13.06.1940 No. 107 Squadron Blenheim IV R3616 P/O. Stidston
Date: 13th June 1940 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 107 Squadron
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Wattisham, Suffolk
Location: Caugé, West of Evreux, France.
Pilot: P/O. Arthur Frank Stidston 42448 RAF Age ? Killed
Obs: Sgt. Francis Charles Higgins 580577 RAF Age 25. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Raymond Browning 537351 RAF Age 21. Killed
We would appreciate contact from relatives of this crew who maybe able to supply further information / photographs
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Wattisham, Suffolk to bomb strategic bridges over the Seine near Vernon, France.
This followed a message from Winston Churchill to the French Premier Raynaud and to General Weygand that the RAF would assist them as much as possible with 'maximum effort'. During the daylight hours of the 13th June all available Blenheims will be ready to attack and that heavy bombers from England will also be available during the night of 13/14th June.
Weather hampered the available 60 Blenheims and the longer distance meant it difficult to provide fighter cover. The raids were concentrated upon various targets from the advancing Panzers to the bridges across the Seine to try and delay the rapidly advancing German army.
During the day the RAF lost some 11 Battles and 6 Blenheims. 19 Crew members were killed, 8 injured and a further 15 made Prisoners of War. 107 squadron lost R3616 after it was was shot down by Uffz. Konrad Nellescamp (1) of 5./JG3 in the battle area at about 15.45 hrs.
(1) This was the 2nd kill for Uffz. Konrad Nellescamp who went on to claim one more before he was killed when shot down by a Spitfire and a Blenheim over the North Sea, north west of Haarlem on the 15th March 1942.
Left crew graves at Cuage Coomunal Cemetery (courtesy Jean-Claude Langevin)
This crew are the only Commonwealth graves in the cemetery at Caugé, France.
P/O. Arthur Frank Stidston. Cuagé Communal Cemetery. Grave 3. No further details as yet.
Sgt. Francis Charles Higgins. Cuagé Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Son of John and Hetty Kate Higgins, of Hanworth, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. John Raymond Browning. Cuagé Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Son of John Henry and Edith May Browning.
Researched by: Jean-Claude Langevin for relatives / friends of this crew. With thanks to the following: Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim', Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol. 1', the CWGC