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Drope, William John (Flight Lieutenant)

Killed in Action 1944-June-07

Birth Date: 1921-December-21 (age 22)

Born: Regina, Saskatchewan

Son of Harry E. and Jean B. Drope, of Regina, Saskatchewan.

Home: Regina, Saskatchewan

Enlistment: Regina, Saskatchewan

Enlistment Date: 1941-04-08

421 Sqn- Squadron
Bellicum Cecinere They have sounded the war trumpet
Flight Lieutenant
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Service Numbers
421 Red Indian Squadron (Bellicum Cecinere). F/L Drope reported, ten miles inland, that the engine of his Spitfire aircraft MJ 554 was overheating and glycol was seen streaming from his aircraft. When he was at 2,500 feet and 500 yards off shore at Moisy, France he was seen to bail out and land in the sea but his parachute was not seen to open. A boat from a nearby Destroyer went out to pick him up and found that F/L Drope was dead.

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

Google MapRegina, Saskatchewan
Google MapBayeux War Cemetery

Supermarine Spitfire

Source: Harold A Skaarup Web Page (DND Photo)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. X4492), in flight, 26 Feb 1944.

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; around 70 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.

The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire's distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets (designed by Beverley Shenstone) to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane.

The Spitfire had detachable wing tips which were secured by two mounting points at the end of each main wing assembly. When the Spitfire took on a role as a high-altitude fighter (Marks VI and VII and some early Mk VIIIs), the standard wing tips were replaced by extended, "pointed" tips which increased the wingspan from 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m) to 40 ft 2 in (12.24 m). The other wing-tip variation, used by several Spitfire variants, was the "clipped" wing; the standard wing tips were replaced by wooden fairings which reduced the span by 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m). The wing tips used spruce formers for most of the internal structure with a light alloy skin attached using brass screws.

Due to a shortage of Brownings, which had been selected as the new standard rifle calibre machine gun for the RAF in 1934, early Spitfires were fitted with only four guns, with the other four fitted later. Early tests showed that, while the guns worked perfectly on the ground and at low altitudes, they tended to freeze at high altitude, especially the outer wing guns, because the RAF's Brownings had been modified to fire from an open bolt. While this prevented overheating of the cordite used in British ammunition, it allowed cold air to flow through the barrel unhindered. Supermarine did not fix the problem until October 1938, when they added hot air ducts from the rear of the wing-mounted radiators to the guns, and bulkheads around the gunbays to trap the hot air in the wing. Red fabric patches were doped over the gun ports to protect the guns from cold, dirt, and moisture until they were fired.

The first Rolls-Royce Griffon-engined Mk XII flew in August 1942, and first flew operationally with 41 Squadron in April 1943. This mark could nudge 400 mph (640 km/h) in level flight and climb to an altitude of 33,000 ft (10,000 m) in under nine minutes. As American fighters took over the long-range escorting of USAAF daylight bombing raids, the Griffon-engined Spitfires progressively took up the tactical air superiority role, and played a major role in intercepting V-1 flying bombs, while the Merlin-engined variants (mainly the Mk IX and the Packard-engined Mk XVI) were adapted to the fighter-bomber role. Although the later Griffon-engined marks lost some of the favourable handling characteristics of their Merlin-powered predecessors, they could still outmanoeuvre their main German foes and other, later American and British-designed fighters.Wikipedia

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Supermarine Spitfire

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

YouTube YouTube How the Spitfire Became an Aviation Masterpiece

Kestrek Publications RCAF Supermarine Spitfire Serials - Kestrel Publications

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (8), RCAF 400 Squadron (175), Canadian Aircraft Losses (767)
last update: 2022-01-01 13:29:31

Spitfire LF Mk IX MJ554


Used by No. 421 (F) Squadron, RCAF, coded "AU*Z". Lost on 7 June 1944 over Normandy. Hit by flak, pilot Flight Lieutenant W.J. Drope bailed out but parachute did not open. Aircraft came down ar sea just west of Omaha Beach. Dropes body recovered by Allied destroyer.

33MU 12-12-1943 412S 26-01-1944 Hit by flak and abandoned off Normandy 07-06-1944 F/Lt W J Drope killed when chute did not open

421 Sqn Bellicum Cecinere ("Red Indian")

History of the Squadron during World War II (Aircraft: Spitfire VA, VB, IX, IXB, XVI)

The squadron was the 20th squadron and the last of the eight Fighter squadrons formed overseas by the RCAF in WWII. It was initiated at Digby, Lincolnshire, England on April 9, 1942, It flew on defensive operations over Britain, as well as offensive operations over Europe, before D-Day. After the invasion, the squadron moved to France on 16 June 1944 and thereafter provided air and ground support to the Allied ground forces as they moved through France, the Low Countries and Germany. The squadron was disbanded at Utersen, Germany on July 10, 1945.

In the course of its operations, the squadron flew some 10,900 sorties and claimed 79 enemy aircraft destroyed, 2 probables and 27 damaged, for the loss of 34 aircraft and 33 pilots, of whom 4 were killed, 25 missing and 4 injured. The squadron had 2 aces, Squadron Leader R.W McNair, DFC and 2 Bars, and Flight Lieutenant P.G. Johnson. The squadron members were awarded 1 second Bar to DFC, 2 Bars to DFC and 5 DFCs. Battle Honours were: Defence of Britain 1942-43, Fortress Europe 1942-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944, Arnhem, RhineWikipedia, Kostenuk and Griffin

Maps for Movements of 421 Squadron 1942-45

MAP 1: 421 Squadron Movements in England 1942-44 (right-click on image to display enlarged in new tab)
MAP 2: 421 Squadron Movements, detail of Map 1
MAP 3: 421 Squadron Movements in Europe 1944-45

421 Squadron History Summary 1942-45

421Squadron History Summary 1942-45 Page 2

421 Squadron History Summary 1942-45 Page 3

History of the Squadron Post-WWII (Aircraft: Vampire III, 5, Meteor T7, Sabre 2, 5, 6, Starfighter)

The squadron was re-formed as a Fighter unit at Chatham, New Brunswick on 15 September 1949, flying de Havilland Vampire III aircraft and, during 1951, was stationed in the United Kingdom for operational training with the Royal Air Force, flying Gloster Meteor T Mk. 7 training aircraft. In December 1951 it was re-equipped with Sabre aircraft and in October 1952 joined No. 2 (Fighter) Wing at Grostenquin, France . Selected as one of eight Sabre squadrons in No. 1 Air Division Europe to be re-equipped with CF-104 Starfighter aircraft for a nuclear strike role, the squadron was deactivated on 1 August 1963 and was reactivated as Strike Attack on 21 December. When No. 2 Wing was disbanded in February 1964, the squadron joined No. 4 Wing at Baden-Soellingen, Germany . On 1 February 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces. It was redesignated '421 Tactical Fighter Squadron' on 1 January 1972. The squadron was finally disbanded 31 August 1992, as a result of the ending of the Cold War.

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