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
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)
REASON FOR LOSS:
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.
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.