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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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272 Squadron Crest
24.11.1940 No. 272 Squadron Blenheim IV Z5734 XK-D F/O. Herrick

Operation: Convoy Escort

Date: 24th November 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 272 Squadron 15 Group (motto: 'On, On')

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: Z5734

Code: XK-D

Base: RAF Aldergrove, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Location: North Channel, Irish Sea

Pilot: F/O. Brian Henry Herrick NZ/42003 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Sgt. Percy Ronald Smith 581477 RAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Gardiner Hair 970690 RAFVR Age 28. Missing - believed killed


Taking of from RAF Aldergrove at 16:20 hrs on a conou escrt patrol. During the patrol engaged in a practice dogfight with a RN Fulmer aircraft close to the destroyer Vesper.

During the manoeuvre the Blenheim turned at low altitude, stalled and crashed into the sea. Although rescue launches were on the scene within 3 minutes no trace of the crew were found. Only a rubber dingy from the aircraft and a petrol tank were recovered.

Burial details:

F/O. Brian Henry Herrick. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 6. Born in Hastings, New Zealand on the 1st February 1915. Son of Edward Jasper and Ethne Rose Herrick, of Havelock North, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

Sgt. Percy Ronald Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 19. Son of Harry and Ada Kate Martha Smith, of Streatham, London, England.

Sgt. John Gardiner Hair. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 14. Son of Hugh and Janet Hair, of Glasgow, Scotland.

Further information on the pilot and his family: Attended Wanganui Collegiate School from 1929 to 1933. Later travelled to England to study accountancy in London but abandoned this to join the RAF on a short service commission.

Above: Parents, Edward Jasper and Ethne Rose Herrick (courtesy Jenifer Lemaire)

Herrick began his flying training at 3 E and RFTS Hamble on 6th March 1939, moved to 12 FTS Grantham on 13th May and joined the newly formed 236 Squadron at Stradishall on the 6th November. He served with it throughout the war. One of six brothers, he was the elder brother of P/O. Michael James Herrick, who flew with 25 Squadron during the war. He was killed in action on the 16th June 1944. Another brother, Dennis (58 Squadron) died of wounds - as a PoW of the Germans after being shot down over France. A total of 498 flying hours logged.

The family of P/O. Herrick suffered further losses. 6 sons served during the war, 3 were killed serving with the airforce. 2 others served with the Royal Navy and survived. Jasper, the eldest son joined the army but the New Zealand authorities refused permission to allow him to go overseas.

Sq/Ldr. Michael James Herrick DFC and bar NZ/33566 RNZAF Killed on the 16th June 1944 whilst serving with 305 (Polish) Squadron.

F/O. Brian Henry Herrick NZ/42003 RNZAF Missing - believe killed on the 24th November 1940 whilst serving with 272 Squadron.

Cdr. Laurence Edward Herrick DSC. MiD and bar. Royal Navy - survived the war - passed away on the 17th May 2010.

Cdr.Terence Desmond Herrick DSC and bar Royal Navy - survived the war - passed away on the 15th April 2009.

Jasper Herrick Army - survived the war.

Cousin: P/O. Peter Gersholm Herrick NZ/88246 RNZAF Killed on the 25th September 1941 whilst serving with 245 Squadron. Further details here.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to photo of pilot courtesy Air Force Museum of New Zealand via Jenifer Lemaire. Also the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, The Battle of Britain London Monument,Individual Airman Stories, other sources as quoted below:

JL/KTY 11.05.2019

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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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