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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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401 Squadron Crest
27.10.1941 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire Vb AB983 P/O. Small

Operation: Sweep

Date: 27th October 1941 (Monday)

Unit: No. 401 Squadron (RCAF - ‘The Rams’)

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AB983 (Singkawang)

Code: YO-?

Base: RAF Biggin Hill / RAF Digby

Location: French Coast

Pilot: P/O. John Allan Small J/3717 RCAF Age 24. Killed

We are extremely grateful to Francois Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in September 2017.


With eleven other aircraft from 401 Squadron while making a sweep over the French coast near Dunkirk, the formation was suddenly attacked by a large force of Me 109s from JG26.

Above: P/O. John Allan Small with Sgt. Kay on the right.

A bad day for fighter command losing some 13 aircraft during several sorties with 401 Squadron suffering some 6 losses. The others:

Spitfire Vb AB991 Flown by F/O. Clarence Alfred Blake Wallace C/1371 RCAF - missing, believed killed after being shot down by crews from JG26.

Above: F/O. Ian Watson, Fl/Lt. Norman Johnstone, F/O. Blake Wallace, F/O. John Weir, F/O. Bud Connell, F/O. George Elliott, Fl/Lt. Jack Morrison.

Spitfire Vb W3601 Flown by 21 year old, Fl/Sgt. Stanley Lewis Thompson R/61455 RCAF - nursed his aircraft back having been hit during a dogfight over France - but killed after crashing at Deal.

Spitfire Vb W3964 Flown by 23 year old, Fl/Lt. Clarke Wallace Chant Floody J/5481 RCAF - shot down and taken PoW. (PoW number: 648. Camp Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang - L1, later Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3)

Spitfire Vb W3955 Flown by Sgt. Brian Gilmore Hodgkinson J/38649 (from Winnipeg, Canada) became the Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland's 93rd victory. Taken PoW. (PoW number: 143. Camp Stalag Hohen Fels - 383)

Spitfire Vb W3452 (Midnight Sun) Flown by 20 year old American, Sgt. Gerald Bickle Whitney J/15189 RCAF baled out over Dover - parachute opened at just 100 ft. Pilot OK.

Burial details:

P/O. John Allan Small. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2. Row 2. Grave 43. Born in Winnipeg and later moved to Wapella, Saskatchewan, then to Vancouver, finally to Toronto. The son of David Allan and Winifred May Small, of 199 Millwood Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “The Eternal God Is Thy Refuge And Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms”.

F/O. Clarence Alfred Blake Wallace. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 59. Son of Colonel the Hon. Clarence Wallace, C.B.E., and Charlotte Hazel Wallace, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. B.Com.

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Lewis Thompson. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 36.A.2. Born on the 24th May 1920 at Davidson, Saskatchewan, the son of James Harry and Olivia Thompson (née Thomas), of Davidson, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Not Dead To Us Who Loved Him Not Lost But Gone Before”.


28th April 1942:- Sgt. Gerald Bickle Whitney. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 37.I.2. Son of Gerald B. Whitney and Irene Barbara Whitney, of Fort Worth, Texas, USA. During Circus 144 to St. Omer, France, flying Spitfire Vb AB917. Another pilot from 401 squadron was also shot down, P/O. J.A. Ferguson, flying Spitfire Vb BL598 - taken PoW.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Francois Dutil and sources as quoted below:

KTY - 28.09.2017

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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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