24.05.1940 No. 235 Squadron Blenheim IV L9259 P/O. Michael E. Ryan
Date: 24th May 1940 (Friday)
Unit: 235 Squadron
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk, England
Location: North Sea off Schiermonnikoog, Fresian Islands, Netherlands.
Pilot: P/O. Michael Erskine Ryan 42154 RAF Age 20. Killed (1)
Nav: Sgt. William Martin 748313 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC Albert George Smith 552170 RAF Age 20. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Leaving RAF Bircham Newton to escort a Hudson that was to bomb the Engeline Fritzen cargo boat when they were attacked by two Me109’s at 07:18 hrs.
During the combat that followed LAC Smith returned fire but Oblt. Emmerich of II(J)186 finished off the Blenheim at 07:28 hrs. The Hudson crew witnessed it hitting the sea off Schiermonnikoog.
Pilot: P/O. Michael Erskine Ryan with grave marker (courtesy Michel Beckers)
Right: Memorial at Chattisham, Suffolk (courtesy Gerald Main)
Below: The body of P/O. Ryan was washed up on the 30th May, with that of Sgt. Martin which was recovered form a mud flat on the 3rd June. The coffins draped with the Dutch flag of P/O. Ryan and Sgt. Martin Both were provided with a full military honours for their funerals. Sadly, LAC Albert Smith’s body was never recovered.
Schiermonnikoog (Vredenhof) Cemetery, Friesland, Netherlands.
P/O. Michael Erskine Ryan. Schiermonnikoog (Vredenhof) Cemetery. Grave 15. Son of Sir Gerald Ellis Ryan, 2nd Bart., M.A., and of Hylda Winifryde Ryan (née Herapath), of Chattisham, Suffolk, England.(1) Born on the 9th April 1920 Michael was the eldest son of Sir G. E. Ryan and Hylda W. Ryan and was due to succeed his father to the baronetcy. Michael was graded as Pilot Officer on probation as of 6th November 1939
Sgt. William Martin. Schiermonnikoog (Vredenhof) Cemetery. Grave 17. Husband of Doris Pittman of Streatham, London, England.
LAC Albert George Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 24. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Left: The Engeline Fritzen
We understand that the ship Engeline Fritzen was sunk by a mine on June 4th 1945 at Brunsbuttel
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Ross Mcneill - 'Coastal Command Losses’, Andrew D. Bird - ‘Coastal Dawn’, Mark Thompson for some of the photographs and information used. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The London Gazette Archives, Imperial War Museum. Thanks also to Gerald Main for memorial photograph - May 2016.