18.08.1940. Double Blenheim IV 218 Squadron Blenheim IV L9264 - T1929 - collision tragedy - P/O. Wheelwright and Fl/Lt. Newton
Date: 18th August 1940 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 218 Squadron ("B" Flight)
Type: Blenheim IV
Serial: L9264 - T1929
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
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.
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.