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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
31.10.1941 No. 485 Squadron Spitfire Vb W3579 OU-Q W/Cdr. Ryder

Operation: Escorting Hurricanes to Bourbourge Canal near Dunkirk France

Date: 31st October 1941

Unit: No. 485 Squadron

Type: Spitfire MkVB "Southland II"

Serial: W3579

Code: OU-Q

Base: RAF Driffield

Location: Crash landed on the beach at Dunkirk France

Pilot: Wing Commander Edgar Norman Ryder 39193 RAF DFC and bar. MiD. Age 26. Pow No 658 Camp Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria


Shot down by flak.

Additional information: Edgar Norman Ryder was born at Risalpur, India on 28th November 1914 and returned to England aged ten.

He joined the Royal Fusiliers at Hounslow in 1931 and served until 1934, then becoming a mathematics master at Tredennick School, Worcester.

Ryder joined the RAF on a short service commission in August 1936. Went to 9 FTS Thornaby on 31st October joining 41 Squadron at Catterick on 30th June 1937.

Still with the squadron, Ryder took off alone on 3rd April 1940 in bad visibility and low cloud to investigate an enemy aircraft. He sighted a He111 and shot it down into the sea off Redcar, the crew got out and were picked up by a trawler. His own aircraft was losing power and he came down on the sea, his aircraft sinking immediately.

At a considerable depth he extricated himself, struggled to the surface and was picked up by the trawler Alaskan. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 18th April 1940).

On 15th August Ryder probably destroyed a Ju88, on 5th September he destroyed two Me109's, on the 6th destroyed another, on the 7th got a probable Me109 and damaged a Do17, on the 9th destroyed another Me109, on the 10th damaged a Ju88 and on the 15th shared a Do17. Ryder was shot down by Me109's during a squadron patrol on 27th September and baled out, unhurt. His Spitfire, R6755, crashed and burned out at East Malling.

Above: F/O John Noble Mackenzie, F/O Anthony Desmond Joseph Lovell, Sq/Ldr. Donald Osborne Finlay, F/Lt. Edgar Norman Ryder, Sgt. Roy Clement Ford.

He probably destroyed a Me109 on 25th October and destroyed two more on the 30th October and 27th November.

In January 1941 Ryder was given command of 56 Squadron at North Weald. Appointed to lead the Kenley Wing in June, awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 29th July 1941).

On 31st October 1941 Ryder was leading the Wing on Circus 109 in Spitfire Vb W3579 (presentation aircraft Southland II). Over Dunkirk he was shot down by flak and captured. He escaped from his prison camp and reached Poland but was recaptured in 1943.

He had two earlier escapes whilst with 41 Squadron:

03rd April 1940 flying Spitfire I N3114, ditched off Whitby - safe.

27th September 1940 flying Spitfire I R6755, baled out near Malling - safe.

Ryder received a Mention in Despatches (gazetted 28th December 1945) for distinguished service whilst a PoW.

Made a member of the Order of Orange-Nassau and a CBE (gazetted 1st January 1958). Ryder retired from the RAF on 28th October 1960 as a Group Captain. He died in 1995.

Burial details:

None - pilot survived.

Researched by Michel Beckers, October 2015. Photo of pilot courtesy Peter Shaw. Photographs of the crash site from the collection of Michel Beckers.

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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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