German soldiers inspect Sq/Ldr Geoffrey Dalton Stephenson’s Supermarine Spitfire MK1 N3200 (RAF 19 Squadron) coded ‘QV’, after it was shot down on a beach at Sangatte, near Calais, while covering the evacuation of the Dunkirk beaches during Operation Dynamo, on May 26, 1940.
Geoff spent the war in a number of German prison camps, making many escape attempts, and eventually was sent to Colditz Castle, the ultimate high security German prisoner of war camp. He was part of the team that built the famous Colditz glider. (In the 1930’s, Stephenson was the first person to fly a glider across the English Channel.) He was also personal pilot to King George VI.
He was killed on the 8th November 1954 (aged 44) whilst test flying a F-100A-10-NA Super Sabre of the U.S.A.F. at Eglin Air Force Base. The aircraft went out of control and crashed before he could eject.
Spitfire N3200 was rediscovered and salvaged from the beach in 1986, and restored to flight in March 2014, with the markings worn when it was downed.
(Colour by Doug)