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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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42 squadron crest
21.06.1940 42 Squadron Beaufort I L9810 AW-M F/O. Barrie-Smith

Operation: Scharnhorst

Date: 21st June 1940 (Friday)

Unit: No. 42 Squadron (Coastal Command)

Type: Beaufort I

Serial: L9810

Code: AW-M

Base: RAF Wick, Scotland

Location: North sea - off Bergen Norway.

Pilot: F/O. William Barrie-Smith 39178 RAF Age ? Killed

Navigator: P/O. Murray Anderson Butler 42103 RAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William John Bates 567448 RAF Age 21. Killed

W/Radar/Op: Sgt. Frederick Dale 508348 RAF Age 30. Killed

The family of Sgt Dale would be very interested in hearing from other relatives with any further information.

Please contact us and we will be pleased to forward this on to them.


Left: F/O. William Barrie-Smith

Part of Coastal Command and using Bristol Beaufort equipped with torpedoes. They moved to Wick to take part in the attacks on the German Navy. Took off at 14.25 hrs with eight other Beauforts to attack the Scharnhorst which was based at the time at Trondhjem. The aircraft were armed for this raid with armour piercing bombs and dive bombed the huge battle-cruiser. The raid, although not a total success, did hit the ship with 3 bombs and had to return for repairs to Kiel - taking her out of action for about 6 months.

The Squadron were attacked by Bf109s from IIJG77 and three Beauforts were shot down with all 12 crew members losing their lives.

L9810 was lost after being attacked by two 109s and then managed to catch up with the formation when the starboard undercarriage suddenly dropped and the engine burst into flames - the aircraft then crashed into the sea. Some two months later (23.08.40 )the body of P/O. Butler was washed ashore on Madsbol beach.

The police arrived and under the control of Ass/Chief Constable Poulsen of Thisted Police arrived to take charge of the situation. This proving difficult as two mines were also washed up at the same time! The body was removed without incident, identified and laid to rest in Hjaardemaal Klit Churchyard four days later.

Also Lost on this raid:

L4486 AW-C, flown by F/O. Herbert John Seagrim, all 4 crew killed.

L4501 AW-A, flown by P/O. Alan George Rigg, all 4 crew killed.

Scharnhorst (courtesy Bundesarchive)

Burial details:

F/O. William Barrie-Smith. Runnymede Memorial Panel 5. No further details as yet.

P/O. Murray Anderson Butler. Hjaardemaal Klit Churchyard. Grave 16. Son of Floyd Allison Butler and Isabelle Mignonette Butler, of Newcastle, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. William John Bates (Cpl. at date of loss). Haugesund (Rossebo) Var Frelsers Cemetery. British Plot. J.13. Son of John and Hilda Alice Bates, of Portchester, Fareham, Hampshire, England. William's brother Raymond Leonard Bates also served in the RAF and lost his life in 1944 in Halifax LK705 (click here)

Sgt. Frederick Dale (Cpl. at date of loss). Runnymede Memorial Panel 13. Son of George and Alice Dale, husband of Elsie May Dale, of Docking, Norfolk, England.

For Barry Dale, son of Sgt. Dale and relatives of the other crew members. With thanks to the following: Ross McNeill - 'Coastal Command Losses', the CWGC

KT. Page updated with link to Halifax LK705. 26.06.2016

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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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