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264 Squadron Defiants 13 May 1940

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Hi all

I am looking into the fates of 264 Squadron Defiants which were shoot down en masse on the 13th May 1940 above Holland. I am hoping someone on here might be able to fill in the blanks with regard to the fuselage letter per aircraft. I am using a Dutch book "Tweede Pinksterdag 1940 -Luchtgevechten boven West-Brabant en de Biesbosch" by Jan Jolie  2000 Lorelax Productions / Muiderberg as a reference.  Jan Jolie has noted the aircraft involved as follows  

·       L6969 Skelton/ Hatfield (Blue1) PS-B(?)**

·       L6960 Chandler/ McLeish (Blue3)PS-M

·       L6958 Thomas/ Bromley (Blue2 ) PS-?

·       L6977 Greenhous/ Greenhalgh(Green 1 ) PS-U (?)*

·       L6965 McLeod/ Cox (Green 2) PS-?

·       Sole survivor L6974 Kay/ Jones (Green 3) PS-?


**In regard to PS-B this a/c (L7005) is featured in the Airfix Dogfight doubles boxing of the 1:72 kit and is noted as being in action in August 1940. Is Jolie wrong or were letters reused in the squadron ? 


*In regard to PS-U in the Airfix 1:72 boxing of the kit they have  an a/c( L7013) pegged with this fuselage code as still flying in July. There is a photo in Jolie's book of a/c  L6977 crashed in Holland with the fuselage letter partially obscured by bystanders . It could be U or a J. The a/c number is partially obscured but I can make out L697 ? I Again is Jolie wrong or were letters reused in the squadron ? .  


The primary source material he quotes give the a/c number and the flight code but not the fuselage codes. 

Any help would be most welcome 

Kind regards 

Brian Kirwan 

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The Operations Record Books at the National Archives are probably the primary source referred to. For May 1940 246 sqn records serial no. and crew but not the codes. There is info in the 'Summary' records but again not he code letters. There is a poignant note that the sqn received a tragically timed telegram from Boulton Paul Aircraft Ltd saying 'Congratulations on first blood'.  It is this Summary that records the flight info.


Here on page 13 of 18: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8397999


Good luck with your search.


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57 minutes ago, BKirwan said:

or were letters reused in the squadron ?


Yes, letters were re-used.  With only 26 (not accounting for a few not typically used), a squadron with 18-20 aircraft would very quickly run out of letters otherwise!



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Hi Brian,


As Bob mentioned codes were reused as aircraft were lost, transferred or struck off service. Both L6977 and L7013 were coded U. As well as the photo of L6977 crashed in the meadow beside the Rijsdijk dyke, there is also a photo taken later that summer of German engineers clearing away the debris of the crash, and the aircraft is suspended from a crane and the U code is very clear.


L6960 was definitely M. Although it exploded in mid-air, the rear fuselage landed in a creek west of Mordplaat. A photo exists of three local village officials (one, the the local policeman) sitting on the top of the fuselage with the M plainly visible (this section landed upside down).


Several photos of L6969 in the Donge River exist and whilst the rear fuselage is out of the water, damage to the aircraft and photo quality make it difficult to tell the code. Just be aware that other sources list this aircraft as R (and even T) rather than B.


The other Defiants that you mention from the 13th May have not been matched to codes as far as I am aware. McLeod and Cox almost certainly set fire to the aircraft after force landing as the photo that exists of it appears to show this. When L6958 was recovered in 1994, only the engine and some other parts were recovered none of which including the coding.





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