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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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604 Squadron Crest
10.05.1940 No. 604 Squadron Blenheim IF L1517 NG-N P/O. Ian K.S. Joll

Operation: Wassenaar, Holland

Date: 10th May 1940 (Friday)

Unit: No. 604 Squadron

Type: Blenheim Mk.IF

Serial: L1517

Code: NG-N

Base: RAF Northolt

Location: Sand dunes near Wassenaar, Holland

Pilot: P/O. Ian Kenneth Sefton Joll 90951 RAF Age 20. Evaded

W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC. James Thomas Pickford RAF Age 23. Evaded


Hit by Flak, crash-landed at 17.45 Hrs in the dunes near Wassenaar, Holland.

Additional information:

Ian Kenneth Sefton Joll was born on 3rd February 1920 at East Grinstead and was educated at Hurstpierpoint College. He joined 604 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force in March 1939 and was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939. Posted to 8 FTS Montrose to attend No. 13 Course, which ran from 9th October 1939 to 6th March 1940. With his training completed, he rejoined 604 Squadron, then based at Northolt.

On 10th May the squadron provided an escort for Blenheims that were detailed to bomb German transport aircraft on the beach at Wassenaar, Holland.

Joll destroyed a Ju52. After the bombing Ian Joll decided to carry out a low-level strafe of the beach. His port propeller came off, either shot off by ground fire or by striking the ground. His Blenheim, L1517, crash-landed on the dunes both of the crew were not badly hurt and managed to burn the aircraft.

With the help of Dutch civilians they made their way to Amsterdam and were able to embark on the SS Dotterel, which evacuated the Polish, British and French consular staff as well as civilians and press correspondents on 13th May.

On 5th July 1940 Joll was detached to St. Eval for RDF trials. He rejoined the squadron on the 18th and served with 604 throughout the Battle of Britain. The squadron's Blenheims were gradually replaced with Beaufighters from September 1940, crewed by pilots and radar operators.

On 10th October Joll damaged a He111 south of Bournemouth. From 9th to 23rd March 1941 Joll attended a course at No. 1 Beam Approach School, Watchfield.

During the night of 1st/2nd May 1941 Joll, flying with Sgt. AA O’Leary, was closing in to attack a He111 north of Swindon when a burst of return fire severely wounded O’Leary and damaged the Beaufighter. With O’Leary’s help, Joll managed to get the aircraft safely back to base.

On 5th/6th May Joll, flying with Sgt. RW Dalton, shot down a Ju88 over Chawleigh, Devon, on 6th/7th June they shot down a Ju88 into the sea off Poole, Dorset, on the 8/9th damaged a He111 over Botley, Hampshire and in the early hours of 5th July they shot down a He111 near Oakford, Devon.

Joll was posted away on 16th July 1941 to 54 OTU Church Fenton as an instructor. On 9th April 1942 Joll was posted to 153 Squadron, recently reformed at Ballyhalbert. He returned to 604 Squadron, then at Middle Wallop, in October 1942. He destroyed a Do217 on 21st September 1943 60 miles east of Spurn Head.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 29th October 1943). Joll was released from the RAF late in 1943 as a Squadron Leader. He worked at the Colonial Office in Whitehall from December 1943 until January 1945. He served at the Directorate of Combined Operations in New Delhi from February to November 1945.

In London he had met Eileen Mary Sassoon Sykes, they married after the war. As an ambulance driver in 1941 she had driven an artificial leg from Roehampton to Horsham St. Faith, where it was loaded into a Blenheim to be dropped during a raid on St. Omer. It was intended for Douglas Bader, who had been shot down and captured on 9th August. Ian Joll died on 8th February 1977.

LAC. James Thomas Pickford did two tours, flying 53 operations and was awarded the DFM (gazetted 29th December 1942) as Flight Sergeant. Commissioned from Warrant Officer in February 1944, Pickford was released from the RAF on 23rd June 1946 as a Flying Officer. He died in 1992.

Burial details:

None - both crew survived the event and the war.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered October 2016. With thanks to Edward McManus for photograph of P/O. Ian Joll - other from the Michel Beckers collection.

MB - 15.10.2016

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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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