Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 79 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 1 April 2008

79 SQUADRON - Fighter, Hawker Hurricane Mk I

History | Operations and losses | Sources | Links | Books | Questions and/or remarks

On 22 March 1937, B Flight of No 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill became No 79 Squadron and flew Gauntlets until the arrival of Hurricanes at the end of 1938. After the outbreak of war, it flew defensive patrols and in May 1940 was sent to France for ten days when the German offensive opened.

79 had very few aircraft when they got back from France. As well as losses in France it seems that they had lost three more due to landing in the fog at Manston. The remaining aircraft of 79 Squadron got back to Biggin Hill on the 22nd May.

After taking part in the Battle of Britain the squadron moved to South Wales.


Biggin Hill 5 June 1940
Hawkinge 2 July 1940
Sealand 11 July 1940
Acklington 13 July 1940
Biggin Hill 27 August 1940
Pembrey 8 September 1940

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

11/05/1940: Patrol, B/F. 1 Plane lost, 1 WIA
12/05/1940: Patrol, B/F. 1 Plane lost
Patrol. 2 Planes lost, 1 MIA, 1 WIA
Patrol. 1 Plane lost, 1 POW
20/05/1940: ? 1 Plane lost, 1 MIA
23/06/1940: ?, Biggin Hill, UK. 1 Plane lost
27/06/1940: Escort to St Valery, F. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA

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

Pilot Officer (Pilot) Thomas S. Lewis, RAF 40401, 79 Sqdn., age unknown, 02/01/1940, Cardiff (Llanishen) Cemetery, UK
Aircraftman 2nd Class Sidney H. Smith, RAF 620008, 79 Sqdn., age 22, 02/01/1940, Westcott (Holy Trinity) New Churchyard, UK

Pilot Officer James J. Tarlington, RAF 40763 (Australia), 79 Sqdn., age 26, 16/02/1940, missing

Sergeant (Pilot) Bernard J. Spencer, RAF 565344, 79 Sqdn., age 25, 26/04/1940, Dursley Cemetery, UK

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11/05/1940: Patrol, B/F

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: L2068, AL -?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 11/05/1940

F/Lt R. Edwards bailed out after attacking a He111 north west of Mons, Belgium. Burn injuries.

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12/05/1940: Patrol, B/F

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: L2065, AL -?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 12/05/1940

  P/O T C Parker bailed out after combat with a Do 17 of KG77

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14/05/1940: Patrol

Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: ?, AL -?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 14/05/1940
Pilot Officer Llewellyn L. Appleton, RAF 40497, 79 Sqdn., age 23, 14/05/1940, missing

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Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: N2490, AL -?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 14/05/1940
P/O J.E.R. Wood bailed out after a combat with Ju 88, north of Leuze. Injured.

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17/05/1940: Patrol

Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: L2140, AL -?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 17/05/1940
Hurricane L2140. Failed to return from patrol between Vilvoorde and Braine-le-Comte and believed shot down by AA fire 8.30 p.m. Pilot Officer R. Herrick baled out and captured. Aircraft a write-off.

Source: The Battle of France Then & Now p303

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20/05/1940: ?

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: L2145, AL -?
Operation: ?
Lost: 20/05/1940
Pilot Officer Lionel R. Dorrien-Smith, RAFVR 72501, 79 Sqdn., age 21, 20/05/1940, missing
Shot down by groundfire during attack on enemy armoured columns west of Arras, 14.30 hrs.

P/O Dorrien-Smith was a nephew of Lord Trenchard, the founding father of the RAF

CWGC; Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

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23/06/1940: ?, Biggin Hill, UK

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: P2698, AL -?
Operation: ?
Lost: 23/06/1940
P/O D.W.A. Stones - safe
Descended through fog and landed off the runway colliding with gun emplacement, 11.00 hrs. Aircraft a write-off.

Source: Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

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27/06/1940: Escort to St Valery, F

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: ?, AL -?
Operation: Escort to St Valery
Lost: 27/06/1940
Sergeant (Pilot) Ronald R. McQueen, RAFVR 993914, 79 Sqdn., age 24, Glasgow Western Necropolis, UL
Took off 1015 hrs. Bailed out; picked up dead from the sea.

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79 Squadron Virtual Royal Air Force
Bail-outs for 1940
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Lucky Me! (Part Two) by Corporal E.F. (Ernie) Marsh RAF, BBC WW2 People's War
RAF Battle of Britain - 79 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

War over Holland

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R Beaumont 'Flying to the limit' (1941) (PSL 1996)
Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
Jackson 'Men of Power: lives of Rolls-Royce chief test pilots Harvey & Jim Heyworth' (2007)
D Sweeting 'Wings of chance' (Hurricanes) (Asian Business Press 1990)

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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 79 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