On back, written in German: “5 Febr 1941 der abgesch Kanadier” (5th February 1941 the beaten Canadians).
The photo was mis-labeled, the flyer was actually British (RAF).
Some scratches on photo. Paper remnants on back where glued into album.
7.5 X 10.5 cm
(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photo for sale).
Sgt. Herbert D. Denchfield
Born November2, 1919 Eckington Derbyshire.
05.02.1941 No. 610 Squadron Spitfire I N3249 DW-P Sgt. Herbert D. Denchfield
Operation: Circus 3
Date: 5th February 1941
Unit: No. 610 Squadron.
Type: Supermarine Spitfire Ia
Serial No: N3249
Base: RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex
Location: On the outskirts of St Omer, near Wizernes, France
Pilot: Sgt. Herbert David Denchfield RAFVR 748168 PoW
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at around 12.00 hrs with 8 others from 610 on a Circus escorting 12 Blenheims that were due to release havoc on St. Omer airfield with 250 lb. bombs - with various other squadrons including 302 Polish also from RAF Westhampnett and 65 squadron from Tangmere. With under 2 hours of fuel they had to be topped up to the brim.
Attacked by Me109s from 1/JG3 - having realised he was hit Sgt. Denchfield noticed the oil temperature and radiator gauges started a slow rise. At first he turned back towards the Channel, but then at about 6000 ft. the radiator temp. was in the red, the only option was to bale out. Sgt. Denchfield prepared himself, disconnecting his helmet leads - releasing the Sutton Harness, he stood up in his seat, the Spitfire nose went down violently, throwing him out of the cockpit. He somersaulted a few times, pulled his ripcord, floating down and landed in the snow covered stubble of a field.
Very shortly after landing, two uniformed boys came over to him, pointed the gun and requested very politely that he should go with them. They trundled into their Ford and drove past the remains of N3249 - still smoking at the side of the road, but nothing identifiable apart from the twisted tail assembly.
The party arrived at the airfield at Longeunesse, St. Omer about 10 minutes away. Sgt Denchfield was introduced to Major Walter Oesau (1) of 1/JG3, signing his cigarette case, he then took me for a tour of the airfield. He also met 65 Squadron P/O. Geoffrey Hill who had also been on the operation.
They stayed at the Luftwaffe quarters at a large country house at Wisques - the next day it was off to Germany and Poland.
Denchfield (PoW No 426) went first to Dulag Luft at Frankfurt and was subsequently in Stalag Luft I et Barth, Stalag 8B at Lamsdofr, Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan, Stalag Luft 6 at Heydekrug, Stalag 355 at Thorn in Poland and finally Stalag 357 at Fallingbostle, near Hanover. He was released on May 1, 1945.
Note: Built at Eastleigh, first flown December 1939 - fitted with Merlin III Engine
Major Walter Oesau had a claim of over 117 abschüsse and was himself shot down and killed on May 11th, 1944 flying Bf109 G-6 green by American pilots in P-38s over St. Vith, Belgium
Men of the Battle of Britain: A Biographical Dictionary of the Few by By Kenneth G. Wynn