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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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218 Squadron badge
18.08.1940. Double Blenheim IV 218 Squadron Blenheim IV L9264 - T1929 - collision tragedy - P/O. Wheelwright and Fl/Lt. Newton

Operation: Training

Date: 18th August 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 218 Squadron ("B" Flight)

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L9264 - T1929

Code: HA-?

Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridge

Location: Cambridge area.

Pilot L9264: P/O. William Brian Wheelwright 41763 RAF Age 23. Killed

Pilot T1929: Fl/Lt. George Edward Newton 37824 RAF Age 29. Killed

Obs L9264: Sgt. Robert White Clapperton 530058 RAF Age 22. Killed

Obs T1929: Sgt. David Wesley Dennis 755456 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr L9264: Sgt. John Norman Bilton 936831 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr T1929: Sgt William Leslie Smith 900116 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Fl/Mech T1929: A/C.1st Class Robert Hawley Harrison 911733 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Carrying out a formation exercise when two Blenheims of the same squadron collided with one another. L9264 spun-in, inverted and totally destroyed. T1929 caught fire in the air after collision and then spiralled into the ground.

Tragically A/C.1st Class Robert Harrison was on the aircraft T1929 to check one of the engines that he had recently carried out a major repair on.

Burial details:

Crew of Blenheim IV L9264:-

P/O. William Brian Wheelwright. Longstanton Churchyard. N.W. Corner. (A) Son of Arthur Graham Wheelwright and Sarah Harriet Wheelwright, of Swanage, Dorsetshire, England.

Sgt. Robert White Clapperton. Longstanton Churchyard. N.W. Corner. Son of James and Janet R. White Clapperton, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Sgt. John Norman Bilton. Coatham Churchyard. Sec A. Row 10. Grave 7 (D) Son of John William and Meggie Bilton, of Coatham, husband of Hilda Bilton.

Crew of Blenheim IV T1929:-

Fl/Lt. George Edward Newton. Barrowby Churchyard. Grave 176. (E) Son of Edward Cecil and Gertrude Newton; husband of Doris Mary Newton, of Arrington, Cambridgeshire, England.

Sgt. David Wesley Dennis. Longstanton Churchyard. N.W. Corner. Son of Arthur Wesley Dennis and Mary Theodora Dennis, of Gosberton, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt William Leslie Smith. Streatham Park Cemetery Square 6C. Grave 41556. (C) Son of John Storey Smith, and of Elizabeth Annie Smith, of Camberwell, London, England.

A/C.1st Class Robert Hawley Harrison. Longstanton Churchyard. N.W. Corner. Son of Robert Stanley and Mary Emmeline Harrison, of Southbourne, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

Researched for relatives and friends of the crew and also for an eyewitness to this incident and the first on the crash scene.

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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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