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RAF Fighter Sweep

26 July 1942

Official description

Not yet known


6 Spitfire VB aircraft from 31FG join with 412 (Falcon) Squadron RCAF flying from Merston on a fighter sweep over Abbeville and St. Omer, France. Lt Col Albert P. Clark, O-020218, 31FG Executive Officer flying EN784 is shot down and captured becoming the first 8th Air Force fighter pilot to become a POW.

Lieutenant Colonel Albert P Clark, Executive Officer of the 31st Fighter Group, is shot down while flying an RAF fighter on a sweep over France, thus becoming the first 8th Air Force fighter pilot to be shot down in the ETO; he survives and is taken prisoner by the Germans.

Mission details




Aircraft type



A fighter sweep. This is the first all 8th Air Force fighter mission (Spitfires). One aircraft is listed Missing in Action (MIA), it's pilot is LT COL Albert Clark bails out and is made a POW. This is the first operation of the 31st Fighter Group since arriving in the UK in June 1942.


  • 31st Fighter Group

    31st Fighter Group

    The 31st Fighter Group only flew missions from England between June and September 1942 but during this period they supported the Dieppe raid, the assault on occupied Europe, predominantly by the Canadian army. The attack was forced into early retreat...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 6
Number of aircraft Effective 6
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1



  • Albert Clark

    Military | Lieutenant General | Pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Shot down doing a sweep over France with the 412 Squadron (Royal Canadian Air Force) 26 July 1942 while assigned to 31st Fighter Group as a Lieutenant Colonel, flying Spitfire Mk Vb, BL964. Prisoner of War (POW). Was executive officer of the 31st FG in...


  • BL964

    Supermarine Spitfire BL964 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...


Date Contributor Update
22 August 2018 15:48:39 Emily Changes to official description

THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2014 23:20:20 Lee8thbuff Changes to name and description

Lee Cunningham 19-Oct-2014 "Losses of the 8th & 9th AIr Forces" Stan Bishop & John A hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:14 AAM AAM ingest

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.