The RAF's No. 257
Squadron was based in the south east of England throughout the Battle of
Britain. By mid August 1940, at the height of the battle, the squadron was
based at RAF Debden in north west Essex and operating from there
and the forward base of RAF Martlesham Heath near Ipswich in Suffolk.
During the late afternoon of Sunday 18th August 1940, designated as 'the hardest day' of the Battle of Britain by one leading aviation historian, the Hurricanes of 257 Squadron intercepted a raid inbound over the Thames Estuary. In the combat which followed, Pilot Officer Gerard Maffett, flying Hurricane P3175, claimed his first damage to an enemy aircraft. Describing the encounter in a letter home a few days later, the young pilot concluded with a tribute to his own aircraft, "...the Hurricane certainly is a grand aircraft."
As the conflict intensified, Hurricane P3175 eventually succumbed to enemy action. The aircraft fell on the Essex coastal marshes at Walton-on-the-Naze near Harwich. Decades later the substantial remains were recovered by a team of local people; the full story of which is told in the book "One Hurricane One Raid" (Airlife 1990).
Hurricane P3175, DT-S, now lies in the Battle of Britain Hall of the RAF Museum in London, which occupies part of the former site of RAF Hendon where 257 Squadron was formed in 1940.