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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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203 Squadron Crest
20.10.1940 No. 203 Squadron Blenheim IV T2112 F/O. Barnitt DFC

Operation: Transit

Date: 20th October 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 203 Squadron (motto: Occidens oriensque - 'West and east')

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: T2112

Code: Not known

Base: Khormaksar, Aden

Location: Kamaran Island

Pilot: F/O. Heslop Miles Frederick Barnitt DFC. 40981 RAF Age 22. Killed (note)

Obs: Sgt. Albin James Finch 581444 RAF Age 21. Seriously injured

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC. J.W. Beaumont RAF Injured - Survived

REASON FOR LOSS:

The pilot had an earlier lucky escape on the 09th September 1939 when the aircraft Anson I K6187 VX-E ditched. Further details can be found here.

He is described as being the first New Zealander to have been decorated for service in the Middle East. Credited with two enemy aircraft as destroyed.

After completing a long patrol they landed to refuel on Kamaran Island, before returning to base at Khormaksar. After taking off again at 15:00 hrs the port engine failed and the pilot was forced to return. Thirty minutes later the port wing struck a 10 metre high mosque. AC Beaumont survived the crash, injured. Sgt. Albin Finch succumbed to his injuries the following day.

Burial details:

F/O. Heslop Miles Frederick Barnitt DFC. Maale Memorial No. 2. (1) Born on the 13th January 1918 at New Plymouth, the son of Frederick Heslop and Florence Amelia Barnitt (née Smith), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. Prior to service worked with the State Fire and Accident Insurance Office as a clerk. Learned to fly at the New Plymouth Aero Club and accepted in the RAF before the war in 1938. A total of 533 flying hours logged and thought to have had over 38 operational sorties.

Sgt. Albin James Finch. Alamein Memorial. Column 240. Son of Henry and Margaret Mary Finch, of Cardiff, Wales.

(1) Maale Memorial No. 2 is placed within Maala Cemetery in Adwen, Yemen. The only name placed on that from the 1939-1945 war is that of F/O. Bernitt. He is actually buried at North Point Christian Cemetery on Kameran Island - due to the location the CWGC are unable to maintain the grave.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 10.08.2019

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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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