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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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101 Squadron Crest
26.08.1940 No. 101 Squadron Blenheim IV L8870 Sgt. J.H. Balmer

Operation: Saint-Malo

Date: 26th August 1940 (Monday)

Unit: 101 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L8870

Code: SR:?

Base: RAF West Raynham, Norfolk

Location: Allington Lane, Fair Oak, Horton Heath, Hampshire

Pilot: Sgt. John Hawes Balmer 745574 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Obs: Sgt. William John Cheshire Corker 751198 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Thomas George James Cranston 751938 RAFVR Age 22. Killed


Taking off at 01:53 on Monday 26th August 1940 from RAF West Raynham on a mission to Saint- Malo.

At 04:50 hrs during the return flight, the aircraft hit a barrage balloon cable south east of Eastleigh in Hampshire and crashed in Allington Lane, Fair Oak, Horton Heath with the loss of all on board.

Burial details:

Sgt. John Hawes Balmer. Watford North Cemetery. Sec E. Cons. Grave E887. The son of John and Clara Frances (née Hawes) Balmer of Watford, England. His brother was also to lose his life in service. 26 year old, Trooper Brian Thompson Balmer 7890122 of the Royal Armoured Corps (3rd County of London Yeomanry - Sharpshooters) was killed on the 23rd November 1941 and remembered on the Alamein Memorial, column 29.

Right: The CWGC keep their graves to a very high standard. Sadly, for many reasons, families may not be in a position to keep the graves of those lost in as good as condition as perhaps they deserved. The CWGC are unable to accept responsibility for the graves if the family elected to have their own.

Sgt. William John Cheshire Corker. Landican Cemetery, Birkenhead. C of E. Sec 2. Grave 401. The son of William and Mary Agnes (née Cheshire) Corker of Birkenhead, England.

(Left Courtesy of John Cranston). Sgt. Thomas George James Cranston. Edinburgh Eastern Cemetery. Sec. C. Grave 171. The son of Thomas Robertson Cranston and Annie Cranston, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Researched By Mike McQuaid for Aircrew Remembered - July 2017 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources indicated below. Also to Julia and Keld (Find-A-Grave) for their kind permission to use grave photo of Sgt. Balmer. Thanks to John Cranston for the image of the grave mark for his uncle, Sgt. Cranston.

RS 26.08.2020 - Inclusion of grave marker for Sgt. Cranston

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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