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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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114 Squadron crest
08.08.1941 No. 114 Squadron Blenheim IV F/O. Richmond

Operation: Training

Date: 8th August 1941

Unit: No. 114 Squadron (At this time - Coastal Command)

Type: Bristol Blenheim IV

Serial: V6522

Code: RT-?

Base: RAF Oulton, Norfolk

Location: Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Pilot: F/O. Sylvester Roger Oliffe Richmond NZ/402217 RNZAF Age 24. Injured

Navigator: Sgt. John Douglas Mackay 993210 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt Harold Fisher RAFVR Injured


In October 2014 the son of the 3rd crew member contacted us and sent an amazing statement made by his father which we have included.


REASON FOR LOSS:

During bombing practice taking place on the marshes near North Wootton 3 miles North North East of Kings Lynn, the aircraft hit the sea before eventually crashing near the railway station in Kings Lynn, Norfolk - the pilot survived, but suffered the loss of a limb. Sadly Sgt. Mackay was killed. It took two years before F/O. Richmond could fly again.

Left: F/O. Sylvester Roger Oliffe Richmond

At the same time another 114 Squadron Blenheim R3743 also hit the sea during bombing practice and crashed. Fl/Lt. Patterson and his crew member survived.F/O. Sylvester Richmond was later killed on 15th February 1944 serving with 51 Operational Training Unit. Flying Beaufighter I R2129, took off at 20.12hrs. to carry out a Ground Controlled Interception (GCI) exercise.

The exercise was completed successfully at 22.18 hrs. and the pilot headed back to Cranfield. At about 22.25hrs. the Beaufighter dived steeply into the ground from 3,000 feet and exploded.

Both Fl/Lt Richmond who was piloting the aircraft and 23 year old, F/O. Denis Reginald Wilkes as navigator were killed.

Sgt. Harold Fisher gained promotion to Fl/Lt (137500) stationed at RAF Tangmere working with Air Traffic Control after the accident and then to Singapore.

Transcript of a draft report written in pencil by Harold Fisher and undated. It had been addressed to The Adjutant. RAF Station, West Raychem:

"Dear Sir

Here are the particulars of the crash as near as I can remember.

We were approaching the practice target ship from the sea at very low altitude, the port aileron dug into the water. We lost speed quickly, but after about 50 yards the plane rose to about 20 feet.

By this time we were crossing the coast and had to climb further to avoid a belt of trees.

We scraped over the trees and started to come down.

I felt the plane touch ground (I had moved into the bottom of the turret and could not see.)

Piles of earth came flying through the camera hatch as we skated along. We hit something and stopped dead. (Afterwards I discovered it was an earth bank.)

The turret fell to pieces around me, and I received a blow on the face which stunned me for a few seconds.

On recovering I discovered that I was surrounded by wreckage.

I started to get out of the turret, when smelling smoke, I saw that a fire had started in the bomb well.

I managed to get out of the turret and made for a big split in the portside of the aircraft. I reached the point but could not get any further owing to wreckage.

By this time the fire was burning fiercely and sheets of flame were shooting around me - my hair was singed and I almost suffocated by smoke and fumes when 'Smith' appeared outside the turret and pulled away a large section of the fuselage and other wreckage.

I tried to get through the hole but found that my leg was hurt and I couldn't manage.

I put one arm round 'Smiths' neck and he lifted me down to the ground.

The aircraft was blazing with great heat by this time and the ammunition was exploding.

'Smith' saw me safely away from the aircraft and then went back again and dragged away P/O. Richmond.

He again returned and dragged away Sgt. Mackay.

Richmond and Mackay were both unconscious and were lying under the nose of the aircraft.

Other help arrived then took care of Richmond and Mackay and 'Smith' then returned to me and did everything to make me comfortable until ambulances arrived.

I hope Sir that this report is all that is required.

I remain, yours obediently, Harold Fisher."

Note: I understand that this report was to be used in representation to secure a bravery award for 'Smith'. He was a railwayman crossing the field to his signal box. The crash was at 10.15 am 8th August 1941, by 13.16 hrs it was burnt out.

Stephanie Randle (sister of Harold Fisher)


Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Sylvester Roger Oliffe Richmond. Cambridge City Cemetery Grave 14353. Son of Sylvester Herbert Guinness Richmond and Lillian Alice Richmond, of Motu, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. John Douglas Mackay. Norwich and Norfolk Crematorium. Son of John Wright Mackay and Victoria Mackay, of Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland.

Researched for Iain Bimie. With thanks to the following: David Fisher - son of the air gunner, Sgt Harold Fisher. Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim', the CWGC, Aviation Safety, Errol Martin - 'For Your Tomorrow Vol 2'.

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: 04 November 2014, 16:07

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