The recovery of the Spitfire MkIXB ML-318 of Patterson in Terborg, crashed on September 26, 1944
Saturday April 7, 2007: The ARGA carried out an investigation at the crashsite of Spitfire MkIXB ML-318. This a/c crashed on September 26, 1944 a day after the end of operation Market Garden. The pilot, F/Lt George Rudolph Patterson of 416 squadron RCAF was able to bale out but was wounded to his right arm. A local police report statet that: "September 26, 1944, 14.25 hours: Airraid alert ended. One aircraft is shot down at Gaanderen, according to incoming messages."
Mission for that day: at 11.50 hours 11 a/c took off from their base Le Culot B-68 for a low cover patrol in the battle area south of Arnhem. 20 German fighters were intercepted ivo Arnhem and two of them were shot down and two were damaged. The aircraft belonged to "Gefechtsverband Späte". 10 Fw190's of IV./JG54, en 20 Fw190's of III./JG11. JG54 took off from Plantlüne at 13.45 hours and the a/c of JG 11 from Achmer at 13.35 hours. Their objective was "Tiefangriffe im Raum Süd Nimwegen". These German fighters turned for home after they had been desorientated. They were bounced on the way back by the RCAF Spitfires. 416 squadron lost one Spitfire(Patterson), III./JG11 two Fw190's. Hptm Funck at Drempt and Uffz Barion at Herwen. Both pilots baled out.
F/Lt Patterson selected a Fw190A-8 and started his attack head on from a very low altitude. This Fw190 was flown by eastern front veteran Major Wolfgang Späte, Kommandeur at the the time of IV./JG54 with more than 90 kills. Späte executed an "Immelmann" and found himself behind the Spitfire of Patterson and immediatly opened fire. Späte saw several hits striking the Spitfire. This dogfight took place within 500 meters altitude. F/Lt Patterson baled out and was strafed hanging in his parachute and was hit in his right arm by a 20mm shell. The pilotless a/c flew through a narrow area of a farmhouse and a barn at the Heidedijk(=streetname) picked up some altitude and finally crashed behind a small forrest called "Het Kattebosje"(free translation=Cats-forrest). F/Lt Patterson was taken prisoner and his wound was treated by a Dutch Doctor, Doctor van Haaften. After this Patterson was brought to the St. Antonia Hospital at Gaanderen were his lower left arm was amputated.
F/Lt Patterson was transfered to the Luftwaffe interegation-centre Dulag Luft on October 10, 1944. He remained a POW untill Januari 18, 1945 when he was repatriated to England by the Red Cross and finally returned to Canada in Februari 1945.
The recovery of Spitfire MkIXB ML-318 was carried out on Saturday April 7, 2007. The results of the first investigation at the crashsite was very positve. A large sized object was detected and was presumed to be the Rolls Royce Merlin 66. The first a/c parts were found just a meter beneath the surface. Local residents were very interested in what was going on. As with many recoveries many wartime stories were told but also a story that the engine was allready recovered....or during the war or just after the liberation of Holland. Nevertheless many a/c parts remained at the crashsite.
But after a second investigation with the metaldetector(deep-search) it became clear that what ever it was what was buried it was not buried deeper than the depth reached.(1.5 meters). The ARGA agreed bringing in a crane to do the job.
Shortly after its arrival the recovery continued and it became clear what the reason was why the ARGA metaldetecting equipment went "ballistic". Both radiotors and the way they were in situ were the reason why there was a large object detected. No engine but many very interesting things, including the aerial antenna in a remarkable condition. Also found were several engine parts including engine mounts. German forces presumably cleaned the crashsite by dumping the artefacts found back into the impact crater created by the crash and cleared the rest of the field.
More photos to come when parts are cleaned.......keep checking.