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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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12.06.1940 No. 17 OTU Blenheim IV L9172 Sgt. Bain

Operation: Training

Date:12th June 1940 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 17 OTU (Operational Training Unit) RAF

Type: Bristol Blenheim IV

Serial: L9172

Base: RAF Upwood

Location: Cwmafan, Wales

Pilot: Sgt. Victor Albert Bain 196750 RAFVR (Saved by parachute)

Observer: Sgt. William Hubert Wheeler 747805 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC2. Sidney Boulton 636888 RAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

This aircraft took-off from RAF Upwood for a navigation exercise; Base - Lundy Island - Exmouth - Base. At 12:23 HRS, while flying at 20.00 feet, the pilot radioed "breaking up" and soon afterwards eye-wivtneses saw the Blenheim falling in a series of uneven rolls and slowly disintegrating. The main debris fell into the tinplate works area at Cwmafan, 8 miles east south east of Swansea.

All three crew were pitched from the aircraft, Sgt. Bain parachuting virtually unscathed. His crew were not so fortunate, Sqt. Wheeler is buried in Bushey (St. James) Churchyard, Sec. R. Grave 21. while AC2. Boulton was taken to Hatfield (Woodhouse) Cemetery, near Doncaster. Row L. Grave 48.

Police Report:

BRISTOL BLENHEIM L9172 - CWMAFAN

D/D CON 295/3/8 Cwmafan Police Station Occurrence Books ( near Port Talbort South Wales )

WEDNESDAY 12 JUNE 1940

Blenheim Aircraft from 17 Operational Training Unit ( OTU ) broke-up in the sky above the village and crashed near Cwmafan 3 miles East of Port Talbort South Wales.

Crew: Sgt. Bain V.A. (741596) - Pilot Injured (landed by parachute near Woodland Row )

Sgt. Wheeler W.H. (747805) - Observer Killed

Ac2 Boulton S. (636888) - Wireless Op./Airgunner Killed

Weather: Wind from West , slight drizzle , visibility poor.

The bodies of Sgt. Wheeler and Ac2 Boulton were found on the Copper miners tip, approx. 200 yards apart, neither was wearing a parachute.

Upon examination of the aircraft's logbook It was found that the plane had left Upwood airdrome, Huntingdonshire, at 08:16 hrs on a flight to Lundy Island and apparently was returning when the accident occurred. Last entry in the logbook was at 12:15 hrs - ' Gun ............ of cumulus, altitude 20,000 feet '.

On examination of a clock in the wreckage, It was found to have stopped at 12:23 hrs. (4 hrs. 7 min)

'Received from Superintendent W. Doolan this 17th day of June 1940 property:

1 loaded magazine drum and 1 oxygen cylinder found following crash of Bristol Blenheim bomber no. L 9172 at Cwmafan on 12 June 1940 which was identified as property found and handed to police.

P.S. 670. No. 913520 RAF 34 M.U. Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Officer handing over.

End of report

The village where the aircraft crashed place a beautiful memorial which Colin Bain sent to us in September 2018.

Bristol Blenheim IV

Victor Albert Bain later transferred to No. 143 Squadron, Coastal Command, he again survived a crash when he was shot down into the sea of Norway in a Beaufighter. Please see report also listed on this website: 01.05.1943. No.143 Squadron Coastal Command. Beaufighter JL943. Sadly Victor was killed in a post war crash in 1946, for full details please see other page - post war on this website.

Burial Details:

Sgt. William Hubert Wheeler. Bushey (St. James) Churchyard, Sec. R. Grave 21. Son of William Francis and Lizzie Wheeler; husband of Ethel Marjorie Wheeler, of Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, England.

AC2. Sidney Boulton. Hatfield (Woodhouse) Cemetery, near Doncaster. Row L. Grave 48. Son of Joseph A. Boulton and Elizabeth Ann Boulton, of Dunsville, Doncaster, England.

We appreciate the great assistance of Colin Bain, son of Victor Bain, for supplying us with a great deal of information and photographs. If any other relative of the crew members would like to contact us and supply information to this loss it would be welcome. Colin is in regular contact with us at Aircrew Remembered and has assisted in various other losses. Thanks also to Richard Allenby for grave photographs. Richard runs the great website, Yorkshire Aircraft - detailing losses in the Yorkshire area.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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