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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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74 Squadron Spitfire IIa P7364 P/O. Robert Lawrence Spurdle DFC

Operation: Patrol

Date: 22nd October 1940 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 74 Squadron (motto: Fear no man' )

Type: Spitfire IIa

Serial: P7364

Code: ZP-?

Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent

Location: Hadlow Place, Tonbridge, Kent

Pilot: P/O.'Spud' Robert Lawrence Spurdle DFC NZ/2454 RNZAF Age 22. Safe


Weather: Widespread fog in the south, clearing to rain later.

Taking off at 1340 hrs with seven others on a patrol over Surrey.

They were bounced by Me109's and P/O. Peter Cape Beauchamp St. John flying Spitfire P7431 was shot down and killed over North Nutfield at around 15:00 hrs. Shortly after P/O. Spurdle flying Spitfire P7364 was also attacked but he managed to bale out successfully with his aircraft crashing at Hadlow Place.

By 15:25 hrs the remainder landed back at base.

Burial and other details:

None - survived the war.

P/O. Robert Lawrence Spurdle DFC. Born on the 03rd March 1918 in Whanganu. Educated at Wanganui Collegiate.

Son of Frederick Maurice Spurdle (née Bucket - died 31st December 1943, age 64) and Flora Park Cave 'Flossie] (née Calman- died 07th October 1973, age 90) Husband of Shirley Florence Burgess (married 01st December 1943 - née Lomas - died 25th March 1975, age 56) May's Dorothy Marion Spurdle (married 1954 - née Binnung - died 23rd November 1987, age 70) . Robert Spurdle passed away on the 05th March 1994, age 76 and now rests in the Mercury Bay Cemetery, Waikato, New Zealand.

DFC Citation LG 14th August 1942:

This officer is a keen and determined pilot He has destroyed 5, probably destroyed 4 and damaged several more enemy aircraft. His devotion to duty has set a praiseworthy example.

Peter Cape Beauchamp St.John. Amersham Consecrated Cemetery, Grave 266. Born on the 25th May 1917. Son of Robert Henry Beauchamp St.John (died 01st February 1956), his first wife Mary Agnes Sybil (married 01st October 1901 - née Shelton - died in September 1915 age 43) and Edith Mary St.John, (married on the 09th September 1916 - née Hutton - later Whall). Brother of Margaret Mary St.John (died 14th December 1975, age 56) and step brother of Dorothy Mary Beaufort St.John (died in March 1997, age 94), of Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England.of Notting Hill, London.

Above L-R: Rear; Robert Lawrence Spurdle NZ/2454, Rex Donald Daniell NZ/2435, Alan Bishop Smith NZ/412274 (✞ 16th August 1943).
Front; Donald Carr MacKenzie NZ/43706 (✞ 12th June 1943) L.E.F Parry (?), William George Charles Gasquoine NZ/2480, Arthur Ashworth NZ/436099, Nelson Reuben Mansfield NZ/43707 (✞ killed 14th January 1944) (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, National Archive Kew. AIR 27-640-10, Battle of Britain London Monument.

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding Battle of Britain

Pages detailing RNZAF losses

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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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