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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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263 Squadron Crest
22.02.1944 No. 263 Squadron Typhoon Ib MN249 Sq/Ldr. Warnes DSO DFC

Operation: Shipping reconnaissance

Date: 22nd February 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 263 Squadron

Type: Hawker Typhoon Mk1B

Serial: MN249

Code: HE-?

Base: RAF Harrowbeer, Devon

Location: Ditched North-west of Guernsey

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Berrington Warnes DSO. DFC. 78429 RAFVR Age 29. Missing - believed killed


After refuelling at Harrowbeer, nine aircraft carried out shipping reconnaissance west of the Channel Islands. No enemy action took place, but Warnes was forced to ditch his aircraft after an engine failure. The others observed him swimming towards what looked like an uninflated dinghy.

21 year old F/O. Robert Bruce Tuff AUS/409257 RAAF flying Typhoon JR302 said that he was going to bail out to help him, Fl/Lt. Gerald Geoffrey Racine (1) DFC. J/5800 RCAF informing him to remain in his aircraft, but his order was ignored or not heard. F/O. Tuff was never seen again.

Despite many calls for him to be awarded a posthumous bravery award it was decided that the only one suitable considering the circumstances was a MiD.

A detailed report on the loss of F/O. Tuff can be found on his page of remembrance.

A third pilot, F/O. Robert Hunter 150009 RAFVR flying Typhoon JR304, who was circling the area also crashed at the same area, north west of Guernsey. His body was also never recovered.

(1) Fl/Lt. Gerald Geoffrey Racine was hit by flak the following month on a patrol over the Île de Groix. Flying Typhoon Ia MN170 engaged enemy fighters over Île de Batz was then forced to bale out at about 21:00hrs. He landed in a field about 3 km north of Plouezoc'h. With the great assistance from local French inhabitants he managed to evade capture and escape back to England - rejoining his unit just days later in mid April. Awarded the DFC in September 1944. He was then posted back to Canada and served with 124 Ferry Squadron until released from service in 1946. Born on the 21st May 1920 and from Hampstead, Montreal, Canada.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Berrington Warnes. DSO. DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Son of Clifford Norman and Dorothy Warnes and husband of Peggy Warnes.

F/O. Robert Bruce Tuff. MiD. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Born on the 11th July 1922 at Seddon, Victoria, the son of Robert H. and Margaret Campbell Tuff, of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. A clerk working at the Federal Taxation Department in Melbourne prior to enlisting on the 20th July 1941.

F/O. Robert Charles Hunter. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 207. Son of Charles Henry and Elsie Dora Hunter, of Wolverhampton, England

Researcher Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - January 2019. With thanks to Peter Syevens for photo of Sq/Ldr, Warnes, the remainder from the collection of Michel Beckers.

MB 26.01.2019

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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