12.12.1941 55 Squadron Blenheim IV Z9595 Fl/Lt. Charles H. Anderson.
Date: 12th December 1941 (Friday)
Unit: No. 55 Squadron (crew on detachment from 8 Squadron - Coastal Command)
Type: Blenheim IV
Code: Not known
Base: LG-17 Fuka, Egypt (also known as Fukah and Fouka)
Location: Mediterranean Sea
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Charles Harold Anderson 41772 RAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Obs: Sgt. Derrick Augustus Brunton 541679 RAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Evans 973996 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
We would like to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Hugh Wheeler, a specialist Blenheim researcher. We hope in time to be in a position to publish more of his valued work.
These three chaps seem to have delivered a Blenheim, Z9595, to 55 Squadron from 8 Squadron and then found themselves staying on to conduct operations. As 8 Squadron were just patrolling over the sea most of the time, looking for largely non-existent U-Boats, they may have jumped at the chance of a bit of excitement but we shall never know.
Above as described - are you able to recognise the others? Sgt. Derrick Brunton shown on extreme left on the rear of the photo marked - Me, WAG, WAG, WAG, Pilot, 2nd Pilot. (courtesy Graham Brunton)
The crew were on secondment from their own No. 8 Squadron for this operation. Taking off at 07:00 hrs on an anti-shipping strike of Derna in Northern Libya when they were twice attacked by Bf110’s which apparently they survived. They were then observed by others from the Squadron to break formation and head inland some 12 miles away. They were last seen at 10:24 hrs when they crashed into the sea. It is thought that they were attacked again and shot down.
Further investigation made by Hugh Wheeler is that a Ju88 from 1./NJG2 may have been in the area at the time and it is possible that this was the enemy aircraft involved. NJG2 was based at the time at Catania and although about 540 miles from the scene would be within the capability of a Ju88C - we are open to other suggestions on this.
This crew were on the strength of 8 Squadron at Khormaksar, Aden (about a thousand miles away from Fuka) and apparently detached to 55 Squadron where I imagine they had delivered the aircraft and been 'absorbed'. Unfortunately I am unable to trace any Bf110 attacking these two Blenheims.
Also lost on the same day from the Squadron:
Blenheim IV Z5908 Flown by Fl/Sgt. John Henry Leonard Thompson 963443 RAFVR - Missing believed killed with all his crew.
Fl/Lt. Charles Harold Anderson. Alamein Memorial. Column 240. Son of Joseph Henry and Rossana Harriett Anderson, of Eastbourne, Sussex, England.
Sgt. Derrick Augustus Brunton. Alamein Memorial. Column 242. Son of Bert and Ada Louisa Brunton, of Hove, Sussex, England.
Sgt. John Evans. Alamein Memorial. Column 243. Son of Reuben Evans, and of Lily Evans, of St. Helens, Lancashire, England.
The crew from Blenheim IV Z5908:
Fl/Sgt. John Henry Leonard Thompson. Alamein Memorial. Panel 242. Also commemorated in the Highbury County School book of remembrance. Believed to be from Islington, London, England.
Sgt. Robert Terrington Quilter. Alamein Memorial. Panel 243. Son of Robert and Jean H. Quilter, of Ruislip, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Robert Tudor Morris. Alamein Memorial. Panel 243. Son of David Thomas Morris and Sarah Elizabeth Morris.
Researched for Graham Brunton nephew of the observer, who contacted us in February 2017 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources indicated below as well of course Hugh Wheeler: