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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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485 Squadron Crest
06.01.1945 No. 485 Squadron Spitfire LF.IXE NH514 P/O. Matthews

Operation: Armed reconnaissance

Date: 06th January 1945 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 485 Squadron (135 Wing, 84 Group)

Type: Spitfire LF.IXE

Serial: NH514

Code: OU-?

Base: B65 Maldegham, Belgium

Location: Near Breda, Belgium

Pilot: P/O. Francis Charles Matthews NZ/4211615 RNZAF Age 20. Killed


Taking off at 14:15 hrs when, during an attack on a train both Spitfire NH514 and Spitfire PL394 flown by 24 year old, Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC were hit by debris from the target as it blew up. The pilots reported that their aircraft had been badly damaged but were both OK.

They stated that they were planning to bale out but with insufficient height it seems that they elected to crash land. Sadly both pilots were reported as being killed during the attempt. However, some confusion as to the date of death for Frank Matthews as although the CWGC list him as losing his life on the 6th June - the squadron operational training records list him as being injured during the crash and succumbed to his injuries the following day. Errol Martyn who has researched New Zealand losses has not been able to confirm the date of death.

Burial details:

P/O. Francis Charles Matthews. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Grave 4.A.9. Son of Charles and H. F. Matthews, of Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand. 587 flying hours logged and on his 16th operational sortie.

Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Grave 4.A.6. Son of Allan Stead and of Jane Isabella Stead (nee Bennetto), of Wellington City, New Zealand. 872 flying hours logged and on his 198th operational sortie. 105 operations with 485 squadron but had previously served with 164 and 249 Squadron.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 18.08.2018

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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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