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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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350 Squadron Crest
06.06.1944 350 Squadron Spitfire Vb EN950 MN-H Flt.Lt. François A. Venesoen DFC

Operation: Patrol (D-Day)

Date: 6th June 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: 350 (Belgian) Squadron

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: EN950

Code: MN-H

Base: RAF Friston, East Sussex.

Location: English Channel, off Normandy, France

Pilot: Flt.Lt. François August Venesoen DFC (Belgium) 107235 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Whilst with 350 (Belgian) Sqn on the 19th August 1942 he claimed the shooting down of 2 Fw190 and on the 16th November 1942 he shared in the shooting down of a Junker Ju-52 transport. He was then posted to 610 Sqn and on the 29th March 1943 he claimed another Fw-190. On the 21st April 1943 he claimed for damaging 2 Fw-190s. His last credited victory was in a share of a Bf-110 on the 24th September 1943.
In recognition of his successes he was awarded a DFC on the 15th December 1943. (From "The Airman’s Stories" by Dean Sumner and The National Archives).

The invasion of Normandy was the largest amphibious assault ever launched. It involved five army divisions in the initial assault and over 7,000 ships. In addition there were 11,000 aircraft.

In total 75,215 British and Canadian troops and 57,500 US troops were landed by sea on D-Day. Another 23,400 were landed by air.

21 aircraft from fighter Command were lost at various locations,14 pilots died. Spitfire EN950 took off at 04:35 hours on a patrol to cover the ground forces. The aircraft, according to the 350 Operational Record Book, suffered a glycol leak which forced the pilot, Flt.Lt. Venesoen to bale out.

His wingman, Fg.Off. Siroux witnessed this and said that his parachute deployed fine and he hit the sea. He was seen to be struggling in the water trying to inflate his dinghy. Three Air Sea launches raced to the scene but no trace of the pilot was found.

Right: Flt.Lt. François August Venesoen DFC with Pamela Mary Webb (Courtesy: The Pamela Webb Venesoen Collection)


Burial details:

Flt.Lt. François August Venesoen DFC, Runnymede Memorial. Panel 203. Husband of Pamela Mary Webb whom he married in Anglesey, Wales on the 31st July 1943. Born on the 19th October 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium. He escaped via France to England and arrived on the 23rd June and then joined the RAF. First served as an air gunner on Blenheims with 235 Squadron moving on to 350 Squadron on the 18th December 1941. One of the few Belgians that had taken part in the ‘Battle of Britain’.

Flt.Lt. Venesoen DFC (courtesy Johny Recour), Flt.Lt. Venesoen has a gravestone in the Brussels Cemetery. The inscription reads 'disparu' which translates to 'missing person'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Johny Recour from Belgium. Many thanks to Shannon Blosser-Salisbury, the cousin of Pamela Mary (née Webb) Venesoen for the continuing use of the couple's photograph

RS 21.05.2020 - Additional information/images and update to attribution

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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Last Modified: 26 March 2021, 18:43

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