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RAF aircraft's crash sites in Province of West-Vlaanderen:

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Last update: 25/06/23

Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence

* To the 122 Squadron *
* To the crew of BM321 *
* To the monument erected in remembrance *
* Cemetery where rest the crew *

Crash site of Spitfire BM321

cest raf squadron
Unit: 122 Squadron
Aircraft: Spitfire
Code: BM321
Base: Swanton
Mission: Circus 157
Incident: Shot down by German fighter

Location: (Prov. West-Vlaanderen)



Since spring 1941, circus was a code name used by the RAF for an operational tactic, in which a small group of RAF bombers was sent out on vital bombing missions in France.
The bombers were accompanied by large numbers of fighter planes for protection as well as potential engagement with fighter planes of the German Luftwaffe.
Pilots, however, preferred to use the term offensive sweep. The Plan: Operation Circus 157 is scheduled for the afternoon of the 5th May 1942. Six Douglas A-20 light bombers known as Boston from 226th RAF Squadron are scheduled to bomb the electric power plant in Lille-Sequedin in Northern France. They are to be accompanied by 3 Squadrons – 36 Supermarine Spitfire fighter planes of the RAF 64th, 122nd and 313th Squadrons, out of which 24 aircraft engage in dog fights with 21 German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters during the operation.
At About 15:45 hrs, none of the pilots engaged in the dog fights above and around the Kemmelberg knows exactly what happened to the 33 year old F/Lt Baudouin de Hemptinne. It is possible that he provides the cover for another Belgian from his 122 SQN - pilot Van de Poel, who was attacked by two enemy Focke-Wulfs.
What is certain however, that F/Lt de Hemptinne is shot through the back whilst engaged in a dog fight, but still musters enough strength and skill to crash land his Spitfire on the farm De Wulf near Dranouter.
When found by local farmers, de Hemptinne looks uninjured at the first sight.
Unfortunately, there is nothing one could do for the dead pilot.

IRP-CDN Multisceen site
The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Aircrew Remembered

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