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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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40 Squadron Crest
06.06.1940 No. 40 Squadron Blenheim IV P4927 BL-D Sgt. J.A.D. Rice

Operation: St-Valéry, France

Date: 6th June 1940 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 40 Squadron

Type: Blenheim Mk. IV

Serial: P4927

Code: BL-D

Base: RAF Wyton

Location: Le Touquet France

Pilot: Sgt. Joseph Archibald Donald Rice 741422 RAF PoW No: 349 Stalag Luft Heydekrug (L6)

Obs: Sgt. R.C. Moffatt 580973 RAF PoW No: 20260 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. D.E. Peters 552082 RAF PoW No: 20261 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)


After taking off from RAF Wyton at 08:15 hrs Shot down by Bf109s during attack on troops advancing between St-Valéry and Abbeville and belly-landed on beach of  Le Touquet France at 10.00 hrs. Possibly that claimed by Uffz Hofelich of 3./JG3.

40 Squadron lost 4 other aircraft on this operation:

Left: P/O. Vaughan Göthrik Welsby Engstrom (courtesy Weekly News)

Blenheim IV L8827 Flown by Sq/Ldr. B. Pardon IGSM - Taken PoW with all crew.
Blenheim IV L9410 Flown by 24 year old, P/O. Blake Bamford James 77464 RAFVR from Bognor Regis, Sussex - Missing with all crew.
Blenheim IV P4917 Flown by P/O. Wakeford - injured with all crew after forced landing in allied held territory.
Blenheim IV R3692 Flown by 26 year old, P/O. Vaughan Göthrik Welsby Engstrom 41687 RAF from Matlock Derbyshire - injured, all crew taken PoW. Understood that the pilot was reported to England. Sadly the then as a Fl/Lt. Vaughan Engstrom was killed on the 16th February 1943 whilst undertaking a flying instructors position with No. 7 Elementary Flying School at RAF Desford. Flying a Tiger Moth II DE461 stalled during a steep climbing turn at low level - killed with his RCAF Sgt. pupil (name not known) when the aircraft crashed near Sutton Cheney. Born on the 9th August 1913 from Rangitumau, New Zealand.

Burial details:

None all survived, other 40 squadron losses this day:

(Blenheim IV R3692) Fl/Lt. Vaughan Göthrik Welsby Engstrom. Ibstock Cemetery. Row W.3. Grave 1. Son of Carl Göthrik Engstrom and Ellen Mabel Engstrom (née Welsby), husband of Hilda Engstrom (née Bennett), of Matlock, Derbyshire, England.

(Blenheim IV L9410) P/O. Blake Bamford James. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 8. Son of Ivor Lough James, and of Constance G. James, of Bognor Regis, Sussex, England.

(Blenheim IV L9410) Sgt. John Edward Garcka. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 14. No further details - are you able to assist?

(Blenheim IV L9410) Sgt. Willie Furby. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 14. Son of George and Amy Furby, of Masham, Yorkshire, England.

Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered September 2015. Photos from the Michel Beckers collection.

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: 30 January 2016, 00:21