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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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222 Squadron Crest
27.05.1943 No. 222 Squadron Spitfire IX BR636 F/O. Leblanc

Operation: Rodeo 224

Date: 27th May 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 222 Squadron (’Natal’ - 12 Group)

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: BR636

Code: ZD-Not known

Base: RAF Hornchurch

Location: North Sea off Ostend, Belgium

Pilot: F/O. Victor Guillaume Leblanc 123206 RAFVR Age 29. Missing - believed killed

Aircrew Remembered are indebted to Mehdi Schneyders (South African) for photographs and information placed on this page - see further credits.


Born in Bressoux (Belgium) on Sunday the 8th June 1913. Victor Leblanc joined the Aéronautique Militaire belge and in 1940, he was already posted to the 7/III/III Aé ( 7ème Escadrille du IIIème Groupe du IIIème Régiment de l'Aéronautique Militaire ), equipped with Fairey Foxes.

Because of the Nazi German invasion, the unit was evacuated to France. After the Belgian capitulation, Victor Leblanc returned to Belgium.

On Wednesday the 17th December 1941, he escaped and reached Great Britain on Thursday the 12th March 1942.

After a very long period of retraining, Victor Leblanc was posted to No. 222 ‘Natal’ Squadron, equipped with Supermarine Spitfires (Tuesday the 12th January 1943).

On 27th May 1943, F/O. Victor Leblanc flew a Spitfire Mark IX during a ‘Rodeo’ over Ostend (Belgium). At 17:25 hrs, his aircraft was seen to be flapping its wings before falling into the sea. A parachute was seen, but the Belgian pilot disappeared and was reported as ‘Missing in action’. Apart from his name inscribed on the Runnymede Memorial there is a symbolic grave named after him in the Brussels Cemetery (Evere, Brussels).

No. 28 Course, 58 Operational Training Unit, Grangemouth, Scotland.

Front L-R: P/O. Paul Deschamps or Dechamps (Belgian), F/O. Stenton, F/O. Poroshin, P/O. McNally. Jean de Callatay (Belgian, he is wearing the Aéronautique Militaire belge’s uniform), P/O. Lucien Lelarge (Belgian). Middle: P/O. Victor Seydel (Belgian), P/O. Paul Siroux (Belgian), P/O. Albert ‘Fiske, Low Bottom, L’adjudant’ Van de Velde (Belgian), P/O. Victor Leblanc (Belgian), P/O. Marcel Mullenders (Belgian). Rear: Sgt. Jacques Fromont (Belgian), Sgt. Jean Croquet (Belgian), Sgt. Ferdinand, ‘Fifi’ Verpoorten (Belgian), Sgt. Casburn, Sgt. Henri ‘Rico’ Bailly (Belgian) (courtesy Mehdi Schneyders)

Notes on pilots shown:

P/O. Jean de Callatay: On the 25th September 1943 - 3 Squadron Typhoon Ib JP439 - During a Roadstead over the Krammer Estuary - thought to have been shot down, pilot safe but taken PoW.
P/O. Lucien M. Lelarge: On the 14th June 1944 - 350 Squadron Spitfire Vc EE723 - During a beach cover patrol hit by flak and baled out into the English Channel, rescued by Royal Navy.
F/O. Victor Seydel: On the 16th June 1943 - During an Air Sea Rescue sortie shot down over the English Channel, rescued, but wounded by high speed launch.
Sq/Ldr. Albert Van de Velde: On the 19th October 1944 - 349 Squadron Spitfire IX PT555 - During a bombing run hit by flak and force landed near Molentje, safe and returned to unit.
F/O. Jacques Fromont: On the 11th February 1944 - 349 Squadron Spitfire Vc AR490 - During a Ramrod, aircraft suffered engine problems and crashed on return to base, pilot safe.
P/O. Jean Croquet: On the 11th February 1944 - 349 Squadron Spitfire Vb AB175 - During a Ramrod, when it is thought that either the aircraft was hit by flak or suffered engine trouble crashed near Epinay, pilot evaded capture.
Sgt Ferdinand Verpoorten: On the 06th November 1944 - 350 Squadron Spitfire XIV RM671 - During a Ramrod, hit by flak and force landed in Belgium.

Burial details:

F/O. Victor Guillaume Leblanc. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 125. Next of kin details unavailable - are you able to assist?

Information compiled by Mehdi Schneyders, RAF enthusiast, for Aircrew Remembered - March 2017 and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot. Also to Royal Museum of Army and Military History (Brussels), Chez Gaston collection, André Bar from the Air and Space section, with further thanks to sources as quoted below:

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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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