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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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12th August 1941 139 Squadron Blenheim IV V6261 Fl/Lt. Herbert

Operation: Knapsack and Quadrath

Date: 12th August 1941 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 139 Squadron (motto: Si placet necamus - 'We destroy at will') 2 Group

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: V6261

Code: XD-M

Base: RAF Oulton, Norfolk

Location: See map

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Alexander George Herbert NZ/401763 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Obs: P/O. Courtney Claude Orwin George 61999 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Benton 954085 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


A daring daylight and low level attack on the power stations of Köln-Knapsack and Quadrath. 54 Blenheims taking part with an escort of Spitfires. V6261 taking off at 09:49 hrs.

Although the damage to the targets were reported as significant it did come with heavy casualties. 12 Blenheims were shot down either by flak or enemy fighters as well as 6 Spitfires. 139 squadron lost 3 aircraft with the loss of 7 aircrew killed, 2 taken PoW.

Blenheim IV V5725 Flown by Sgt. Harry Ingleby R/71753 RCAF - killed with his other 2 crew members.

Blenheim IV Z7448 Flown by Sgt. G. Coast 932326 PoW No: 9971 Camp: Kopernikus - 1 crew member killed, the other taken PoW.

V6261 already damaged by flak over the target area, was shot down by enemy fighters and came down into the mouth of the Western Scheldt. 2 of the crews bodies were recovered but P/O. Courtney George was never found.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Lt. Alexander George Herbert. Bergen General Cemetery. Plot 1. Row E. Grave 24. Born on the 04th June 1918 at Francnton Junction. Prior to service worked as a baker for Frank Herbert Ltd. After serving in the NZ territorial army for six months enlisted at Levin on the 02nd July 1940. Awarded his pilots badge on the 12th December 1940 and then his commission on the 16th January 1941. Son of Frank and Eva Emma Herbert (nee Wiseman), of Francton Junction, Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 252 flying hours logged and on his 5th operational sortie.

Sgt. George Benton. Bergen General Cemetery. Plot 1. Row E. Grave 19. Son of William and Hannah Benton, of Eckington, Derbyshire. Grave inscription: 'He Paid With His Sweet Young Life The Price For Us To Live. Let Us Never Forget'.

P/O. Courtney Claude Orwin George. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 32. No further details, are you able to assist?

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

KTY 09-04-2021

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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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