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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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152 crest
152 Squadron Spitfire Ia X4177 Sq/Ldr. Peter Kenneth Devitt

Operation: Patrol

Date: 25th September 1940 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 152 Squadron (Hyderabad) (motto: 'Faithful Ally')

Type: Spitfire Ia

Serial: X4177

Code: UM-A

Base: RAF Warmwell, Dorset

Location: Skew Bridge, Newton St. Loe.

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Peter Kenneth Devitt 90080 RAF Age 28. Safe


A large formation of 58 He III’s was sent to bomb the Bristol Aircraft Factory works, escorted by some 40 long-range BF110’s. 152 squadron scrambled to intercept.

Sq/Ldr. Devitt,s Spitfire was hit in the fuel tanks and had to make a forced landing, surviving unscathed. The two other two were not so lucky.

Above L-R: Sq/Ldr. Peter Kenneth Devitt, Sgt. Kenneth Christopher Holland and Sgt. William Gerald Silver

Australian pilot, 20 year old, Sgt. Kenneth Christopher Holland 754503 flying Spitfire Ia N3173 attacked a He III and hit his target. Seeing a parachute leave the aircraft he continued his attack, only to be hit by the rear gunner. His aircraft crashed in the fields of Church Farm at 12:00 hrs. Sgt. Holland had been hit in the head and killed during the return fire from the Luftwaffe gunner, Gefr. Rudolf Beck.

The Heinkel 111P 1525 'G1 + EP' crashed at Church Farm at 12:02 hrs. The crew of four were killed, only the pilot. Hptm. Helmut Brandt baled out wounded and subsequently captured. (See Kracker Archive)

27 year old, Sgt. William Gerald Silver 563391 RAF flying Spitfire Ia P9463 was shot down off Portsmouth at 11:55 hrs. His body later washed ashore.

Burial details:

Sgt. Kenneth Christopher Holland. Weymouth Crematorium and also remembered at St. Materiana's Church, Tintagel, Cornwall. Born on the 29th January 1920 in Sydney, New South Wales. Son of Harold George and Ina Gladys Christopher Holland understood to be of 11 King Street, Bondi, Sydney, Australia. Ward of Major. ‘Toby’ Hugh Ivor Emmott Ripley, of Camelford, Cornwall, England. Also his girlfriend and future wife, Seina Haydon.

Sgt. William Gerald Silver. Milton Road Cemetery. Plot U. Row 23A. Grave 13. Born in December 1912 in Hampshire. Buried with his daughter Joyce Margaret Lowe who died age 26 in childbirth on the 03rd May 1965.

Sq/Ldr. Peter Kenneth Devitt - Born on 4th June 1911. At the end of October 1940, Devitt was posted to HQ 9 Group. In April 1941 he went to HQ 14 Group as Senior Controller. Postwar he was a Lloyds underwriter. He passed away on the 29th March 1997, at age 85.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Kracker Archive, Mike Berrell for the memorial photograph, Rob at the 152 Hyderabad Squadron has a fine website where the full story can be read as well as many other sources as quoted below:

KTY 07-01-2022

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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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