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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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504 Squadron Crest
30.04.1940 504 Squadron Hurricane I L1947 Sqn.Ldr. R. Hartley-Watson

Operation: Night interception

Date: 30th April 1940 (Tuesday)

Unit: 504 Squadron

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: L1947

Base: RAF Martlesham Heath

Location: Ditchingham House, Bungay, Norfolk.

Pilot: Sqn.Ldr. Rupert Hartley-Watson 90059 RAuxAF Age 28. Killed


On the date of the accident he was serving on detachment at Martlesham Heath.

Above: Area of loss with insert, Sqn.Ldr. Hartley-Wilson (courtesy Sherborne School archives)

Above: Believed to be the Hurricane of Sqn.Ldr. Hartley-Wilson by virtue of the 'Sherlock Holmes' motif. The airman sitting in the cockpit is the father of Dave Woodward, who was a member of 504 Sqn ground crew and who had been sent to France in the May of 1940. (Courtesy of Dave Woodward).

During a night interception patrol it is understood that he crashed on return to the base within the grounds of Ditchingham House, situated north of Bungay in Norfolk. (we have no further details of this - are you able to assist?)

Above: Ditchingham House, Bungay

Above: Sherborne School, Dorset - Any further information that you are able to assist them with fallen former pupils from all wars, we would be pleased to pass onto them.

Burial details:

Sqn.Ldr. Rupert Hartley-Watson. Powderham Churchyard (St. Clement) East of Church. Born 1st April 1912, son of Lt.Col. Guy Hartley Watson - 3rd Dragoon Guards (born 15th April 1870 - retired 6th September 1911 - died 27th April 1950) and Kathleen Nona Hartley Watson (Born 16th June 1885 - died 8th January 1963) of Powderham Rectory, Exeter, England.

Attended Naish House preparatory school, Burnham-on-Sea. Attended Sherborne School (School House) January 1926-July 1929. Director of silk embroidery factory. Flight-Lieutenant, Royal Air Force, Special Reserve, 1931.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Sherborne School Archives for additional information. Thanks to Dave Woodward for the Hurricane image (Dec 2020). Further updates by Aircrew Remembered (Dec 2020).

RS 07.12.2020 - Addition of image of Hurricane and other updates

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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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