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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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403 Squadron Crest
14.07.1944 No. 403 Squadron Spitfire IX MJ750 F/O. Donald J. Shapter

Operation: Armed recce

Date: 14th July 1944 (Friday)

Unit: No. 403 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: MJ570

Base: RAF Bazenville, Normandy

Location: St. Lambert, Calvados, France.

Pilot: F/O. Donald John Shapter J/35505 RCAF Age 24. Killed (1)


Taking part in an armed recce patrol when they attacked a column of 30 armoured vehicles and flag units moving through the village of Saint Lambert. They attacked and destroyed some of the unit. They turned round to commence the second attack when a half-track flak gun that was hidden beside a house fired at point blank range at the low flying Spitfire. F/O. Shapter then tried to climb and look for a place to crash land but he hit the top of a nearby hill and was killed.

Villagers removed his body and buried him in the local church.

Even today, local villagers look after his grave and it is always adorned with flowers. This report was made by eye witness accounts of the attack and submitted by Jacques Grasset who also looks after the grave today.

Later in the early evening another 403 Squadron (3) Spitfire was shot down. W/O. William Powers (2) was also killed.

(1) F/O. Shapter lost his older brother earlier on 5/6th August 1942. W/O William J.A. Shapter R/78148 RCAF was flying as an observer with 207 Squadron in a Lancaster I R5761 EM-T on a bombing operation to Essen. The aircraft was shot down by a night-fighter ace from 1./NJG1 flown by Oblt. Kurt Loos over Appeltern at 02:26 hrs. The pilot of the Lancaster Fl/Lt. Gerald Ings and all the crew of 7 were killed.

(2) W/O. William Powers R/71499 Age 28 RCAF flying Spitfire MK881 now buried at St. Charles De Percy War Cemetery.

(3) 403 Squadron had a superb record of combat during WW2. By May 1945, the squadron had a record of 123 enemy aircraft destroyed, with a share in seven more, 10 probably destroyed and 72 damaged with a share in one more. An equally impressive number of ground targets had been destroyed or damaged including 30 tanks, 50 locomotives and nearly 100 other vehicles.

Burial Details:

F/O. Donald John Shapter. St. Lambert Churchyard, France. Son of the Revd. Charles P. Shapter and Margaret M. Shapter, husband of Elizabeth Jean Shapter, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Shapter Lake in Muskoka, Ontario is named after F/O Donald Shapter

Researched by Jacques Grasset for Aircrew Remembered. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY 04.08.2015 Page updated

CHB 02.08.2020 Commemorative feature link added.

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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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