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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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130 Squadron Crest
19.08.1942 No. 130 Squadron Spitfire Vb W3561 'MB' W/Cdr. Blake

Operation: Dieppe

Date: 19th August 1942 (Friday)

Unit: No. 130 Squadron (motto: 'Strong to serve')

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: W3561

Code: 'MB'

Base: RAF West Malling, Kent

Location: English Channel

Pilot: W/Cdr. Minden Vaughan Blake 36095 RAF Age 29. Injured PoW No: 759 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan


On the 10th July 1941 flying with 234 Squadron in Spitfire IIa P8015 he was attacked by Me109's. He managed to ditch and take to the dingy. The New Zealander was in the water for some 12 hours before being rescued.

Then on this operation he was attacked by Fw90's and again he managed to ditch safely. Rescued by a German launch in the English Channel, after spending several hours afloat. Reported that he had paddled to within 5 miles of the safety of Dover!

Taken PoW and then during transit to the PoW camp, jumped from the moving train. Suffering a broken wrist and head injuries, he was soon recaptured, spent the remainder of the war in Stalag Luft Sagan.

DFC Citation awarded on the 07th January 1941:

'Squadron Leader Blake has displayed fine qualities of leadership and has personally destroyed five enemy aircraft. By his splendid example he has set a high standard to his fellow pilots'.

DSO Citation awarded on the 14th August 1942:

'During the past 10 months, this officer has completed numerous sorties, including several attacks on enemy shipping. He has rendered valuable service and his leadership has been of the highest order. He has destroyed at least 9 hostile aircraft'.

MiD: 17th March 1941, 31st January 1947.

Operation Dieppe (courtesy Wikipedia):

'The Allied air operations supporting Operation Jubilee resulted in some of the fiercest air battles since 1940. The RAF's main objectives were to throw a protective umbrella over the amphibious force and beach heads and also to force the Luftwaffe forces into a battle of attrition on the Allies' own terms. Some 48 fighter squadrons of Spitfires were committed, with eight squadrons of Hurricane fighter-bombers, four squadrons of reconnaissance Mustang Mk Is and seven squadrons of No. 2 Group light bombers involved. Opposing these forces were some 120 operational fighters of Jagdgeschwader 2 and 26 (JG 2 and JG 26), the Dornier Do 217s of Kampfgeschwader 2 and various anti-shipping bomber elements of III./KG 53, II./Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG40) and I./KG 77.

Although initially slow to respond to the raid, the German fighters soon made their presence felt over the port as the day wore on. While the Allied fighters were moderately successful in protecting the ground and sea forces from aerial bombing, they were hampered by operating far from their home bases. The Spitfires in particular were at the edge of their ranges, with some only being able to spend five minutes over the combat area. The raid on Dieppe saw the baptism of fire for the new Spitfire Mark IX, the only British fighter that was equal to the Fw 190 fighter. Six squadrons, four British and two Canadian were flying the new Spitfire Mark IX at Dieppe.

During the battle, the RAF flew 2,500 sorties over Dieppe, and achieved a narrow victory over the Luftwaffe. The intense air fighting prevented the Luftwaffe from making major attacks on either the landing or the evacuation of the Allied forces, who consequently did not suffer very much from attacks from the air. However, in achieving the goal of the "greatest air battle" that would cripple the Luftwaffe over France, Operation Jubilee was less successful.

During the air battles over Dieppe, the Royal Air Force lost 91 aircraft shot down and 64 pilots (17 taken prisoner, the rest all killed) while the Royal Canadian Air Force lost 14 aircraft and nine pilots. Additionally, the British lost six bombers over Dieppe. The Luftwaffe lost 48 aircraft, another 24 seriously damaged with 13 pilots killed and seven wounded. However, RAF intelligence at the time claimed that the Allies had shot down 96 German aircraft, thus winning a major victory.

In reality, the Luftwaffe in France was back to full strength within days of the raid'.

Burial details:

Survived the war as a PoW. Released in May 1945, 'Mindy' Blake remained in the RAF, holding staff appointments at home and overseas. He retired in January 1958 as a Wing Commander. Born on the 13th February 1913 at Eketahuna, Manawatu-Wanganui, North Island, New Zealand. Died 30th November 1981 in England. Age 68.

He is reported to help develop the first gyroscopic gunsight in 1942 for the RAF. Then, whilst in captivity designed a new kind of rotary engine, which in post-war years proved to be too expensive to develop.

'Mindy' Blake was an accomplished golfer, although he did not take up the game until he was 34. He wrote 'Golf Swing of the Future' a book published in 1972. ISBN-13: 978-0285642645. Republished by Souvenir Press Ltd 2014. 112 pages.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 30.10.2019

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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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