11.09.1940 No. 235 Squadron Blenheim IV L9396 LA-E P/O. Peter C. Wickings-Smith
Date: 11th September 1940 (Wednesday)
Unit: 235 Squadron
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Thorney Island, West Sussex.
Location: English Channel off Calais, France
Pilot: P/O. Peter Claude Wickings-Smith 42929 RAF Age 22. Missing
Nav: P/O. Alexander William Valentine Green 78082 RAFVR Age 21. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Douglas Haig Watts 746868 RAFVR Age 35. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Weather report for the day: Heavy cloud cover dispersed overnight giving way to a fine day in most areas, occasional cloud and some local showers in the midlands and the north with the exception of the English Channel and south-eastern England where cloud continued
Taking off at 15.55 hrs from RAF Thorney Island to escort Fairey Albacores from the Fleet Air Arm on an operation to bomb a convoy off Calais France.
Intercepted and shot down by Me109s of both 1./JG52 and III./JG53 at 1740 hrs. The air gunner, Sgt. Reg Watts was seen to continue to be returning fire, right up till the time the Blenheim hit the sea. (As witnessed by other crews)
Above: Sgt. Reginald Douglas Haig Watts - seen to continue firing right up to the point of hitting the sea!
Also lost from 235 Squadron on this operation at about the same time and location:
Blenheim IV Z5725 LA-G Flown by Fl/Lt. Frederick William Flood, missing with his 2 other crew members.
Left: Panels at Runnymede Memorial (archives)
P/O. Peter Claude Wickings-Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 10. Son of Claude Trebeck Wickings-Smith and Vera Frances Wickings-Smith, of Bedford, England.
P/O. Alexander William Valentine Green. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 8. Son of Alexander and Marjory Green, of Craigavad, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
Sgt. Reginald Douglas Haig Watts. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 20. Son of Charles and Alice Louisa Watts, of Far Cotton, Northamptonshire, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Ross Mcneill - 'Coastal Command Losses’, Andrew D. Bird - ‘Coastal Dawn’, Winston G. Ramsey - 'Battle of Britain Then and Now'. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Left: 'Coastal Command Losses Vol. 1’ (Vol. 2 -awaiting publication) and ‘Coastal Dawn’ are both available from Amazon and leading book stores.