19.08.1942 129 Squadron Spitfire AR339 Flt.Sgt. Sigurd G. Jenssen
Operation: Dieppe Raid
Date: 19th August 1942 (Friday)
Unit: 129 Squadron (Mysore)
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Thorney Island, West Sussex
Location: Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire
Pilot: Flt.Sgt. Sigurd Gerhardt Jenssen RAFVR (Norwegian) Age 24. Killed
We are indebted to Robert Godwin and the Friends of Stansted for the information supplied - see acknowledgements.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Prior to his loss, the Sqn engaged units of JG2 on the previous day during a sweep to Cherbourg. His aircraft, Spitfire R7195 was hit but despite the damage with most of one aileron shot off he managed to return to his unit. The aircraft suffered category B damage. (See here for damage accident abbreviations)
The Sqn were to lose two pilots on this operation:
22-year-old, Flt.Sgt. Alan James Edwards 41642 RNZAF (Spitfire BL934 - some publications have Flt.Sgt. Edwards as being taken PoW - sadly not so). His body was recovered by a British destroyer on the 27th August in the English Channel and returned to England for burial at Felixstowe New Cemetery.
Flt.Sgt. Herrman Joseph Michael McDonnell 1380301 RAFVR (Spitfire AD415) - commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 75.
On the disastrous Dieppe raid (details shown below) Sgt Jenssen (left) was unaccounted for and a later report came through that his body had been found next to his burned-out aircraft at Rowland’s Castle 4 to 5 miles north of Thorney Island.
He apparently asked for a homing at 16:10 hrs but was too low to be picked up by control and got lost in clouds and flew into the trees.
The Sqn were also to lose, 27 year old Fg.Off. Harry Gwyn Jones 44881 RAF from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales, commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
For many years, we are informed by our friends at the Stansted Park Estate, a gentleman placed a wreath at the crash site.
Mr. Mark Finley contacted Aircrew Remembered on the 29th March 2020. He has been laying wreaths for the past 20 years or so. He missed a year through poor health. The wreaths are laid on Remembrance Sunday and removed about a week later. Thanks from Aircrew Remembered for your dedication, Mark.
A memorial to Sigurd Jenssen placed in Stansted Forest
The Dieppe Raid (courtesy Wikipedia):
The Allied air operations supporting Operation Jubilee resulted in some of the fiercest air battles since 1940. The RAF's main objectives were to throw a protective umbrella over the amphibious force and beach heads and also to force the Luftwaffe forces into a battle of attrition on the Allies' own terms. Some 48 fighter squadrons of Spitfires were committed, with eight squadrons of Hurricane fighter-bombers, four squadrons of reconnaissance Mustang Mk Is and seven squadrons of No. 2 Group light bombers involved. Opposing these forces were some 120 operational fighters of Jagdgeschwader 2 and 26 (JG 2 and JG 26), the Dornier Do 217s of Kampfgeschwader 2 and various anti-shipping bomber elements of III./KG 53, II./Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG40) and I./KG 77.
Although initially slow to respond to the raid, the German fighters soon made their presence felt over the port as the day wore on. While the Allied fighters were moderately successful in protecting the ground and sea forces from aerial bombing, they were hampered by operating far from their home bases. The Spitfires in particular were at the edge of their ranges, with some only being able to spend five minutes over the combat area.
The raid on Dieppe saw the baptism of fire for the new Spitfire Mark IX, the only British fighter that was equal to the Fw 190 fighter. Six squadrons, four British and two Canadian were flying the new Spitfire Mark IX at Dieppe. During the battle, the RAF flew 2,500 sorties over Dieppe, and achieved a narrow victory over the Luftwaffe. The intense air fighting prevented the Luftwaffe from making major attacks on either the landing or the evacuation of the Allied forces, who consequently did not suffer very much from attacks from the air.
However, in achieving the goal of the 'greatest air battle' that would cripple the Luftwaffe over France, Operation Jubilee was less successful. During the air battles over Dieppe, the Royal Air Force lost 91 aircraft shot down and 64 pilots (17 taken prisoner, the rest all killed) while the Royal Canadian Air Force lost 14 aircraft and nine pilots. Additionally, the British lost six bombers over Dieppe. The Luftwaffe lost 48 aircraft, another 24 seriously damaged with 13 pilots killed and seven wounded. However, RAF intelligence at the time claimed that the Allies had shot down 96 German aircraft, thus winning a major victory. In reality, the Luftwaffe in France was back to full strength within days of the raid. In an assessment, Copp wrote that Dieppe failed to register the knock-out blow against the Luftwaffe that the RAF was seeking.
But Copp further noted that even though the Allies continued to lose on average two aircraft for every 1 German aircraft destroyed for the rest of 1942, the superior economic productivity of the aircraft industries of the United States, Britain and Canada combined with the better pilot training programme of the Allies led to the Luftwaffe gradually losing the war of attrition in the skies above France. Copp concluded that: 'The battle for air superiority was won many fronts by continuous effort and August 19, 1942 was part of that achievement'.
Flt.Sgt. Sigurd Gerhardt Jenssen. Cremated on the 22nd October 1946 in Southwark, London. Born on the 15th May 1918 in Kristiansand, Norway. Son of Thomas Gerhard and Sigrid Christine (née Strueber) Jenssen from Norway.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the Friends of Stansted for sending the information, in particular Robert Godwin who constantly updates us with new information. Thanks to Chris Gunns for the wreath photograph.