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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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59 squadron badge
01.08.1940 No 59 Squadron Blenheim IV L8792 TR-A Wg/Cmdr. Morgan-Weld-Smith

Operation: Cherbourg

Date: 01st August 1940 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 59 Squadron (Coastal Command)

Type: Blenheim Mk IV

Serial: L8792

Code: TR-A

Base: RAF Thorney Island, Sussex

Location: English Channel off Cherbourg, France.

Pilot: Wg/Cmdr. Reginald Gilbert Squarey Morgan-Weld-Smith MiD 05224 RAF Age 29. Killed

Obs: P/O. David Henry Davis AFM MiD (x2). 44271 RAF Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Pryde 551852 RAF Age 19. Killed


Following reports of enemy aircraft build up over the Channel at Cherbourg. 59 Squadron were ordered to bomb the Luftwaffe airfield at Querqueville in three waves.

Taking off at 15:00 hrs along with 12 others from the squadron. 236 Squadron were ordered to act as escort.

Anti-aircraft fire was immense and two fighters from 236 squadron were shot down. Bf109s also managed to take off and were seen to enter the battle. No claims have been verified on who claimed the 59 Squadron loss.

59 Squadron were unaware that their Commanding Officer and his crew failed to return with them.

Right: P/O. David Henry Davis (courtesy Paul Brooker - see below)

The bodies of the crew were washed up on French beaches and buried at various French cemeteries.

Graves of two of the crew as photographed by our Kate Tame in 2011.

Burial details:

Wg/Cmdr. Reginald Gilbert Squarey Morgan-Weld-Smith MiD, St. Pierre-en-Port Communal Cemetery. Son of Reginald and Mita Drinkwater Morgan-Weld-Smith, husband of Joan Margaret Morgan-Weld-Smith, of Strathblane, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

P/O. David Henry Davis AFM MiD (x2), St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery. Grave A8. Son of Albert Edward and Harriette Bertha Davis, of Smarden, Kent, England.

Sgt. Peter Pryde. Veules-les-Roses Communal Cemetery. Row 3. Grave 8. Son of Arthur Henry and Lucy Leonora Pryde, of Trowell, Nottinghamshire, England.

Researched for relatives of these crews with thanks for additional information to Kate Tame, Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.

With thanks also to Paul Brooker, who has researched the losses on his village war memorial in Smarden, Kent, England and supplied us with the photo of P/O. Davis.

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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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