Spitfire Vb R7290

A comment from a reader…

I am interested in Spitfire Vb R7290 in which P.O. N Warden may/may not have been killed. That particular aircraft was donated by William and Harold Cook from Donington Lincolnshire hence the name Donintonian. I know their daughter who is now in her 80s now and always believed that it was Warden who flew the aircraft. Do you have any particular information on this aircraft in particular Squadron, squadron markings, colour scheme and history? Their daughter still has the original plaque from the Ministry of Aircraft Production and out of the factory photograph etc.

Some information is found on this forum.

Footnote  

A comment from Dean Black

With respect to Spitfire R7290 (Manufacturer’s No. 1546) This MXII “Donningtonian” had its first flight FF on 29-4-41, and was then transferred to Maintenance unit 8MU on 30-3 (probably 1942, then to the squadron 91S probably on 4-5 (May) of 1942 and then it “failed to return) FTR from Ops 1-10 which means 01 October, probably 1942.

Then another comment…

Hello Pierre or Dean,

Is it still possible you can find the target from F/O Harold Byrd (Admiral) on 19th march 1945, (missing after leaving formation).

In the east of Holland that day there was an assault in the neighbourhood, a small town called Terborg, in a castle “Schuilenburg” there was the residence from General Model (obercom.West). However the day before ” the staff” was leaving. The castle was totally bombed.

The Allied stood before the Rhine (Rees) Germany, the end of War was near. Tragical for the 22 years old Spitfire pilot.

I hope you can help me,

Sincerely
gr. Hennie

This is the whole page of March 1945.

Walter Neil Dove was not flying on March 19, 1945.

Footnote…

Comment from a reader…

Hello,
Hank Byrd took off from Petit Brogel at 13.30h 19 march 1945
Target: Fighter Sweep in the Rheine-Osnabrick area.
12 a/c of 403 Squadron, 5 early returns.
Source: ORB 403 Squadron

Regards
Karl Lusink
ARGA

Mes fidèles compagnons exemplaires du 91

This is what Jean Demozay wrote me in a  comment in French about the picture below. 

His uncle was the Free French pilot Jean Demozay.

Vous aurez l’incroyable chance de côtoyer et de pouvoir parler avec le sergent  Connolly (sergent à la date de la photo ). Vous lui rappellerez peut être un détail important sur cette photo du Spit V: La bosse derrière le mât d’antenne, qui est le nouveau système de reconnaissance des appareils IFF pour Identification Friend or Foe. (identification des avions amis ou ennemis par les radars Anglais de basse et haute altitude).

Il est fort possible que Mr CONNOLLY garde un souvenir “mitigé ” de mon oncle.

Quand Jean DEMOZAY prend effectivement en charge le A Flight du 91, il reste Français avec un caractère bien “trempé “.

Malgré tous, dites-lui ce qu’il a écrit “MES FIDÈLES COMPAGNONS  EXEMPLAIRES DU 91”.

Respectueusement

jean DEMOZAY

A Flight No. 91 Squadron Nigeria, Hawkinge, England, July 1942

Jean Demozay in on the right.

TRANSLATION

You will have the rare opportunity to meet and talk with Sergeant  Connolly (Sergeant in this picture). You will probably show him an important detail on the picture of this Spitfire Mk V: the hump behind the radio mast which is the new IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system  put on Spitfires. It was used by British radars for low and high altitude.

It is quite possible that Mr CONNOLLY has kept only a faint and lukewarm memory of my uncle. When Jean DEMOZAY took command of A Flight of  91 Squadron, he remained a true Frenchman with a “very strong energetic” character .

Nevertheless, tell him what he once wrote about his pilots. “MY FAITHFUL AND EXEMPLARY COMPANIONS OF THE 91″.

Best regards,

jean DEMOZAY

After evading France in June 1940, Jean Demozay joined the RAF and flew Hurricanes with No 1 and No 242 Squadron before joining No 91 “Nigeria” Squadron from July 1941 to February 1942. During this period he scored 11 aerial victories, mostly with Spitfire Mk Vb W3122. He returned to No 91 Squadron as Commanding Officer from July to December 1942, scoring several other kills. His total tally is 21 confirmed and 2 probable aerial victories. He was killed in a flying accident in 1945.

Click here for the source of this painting

More on Jean Demozay…

BIOGRAPHY: 
Service number FR 297.
Jean Demozay was a commercial pilot before the war. In 1938 he was called up for military service but after a month he became unfit due to an accident. At the outbreak of war, he voluntarily offered his services and became an interpreter with No. 1 Squadron RAF at Reims in France.

As the Germans drew nearer, he discovered a Bristol Bombay which had been left behind and with 15 soldiers aboard, he flew the aircraft to England. He reported to the RAF and managed to convince the selection committee that he was a fighter pilot. After having completed his training he was posted to No. 1 Squadron and soon proved himself to be a very able fighter pilot, quickly claiming numerous victories.

In October 1942 he scored his 18th victory which was to be his last. In February 1943 he was sent to North-Africa to establish flight training for the Free French. In April 1944 he returned to England. After the invasion he established the “Groupe Patrie” in France. Near war’s end he was named deputy commander of all French flying schools.
December 19th, while en route to London he lost his life after his plane had crashed near Buc (Yvelines).

Source 

This afternoon, I am meeting Dennis Connolly and his wife Lillian who both knew him well.

Warden was flying Spitfire Vb W3422 when he was killed

Noel Proctor Warden was killed on October 1, 1941. He is the second pilot on the left.

John Engelsted added this comment on this blog.

Warden was flying Spitfire Vb W3422 when he was killed.

Why am I telling you all this…?

Because someone else wrote me about this same picture. He is the nephew of the pilot on the right, Jean Demozay.

Jean Demozay survived the war but was killed in a plane crash in December 1945.

Dennis Connolly knew him well. Before I met Dennis Connolly at the presentation of Marc-André Valiquette’s and Richard Girouard’s book, I knew nothing about 91 Squadron or about Jean Demozay a Free French pilot who is a legend.

After evading France in June 1940, Jean Demozay joined the RAF and flew Hurricanes with No 1 and No 242 Squadron before joining No 91 “Nigeria” Squadron from July 1941 to February 1942. During this period he scored 11 aerial victories, mostly with Spitfire Mk Vb W3122. He returned to No 91 Squadron as Commanding Officer from July to December 1942, scoring several other kills. His total tally is 21 confirmed and 2 probable aerial victories. He was killed in a flying accident in 1945.

Click here for the source of this painting

Of course I knew nothing about Dennis Connolly who I will meet tomorrow for the second time. If you don’t know what I am talking about, click here.

Noel Proctor Warden

Noel Proctor Warden was killed on October 1, 1941. He is the second pilot on the left.


This is all the information I found on the Internet.

Name: WARDEN, NOEL PROCTOR
Initials: N P
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Pilot Officer
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 91 Sqdn.
Date of Death: 01/10/1941
Service No: 100592

Additional information: Son of Norman Charles and Eva Warden, of Andover, Hampshire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 35.
Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

He made a number of claims:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=11lHtPnzgy8C&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=%22Warden%22+%2291+sqn%22&source=bl&ots=01UQTvRd86&sig=1G3sW1zSBoFCwNqn1qBVQq0m39k&hl=en&ei=L5exTYjHC4mqhAfOoJHrCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Warden%22&f=false

The book above has his middle initial wrong. TMotBoB has him joining the RAFVR in May 1939, called up at the start of the war, and joining 610 Sqn in 6 Oct 1940. Neither that book nor FCL have his Spitfire serial, shot down during ASR escort.

Why am I telling you all this…?

Because I am going to meet Dennis Connolly this Thursday and talk about 91 Squadron and Jean Demozay.

We will also talk about the Dieppe Raid. Dennis Connolly was there on August 19, 1942!

Click here.