05.04.1943 No. 21 Squadron Ventura I AE839 YH-A F/O. Gerald L. Hicks
Date: 5th April 1943
Unit: No. 21 Squadron
Type: Ventura I
Location: English Channel off Portreath, Cornwall
Pilot: F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks 104530 RAFVR Age; 32. Survived (1)
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles 1163245 RAFVR Age 26. Survived (1)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Rees RAFVR Survived
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Taylor 1017135 RAFVR Age 29. Survived (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 16:40 hrs from RAF Portreath as part of a Ramrod to attack an oil tanker at Brest.
AE839 was hit and badly damaged by both flak and Luftwaffe Fw.190's. Managed to return to safe territory, but forced to ditch off Portreath, Cornwall. All crew were picked up safe within twenty minutes by fisherman.
Ventura I AE839 at Portreath, Cornwall (archives)
A further 3 Venturas from 21 Squadron were also shot down during this operation:
Ventura I AE715 YH-X Flown by 22 year old Canadian P/O. Melvyn A. McDonald, missing, with all 3 other crew members.
Ventura I AE726 YH-H Flown by 21 year old Sgt. Harold E. Blundell from Southgate, Middlesex, killed with all 3 other crew members.
Ventura I AE852 YH-S Flown by 28 year old Sgt. Eric J. Andrew from Dundee, Scotland, missing with all 3 other crew members.
(1) Survived this ditching but lost their lives in another operation just 2 weeks later on the 21st April on an operation to Abbeville.
None - all survived - see Abbeville Operation