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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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247 Squadron Typhoon IB DN431 Fl/Sgt. Robert Richard Campbell

Operation: Escort

Date: 15th April 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 247 Squadron (motto: 'Rise from the East'). 121 Airfield HQ. 11 Group

Type: Typhoon IB

Serial: DN431

Code: ZY-V

Base: RAF Fairlop, Essex

Location: English Channel

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Robert Richard Campbell NZ/411858 RNZAF Age 26. Killed


Taking off at 16:20 hrs from RAF Tangmere in Sussex to escort 182 squadron Typhoon fighter bombers that were detailed to bomb the Luftwaffe airfield 2 km south-west of Le Havre. That was later classed a successful operation with no losses from 182.

During the return trip 247 were bounced by enemy fighters that dived on them from 22,000 ft. DN431 was assumed to have been shot down during the engagement. The pilots body was later recovered and buried at Le Havre.

Above: Sgt. Robert Richard Campbell and Sgt. Francis Arnold Cawthray NZ/405233. Courtesy John Becker (N/A. AIR 27/1492)

Note: Sgt. Cawthray: Operational Training Unit - 247 squadron 25th March 1942, 247 squadron - 245 29th June 1942 and 245 squadron to 175 on 09th July 1942. He survived the war.

Burial and other details:

Fl/Sgt. Robert Richard Campbell. Sainte Marie Cemetery. Division 67, Row F, Grave 7. Born on the 04th March 1916 in Auckland. Educated at Takapuna Grammar School. Worked as a builder with his father. A trainee civilian pilot with 9 hours duel training. Enlisted in Levin as a pilot under training on the 23rd March 1941. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School on the 03rd March 1941.

Embarked for Canada on the 22nd July 1941. With No. 6 Service Flying Training School 18th August 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 07th November 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 14th November. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 01st December 1941. Further training on the Hurricane with 56 Operational Training Unit on the 23rd December 1941. Attached to 247 squadron r 1941 flying the Typhoon on the 24th March 1942. A total of 432 flying hours logged.

Son of William James Campbell and Annie Campbell, of Auckland City, New Zealand.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, with thanks to John Beckers for the use of the photograph. National Archives Air 27/1492, Air 27/488/30, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 26-08-2022

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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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