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Old 27th September 2007, 22:31
markjsheppard markjsheppard is offline
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Early Bleneim loss - Sept 39

Hi all

Been trying to find info on the loss of a Blenheim? on 2nd September 39 over Duisburg/Buchholz. Loss was thought to be around 16.00pm and the three man crew were killed.

Could find nothing on the Blenheim loss list.

Was this the first loss? Assumed it was operated from France and on a Recon flight.

Unfortunately notihng more. Was in German newspapaer article.

Will look on the CWGC to find any loses.


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Old 28th September 2007, 00:48
Amrit1 Amrit1 is offline
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Re: Early Bleneim loss - Sept 39

There are no Air Force deaths registered on the CWGC for the 2nd September 1939. The first deaths registered are for the 3rd.

Nor is there anything in Shores' et al "Fledgling Eagles".
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Old 28th September 2007, 08:07
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is online now
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Re: Early Bleneim loss - Sept 39

Interesting theory especially as war was not declared until 3 September
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Old 28th September 2007, 12:35
Blenheim Blenheim is offline
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Re: Early Bleneim loss - Sept 39

As far as I am aware, no Blenheims were lost on 2nd September 1939. The following three losses are the closest to that date:

21 Squadron lost L1352 on 01/09/39 when an engine failed in the circuit at Watton.

600 Squadron lost L1164 on 03/09/39 when it stalled on a single-engined approach to Hendon, spun and dived into the ground at The Burroughs, Hendon. P/O J.N.L. Isaac, flying solo, was killed (he was the first British death of WW II, 1 hour 50 minutes after the declaration of war).

604 Squadron lost L6615, also on 03/09/39 when it hit a tree approaching North Weald and crashlanded 50 yards short of the boundary, hitting a cow.

You mention that this information came from a German newspaper article and I wonder if it was a modern newspaper or one published at the time. If the latter I would imagine the report may have been part of a general and on-going effort to get the populace "psyched up" for war.
Hugh Wheeler
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Old 28th September 2007, 16:14
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Early Bleneim loss - Sept 39

Britain send an ultimatum on 1 September and was fully awared that the Germans will not step back. So, Britain was actually at undeclared war since 1 September. I suppose reconnaissance activities were in full swing at least since late August.
Please note, that several RAF activities behind the Iron Curtain are still considered secret, despite most of researchers are fully awared of them.
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Old 30th September 2007, 13:32
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Re: Early Bleneim loss - Sept 39

I have: on 4.IX.1939 cruiser EMDEN was attacked by British Blenheim (N 6199) piloted by lt. H. L. Emden [sic!] in Wilhelmshaven. Blenheim was shot down by AA fire from the cruiser.

Hope it helps!

Last edited by crolick; 1st October 2007 at 11:05.
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:36
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Re: Early Bleneim loss - Sept 39

This subject is well known through reports from the participants, but new information from Germany still comes to light that can change our understanding based on British sources. For example Crolick, research in Germany has now established that it was Lightoller and not Emden who damaged the cruiser Emden, which in any case was almost certainly not his target because ships in harbour could not be attacked out of fear of injuring civilians. A German book is in preparation that will revise books like Shores' Fledgling Eagles, but only in their detail.

If, however, Mark's German newspaper does reveal new information about the shooting down of a Blenheim on September 2, 1939 over Duisberg, then more than just detail is involved. The RAF was prohibited from over flying either Germany or neutral Benelux, and the RAF was a disciplined force.

Two Blenheim squadrons, 18 and 57 in 70 Wing, were tasked with PR for the BEF Air Component and were stationed in France. If the German newspaper article is credible, then perhaps the ORBs of these two squadrons might be a first place to look for any unauthorised flights.

PR for Bomber Command was provided by 2 Group's 21 Sqn, 82 Sqn, 107 Sqn and 139 Sqn. It is believed their first flight over German air space was on September 3 in the famous mission to Wilhelmshaven. Since SIS was providing PR coverage of Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuettel, then Bomber Command lacked even a motive to send their Blenheims.

Winterbotham of the SIS, Cotton, Niven and Longbottom spied on Germany and Italy with two Lockheed Electras and a Beechcraft Staggerwing from April, 1939. All these flights are recorded, beginning on April 1, 1939 over Mannheim under the direction of the Deuxieme Bureau out of Toussous-le-Noble.

PR under SIS direction began on June 14, 1939 out of Malta, and from July 28 out of Heston with Cotton's famous visit to the Frankfurt Air Show. Cotton's last recce was on August 28, 1939 over Wilhelmshaven.

Franek's mention of incursions behind the Iron Curtain must refer to McPhail's flights in a Lockheed Electra from Habbaniya to Baku and Batum starting on March 23, 1940. Copies of his photos and RAF plans for bombing the Russian oil fields, which were shared with the Deuxieme Bureau, were found by the Germans when they occupied Paris. Hitler referred to them in a speech to the Reichstag on July 20, 1940.

No flights behind the Iron Curtain prior to McPhail's are known about. But if Franek is referring to information about earlier incursions perhaps from Russian sources, then history will need re-writing.

But the consensus is that we shouldn't hold our breath.

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