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Larry
11th October 2013, 01:00
What's the story behind this Spitfire; all I know is that VZ is the code for 412 Sqn and that it appears to be a Mk V with roundels that date from 1942

Alex Smart
11th October 2013, 05:46
Hello Larry,
"VZ-G"
Alex

udf_00
11th October 2013, 15:31
http://spitfiresite.com/2012/07/spitfire-victims-of-jg-26.html
(http://spitfiresite.com/2012/07/spitfire-victims-of-jg-26.html)3rd pic & 1st & 4th comments.

Larry
12th October 2013, 00:56
So its the first pilot of the 8th USAAF to be shot down!

The following comes from the attached link but as these often disappear with time I thought I'd copy the text!

On 26 July 1942, No. 412 saw their biggest action to date. Long relegated to convoy escort duties in the 12 Group zone, they were now operating from Merston (Sussex), taking active part in the RAF’s summer offensive.

On that day, Fighter Command’s Rodeo (fighter sweep) operation prompted response from JG26 fighters. Yellow Section of No. 412 tangled with Focke-Wulfs over the latter’s home base at Abbeville-Drucat. Flt. Lt. F. E. Green destroyed one Fw 190 and damaged a second, Flying Officer G. C. Davidson scored a probable kill, and Flying Officer K. I. Robb damaged still another.

Interestingly, three of the squadron pilots on that mission were American guests. Major McNickle, Captain Davis and Col. Albert P. Clark were commanders of the 31st FG which then undertook its operational training in the UK. Col. Clark was the Executive Officer of the unit.

The Spitfire which Clark received for the mission was marked VZ-G. It became the squadron’s only loss of the day. Hit by a Focke-Wulf, Clark put down his Spitfire in a field, thus becoming the first 8th Air Force fighter pilot to be shot down over Europe. He survived his predicament and was taken prisoner by the Germans, who were somewhat baffled by his American uniform and his high rank.

Clark spent 33 months in the infamous Stalag Luft III. He was involved in the famous Great Escape, responsible for accumulation and hiding of supplies used in the breakout. After World War II, he progressed through key staff assignments with the U.S. Air Force.

Alex Smart
12th October 2013, 02:14
Hello,
VZ-G yes but question still over its serial number.
Was she EN784 or BL964 ??

"Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces " vol 1 has on page 21 - "EN784, that Clark baled out - then notes that Lt Col Clark reported that he crash landed 8 miles south of Cap Gris Nez".

"Spitfire International" has Clark with BL964. Whith EN784 as returned to RAF 18th August 42.

And the Air Britain RAF serial books BA100 - BZ999 and EA100 - EZ999 have -
BL964 - 64/High Ercall/309US - Reported as missing from sweep, 26.9.42 [ the 9 could be a typo ?].
and
EN784 - 308US/317/412 - Engine cut; abandoned over Channel, 27.7.42.

RAF FCL vol 2 has -26th July 1942 - 412(RCAF) Sqn Spitfire Vb EN784, LtCol L.C.Clarke usaaf - POW - Rodeo,pm Shot down by JG26.

Photo is from E-bay a long time ago, could do nothing to eliminate the red markings.
Alex

Bill Walker
12th October 2013, 04:06
For what it is worth, the excellent Spitfire production list at http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/p036.html has Clarke lost in EN784, but lists it as "abandoned over the Channel", which doesn't match this photo. BL964 is reported on the same set of web pages as failed to return on 26 July 1942. Does anyone have the 412 Sdn ORB for this period, or any POW reports by Clarke?

Andrew Arthy
12th October 2013, 04:08
Hi,

Clarke himself wrote about his aircraft at this time: "The serial number of my aircraft was EN921 [sent for repairs ca. 24 July] and that of my replacement was EN964. On Saturday afternoon, 25 July, I was told that the next day we would be participating in a sweep over the Continent."

Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com (http://www.airwarpublications.com)

Col Bruggy
12th October 2013, 07:56
Hello,

Re: Spitfire Vb EN784.

About a month after assuming command of the Falcons (No.412 Sqn RCAF), J/5022 W/C George Clinton KEEFER RCAF, lived through an experience he still clearly remembers. It occurred during a sweep in the late afternoon of July 27 (1943). He was flying Spit V, EN784, that day when his engine packed up 15 miles inside France. A few minutes later, his position was four miles northwest of Cayeux, right over the Channel. At 1,000 feet he baled out. The time was 1800 hours. Keefer landed safely in the water, got his dinghy inflated, and began paddling towards the English Coast, while the other Spits returned to base. On their return a rescue mission was mounted, but bad weather forced the return of many of the rescue aircraft. He paddled for six hours. He was finally picked up safely at 2345 hours by a Walrus* of the Air-Sea Rescue Service. That had been Keefer's 28th operational sortie on the Channel.

See:
Canadian Wing Commanders of Fighter Command in World War II.
Brown,George & Michael Lavigne.
Langley:Battleline Books,1984.
p.174

* For more on the rescue, see:

Another Kind of Courage:Stories of the UK-based Walrus Air-Sea rescue Squadrons.
Franks,Norman.
Sparkford:P.S.L.,1994
pp.125-7 & 213.

Col.

Bertrand H
12th October 2013, 08:41
Hi,

Many years old ago (last century !) I spent time in the archives of ECPA at Fort d'Ivry. Photos of VZ-G are under reference DAA 2794 L13-L21 BL964 VZ*G. I do not remember if I include the serial BL964 because I read it or if it is the current serial given in the official archives or books. Sure that someone could check.

Bertrand

wise62
12th October 2013, 10:18
Hello
many years ago, I have had a relationship with Clarcke via a canadian historian. I have sent him pictures of his spitifre VZ-G BL964 kept by french ECPA in Ivry. He has been very happy because he did not kew them.
He wrote me that he forcelanded near Cap Gris Nez, just in front of the british coast where he was taken pow.
VZ-G was BL964 as shown by these pictures
Wise62

Bertrand H
12th October 2013, 10:38
Nothing like a good picture to confirm the true serial. ; thanks for sharing

Bertrand

John Beaman
12th October 2013, 16:12
So its the first pilot of the 8th USAAF to be shot down!

The following comes from the attached link but as these often disappear with time I thought I'd copy the text!

On 26 July 1942, No. 412 saw their biggest action to date. Long relegated to convoy escort duties in the 12 Group zone, they were now operating from Merston (Sussex), taking active part in the RAF’s summer offensive.

On that day, Fighter Command’s Rodeo (fighter sweep) operation prompted response from JG26 fighters. Yellow Section of No. 412 tangled with Focke-Wulfs over the latter’s home base at Abbeville-Drucat. Flt. Lt. F. E. Green destroyed one Fw 190 and damaged a second, Flying Officer G. C. Davidson scored a probable kill, and Flying Officer K. I. Robb damaged still another.

Interestingly, three of the squadron pilots on that mission were American guests. Major McNickle, Captain Davis and Col. Albert P. Clark were commanders of the 31st FG which then undertook its operational training in the UK. Col. Clark was the Executive Officer of the unit.

The Spitfire which Clark received for the mission was marked VZ-G. It became the squadron’s only loss of the day. Hit by a Focke-Wulf, Clark put down his Spitfire in a field, thus becoming the first 8th Air Force fighter pilot to be shot down over Europe. He survived his predicament and was taken prisoner by the Germans, who were somewhat baffled by his American uniform and his high rank.


Clark spent 33 months in the infamous Stalag Luft III. He was involved in the famous Great Escape, responsible for accumulation and hiding of supplies used in the breakout. After World War II, he progressed through key staff assignments with the U.S. Air Force.


Larry, were there American officers in Stalag Luft III at the time of the Great Escape? Many have been very strongly stating that NO Americans were involved in the escape in spite of "Horrywood's" casting of Steve McQueen in the movie. (he was "hot" at the time of shooting and the American studio insisted he be in it.)

Bill Walker
12th October 2013, 20:06
Thanks to everyone for clearing up this mystery.

Larry
13th October 2013, 11:17
There is a difference in assisting in hiding supplies and actually being in the Great Escape.

Its understandable that those involved would want to rubbish the film for suggesting an American was central to the escape as portrayed by Steve McQueen. Often it comes down to our own interpretation of what someone says, so if they say "No Americans were in the Great Escape" they are telling the truth from their point of view.