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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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245 Squadron Crest
19.08.1942 No. 245 Squadron Hurricane IIC BD766 P/O. James E. Barton

Operation: Dieppe

Date: 19th August 1942 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 245 Squadron (10 group)

Type: Hurricane IIC

Serial: BD766

Code: MR-?

Base: RAF Middle Wallop

Location: Dieppe, France

Pilot: P/O. James Edgar Barton NZ/4022433 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed.


On detachment at the time at RAF Shoreham in Sussex. 10 of the squadron took off at 04:45 hrs to take part in the Dieppe operation. 3 of this number failed to return, of the remainder only one aircraft remained in a serviceable condition, such was the ferocity of the air battle!

The attack proved †o be successful but the smoke and confusion over the target area caused the squadron to split up. During this BD766 was lost without trace and it is thought he had been hit by ground fire.

The others lost:

Hurricane IIc HL669 Flown by 25 year old, P/O. Alfred Enoch Scott 117308 RAFVR from Nottingham - commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 71.

Hurricane IIc BP741 Flown by 26 year old, Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Riding Bennette 42387 RAF from Carshalton - commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 65.

Hurricane IIc BE495 flown by P/O. Christopher Llewellyn Gotch 111578 RAFVR force landed at Friston, wounded in both legs. Hurricane IIc BN233 flown by 26 year old, Sq/Ldr. Henry Harold Mould 70870 RAFVR from Walsall force landed at Littlehampton, no injuries (killed on the 23rd December 1942)

A great deal has been written regarding this operation but we include a description from Wikipedia:

Left: P/O. James Edgar Barton (courtesy Matthew O'Sullivan, Keeper of Photographs, Air Force Museum of New Zealand)

"The Allied air operations supporting Operation Jubilee resulted in some of the fiercest air battles since 1940. The RAF's main objectives were to throw a protective umbrella over the amphibious force and beach heads and also to force the Luftwaffe forces into a battle of attrition on the Allies' own terms. Some 48 fighter squadrons of Spitfires were committed, with eight squadrons of Hurricane fighter-bombers, four squadrons of reconnaissance Mustang Mk Is and seven squadrons of No. 2 Group light bombers involved. Opposing these forces were some 120 operational fighters of Jagdgeschwader 2 and 26 (JG 2 and JG 26), the Dornier Do 217s of Kampfgeschwader 2 and various anti-shipping bomber elements of III./KG 53, II./Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG40) and I./KG 77.

Although initially slow to respond to the raid, the German fighters soon made their presence felt over the port as the day wore on. While the Allied fighters were moderately successful in protecting the ground and sea forces from aerial bombing, they were hampered by operating far from their home bases. The Spitfires in particular were at the edge of their ranges, with some only being able to spend five minutes over the combat area.

The raid on Dieppe saw the baptism of fire for the new Spitfire Mark IX, the only British fighter that was equal to the Fw 190 fighter. Six squadrons, four British and two Canadian were flying the new Spitfire Mark IX at Dieppe. During the battle, the RAF flew 2,500 sorties over Dieppe, and achieved a narrow victory over the Luftwaffe.

The intense air fighting prevented the Luftwaffe from making major attacks on either the landing or the evacuation of the Allied forces, who consequently did not suffer very much from attacks from the air. However, in achieving the goal of the "greatest air battle" that would cripple the Luftwaffe over France, Operation Jubilee was less successful. During the air battles over Dieppe, the Royal Air Force lost 91 aircraft shot down and 64 pilots (17 taken prisoner, the rest all killed) while the Royal Canadian Air Force lost 14 aircraft and nine pilots. Additionally, the British lost six bombers over Dieppe. The Luftwaffe lost 48 aircraft, another 24 seriously damaged with 13 pilots killed and seven wounded.

However, RAF intelligence at the time claimed that the Allies had shot down 96 German aircraft, thus winning a major victory. In reality, the Luftwaffe in France was back to full strength within days of the raid. In an assessment, Copp wrote that Dieppe failed to register the knock-out blow against the Luftwaffe that the RAF was seeking. But Copp further noted that even though the Allies continued to lose on average two aircraft for every 1 German aircraft destroyed for the rest of 1942, the superior economic productivity of the aircraft industries of the United States, Britain and Canada combined with the better pilot training programme of the Allies led to the Luftwaffe gradually losing the war of attrition in the skies above France. Copp concluded that: "The battle for air superiority was won many fronts by continuous effort and August 19, 1942 was part of that achievement".

Above: Part of Runnymede Memorial, Panel 115.

With further thanks to: Matthew O'Sullivan, Keeper of Photographs, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Ian Martyn Medals Reunited New Zealand.

Burial details:

P/O. James Edgar Barton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 115. Born on the 29th May 1921, the son of James Meffen Barton and Elizabeth Barton, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand and husband of Vera May Barton (née Burton). Thought to have been married for just two weeks.

Researched for Roger Cappel and Greg Brown, relatives of the pilot and dedicated to all the relatives, with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, also to Martien van Dijk of the great 'Wings To Victory' website for bringing the loss and relatives †o our attention, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 26.07.2018

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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', 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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