Traces of World War 2 
RAF - 19 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

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19 Squadron was the first squadron to be equipped with Spitfires (1938).

In March 1940, Douglas Bader arrived at Duxford to join 19(F), his first Squadron since his horrific accident 8 years earlier. Two months later he was appointed flight commander in 222 Squadron.

Initially the Squadron was employed largely on convoy patrols, until joining the fierce air battles over Dunkirk.

The Squadron remained in the UK after the outbreak of war, and was part of No. 12 Group, Fighter Command, during the Battle of Britain.

Telegraph, 30/06/2006: 'Wing Commander George "Grumpy" Unwin [18/01/1913-28/06/2006], who has died aged 93, was one of the most successful fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain and was twice awarded the DFM; he was one of only 60 men to receive the double award during the Second World War.

In August 1938 Unwin was a sergeant pilot serving on No 19 Squadron when it became the first to receive the Spitfire. He was one of the original RAF pilots to fly the new fighter and, in the early days, he flew regularly as Douglas Bader's wingman.

No 19 was heavily engaged during the Dunkirk crisis in May 1940. Although an experienced pilot by then, Unwin was not allocated an aircraft for the first sortie. He complained bitterly, and it was this that earned him his nickname, which remained with him for the rest of his life. He was in action the next day, however, and soon registered his first success. The squadron was in the thick of the intense fighting, and, by the end of the evacuation, he had claimed the destruction of five enemy aircraft, two of them unconfirmed.'

Telegraph, 09/07/2005: Obituary Wing Commander Gordon Sinclair

Wing Commander Gordon Sinclair, who has died aged 88, was a leading fighter pilot during the Dunkirk evacuation and in the Battle of Britain, during which he led the first Czech pilots into the fight against the Luftwaffe.

Sinclair was a pre-war pilot serving with No 19 Squadron at Duxford when it became the first to receive the outstanding fighter of the day, the Spitfire, and he had the dubious honour of being at the controls of the first one to crash. During his first flight in the new fighter, the port undercarriage leg collapsed as he landed at Duxford on August 16 1938. The aircraft flipped on to its back, but Sinclair emerged from the incident without injury to himself or his reputation.

The steady routine of convoy escort duties off the east coast during the so-called "phoney war" of early 1940 was broken when No 19 moved to Hornchurch to provide support for the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk.

On March [must be May] 26 Sinclair encountered some Messerschmitt 109 fighters over Dunkirk, and he shot one down. On a second sortie he destroyed another Me 109 that had just shot down one of his squadron colleagues, but in the melee it was not possible to confirm his success. During a day of intense fighting No 19 lost five Spitfires, including that of his squadron commander. The following day, too, Sinclair was in constant action; he shot down two bombers, although it was again impossible to confirm his success.

On June 1 Sinclair destroyed a Me 109, and shared in the destruction of a second. Later that day he accounted for two enemy bombers as they headed for the flotilla of shipping.

By the end of the evacuation, Sinclair had become one of the first Spitfire "aces" - but he and the surviving pilots of No 19 were exhausted, and the loss of pilots in Fighter Command had been high. Throughout the evacuation, the RAF fighter squadrons had been in constant action, rarely in view of those waiting on the beaches, as they took on the German bombers approaching the area around Dunkirk. At the end of June Sinclair was awarded the DFC.

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Missions and losses 10/05/1940 - 28/05/1940 (incomplete)

11/05/1940, Fighter Patrol
28/05/1940, Dunkirk. 1 Plane damaged, 1 KIA or DOW, 1 MIA, 1 WIA

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Losses 01/01/1940 - 09/05/1940 (incomplete)

Type: Spitfire I
Serial number: K9809, QV-?
Operation: Night circuits & landings
Lost: 29/02/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Horace A. Trenchard, RAF 40271 (NZ), 19 Sqdn., age 28, 29/02/1940, Whittlesford (SS. Mary and Andrew) Churchyard, UK
Took off at about 20.25 hrs and shortly afterwards made a sudden turn to port at 1200 feet, lost altitude, then dived into the ground 1,5 miles NE of Duxford. P/O Trenchard had flown 776 hrs in his career.

Sources: CWCG and Errol Martyn, 'For Your Tomorrow - a record of New Zealanders who had died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Vol One: Fates 1915-1942)'

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On the 11 of May 1940 a Junkers Ju 88 was shot down into the sea by a flight of 3 aircraft lead by a WF/Lt. W.Clouston.
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28/05/1940: patrol Dunkirk

19 Squadron lost 4 aircraft for the destruction of 13 E.A.'s at the evacuation at Dunkirk

Spitfire Mk I
Serial number: L1029, QV-?
Operation: patrol Dunkirk
Damaged: 28/05/1940
F/O G.W. Petre - wounded
Returned damaged by cannon shell in cockpit following combat with Bf109s of I./JG26 north-west of Calais 9.45 a.m. Possibly that claimed by Oberlt Seifert (Staffelkapitän) of 3./JG26. F/O Petre shrapnel wound in leg. Aircraft damaged but repairable.

Pilot Officer (Pilot) Peter V. Watson, RAF 41637, 19 Sqdn., age 20, 28/05/1940, Calais Canadian War Cemetery, Leubringhen, F

Sergeant Charles A. Irwin, RAF 564214, 19 Sqdn., age 24, 28/05/1940, missing

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Battle of Britain - 19 Squadron
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Royal Air Force - 19 Squadron
Royal Air Force Squadron page
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
RAF Valley - 19 Squadron
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

War over Holland

D Palmer 'Fighter squadron - story of 19 Sqn' (Self publishing 1991)
Anthony Robinson 'RAF fighter squadrons in the Battle of Britain'
D Sarkar 'Spitfire squadron' - 19 Sqn 39-41 (Air Research)


Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
De Slag om de Grebbeberg (Dutch)
Warbird Alley

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1

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This page is dedicated to the men of 19 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2007. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to