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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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14 Squadron Crest
14.06.1940 No. 14 Squadron Wellesley I P/O. R.P.B.H. Plunkett

Operation: Massawa

Date: 14th June 1940 (Friday)

Unit: No. 14 Squadron

Type: Wellesley I

Serial: K7743

Base: RAF Port Sudan

Location: Red Sea off Massawa

Pilot: P/O. Reginald P. Blenner Hassett Plunkett 40849 RAF Age ? Missing

Air/Gnr: Not taken

REASON FOR LOSS:

Two aircraft taking off from Port Sudan at 15:30 hrs to attack the Acico petrol installation at Massawa. The other, K7723 flown by Fl/Lt Anthony Thorburn Irvine (1). The attack was successful and the two aircraft headed out to sea, returning to base.

During the return they were attacked by a unit from 412 Squadriglia in Fiat CR.42. The Italian Biplane ace, Mario Visentini (2) claimed to have shot him down at 19:15 hrs. Fl/Lt. Irvine managed to escape and return to base unharmed. The aircraft and the pilot, P/O. Plunkett could not be found, despite a search mission undertaken.

Some reports state that the two pilots took off on an unauthorised operation after a bet in the squadron mess that they could achieve this operation - without one of them taking air gunners. We are unable to confirm this.

Vickers Wellesley I

Researched for the Wimbledon College Roll Of Honour. P/O. Plunked having been a former pupil.


(1) 27 year old Fl/Lt. Irvine MiD 36090 RAF was killed on the 13th April 1941, then a Sq/Ldr. with 211 Squadron.

(2) 28 year old Mario Visentini was killed on the 11th February 1941. 20 claims to his credit. Plus over 30 aircraft destroyed on the ground (with other pilots from his squadron) at Gedaref in the Sudan.

Right, Mario Visentini 412 Squadriglia (Kracker archive)

Burial details:

P/O. Reginald P. Blenner Hassett Plunkett. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 9. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist with information? Strange that he is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial rather than El Alamein.

Researched for the Wimbledon College Roll Of Honour - Aircrew Remembered have offered to provide basic information for the school records. With thanks to some sources quoted below.

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: 20 June 2015, 21:43