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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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RAF Crest
26.04.1943 No 141 Squadron Beaufighter IF X7751 Fl/Lt. Stuart

Operation: Night flying test

Date: 26th April 1943 (Monday)

Unit: No. 141 Squadron (motto: Caedimus Noctu - 'We slay by night'). 10 Group

Type: Beaufighter IF

Serial: X7751

Code: TW-?

Base: RAF Predannack, Cornwall

Location: Over airfield

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Antony Innes Stuart AUS/403383 RAAF Age 27. Killed

Obs: P/O. Thomas Benson Blackburn DFM. NZ/39197 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

After taking off at 14:25 hrs and ‘beating up’ the airfield in extremely windy conditions the wing tip caught a hut, causing the aircraft to roll over and I’ve into the ground. The Beaufighter caught fire, killing both crew members.

In a subsequent Report of a Flying Accident, the Engineer Officer of No. 141 Squadron stated 'I witnessed the accident and proceeded immediately to the wreckage. The aircraft struck the corner of the dispersal pen with the port wing tip, then proceeded for 150 yards, struck the ground and the wreckage was dispersed over a wide area. Damage due to fire made it impossible to carry out any further examination'.

DFM Citation L.G. 18th May 1943:

'As navigator, this airman has displayed exceptional skill, contributing in a large measure to the success of numerous sorties on which he has flown. In April, 1943, he was the observer of the leading aircraft of a section which successfully attacked an enemy convoy By his accurate navigation, Flight Sergeant Blackburn played a large part in the success archieved. This airman has set a praiseworthy example'.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Lt. Antony Innes Stuart. Helston Cemetery. Section NW. Row C. Grave 30. Born on the 01st February 1916 in London, England. Enlisted in Sydney on the 06th January 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 13th July 1941. Awarded flying badge on the 25th September 1943 after training with No. 2 Service Flying Training School. After pilot training embarked for England on the 03rd October 1941. Previously served with 264 and 515 squadron flying the Defiant before joining 141 squadron on the 20th January 1943. Son of Geoffrey B. J. Stuart and Evelyn Cicely Stuart of Kincumba South, Woy Woy, New South Wales, Australia.

P/O. Thomas Benson Blackburn DFM. Helston Cemetery. Section NW. Row C. Grave 31. Born on the 29th June 1917 at Christchurch. Attended Christchurch Boys High School from 1932 to 1935. Worked as a clerk for Gough, Goughand Hamer prior to service. Enlisted on the 08th February 1939. Embarked for Canada on the 05th November 1940. Air observer badge and promoted to sergeant on the 29th March 1941. Embarked for England on the 19th May 1941.After a period with 20 Operational Training Unit joined 255 squadron on the 16th January 1942. A period of a few months inJoined 141 squadron on the 10th April 1943 hospital recovering from a landing accident on the 02nd April 1942. Awarded his commission on the 10th April 1943. Son of Thomas Voice Blackburn (died 22nd June 1946, age 58) and of Marion Isobel Blackburn (nee McLeod - died 28th June 1960), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand and husband of Patrica Adelaide Hope Blackburn (nee Brydges), of Christchurch. A total of 231 flying hours logged.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY - 12.09.2017

KTY - Updated 05-08-2021

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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