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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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211 Squadron Crest
13.04.1941 No. 211 Squadron Blenheim I L4819 F/O. Richard V. Herbert

Operation: German Ground Units

Date: 13th April 1941 (Easter Sunday)

Unit: No. 211 Squadron

Type: Blenheim I

Serial: L4819

Base: RAF Paramythia, Greece

Location: Trigono, Greece

Pilot: F/O. Richard Vivian Herbert 33425 RAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Obs:  W/Cdr. Patric Bernard Coote 26155 RAF Age 31. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Neilson Young 755906 RAFVR Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

One of Six Blenheims ordered to attack German troop positions based at Florina, Greece. A disastrous day for the squadron when they were all intercepted by Bf109 fighters of JG27/6 some 30 km from the target - All were shot down.

The others:

Blenheim I L1434  Flown by 24 year old Fl/Lt. Lindsay Basil Buchanan DFC 40885 RAF of Wellington, New Zealand - killed with all his crew.
Blenheim I L1539 Flown by 22 year old Fl/Sgt. Arthur Graham James 522253 RAF of Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales - surviving this attack, but 2 other crew killed.
Blenheim I L8478 Flown by 27 year old Sq/Ldr. Antony Thorburn Irvine MiD. 36090 RAF - killed with all his crew.
Blenheim I L8664 Flown by F/O. Charles Edward Vasey Thompson DFC. 77466 RAFVR - killed with all his crew.
Blenheim L8449 Flown by P/O. Alan Godfrey DFC. 39820 RAFVR - killed with all his crew.

Left: Pilot, F/O. Richard Vivian Herbert (net)

Blenheim L4819 is understood to have been shot down by Uffz. Fritz Gromotka (3) of 6./JG27 at 16.09 hrs. The aircraft crashed near the village of Trigano, Greece.

(1) The family of F/O. Herbert were to lose his two other brothers. 26 year old F/O. Philip Wynne Herbert, killed on the 26th January 1942 - pilot with 1 Photographic Reconaissance Squadron at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire. 20 year old F/O. Gerald Bevill Herbert was killed on the 14th February 1943 - pilot with 158 Squadron - Halifax DT696 crashed just after take off. Both his brothers are buried in their home town of Theale, Berkshire.

(2) W/Cdr. Coote was the RAF Area Commander at the time of death.

(3) This was the 2nd abschusse for Uffz. Fritz Gromotka - he went on to claim a total of 29 during the war from which he survived. He died on the 2nd November 1979 at the age of 69.

Right: Uffz. Fritz Gromotka (courtesy Tom Kracker)

Above and left: Phaleron War Cemetery (courtesy Antonelos Athanasios) Full resolution of these photographs are available to relatives/friends - please contact us.


Burial details:

F/O. Richard Vivian Herbert. Phaleron War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.C.19. Son of Commodore Philip Lee William Herbert and Gwendolin Hughes Herbert, nephew of Colonel G.N. Herbert and E. Florence Lee Herbert, of Theale, Berkshire, England.

W/Cdr. Patric Bernard Coote. Phaleron War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.C.19. Son of Comdr B.T. Coote, OBE. RN. and Mrs Coote, Husband of Muriel Coote, of Chobham, Surrey, England.

Fl/Sgt. William Neilson Young. Phaleron War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.C.19. Son of Ernest C.S. and Catherine J. Young, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Antonelos Athanasios for grave photographs. Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim’. David Gunby and Pelham Temple - 'Bomber Losses Middle East and Mediterranean Vol. 1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.


Don Clark's research into 211 squadron holds a far more comprehensive history of the unit. We encourage you to also visit his website.

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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