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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 W3601 Fl/Sgt. Thompson

.Operation: Fighter Sweep

Date: 27th October 1941 (Monday)

Unit: No. 401 RCAF Squadron (The Rams)

Type: Spitfire Type Vb

Serial: W3601

Code: YO-?

Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent.

Location: Martin Hill near Deal, Kent

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Stanley Lewis Thompson R/61455 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)


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 109’s from JG26.

Although, during the engagement, Fl/Sgt. Thompson’s Spitfire was severely damaged, he managed to nurse the aircraft back to Dover where, in his attempt to bail out, he was killed.

Above left: Sgt. Omer Levesque, Fl/Sgt. Stanley Thompson, Sq/Ldr. Dean Nesbitt and Sgt. 'Goldie' Golden. Right: Fl/Sgt. Stanley Thompson

The sortie was particularly costly for the Ram’s with five aircraft being lost.

In addition to Thompson, F/O. Clarence Wallace and P/O. John Small were killed in this action, while Fl/Lt. Floody (2) and Sgt. Hodgkinson (3) were shot down and became prisoners of war.

A further 401 squadron Spitfire was lost this day, with Sgt. Whitney bailing out safely over Sandwich, Kent.

It is interesting to note that Fl/Lt. Wally Floody OBE was a key member of the mass breakout from Stalag Luft. III known as ‘The Great Escape’. Floody, who had a mining background, was instrumental in the building of the tunnels by which over seventy airmen made their escape from captivity.

(1) Thompson Creek in Saskatchewan is named after Fl/Sgt. Thompson - the plaque placed by his family reads: Thompson Creek flows into the Torch river east of this site at 53.39 N 104.27 W named in memory of Stanley L. Thompson Davidson, Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Airforce. Flight Sergeant Spitfire pilot killed in action over the English Channel October 27 1941, Age 21 Buried at Brookwood Cemetery, England "Not dead to us who loved him, Not lost, but gone before" Placed by his family.

(2) Some publications have Fl/Lt. Floody as killed - this is of course not the case.

(3) Sgt. Hodgkinson became the Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland's 93rd victory.

Burial Details:

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Lewis Thompson. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref. 36.A.2. Son of James Harry and Olivia Thompson, brother to Olivia and May, of 83 St. Clair Avenue West, Davidson, Saskatchewan, Canada. Enlisted in the RCAF in June 1940, trained in Toronto.

Jennifer Thompson wrote to us on the 13th November 2016: “I am a niece of Stanley Lewis Thompson. He had thirteen siblings, two named Gladys and Nettie died of influenza in 1919, before he was born. His other siblings were Bertha, Lillian, Helen, Olivia, May, Robert, Harriet, Leslie, Glen, Alex, and Grace. May and Olivia lived on St. Clair Avenue, Toronto during the war, the family home was Davidson, Saskatchewan.”

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist, Colin Bamford for relatives of the pilot. With thanks also to Jennifer Thompson for further family details. Also to Francois Dutil for pilot photographs.

KTY - 28.09.2017 New photo's 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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