26.07.1942 43 Squadron Hurricane IIC HL863 Sgt. Whitten
Date: 26th July 1942 (Sunday)
Unit No: 43 Squadron (motto: Gloria finis - 'Glory is the end') 11 Group
Type: Hurricane IIC
Base: RAF Tangmere, Sussex
Location: Over target area
Pilot: Sgt. Ronald Frederick Whitten 41971 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 01:30 hrs on an intruder operation over Fécamp, France.
No further details on how he was shot down and it is assumed it was over the target area. He was the only loss that night.
Update: Aircrew Remembered has been contacted by Etcheto Maurice who tells us that documents and witnesses have been found to Ronald F. Whitten's plane crash.
On Sunday 26th July 1942, under a full moon, he attacked the Le Havre-Paris train at Bolleville, Seine-Maritime. His first attack was successful hitting the locomotive which stopped the train. He came back to make a second attack but crashed into the locomotive. It was 03.30 hrs.
Etcheto has informed us that a commemoration is planned for the 23rd July 2022
Burial and personal details:
Sgt. Ronald Frederick Whitten. Ste. Marie Cemetery. Le Havre. Divn. 67 Row E. Grave 10. Born on the 08th February 1916 at Auckland. An artist for Berlei Ltd of Auckland. Enlisted on the 09th February 1941 at Levin. Trained in Canada with No. 10 Service Flying Training School and awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 01st September 1941. Prior to joining 43 squadron on the 17th December 1941, completed conversion training on the Hurricane at 59 Operational Training Unit. Attended No. 1528 Beam Approach Training Flight in March 1941 for a week. Son of Albert Edward and Annette May Whitten, of Auckland City, New Zealand. A total of 332 flying hours logged. Thought this his 2nd operational sortie.
Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand (Mar 2021). Thanks to Etcheto Maurice for the crash and commemoration information (Jun 2022).
Other sources as quoted below: