Spitfire IX , MA709 (AH-X)
Ramrod 216. The Wing, led by Major K. Birksted, D.F.C., flying with this Squadron, climbed from base and made rendezvous over Hastings at 18,000 feet in time. The French coast was crossed over St. Valery at 21,000 feet - just below layer of clouds. When controller reported e/a over Rouen at 25,000 feet, the Wing climbed through 10/10ths cloud to 27,000 feet. Behove was then sighted just below the Wing - approaching the target. In the target area, there were two cloud layers - one at 20,000 feet and the other at 30,000 feet. As bombers turned out, 20 Me. 109's were sighted at 22,000 feet. Soon after the high cover wing was seen to be engaged and the W/Co., Major K. Birksted, D.F.C., ordered Wing to operate in loose pairs. Several other formations of e/a appeared on the scene, altogether more than 50 e/a were estimated to have operated in the area. A number of combats took place during which 331(N) Squadron destroyed two F.W.190's and Major R. From of this Squadron destroyed one. No other pilots of this Squadron fires as they were unable to get into position or had to break as e/a attacked from astern. During the engagement, 2/Lt. Sandvik S., flying as Blue 3, called up on the R/T and reported that he had been hit and was unable to reach base. He was ordered to bale out and Yellow 3, Lieut. Wearner T., reports having seen a Spitfire going down in flames and a pilot descending by parachute above it. The Wing withdrew in sections of four and landed at base without further incident.