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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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40 Squadron badge
17/18.04.1941 No. 40 Squadron Wellington R1331 BL-R Sgt. Jenner

Insert linkOperation: Berlin

Date: 17/18th April 1941 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 40 Squadron

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: R1331

Code: BL-R

Base: RAF Alconbury, Cambridgeshire

Location: Combe Martin, North Devon, England

Pilot: Sgt. Kenneth Sydney Jenner NZ/40647 RNZAF Survived (1)

Pilot: Sgt. Trevor Horace Bagnall NZ/40640 RNZAF Survived (2)

Obs: Sgt. Carmen Douglas Noble J/15080 RCAF Survived (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. H. Jordan RAFVR Survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Allan MacAskill 778670 RAFVR Age 29. Survived (4)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Griffin 778670 RAFVR Age ? KilledREASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 20:45 hrs from RAF Alconbury, Cambridgeshire to join 117 aircraft on the raid to the 'Big City', the target Bomber Command crews dreaded due to the long distance and the horrific flak defences en-route.

Haze prevented accurate bombing. Flak proved to be as accurate as ever and eight aircraft failed to return from this operation (a further 3 from others taking place) This was the highest number of aircraft lost in the war so far, not counting aircraft that were lost in England on return. Sadly, later operations would see loss figures grow far higher than this.

Ken Jenner with his first wife Ruth Sutton, taken later in 1944 (courtesy Daily Telegraph)

Wellington IC R1331 was experiencing navigational difficulties on return and fuel was very low, the pilot gave the option for the crew to bale out. Sgt. Griffin was the only person to choose this, sadly the aircraft was to low and his parachute failed to open in time. Sgt Jenner managed to crash land the aircraft on a hillside in Combe Martin. The remaining crew were not seriously hurt.

(1) Sgt. Ken Jenner later won the D.F.C. and left the service in 1946, went on to fly the Comet with BOAC he died on 24th February 2013.

(2) W/O. Trevor Horace Bagnall later missing - believed killed on the 18th December 1942. Stirling I BF396 AA-X.

(3) Sgt. Carmen Douglas Noble was shot down flying in Stirling I N3762 BU-C. PoW No: 477 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria. Repatriated to Canada on the 08th July 1945 as Sq/Ldr. Retired in the 1960's.

Burial details:

Sgt. John Griffin. Ayr Cemetery, Scotland. Sec. S. 1931 Div. Grave 2865. Husband of Margaret Griffin, of Ayr, Scotland.

(2) Sgt. Allan MacAskill was killed on the 23rd July 1941, serving with 40 Squadron in Malta. Buried at Suez War Cemetery. Grave 2.A.12. Son of Alexander John and Susan Macaskill, of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland, husband of Teresa Macaski.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 2, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

KTY Updated 19.11.2019

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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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