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Old 14th January 2010, 11:13
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Aknevelman Aknevelman is offline
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Bristol Blenheim P6219, 139 Sqdr, 12 May 1940 and pilot officer McClure

Last year I bought 7 POW cards and 1 letter. These are written by Flight Officer Guy Grey Smith to the family Klijnen, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Guy Grey Smith was born in 1916 in Western Australia. In 1937 he was seconded for a period of 5 year to the Royal Air Force. In 1939 he married Helen Stanes. Late 1939 he was transferred to France.

12 Mei 1940 nine Bristol Blenheims of 139 squadron departed from Plivot on a mission to bomb bridges and German troups near Maastricht and Tongeren. 7 Blenheims were shot down, including plane P6219 of F/O Guy Grey Smith. He was severely injured. The other crew members, Sgt P.C. Gray en Sgt. C. Taylor, were killed. Their names are recorded on the Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede.

The cards and the letter were sent in the period of 14 October 1940 to 21November 1941 to Marthe and Thily Klijnen and/or their parents in Maastricht, a town in the South of the Netherlands near the German and Belgium border.
The first card shows a stamp of Dulag Luft, a transition camp. The next 6 (02 December 1940 to 07 August 1941) show stamps of Oflag IX, castle Spangenberg in the town of the same name near Kassel. The last card has a stamp of Oflag VIB, Doessel, As I understand, most French and English POW’s were transferred to this camp at this time for logistic reasons since the Germans expected the war to end very soon.
Most cards are thank-you notes for parcels and letters. Initially, the recovery of the injury to Guy’s leg is mentioned repeatedly. There are a few references to a future holiday in Switzerland. When Martha en Thily’s father dies, Guy’s reply shows that the whole family visited Guy often during the time he was recovering from his injuries in the hospital (there are indications that Marthe was a nurse at the time). In 1941 Guy indicates the contact with Helen is established and Red Cross parcels start to arrive. The last card, most probably printed by the prisoners, shows Father Christmas climbing over the fence of the camp and telling the German guard: ‘But I assure you, dear chap – I really am Father Christmas!’.

During his imprisonment Helen, Guy Grey Smith’s wife, send him parcels that included drawing materials. Guy contracted tuberculosis in 1943. Because of this he was sent to Barcelona in 1944 and from there he returned to England. He enrolled in 1945 at the Chelsea School of Art. In 1947 he returned with Helen to Western Australia. There he became a very famous painter. In 1952 he was hospitalised for 8 months as a result of the tuberculosis contracted as a POW. In 1981 he died of complications of this disease.

Marthe Klijnen married in 1942 with P.M.J. Fizaan, since 1929 general practitioner in Vleuten, Utrecht. Doktor Fizaan died in 1960 at an age of 58. A statue of him was erected in Vleuten in 1962. Marthe died in 2001.

There are two aspect that interest me. The first is: what happened to the Bristol Blenheim P6219 ? It is certain that this plane crashed 12 May 1940 near the city of Maastricht however until now I was not able to find more details.
The second issue: on a card sent 04 March 1941 Guy writes: ‘No news of pilot officer McClure. No one has heard of him being a prisoner yet’. My guess is that the family Klijnen came in contact with this pilot by the end of 1940 or beginning of 1941 in the same way they met Guy Grey Smith. In that case it is likely McClure was transferred to a prison camp in 1941 and the family Klijnen asked Guy if he has news of McClures’s arrival in the camp.

Any additional information is welcome!
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Old 15th January 2010, 09:13
Alain57 Alain57 is offline
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Arrow Re: Bristol Blenheim P6219, 139 Sqdr, 12 May 1940 and pilot officer McClure

Hello ,

According to my info its is N6219 and not P6219. I don't find any trace of this Blenhein in a database with crashes in Holland.A lot of casualties Allied or German were brought very often to a hospital in Maastricht , because this was the only one the neightbourhood.
In Fighter Command losses there is no sign of a P/OMc Clure , in the Bomber Command losses i found the following info :

Halifax MkII
Linton on Ouse
J9737 FO A McClure
Abandoned after gaining S Coast

Lancaster Mk III
FSgt R D McClure RAAF
Crashed target area

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Old 15th January 2010, 19:47
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Bristol Blenheim P6219, 139 Sqdr, 12 May 1940 and pilot officer McClure

There's a little info in the book "The Battle of France Then and Now" by Peter Cornwell.
As Alain said, it should be N6219. This Blenheim was shot down by Bf109s of 2./JG1 and 3./JG27 between Maastricht and Tongeren in the early morning of 12 May 1940.
No record of loss in the Dutch register, so Belgian side more likely.

Further circumstances of 139 Squadron that day here:
(you may have to the enlarge the page a bit).

F/O Grey-Smith was captured, other crew Sgt Cyril Taylor (530913) is still listed as missing and is mentioned at the Runnymede Memorial, as is Sgt Phillip C. Gray (580511).


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blenheim, grey smith, may 1940, mcclure

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