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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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485 crest
22nd December 1943 485 Squadron Spitfire Vb BL634 F/O. Dasent

Operation: Training

Date: 22nd December 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 485 Squadron (motto: Ka whawhai tonu - 'We will fight on'). 13 Group

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BL634

Code: OU-?

Base: RAF Diem, East Lothian, Scotland

Location: North Sea

Pilot: F/O. John Grant Dasent NZ/404342 RNZAF Age 24. Killed


During the morning taking part in a navy cooperation exercise. This activity probably involved making dummy attacks on ships in order to give their anti-aircraft gunners practice in training their weapons on fast, and close-in, attacking aircraft. while circling a convoy in a diving turn in an attempt to intercept an attacking aircraft when BL634 struck the sea damaging the radiator.

F/O. Dasent managed to keep control of the aircraft and tried to climb to have sufficient height to bale out.

However he was still too low when he exited the aircraft at 10:50 hrs. and was found dead north east of Dunbar by the crew of HMS Vivien.

It seems that the pilot was hindered trying to bale out as he was wearing a secret experimental G-Suit known as the 'Franks Flying Suit' (1)

(1) Franks Flying Suit designed by Wing Commander Willliam R Franks, OBE, designed to prevent blackout in fighter pilots thus giving Allied air forces a tremendous tactical advantage over the enemy. Shown right.

Burial and personal details:

Buried on December 24th.

F/O. John Grant Dasent. Dirleton Cemetery. Sec. E. Grave 1040. Born on the 27th July 1919 in Hastings. Prior to service worked as a farm hand on his father's farm, Aorangi, at Mangatahi. Enlisted as a trainee pilot on the 23rd November 1940 at Levin. Awarded his pilots badge on the 14th April 1941, promoted to sergeant on the 25th May 1941. Commissioned on the 13th October 1942. Son of Gerald Poynings Dasent and Ellen Elizabeth Dasent (née Wilson), Aorangi, Mangatahi. 897 flying hours logged with 220 on the Spitfire. Completed 71 operational sorties.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 10-03-2021

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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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