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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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452 Squadron Crest
09.08.1941 No. 452 Squadron Spitfire IIa P7590 Sgt. C.G.B. Chapman

Operation: Circus 68

Date: 09th August 1941 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 452 Squadron (RAAF)

Type: Spitfire IIa

Serial: P7590

Code: Not known (Krakatau)

Base: RAF Kenley

Location: Salperwick, north of Saint-Omer, France

Pilot: Sgt. Christopher Geoffrey Blomfield Chapman AUS/404198 RAAF Age 28. Killed


During a Circus (1) in the morning shot down by Bf109e from 6/JG26 over Salperwick in France at 11:00 hrs.

In September 1946 enquiries from the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit visited the cemetery and general area to try and obtain additional information. The Unit interviewed local police and the Mayor who was the first on the scene who reported that the the Spitfire was flying very low at the time and witnessed the aircraft pull up, the pilot then jumped but it was too low for his parachute to deploy fully and he was killed.

Local Woodcutters in the area who witnessed the crash of Sgt. Haydon and assisted the recovery of the pilot’s body carved into a tree nearby “Il mort pour la France 1941” (He died for France 1941) Sgt. Haydon also baled out too low for his parachute to open.

Also lost on this operation from the Squadron:

29 year old, P/O. Justin Hilary O’Byrne AUS/408022 RAAF Flying Spitfire IIa P7682 PoW No: 3735 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria. Shot in the foot during the engagement and also suffered a head injury - treated satisfactory by the Germans. After the war he became a politician and served as Senator for Tasmania. He passed away aged 81 on the 10th November 1993. (shown below)

Details on the PoW photo: Fl/Lt. Sydney Thomas Wickham AUS/402268 RAAF - captured 04th May 1944 at Sid Barani in Egypt, P/O. Justin Hilary O’Byrne AUS/408022 RAAF, Fl/Lt. Charles Keith Teulon Thompson AUS/404066 RAAF - captured 23rd February 1942 in Italy, Josef Bryks (AKA Joe Ricks, Czeck pilot - Hurricane Z2508 pilot captured 17th June 1941), Fl/Lt. Patrick Leslie Dixon AUS/40407 RAAF - captured 15th July 1941 North Sea, Netherlands, Fl/Lt. Tom Leslie Walker AUS/404271 RAAF - captured 10th September 1941 in Germany.

19 year old, Sgt. Gerald Barrington Haydon AUS/404100 RAAF Flying Spitfire IIa P8361 killed and buried next to his colleague in the cemetery at Longuenesse.

(1) Circus: The codename Circus was given to operations of British Royal Air Force during World War II where bombers, heavily escorted by fighters, were sent over continental Europe to bring enemy fighters into combat. These were usually formations of 20 to 30 bombers escorted by up to 16 squadrons of escort fighters. Bomber formations of this size could not be ignored by the German Luftwaffe.

Burial details:

Sgt. Christopher Geoffrey Blomfield Chapman. Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery (St. Omer) Plot 9. Row C. Grave 21. Born on the 27th January 1913 at Uralla, New South Wales, Australia, the son of Christopher Charles and Catherina Chapman, of Buderim Mt., Queensland, Australia.

Sgt. Gerald Barrington Haydon. Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery (St. Omer) Plot 9. Row C. Grave 20. Born on the 24th December 1921 at Southport, Queensland, Australia, the son of Harry and Gertrude Haydon, of Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these pilots with thanks to sources as quoted below, as well as the Australian Archives:

KTY - 31.12.2016

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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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