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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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107 Squadron Crest
04.10.1944 No. 107 Squadron Blenheim IV V5821 Sgt. D.E. Hamlyn

Operation: Zuara

Date: 04th October 1941 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 107 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: V5821

Base: RAF Luqa, Malta

Location: Mediterranean Sea, off Zuara (now Zuwara)

Pilot: Sgt. D.E. Hamlyn RAFVR - Survived - interned

Obs: Sgt. Charles Aubrey Latter RAAF - Survived - interned (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr:  Sgt, D. Williams RAFVR - Survived - interned


Took off from RAF Luqa in Malta to attack ground targets at Zuara airfield in Libya. Attacked by CR.42 fighters over the Mediterranean Sea and ditched some 96 km north of Tripoli at 14.30 hrs.

They spent some 6 days in the dingy before being rescued off the coast of Djerba by an Arab ship, taking them to Tunis. They were then interned temporarily at Aumale, being transferred shortly afterwards to Laghouat. They then started to dig a tunnel in order to escape. This took them some seven months to complete, then, on June 6th 1942, an escape was made! Heavy rain in the desert and ill equipped they were recaptured after a day of freedom, their captors returning them to the prison. Released in November 1942, after the invasion of North Africa.

Above: Blenheim IV's and below the Fiat CR. 42 Fighter

Note: Losses among 107 squadron had been so heavy – 90% of all original and replacement crews were killed in action during the Malta operations – that at one time the squadron was commanded by a sergeant, I.G. Broom. It was not the last time this man was in command of a RAF unit, he ended his career as Air Marshal Sir Ivor Broom.

(1) Charles Aubrey Latter died in 1953.

Burial details:

None - all crew survived.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Roger Strong - relative of the observer, Sgt. Latter. Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim’. David Gunby and Pelham Temple - 'Bomber Losses Middle East and Mediterranean Vol. 1', Sydney Morning Herald.

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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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