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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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64 Squadron Crest
64 Squadron Spitfire IIa P7784 SH-L P/O. John Hampton Rowden

Operation: Rhubarb

Date: 9th April 1941 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 64 Squadron (motto: Tenax propositi - 'Firm of purpose')

Type: Spitfire Mk IIA

Serial: P7784

Code: SH-L

Base: RAF Hornchurch, Essex

Location: near Fort-Mardyck 5 km west of Dunkerque France

Pilot: P/O. John Hampton Rowden 83249 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Update January 2023: 'Simply Spitfire' is currently building a full-size metal replica Spitfire and hoping to base it on P7784 flown by P/O John Hampton Rowden.


Attacked and shot down by a Me109 of II/JG51 flown by Hauptmann Josef Fözö (see Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site). The aircraft apparently came down near a flak battery within the airfield at Fort-Mardyck, creating huge interest as shown by the series of photographs.

(Some of which we have decided not to place on the page of remembrance or we have masked)

Above P/O. John Hampton Rowden with photographs below showing the wreckage (courtesy Michel Beckers)

Area of operations

Note: Built at the Castle Bromwich Factory and fitted with the Merlin XII Engine.

P/O. John Hampton Rowden at rear 3rd from the left

Burial details:

P/O. John Hampton Rowden. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2 Row 1 Grave 44. Husband of Catherine Rowden (née Finch) of Vernon Avenue, Rugby, England.

Researched by Michel Beckers, with photographs supplied by the Rowden family and Edward McManus. Kracker Archive.

Other sources as quoted in the section below.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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Last Modified: 28 January 2023, 14:09

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