20.10.1940 No. 203 Squadron Blenheim IV T2112 F/O. Barnitt DFC
Date: 20th October 1940 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 203 Squadron (motto: Occidens oriensque - 'West and east')
Type: Blenheim IV
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.
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: