04.10.1944 No. 107 Squadron Blenheim IV V5821 Sgt. D.E. Hamlyn
Date: 04th October 1941 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 107 Squadron
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Luqa, Malta
Location: Mediterranean Sea, off Zuara (now Zuwara)
Pilot: Sgt. D.E. Hamlyn RAFVR - Survived - interned
Obs: Sgt. Charles Aubrey Latter RAAF - Survived - interned (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt, D. Williams RAFVR - Survived - interned
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Luqa in Malta to attack ground targets at Zuara airfield in Libya. Attacked by CR.42 fighters over the Mediterranean Sea and ditched some 96 km north of Tripoli at 14.30 hrs.
They spent some 6 days in the dingy before being rescued off the coast of Djerba by an Arab ship, taking them to Tunis. They were then interned temporarily at Aumale, being transferred shortly afterwards to Laghouat. They then started to dig a tunnel in order to escape. This took them some seven months to complete, then, on June 6th 1942, an escape was made! Heavy rain in the desert and ill equipped they were recaptured after a day of freedom, their captors returning them to the prison. Released in November 1942, after the invasion of North Africa.
Above: Blenheim IV's and below the Fiat CR. 42 Fighter
Note: Losses among 107 squadron had been so heavy – 90% of all original and replacement crews were killed in action during the Malta operations – that at one time the squadron was commanded by a sergeant, I.G. Broom. It was not the last time this man was in command of a RAF unit, he ended his career as Air Marshal Sir Ivor Broom.
(1) Charles Aubrey Latter died in 1953.
None - all crew survived.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Roger Strong - relative of the observer, Sgt. Latter. Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim’. David Gunby and Pelham Temple - 'Bomber Losses Middle East and Mediterranean Vol. 1', Sydney Morning Herald.