View Full Version : Blemheim loss, 39 Sqdn, 29/06/1940, East Africa
11th March 2008, 16:44
Can anyone enlighten me with more details about this plane and names and fates of the other crew members?
Type: Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV
Serial number: ?, XZ-?
Sergeant Reginald Olley (http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1282075), RAF 520817, 39 sqdn., age 23, 29/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial (http://www.cwgc.org/search/cemetery_details.aspx?cemetery=131900&mode=1)
11th March 2008, 17:45
24 June 1940.
Blenheim Mk I L4920 39 Squadron. Failed To Return. Damaged by CR.42 in raid on Diredawe; force landed in Somalia; P/O. D. Hunter (Pilot) and Sgt R. Ellis (Obs) Injured, rescued by Somali Field Force; LAC R. Olley (Wop/Ag) died of his injuries, commemorated on Alamein Memorial.
'The Bristol Blenheim A complete History' - Graham Warner.
11th March 2008, 18:00
Any clue why LAC Olley has no known grave?
11th March 2008, 18:03
Sorry, no other info in the book regarding the loss of Olley.
11th March 2008, 21:13
Aircrat/crew loss noted as 24th not 29th.
Also noted is that Olley died of wounds at the crash site, os is probably at rest there still to this day. Crew could have been at the crash site for some days before rescue. Anyone know when Hunter and Ellis were rescued ?
BCL in the Mid East & Med vol 1 39-42 by Gunby & Temple
11th March 2008, 21:20
CWGC says 29th. Which source is in this case more reliable, Gunby and Temple or CWGC?
13th March 2008, 21:44
No idea on which source is the more reliable, but Corrado Ricci and Christopher Shores in their "La guerra aerea in Africa orientale 1940-41" "Air war in Italian East Africa 1940-41" described the combat ad happened on June the 24th.
Four Blenheims of 39 Squadron and two of 11 Squadron attacked Dire Daua airfield in two vics of three. Sergente Maggiore Antonio Giardinà of 410 Squadriglia was already up in his CR 32Q and damaged a bomber that was also attacked by two additional CR 42s (perhaps of 413 Squadriglia) that had scrambled in the meantime. The plane was seen loosing height but was not seen to fall.
The plane was in fact obliged to force-land in British Somaliland later because of the damage suffered and was found there by a British Army patrol. The pilot was wounded and the gunner was missing. The information is contained also in "Dust clouds in the middle east" the updated edition of this book written by Shores in 1996. BTW Ricci was the CO of Giardinà and witnessed the combat from land.
13th March 2008, 22:12
The 24th of June seems the most likely day, indeed.
13th March 2008, 22:40
As Ludovico rightly points out this Blenheim was claimed (as a damaged) by Sergente Maggiore Antonio Giardinà (http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_giardina.htm (http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_giardina.htm)).
Olley was later found but died of his injuries on 29 June (causing the discrepancy in dates).
13th March 2008, 22:50
Okay, Håkan, now I understand. Thanks!
14th March 2008, 03:49
Yes the 'plane crashed on the 24th but the crewman died on the 29th, as Hákan explains.
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