19 August 1941 452 Squadron Spitfire Vb P8717 F/O. Eccleton
Operation: Circus 81
Date: 19 August 1941 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 452 Squadron (motto: Miundus Pro Nobis - 'weeping the world before us') 11 Group
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Kenley, Surrey
Location: French coast off Calais
Pilot: F/O. William Davies Eccleton Aus/402232 RAAF Age 25. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 10:05 hrs escorting Blenheims with the target of the power station at Gosnay..
The squadron suffered one other loss when intercede by JG2 fighters. The others:
Spitfire Vb AB785 Flown by Sgt. Richard George Gazzard Aus/402115 RAAF shot down and killed.
Spitfire Vb AB794 Flown by P/O. Don Willis who although wounded managed to return to Kenley and make a forced landing. The aircraft suffered cat. 2 damage, repaired and returned to Service.
P8717 was seen to lose a wing and spiral down out of control. His body recovered and buried at Dunkirk.
F/O. William Davies Eccleton. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2 Row 2 Grave 14. Born on the 22nd February 1916 at Levin. A clerk for Robert Reid and company prior to enlisting on the 22nd February 1940 at Sydney. Son of William Christopher and Frances Mary Eccleton (née Baker) of 16 Parawa Street, Mount Eden, Auckland. Husband of Margaret Isabel Eccleton, of Croydon, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription: 'For His Country And His Loved Ones'.
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: