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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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18 Squadron Crest
11.05.1940 No. 18 Squadron Blenheim IV L8861 F/O. Charlie Bellis

Operation: Reconnaissance

Date: 11th May 1940 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 18 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L8861

Code: WV-?

Base: RAF Méharicourt, France

Location: Kanne, Belgium

Pilot: F/O. Charlie Bellis 39847 RAF Age ? Killed

Obs: Sgt. Horace David Welch 565950 RAF Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC Kenneth Parry 550953 RAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 20:30 hrs from the French Landing Ground, Méharicourt to make low level reconnaissance over the Albert Canal. Failed to return, crashing near Kanne at 21:15 hrs.

18 Squadron lost two other Blenheims on this day, the others:

Blenheim IV L9255 Flown by Sgt. E. Le Voi. Two of the crew taken PoW with the W/Op Air/Gnr being killed.
Blenheim IV R3590 Flown by P/O. M. Holmes - Hit by flak, the crew managing to force land the aircraft, all safe.
A further Blenheim L9192 Flown by P/O. J.R. Whelan, with his crew managed to belly land the aircraft after being hit by Belgian anti-aircraft fire, all safe, with aircraft repaired.

It was reported that nearly half of all the Blenheims lost by the Allied Air Forces in France were lost on this day. Shortly afterwards, on the 17th May they were withdrawn to continue the fight from bases in England.

Burial details:

The graves have the date of death marked as 12th May 1940 - this is probably because aircraft that failed to return late in the day were not recorded until the following day.

F/O. Charlie Bellis. Cement House Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Grave XXI.A.16-17. Son of Charles and Elizabeth E. Bellis, of Holt, Denbighshire, Wales.

Sgt. Horace David Welch. Cement House Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Grave XXI.A.16-17. No further details - are you able to assist?

LAC Kenneth Parry. Cement House Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Grave XXI.A.16-17. Son of Rowland Edward and Elizabeth Ann Parry, of Llandudno, Caernarvonshire, Wales.

With thanks to Franky Mahieu who visited the crew graves in May 2016 and sent the photograph to us. Any relative who would like a higher resolution - please contact us. Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources indicated below

KTY 22.05.2016

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 01 June 2016, 21:32

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