Operation: Armed Reconnaissance
Date: 17th August 1944 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 183 Squadron (Gold Coast Squadron)
Type: Hawker Typhoon 1b
Base: B7 Martragny, Calvados, France
Location: Corneville-sur-Risle, Eure, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Campbell Brown. 128455 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Geoffrey while still under training and then having gained his wings. (Courtesy of Keith and Jane Allden)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Eight Typhoon aircraft took off at 14.00hrs from B7 Martragny for a Cab Rank (close air support over the battlefields) and armed reconnaissance to attack scattered targets in the Evreux area to support the Army, by attacking enemy tanks, bridges and transport in the Falaise Pocket.
The group broke into sections of 2's once in the target area, but they were attacked by about 50 ME 109's between Le Neubourg and Evreux. The Typhoon aircraft scattered in violent evasive action and only four aircraft returned to base. The loss of Typhoon JP681 was claimed by Oberfeldwebel Fritz Gromotka unit 9/JG 27 timed at 14.48 South of Evreux.
Hawker Typhoon's waiting for take off. German forces under attack at Falaise, Normandy
The site of B7, Martragny. The B7 Martragny memorial near Vaux-sur-Seulles with the arrow point facing the runway. The map on the back of the memorial showing the other RAF airfields in the area (courtesy of Regis Biaux)
Le chateau de Martragny was liberated on the 7th June 1944 and work was started on the airfield by the British special forces on the 27th June 1944. The memorial stone near the chateau. (both courtesy of Regis Biaux)
F/Lt. Geoffrey Campbell Brown. Grave 2. Corneville-sur-Risle Churchyard, Eure, France. The grave is in the North-Eastern corner of the churchyard. Son of Frank Stanley and Kate Campbell Brown of West Kensington, London.
Fl/Lt. G. C. Brown's headstone (courtesy of Kate Tame) and Corneville-sur-Risle church
A letter from the mayor of Corneville-sur-Risle to his mother describes how Geoffrey's aircraft came in at a low altitude and was on fire pursued by about six German aircraft. Geoffrey attempted to bale out but was too low and his parachute did not open and he was killed by his fall. His body was recovered and taken to the nearest house and guarded until his funeral two days later. Geoffrey's body was wrapped in his parachute and placed in a oak coffin and taken by the villagers to the local churchyard.
A considerable number of the local inhabitants wished to show their sympathy and attended the burial in spite of the risk to themselves due to the presence of Germans in the village. (At the time the local inhabitants were meant to hand over the bodies of Allied airmen to the German authorities) Geoffrey is also remembered on the Typhoon Memorial at Noyers Bocage a village near Caen with the other 150 men who gave their lives to liberate Normandy in May-August 1944
Of the three other pilots that did not return to base W/O. Gordon Frederick Humphrey. R.C.A.F. - killed, W/O. W. A. J. Carragher R.C.A.F. became a P.o.W. No 7078, Stalag Luft 7 and Fl/Sgt. R. Gibson, evaded capture
Researched by: Keith and Jane Allden (Jane Allden is the niece of Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Campbell Brown) and for all the relatives and friends of Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Campbell Brown
Acknowledgements: With special thanks to Keith and Jane Allden, Regis Biaux - www.inmemories.com, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Norman L. R. Franks - Fighter Command Losses WW2 Vol. 3, John Foreman - Fighter Command War Diaries Vol. 5, C. Shores and C. Thomas - 2nd Tactical Air Force July 1944-Jan 1945, Chris Thomas - Typhoon Wings of 2nd TAF, Imperial War Museum, Kate Tame - volunteer Aircrew Remembered
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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