Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 615 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

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615 SQUADRON - Fighter, Gloster Gladiator and Hawker Hurricane Mk I

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No 615 Squadron was formed on 1 June 1937 at Kenley as an army co-operation unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. After flying Audaxes and Hectors, it became a fighter squadron on 7 November 1938 and received Gauntlets. These were replaced by Gladiators in May 1939, which the squadron took to France in November 1939 as part of the Air Component of the BEF.

In April 1940 conversion to Hurricanes began, but ten days after the German offensive in France opened, the squadron returned to the UK to re-equip, giving up its last Gladiators. After taking part in the opening stages of the Battle of Britain, No 615 moved to Scotland at the end of August to rest and re-equip, returning south in October.

The following account comes from a biography of the South African pilot P.H. (Dutch) Hugo who joined No. 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron at Vitry, in France.: ' The events following the 10th May when the Germans struck, however, were to see the old Gladiators fighting in deadly earnest, and both squadrons were constantly in action. Although no records exist it appears that by about 15th May, No.615 Squadron still flew 12 Gladiators and that by 18th these had been joined by 9 Hurricanes.'

On the 13th of May, P/O Cecil R. Young (RAF 42372) was transferred to 615 Squadron, Air Component British Expeditionary Force in France. On Tuesday the 14th of May, the R.A.F reinforcement Hurricanes and their pilots continued to arrive at various bases in France. Five landed at Merville to serve in 615 Squadron; these were P/O V.B.S. Verity, P/O J.E.M. Collins and P/O M. Revenhill from ‘B’ Flight, 229 Squadron. Flight Officer Leonid Ereminsky from 151 Squadron (the latter a White Russian) and P/O C.R. Young from 601 Squadron.

P/O C.R. Young carried out flight duties during his short time in France. No confirmed combats were recorded. On the 20th of May, orders were received to evacuate Norrent-Fontès (615 Squadron’s base). 615 Sqn. was totally evacuated of flyable aircraft. Nine Hurricanes of 615 Squadron were flown to R.A.F Kenley.

No.615 returned to England (most of the personnel in the steamer Biarritz from Boulogne, arriving at Dover on 21st May) and at once returned to its home stations of Croydon and Kenley (in Surrey, as befitted the County of Surrey Squadron). Re-equipping with Hurricanes continued, although there was still a Gladiator Flight at Manston until 30th May.

Cecil Young died on 05/12/1940.

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940 (incomplete)
Not all operations listed; those with losses are.

12/05/1940: ?, F. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA
14/05/1940: ?
, F. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA
15/05/1940: Patrol, B. 2 Planes lost. 1 POW, 1 WIA
16/05/1940: Patrol, B. 3 Planes lost, 1 MIA, 1 POW, 1 WIA
19/05/1940: Patrol, F. 1 plane lost, 1 WIA
20/05/1940: intercept, F
07/06/1940: ?, UK 1 KIA or DOW
22/06/1940: Patrol, F. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA
30/06/1940: Merville, F

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

Aircraftman 1st Class Henry Clemson, RAF (AAF) 819085, 615 Sqdn., age 23, 21/01/1940, Douai Communal Cemetery, France

Aircraftman 1st Class Reginald E. Parfitt, RAF 524625, 615 Sqdn., age 24, 06/03/1940, Douai Communal Cemetery, France

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12/05/1940: ?

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I or Gloster Gladiator
Serial number: ?, KW-?
Operation: ?
Lost: 12/05/1940
Flying Officer (Pilot) Levin Fredman, RAF(AAF) 90405, 615 Sqdn., age 21, 12/05/1940, Wihogne (Nudorp) Churchyard, B

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14/05/1940: ?

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I or Gloster Gladiator
Serial number: ?, KW-?
Operation: ?
Lost: 14/05/1940
Flying Officer (Pilot) Peter N. Murton-Neale, RAF (AAF) 90401, 615 Sqdn., age 23, 14/05/1940, Courriere Churchyard, B

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15/05/1940: Patrol, B

On 15 May Squadron Leader Lance Smith (Hurricane P2870) of 607 Squadron led five Hurricanes of 607 Squadron's B Flight and six Hurricanes of 615 Squadron's A Flight in a escort of a dozen Blenheims (three of 15 Squadron and nine of 40 Squadron), which were to bomb the bridges over the Meuse in the Dinant-Celles area.

Before reaching the target they encountered Bf110Cs plus Bf109s from Stab III/JG 53 at 11,000 feet. In the ensuing combat Squadron Leader J. R. Kayall of 615 Squadron claimed two Bf110s while Flying Officer H. N. Fowler (Hurricane P2622) from the same squadron claimed a probable Bf109 before being shot down himself (he parachuted safely but was later taken PoW). 607 Squadron claimed two Bf109s shot down, one by Whitty, who reported seeing the pilot bale out of the aircraft he attacked, and the other by newly attached Pilot Officer Bob Grassick of 242 Squadron's B Flight. Squadron Leader Smith was shot down and killed in this combat.

Three Hurricanes were claimed by III/JG 53 and were credited to Hauptmann Werner Mölders, Oberleutnant Heinz Wittenberg and Leutnant Georg Claus, while two of the Blenheims were shot down by Bf109s of 1/JG 3 encountered when north-west of Charleroi.

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: P2622, KW-?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 15/05/1940
F/O H N Fowler bailed out after combat with Me 109s of JG53, in the Dinant-Ardennes area. He was taken PoW.

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Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: P2554, KW-?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 15/05/1940
P/O D J Looker bailed out, after being hitby ground fire, near Waterloon (Waterloo?). Injured.

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16/05/1940: ?

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I or Gloster Gladiator
Serial number: ?, KW-?
Operation: ?
Lost: 16/05/1940
Flight Lieutenant Leslie T.W. Thornley, RAF (AAF) 90398, 615 Sqdn., age 26, 16/05/1940, missing

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Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: N2338 or 2337, KW-?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 16/05/1940
P/O T.C. Jackson was shot down by Me 109s, near Tirlemont, Belgium, and taken Prisoner of War.

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Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: P2577, KW-?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 16/05/1940

P/O B B Young was shot down by Me 109s, near Brussels, Belgium. Injured.

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19/05/1940: Patrol, F

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: N2331, KW-?
Operation: Patrol, F
Lost: 19/05/1940
F/O R.D. Pexton bailed out after combat with Me 109s, North of Cambrai. He was injured.

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P.H. Hugo shot down a He 111, his first and only success with the RAF Component.

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07/06/1940: ?

Leading Aircraftman William J. Spirell, RAF 524121, 615 Sqdn., age unknown, 07/06/1940, Ditcheat (St. Mary Magdalene) Churchyard, UK

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22/06/1940: Patrol, F

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: P2764, KW-?
Operation: Patrol, F
Lost: 22/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) John R. Lloyd, RAF 90569, 615 Sqdn., age 30, 22/06/1940, La Mailleraye-sur-Seine, F

John Richard Lloyd was born in May 1910 at Dinas House, Brecon. He
was granted a commission as Acting Pilot Officer on 3rd Dec 1938. He was confirmed in his appointment and graded as Pilot Officers on 7th July 1939.

He engaged some He111s and Me110s near Rouen and was shot down, early am.

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30/06/1940: Merville, F

P/O C.R. Young claimed a Me. 109 shot down over the Merville Area at 11:45am. This kill was not confirmed.

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Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Bail-outs for 1940
The Battle of Britain Historical Society 2006 - C.R. Young
BBC WW2 People's War - Tragic Drowning at RAF Valley 1941
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Royal Air Force - 615 Squadron
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
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

South African War Aces of World War II
War over Holland



Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
HMS Cavalier
CWGC Cemeteries Germany
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots

Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2 aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
De Slag om de Grebbeberg
Warbird Alley
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway
North East Diary 1939-1945
Wartime Leicester and Leicestershire

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1

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This page is dedicated to the men of 615 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to