Bristol Blenheim L4888 (02/04/1940)

Bristol Blenheim L4888 was being utilised for a Reconnaissance Exercise at RAF Upwood on 2nd April 1940.

Its crew consisted of:

  • ES Roberts (Pilot)
  • Others?

AM Form 1180 shows “Misused brakes. Turning with brake on. Released brakes – tail rose and aircraft * nose. Omitted to unlock brakes on opening up engine”.

Bristol Blenheim P4900 (30/03/1940)

Bristol Blenheim P4900 was being utilised for a Bombing Exercise at RAF Upwood on 30th March 1940.

Its crew consisted of:

  • F/L J Paine (Pilot)
  • Others?

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “J Paine got caught by a strong gust of wind when landing a Blenheim on the aerodrome and damaged a wing and the undercarriage”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

AM Form 1180 shows “Landing in gusty winds – heavy * wheel landing; Checked angle of glide at too high altitude in view of wind conditions. Weather experienced as forecast by Met. Office”


 

Bristol Blenheim L8845 (12/03/1940)

Bristol Blenheim L8845 took off on a training flight from RAF Upwood on 12th March 1940.

Its crew comprised:

  • AR Hermels (Pilot)

No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Sgt. Hermels, pupil pilot attached to 35 Squadron for training, while taking off in Blenheim L8845 collided with another Blenheim of 90 Squadron (L6596) which was also taking off. Sgt. Hermels was alone in the aircraft which burst into flames; the other aircraft also had one engine burnt out. Although Sgt Hermels was most expeditiously removed and was still alive though unconscious, he died shortly after arrival at Station Sick Quarters from a fractured vertebrae”.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s records show the following burial details:

  • HERMELS, ALPHONSE ROGER, Sergeant, ‘517823,’ STREATHAM PARK CEMETERY, Square 8. Grave 2817.

[Source: Find-a-Grave]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

London Gazette

The London Gazette 5th July, 1940 shows the following:

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following Awards:—

The Medal of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for Gallantry [i]:

– 536451 Leading Aircraftman Michael Campion, Royal Air Force.

– 612282 Aircraftman 1st Class Ernest Ralph Clyde Frost, Royal Air Force

These two airmen displayed great courage in effecting the rescue of an unconscious pilot from a burning aircraft which resulted from a collision in which two Blenheim aircraft were involved while taking off.

Aircraftmen Campion and Frost were among the first to arrive on the scene. Not knowing that the pilot was the sole occupant, Aircraftman Frost promptly entered the rear cockpit, which was full of smoke and fumes, in search of the wireless operator.

Satisfying himself that no one was there, he climbed out and, nearly exhausted, ran to the front cockpit where Leading Aircraftman Campion was trying to rescue the pilot.

Working heroically both men, with great risk to themselves, due to the imminent danger of the petrol tanks exploding, extricated the pilot from the burning wreckage.

Shortly afterwards the tanks exploded and the whole aircraft was rapidly burned out. Unfortunately the pilot died later.

[i] Note: The Award was subsequently exchanged for the George Cross

P4 Casualty Branch File

The following Casualty File is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/1901 Sergeant A R Hermels: died of wounds; mid-air collision involving Blenheim L8845, 35 Squadron, and Blenheim L6596, 90 Squadron, 12 March 1940.

Bristol Blenheim P4907 (22/01/1940)

Bristol Blenheim P4907 was being utilised for a local flying exercise at RAF Bassingbourn on 22nd January 1940.

Its crew comprised:

  • F/O RB Barker
  • Others?

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows: RB Barker, after landing a Blenheim on the aerodrome, raised the undercarriage lever in error for the flap lever and collapsed his aircraft”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 shows “Retracted undercarriage in mistake for flaps”

Bristol Blenheim L1264 (14/04/1940)

Bristol Blenheim L1264 was being utilised for Dual Instruction at RAF Upwood on 14th April 1940.

Its crew comprised:

  • H Chester (Instructor?)
  • Other?

AM Form 1180 shows “Retracted undercarriage after landing”

The Form adds “Since special modifications had been fitted to avoid such accidents, pilot under instruction showed complete lack of attention. Pilot under instruction already reported for failing to appreciate necessity of strict cockpit drill. Recommended to be removed from instruction”.

Bristol Blenheim P6918 (06/04/1940)

Bristol Blenheim P6918 was being utilised for a Local Flying exercise at RAF Upwood on 6th April 1940.

Its crew comprised:

  • JD Stein (Pilot)

AM Form 1180 shows “Staggered into the air; did left hand turn, stalled at 300 – 400 feet and dived vertically into the ground. JD Stein was killed”

The subsequent Court of Enquiry concluded “Pulled aircraft off the ground with undercarriage in down position to avoid clump of trees; stalled and spun due to * engine not being throttled back. Accident might have been avoided if wheels retracted”

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s records show the following burial details:

  • STEIN, JOHN DRUMMOND, ‘748214,’ RAMSEY CEMETERY, Plot L. Grave 229.
Stein J D (findagrave)

[Source: FindaGrave]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

P.4 (Cas) Casualty Branch File

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives

  • AIR 81/1976 Sergeant J D Stein: killed; aircraft accident, Upwood, Blenheim P6918, 35 Squadron, 6 April 1940.