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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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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: R.A.F. Oakington, Cambridge

Location: Cambridge area.

Pilot - L9264: P/O. William Brian Wheelwright 41763 R.A.F. Age 23. Killed

Pilot - T1929: Fl/Lt. George Edward Newton 37824 R.A.F. Age 29. Killed

Obs - L9264: Sgt. Robert White Clapperton 530058 R.A.F. Age 22. Killed

Obs - T1929: Sgt. David Wesley Dennis 755456 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr - L9264: Sgt. John Norman Bilton 936831 R.A.F.V.R. Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr - T1929: Sgt William Leslie Smith 900116 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19. Killed

Fl/Mech - T1929: A/C.1st Class Robert Hawley Harrison 911733 R.A.F.V.R. Age 23. Killed


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. With thanks to the following: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses', Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim' and the C.W.G.C.

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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