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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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139 Squadron Crest
25.05.1941 No. 139 Squadron Blenheim IV R2791 XD-O Sgt. George A. Bye

Operation: Anti Shipping Texel Holland

Date: 25th May 1941 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 139 Squadron

Type: Blenheim MkIV

Serial: R2791

Code: XD-O

Base: RAF Horsham St.Faith, Norfolk

Location: North Sea, some 5 kilometres NW of the Isle of Texel

Pilot: Sgt George Allan Bye R/69632 RCAF Age 20. Missing - believed Killed

Obs: Sgt William George Thorneycroft 920237 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt Stanley Bertram Bransby 1357702 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed Killed


Taking off at 05:13 hrs from RAF Horsham St.Faith with 7 Blenheims - sent out for an attack on ships near Texel. There were many rain showers with poor visibility. They flew in pairs. Blenheim R2791 piloted by Sgt. Bye flew together with V6333 of Sgt. McPhee.

They saw nothing, just as Sgt. McPhee headed towards the home base and climbed above the clouds, his W/OP Sgt. Ken Whittle saw a large ship with behind it a trawler. This turned out to be a Flak ship which put up a Flak barrage. The were already flying at zero feet and couldn't turn back. A curtain of white-hot metal was flying around V6333.

In the meantime Sgt Bye chose, as briefed, another target.

Sgt. McPhee's and his Blenheim jumped into the air after releasing bombs and Sgt. Whittle opened fire from his turret.

Now Sgt McPhee's Blenheim wasn't main target anymore and Sgt Bye got the full attention of the Flak. His Blenheim R2791 was hit at a distance of 500 metres and crashed as a ball of fire into the engine chamber of the 1,049 tons Sperrbrecher 'Silvia'. The engines penetrated the hull and came out at the other side. Fire broke out which couldn't be extinguished - the ship sank at position 53.09N, 04.43E, some 5 kilometres NW of the Isle of Texel. It was the Blenheim R2791 48th mission. For Sgt Bye and his crew was this their second mission and the first with enemy contact.

Burial details:

Sgt George Allan Bye. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 61. From Toronto, Ontario, Canada - no further details, are you able to assist further?

Sgt William George Thorneycroft. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 53. - no further details, are you able to assist further?

Sgt Stanley Bertram Bransby. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 40. Son of Allen and Annie Elydia Bransby, of Stockton, Co. Durham, England.

Researched Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered December 2015. Additional information via Hans Naut from the great RAF Commands Forum. Aircrew Remembered strongly recommends this informative forum.

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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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