Collision of Spitfires over Co Durham

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by archivist, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Can anyone please help with information on the collision of two Free French Spitfires from 80 OTU over County Durham on 13th December 1945. I don't know the Squadron Codes but the aircraft serial numbers were BS242 and BS463. Any additional information would be appreciated. One crashed in Chopwell and the other crashed near East Castle - about 4 or 5 miles away.
  2. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Spitfire BS242 Mk IX (Served with 131 Sqdn then with 313 Sqdn and 611 Sqdn flown in action by Pole Zenon Krzeptowski) pilot in the crash was 56060 Sgt J.J.B. Lemonier (Jacques Lemonier)

    Spitfire BS463 Mk V (Former Canadian 441 (RCAF) Sqdn) (????) Sgt L.A. Strebler (Lucien Strebler)

    The two aircraft as you stated collided on 13/12/1945 Sgt J J B Lemonier`s plane was hit by Sgt Strebler`s and the propeller cut through Lemonier`s cockpit severing an arm Sgt Lemonier still baled out of the aircraft but it was thought his injuries prevented him opening his chute and he plunged to the ground and was killed.
    Spitfire BS 242 crashed at East Castle, County Durham
    Spitfire BS 463 crashed over in Chopwell pilot survived?

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  3. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thank you. The pilot that was killed was in the plane that crashed in Chopwell. The other pilot survived - surprisingly because the place where he came down is very rough and steeply sloping ground (unless, of course, he baled out too). There was a village there at the time so there would be help at hand. The village is gone now, sadly.
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  4. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Only two houses (4 originally) survive its part of Annfield Plain off the A693 near Pontop Pike.

  5. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    The pub is still there too - but it is a private house now - on the opposite side of the road. It is within walking distance of where I live!
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  6. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Just for interest. I found an inaccurate press report which states that a plane exploded over Chopwell. No mention of the other plane but amazing that it was printed on the day of the accident - way back in 1945

    Attached Files:

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  7. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    There`s these related articles too.

    `BENCHES WARNING TO SOUVENIR HUNTERS` December 27th 1945 edition of the same newspaper..

    REMARKABLE AIR ESCAPE. Hartlepool Mail 16th Dec 45


    hartlepool mail.jpeg

    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  8. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    I don't know how I missed this post when you originally sent it, but I wrote up the story including these items and put it on the Chopwell website and the people in the village love it! The daughters of two of the boys taken to court both commented on the story - they had never seen the newspaper articles and were delighted to have the full story. So thanks, Kyle!

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