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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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235 Squadron Crest
24.05.1940 No. 235 Squadron Blenheim IV L9259 P/O. Michael E. Ryan

Operation: Escort

Date: 24th May 1940 (Friday)

Unit: 235 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L9259

Code: LA-?

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


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.

Burial Details:

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.

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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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