14.06.1940 No. 14 Squadron Wellesley I P/O. R.P.B.H. Plunkett
Date: 14th June 1940 (Friday)
Unit: No. 14 Squadron
Type: Wellesley I
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)
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.