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Stig Jarlevik 18th January 2021 18:14

Re: eBay: Allied intrest

Originally Posted by Bertrand H (Post 300926)

#1446 link 1

Yes Andy you are right it is the same a/c wheels up and wheels down.

The background, the damage on the fin, painting of code do not suffer from any dispute


Attachment 20223

Attachment 20224

I don't follow you Bertrand

Are you saying the Germans pushed the aircraft away from the open field and retracted the undercarriage?
If I understand Cornwell correct the aircraft belly landed (or the undercarriage was retracted after landing - which to me sounds a bit odd!)
The photo on sale now show a captured aircraft with props intact (no belly landing!)


Stig Jarlevik 18th January 2021 18:26

Re: eBay: Allied intrest

Originally Posted by Bertrand H (Post 300930)

#1446 link 3

Formerly P9332 at Vitry-en-Artois

L4861 (n53 sqdn) had accident/incident on 29/03/1940 ; do not know if it will fly again.


Attachment 20225


Sorry but again I don't follow you
Presumably you mean L9332 (and not P9332) and the photo you attach is presumably the same aircraft referred to by Andy, ie L9332.

With regard to L4861 I have no listing of it as damaged on 29 March 1940 (source please?) but unless every RAF record is wrong it certainly survived until 18 May 1940


Bertrand H 18th January 2021 18:58

Re: eBay: Allied intrest
1 Attachment(s)
Cross finger for P vs L (detail)

Even if I am French I am also visiting TNA at Kew and do researches

info for L4861 came from Air 35-106

BoF T&N is not the bible.

And why not WH ot LH soldiers could play with the Blenheim ?

It is SAME aircraft

Stig Jarlevik 18th January 2021 19:18

Re: eBay: Allied intrest
Thanks Bertrand

I still have doubts with regard to PZ-N though.


edwest2 18th January 2021 19:20

Re: eBay: Allied intrest

Martin Gleeson 19th January 2021 01:08

Re: eBay: Allied intrest
Hello all,
R3602 PZ-N. Yes, I agree it is the same aircraft.
#1446, link 1 is the first photo of it that I have seen with the wheels down, so thanks to Ed West yet again. Based on photos of some other aircraft left on French airfields the Germans naturally cleared away wreckage, sometimes roughly dragging these to the edges of the aerodrome. That appears to be the case here which caused the undercarriage to collapse.
Incidentally the only photo I have seen which shows the serial of this PZ-N is in the Peter Cornwell book, ‘THE BATTLE OF FRANCE, THEN & NOW’ on page 431.
L9332 PZ-Z. From my research into this aircraft I believe the following is correct.
L9332 PZ-Z (P/O Massey) was slightly damaged by machine-gun fire on 10 May 1940 and was landed at Vitry-en-Artois – the advanced landing ground for the unit. It was almost certainly flown back to Poix airfield that evening and was quickly repaired. (53 Sqn. F.541)
Next the logbook of Sgt. B.J. Brooks, observer in F/Lt. Brown’s crew, records they flew ‘PZ-Z’ on May 11th from Poix to Vitry to be ready for the next mission. This happened on May 13th , a reconnaissance mission over Belgium. Brooks also notes in the logbook that the aircraft was badly damaged by “Strong AA MG and SAA fire”, and that the air gunner was wounded. The flight began at Vitry-en-Artois and appears to have landed back there (a fold in the logbook pages makes it hard to read). That is the last entry for ‘PZ-Z’ in his logbook. Brooks only recorded the squadron code and aircraft letter combination, not the serial, during his wartime career.
Both the 53 Sqn. ORB F.541and the AIR 81/316 Casualty File record the Brown/Brooks/Cavett crew flying in L4861 for their mission on May 13th . This seems fine until one looks closer at all of the F.541 entries for May 10th – 19th inclusive.
L4861 is shown in the F.541 flying operationally twice on May 11th , twice on May 13th , twice on May 14th, twice on May 16th and once on May 18th when it was lost. It is not recorded by serial in the F.541 for this last flight but is so in the AIR 81 file. Oddly ‘UNITED IN EFFORT’ by Jock Manson on page 31 (correctly) has L9332 as the Blenheim on this flight, so the author must have had another source, or access to the logbook of Brooks, to include it.
According to the F.541 the Brown/Brooks/Cavett crew flew L4861 on May 13th from 0550-0735 hours. On the first mission of the day the F.541 records L4861 was “seriously damaged and returned to A.L.G. (Vitry) on one engine. AG wounded in leg”. Later the same day the F.541 on the same page shows L4861 with P/O Steuart-Richardson as pilot flying a sortie from 1355-1520 hours. I cannot see L4861 being repaired so quick at an ALG and flying operationally again a mere 6 hours 20 minutes later. Recall L4861 also flew another 5 missions over the next 5 days ! So the first mission on the 13th must have been in a different aircraft.
It is also worth noting the following. The AIR 81 file for this incident is a short one with a mere six pages. The all-important initial casualty telegram from the unit – surely originating from the main base at Poix – does not include any serial. The serial (L4861) only appears once, in a letter from 53 Sqn. to the Air Ministry on 29 June 1940 amplifying details of the incident. Before this could be done the unit had to request from the Air Ministry a copy of the original 13 May 1940 casualty telegram as they could not find a copy !
If one sees only the 53 Sqn. ORB or the Brooks logbook in isolation then one reasonably assumes the former is correct and the latter wrong. Viewed together however the real story is revealed, but even so a careful study of all the F.541 entries is required.
Therefore I contend that the May 10th damage to L9332 (P/O Massey) did happen but was easily repairable (“Light MG fire”) and that it was flown again on the 13th (F/Lt. Brown), seriously damaged and later abandoned as per the many photos when Vitry was evacuated on May 18th. The squadron F.540 records at 11.45 a.m. on the 13th that “F/Lt Brown and crew returned by car from A.L.G. Vitry owing to aircraft being too badly damaged to fly”. This also explains the subsequent numerous flights in L4861 before its loss on May 18th. In fact L4861 was flown six times by P/O Steuart-Richardson from May 11th to 16th and maybe a seventh too and L4861 seems to have been his regular aircraft.
AIR 81/447 casualty file confirms the loss of L4861 on May 18th with P/O Royle and crew. Royle (in 1945) stated he had been flying in ‘PZ-M’ when shot down.
L4861 was damaged in a taxying accident on soft ground on 29 March 1940 with the blame put on the unnamed pilot. Clearly the damage was slight. There is no reference to repair on the F.78 aircraft history card. As Bertrand says the source for this is the AIR 35/106 file in TNA. Exactly the same few details appear in the AIR 35/138 which also deals with RAF accidents in France.
Hope this helps with the histories and fates of these Blenheims.
Martin Gleeson.

Bertrand H 19th January 2021 08:13

Re: eBay: Allied intrest
Many thanks Martin for your detailed and confirmation replies for theses three a/c lost in France. The challenge now is to find a photo of the PZ-M for the L4861.....


Stig Jarlevik 19th January 2021 11:38

Re: eBay: Allied intrest
Sounds conclusive enough Martin.

There is a photo of PZ-N in Cornwell's BofF with its wheels up on page 431.
His interpretation is that the wheels were up before the British left. This at least indicates his photo source was either British or French.

Rather surprising to see a photo of the aircraft with its wheels down on the German e-bay (indicating this is how it was found)

The problem (as usual) is that none of the photos are dated or listing any source. What is your opinion about the time frame between the photos?


AndyMa 19th January 2021 14:16

Re: eBay: Allied intrest
Thanks to all for the extra information on those Blenheims. I had actually looked at a lot of sources before concluding that #1 was R3602 and #3 was L9332. As we all know research is a never-ending thing, and some of the older sources, although compiled at the time with the best information available, are now being overtaken in the light of further research.
I will try to list my reasoning in future if there is likely to be any doubt about my findings!
Stig, yes, quite correct, Greek is obviously not my strong point. Delta 173 it is.

AndyMa 19th January 2021 14:32

Re: eBay: Allied intrest

Originally Posted by edwest2 (Post 300941)

Battle L5524 has been the subject of much discussion in a thread running over on the RAF Commands Forum.

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