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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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257 Squadron crest
31.08.1940 No. 257 Squadron Hurricane I P3175 DT-S P/O. Maffett

Operation: Scramble (Battle of Britain period)

Date: 31st August 1940 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 257 Squadron

Type: Hawker Hurricane I

Serial: P3175

Code: DT- S

Base: RAF Martlesham Heath

Location: Stonepoint, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

Pilot:P/O. Gerard Hamilton Maffett 80814 RAFVR Age 24. Killed


On that day, nine Hurricanes took off from Martlesham Heath at 08:25 hrs led by Flight Lieutenant H.R.A Beresford and were ordered to patrol Debden at 15,000 feet.

The squadron climbed towards Debden. At 14,000 feet they encountered two large formations of Ju88's with various formations of Bf110s at 16,000 feet. Being unable to catch up with the Ju88's , the squadron turned their attention to the Bf110s.

At least six Bf110s were claimed as being destroyed by the squadron but two Hurricanes were also lost including P3175 which crashed on the Essex foreshore near Stone Point at Walton-on-the-Naze at 08:56 hrs.

Pilot Officer Maffett was killed when his parachute failed to open in time as he 'bailed out' at low altitude.

A complete cockpit section of airframe, including instrument panel and windscreen, together with an almost complete engine and the remains of the three wooden propellor blades were recovered between 1972 and 1973 team led by G.H. Rayner, RN. The full exhibition is now displayed in the Battle of Britain Museum at Hendon.

The aeroplane was originally built by the Gloster Aircraft Company and delivered to the No.10 Maintenance Unit in June 1940. It was originally taken on charge on June 29th and issued to No. 257 Squadron on August 9th. P3175 remained Mafett's mount from August 18th until the final crash on the August 31st 1940.

Left: W/Cmdr John Francis Maffet (archive)

(1) His brother 29 year old W/Cmdr John Francis Maffett 25054 RAF was killed on the 12th February 1942 - commemorated on panel 64 Runnymede Memorial.

Flying as a passenger of Beaufighter T4889 with 145 squadron en route to Malta when lost.

The pilot, 22 year old Australian AUS/400296 Sgt. Brian B. Smith and his W/Op/Air/Gnr. 23 year old 942383 Fl/Sgt. Harry K. Sprason, from Birmingham, England were also lost.

All commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Burial Details:

P/O. Gerard Hamilton Maffett. Bray Cemetery Sec. O. Grave 42. Further information: Son of Lt.-Col. Reginald Ernest and Gwendoline Mary Maffett, of Wellington Lodge, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.

Born in Murree, India on June 11th 1916, Maffett was educated at the Imperial service College, Windsor. He left in 1934 and went to work for the Daily Mail in London.

On April 30th 1938 Maffett joined the RAFVR as a Pilot (741503) and did his weekend flying on Tiger Moths at 13 E and RFTS , White Waltham. Called up on September 1st 1939,he was posted to 1 ITW, Cambridge in early November.

Posted to 12 FTS , Grantham on December 30th, completed the course in early June, was commissioned and then sent to No.2 School of Army Cooperation at Andover on the 15th.

Posted to 5 OTU, Aston Down on June 22nd and after converting to Hurricanes, he joined 257 Squadron at Northolt on July 7th 1940.

Made his first operational sortie on the 19th. On the 18th he was credited with a Do 17 destroyed and a He 111 damaged.

With many thanks to Andrea Ruddick for visiting the grave and taking photographs for us in May 2017. Any relative who would like a copy in a higher resolution are welcome to contact us.

KTY 20.05.2017 Page updated with new grave photo - courtesy Angela Ruddick.

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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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