BS277

Code: YO-?

Base: RAF Biggin Hill

Location: English Channel, off France

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Harold Mark Batters R/95487 RCAF Age 24. Killed

We are extremely grateful to Francois Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in October 2017.


During the afternoon, taking off from RAF Biggin Hill on a Rodeo sortie over France when they were engaged by fighters from JG26.

He was shot down over the English Channel and killed.

Also lost from the Squadron:

21 year old, Fl/Sgt. Bruce Herbert Nickel R/99760 RCAF - Flying Spitfire BS317 - from Ontario, Canada - it is thought possible that the pilot had blacked out due to oxygen starvation as his aircraft was seen to spin into the ground. Sadly his body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Aircraft is a Harvard (Courtesy: Karl Fiander)

Photographs taken at Biggin Hill next to Spitfire MkV YO-T (Courtesy: Karl Fiander)

P/O. J.W. Fiander RCAF Flying Spitfire BS536 - baled out but rescued with slight injuries. He also escaped death again on the 18th December 1943 flying Spitfire Vb MB199 on a Ramrod operation when his aircraft suffered a Glycol leak over Dieppe after an engagement. He again baled out and was rescued by a Walrus.

Standing L-R: Sgt. Smith, Sq/Ldr. Douglas, P/O. Whitham, P/O. Murray, F/O. Blakeslee, Sgt. Cosburn, Sgt. Gimbel, Sgt. McLennan, P/O. Tucker, Fl/Lt. Harley. Kneeling L-R: Sgt. Pope, P/O. Merritt, P/O. Ferguson, Sgt. Fiander, P/O. Dennison, P/O. Ormston, Sgt. Mathewman.

(1) Batters Lake, southwest of Wabishkok Lake, Manitoba, Canada was named after Fl/Sgt. Harold Mark Batters in 1988.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Harold Mark Batters. Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery (St. Omer). Plot 8. Row A. Grave 6. Born on the 02nd September 1918, the son of Harold and Rowena Batters, of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Beloved Son Of Harold And Rowena Batters, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada”. Prior to service he was keenly interested in raising pure-bred cattle and took an active part in the Boys Cattle Club of Portage as well as the Seed Grain Club.

Fl/Sgt. Bruce Herbert Nickel. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 105. Born on the 30th June 1921, the son of William Fred and Gertrude Elizabeth Nickel (née Yundt), of Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

Plt.Off. Fiander was was a career RCAF officer and retired as a Squadron Leader (Major in the CAF) . Son to Nathan Sheila and Esther Francis (née Hiscock) Fiander. Husband to Mary Georgina (née Bruce) Fiander. (10th November 1921 - 12th November 1990).

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to François Dutil. Thanks to Karl Fiander, the son of Plt.Off. Fiander for the corrections and for the photographs and sources as quoted below:

RS 06.05.2019 - Addition of photographs and correction to the name Fiander

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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