13.05.1940 No. 264 Squadron R.A.F. Defiant I L6960 P/O. Chandler Gat van het Zuiderklip, Moordplaat, Netherlands. +
Mission: Patrol - German troop transports

Date: 13th May 1940 (Monday)

Unit: No. 264 Squadron

Type: Defiant I

Serial: L6960

Base: Duxford (via Martlesham)

Location: Gat van het Zuiderklip, Moordplaat

Pilot: P/O. Gordon Emery Chandler 33559 R.A.F. Age 20 Killed

Air/Gnr: L.A.C. Douglas Leslie Mcleish 581467 R.A.F. Age 20. Killed


Took off at 04.15 hrs from Martlesham along with 5 other Boulton Paul Defiant's together with 6 Spitfires from 66 Squadron. The object being to patrol the Dutch coast between Ijmuiden and the Hague to attack German troop transport.
They flew across the North Sea, making landfall about ten miles north of The Hague at 0515, after which all aircraft turned north.

Over IJmuiden they were fired on by Dutch anti-aircraft guns located on the south side of the harbour. The guns were firing accurately but they ceased fire immediately the British signalled the Dutch letter of the day. All aircraft turned about and flew south along the coast. More fire, this time German, was met over Maassluis which caused sections to take evasive action.

Shortly after, the No. 66 Squadron Spitfires turned east towards Rotterdam where there were fires raging in various places while the Defiant's followed a more southerly route. Approaching Rotterdam, the crews of both flights saw about seven German Ju 87 Stukas (belonging to 12. Staffel of Lehrgeschwader 1) dive-bombing a target to the south-east.

The Defiant's went in to the attack and a ferocious air battle developed. Shortly after, Bf 109s from 5. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 26 joined the battle, which then developed into a series of individual dogfights.

po-g.e.ghandler-sours-j.jolie lac-d.l-mcleish--sours.-j.jolie
Above left: P/O. Gordon Emery Chandler Right: L.A.C. Douglas Leslie Mcleish (Source Jan Jolie)



Grave of P/O.Chandler (Source Jan Jolie)

It must have been this aircraft that Thomas saw exploding above the Biesbosch after it had been shot down by a German fighter. Judging by a fairly large piece of fuselage wreckage it seems that it had broken off just behind the rear turret. The Defiant crashed in a creek known as ‘Gat van het Zuiderklip’ just west of Moordplaat island in the Biesbosch wetlands and both crew members, Gordon Chandler and his gunner, LAC Douglas McLeish were killed.

McLeish's body, almost completely covered with a thick layer of mud, was found six weeks after the crash by Dutch labourers working in a marsh known as the Kwestieus polder, a little distance south of the crash site.

It was transported by boat to Werkendam where it was placed in a coffin, taken to the local cemetery and buried the next day.

(Source Jan Jolie)

(Source Jan Jolie)

The remains of Pilot Officer Chandler were not found until 11 months later during ordnance clearing from the crash site. The body was not in the aircraft as an official report of the recovery confirms: "On Tuesday, April 22, 1941, during recovery of bombs and munitions near an English aircraft that had crashed at 0530 hours on May 13, 1940 – work that was carried out under command of Kapitein N. L. Helmer of the [Dutch Army] Recovery Service – the human remains of Pilot Officer Gordon E. Chandler of No. 264 Squadron, Martlesham Heath, Woodbridge, Suffolk, were found.

(Source Jan Jolie)

"A wallet found on his body contained his identity card, a fountain pen, a £1 note, a number of membership cards (a. o. one from the Leander Club, Henley on Thames), a number of visiting-cards (one in the name of Mr. A. L. Chandler, Pagtrees, East Horsley, Surrey) and a ration card. On April 23, 1941, Kapitein Helmer showed these documents to the company commander in Made, Lieutenant Nagel, notifying him that they would be deposited with the Red Cross in The Hague. On April 24 Lieutenant Nagel gave instructions to recover the scattered and sunken remains of the aircraft and take them to the harbour in Drimmelen.

On April 30 the wreckage was handed over to Mr Mitgenberg of the German Dienststelle L27089. The human remains of the pilot were transported to Made, after an inquest by Dr A. J. J. Bouwmans, buried in the cemetery of the Dutch Reformed Church on April 26, the Rev. Oskamp conducting a service with military honours. Flowers were put on the grave by a Wehrmacht deputation and by Kapitein Helmer."

(Source Jan Jolie)

On April 28, Chandler’s personal effects were handed over to the Red Cross in The Hague.

Crash site of L6960 taken in 2000 (Source Jan Jolie)

Crash site of L6960 taken in January 2005 (Source Jan Jolie)

Burial Details:

P/O. Gordon Emery Chandler. Werkendam Protestant Cemetery Row 7. Grave 6 Son of Alfred Leonard and Mary Gertrude Chandler, of Toddington, Bedfordshire.
L.A.C. Douglas Leslie Mcleish. Werkendam Protestant Cemetery Row 7. Grave 7 Son of Robert and Elsie McLeish, of North Shore, Blackpool, Lancashire.

The Balance Sheet May 13th 1940 (HERE)
Researched by Jan Jolie (Dutch researcher)

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