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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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Fighter Command Crest
31.08.1940 No. 1 Squadron (RCAF) Hurricane I P2971 F/O. G.G. Hyde

Operation: Patrol

Date: 31st August 1940 (Saturday)

Unit: 1 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: P2971

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Northolt

Location: Staplehurst, Kent

Pilot: F/O. George Gordon Hyde C/948 RCAF Age 26. survived - Wounded (1)

We are extremely grateful to François Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in October 2017. All photographs shown within this page are available to relatives at a higher resolution (as are most of those named within this page) - courtesy of François.


Weather: Clear and fine in the south with hazy conditions in the Thames Estuary and Channel areas near Dover.

0755hrs: Radar picked up one plot over the Thames Estuary, another plot was picked up over the Channel and heading towards the Dover and Dungeness area and within a few minutes it was confirmed that three formations were approaching from the Thames Estuary while the fourth was approaching over Dover and many a remark was made, "...they just don't give up do they." and ".......blimey, not again." But Park, realizing that he had dispatched his fighters far too late the previous day, was taking no chances this time.

Two squadrons were "scrambled" and were vectored to the Margate and Thames Estuary area. This first wave of enemy aircraft was identified as Bf109s and flying at some 25,000 feet where their performance was better than that of the Spitfire. Park sent out the order for them to return to their bases as he was not wanting to involve fighter to fighter combat. 253 Squadron Kenley (Hurricanes) received the message and headed for home.

But the other squadron, 1 Squadron RCAF (they had not been allocated a RAF Squadron number at this time) did not receive the message and got caught up with the Bf109s and five of their aircraft were destroyed. Described below:

28 year old, Fl/Lt. Vaughan Bowerman Corbett DFC. C/299 RCAF Flying Hurricane I P3869 - Baled out, survived - lost his life on the 20th February 1945 in a flying accident (Then a Group Captain - from Oklahoma, USA).
29 year old.
F/O. William Paterson Sprenger C/895 RCAF Flying Hurricane I P3858 - Baled out, survived - lost his life later on the 26th November 1940 during training accident with Hurricane I V6746.
27 year old.
F/O. Jean-Paul Joseph Desloges C/788 RCAF Flying Hurricane I N2530 - Baled out, survived, injured - lost his life later on the 08th May 1944 in a flying accident in Rabat, Morocco.
Sgt. Henry James Merchant Flying Hurricane I V7375 - Baled out, survived, injured - retired from the RAF in 1945.

Realising that Fighter Command was not to be tempted, the Bf109s decided to attack the barrage balloons around the Dover area.

(1) F/O. George Gordon Hyde: 17/05/1941 - 402 Squadron Fl/Lt George Hyde gave an outstanding and long remembered display of aerobatics over Metheringham as part of the village's War Weapons Week celebration. Unfortunately, Hyde crashed and was killed. He is buried in Scopwick Military Cemetery.'

Burial details:

F/O. George Gordon Hyde. Scopwick Church Burial Ground. (Holy Cross). Row 2. Grave 39. Born on the 11th February 1914 in Montreal, the son of George Gordon Hyde, K.C., and Lilian B. Hyde, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Beloved Son Of G. Gordon And Lilian Hyde Of Montreal, Canada”.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to François Dutil, Michel Beckers and sources as quoted below:

KTY - 10.10.2017

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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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