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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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139 squadron crest
03.08.1940 139 Squadron Blenheim IV L9239 XD:N Fg.Off. Arthur R.B. Tedder

Operation: Cherbourg Airfield

Date: 3rd August 1940 (Saturday)

Unit: 139 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L9239

Code: XD:N

Base: RAF Horsham St Faiths, Norwich, Norfolk.

Location: Macqueville, France.

Pilot: Fg.Off. Arthur Richard Brian Tedder 70666 RAF Age 24. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Douglas Frederick Spencer 580627 RAF Age 21. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Owen Prys Evans 967877 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


On the 3rd August 1940 L9239 took off from RAF Horsham St. Faith at 06:07 along with 5 other Blenheims from the Sqn to bomb the airfields at Cherbourg. In total Bomber Command detailed 16 aircraft for this mission and L9239 was the only aircraft that failed to return. Some of the returning aircraft crashed in various locations and for other resaons whilst on the homebound flight.

The nephew of Fg.Off. Tedder informed us that during a visit to France he spoke with the then caretaker of a Chateau near Nacqueville who, at around 09:00 hrs on the day in question, saw a Blenheim on fire coming in low as a result of anti aircraft fire. It struck a wood on the side of a hill and exploded. The remains of the three crew members were buried in a local common grave. In February 1948 the remains were reinterred at the Bayeaux War cemetery.

The graves concentration report records that the crew were buried in a communal grave in the churchyard at Nacqueville, France.

Some publications record this aircraft as having been lost in the English Channel, however, this has now proven to be incorrect.

Thanks to an Aircrew Remembered volunteer researcher who visited France in 2010 the location of the crew graves were identified.

Crew graves recently photographed in 2010 (Courtesy Jane Chilvers from Norwich) 
- Full resolution photograph of the graves are available free of charge to relatives if they wish to contact us.

Burial details:

Fg.Off. Arthur Richard Brian Tedder. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI. C.23. Born on the 21st July 1916 in London. Son of 1st Baron Tedder, Air Vice Marshall Arthur William and Wilhelmine Rosalinde (née Maclardy) Tedder of Yorkshire, West Riding, England.

Sgt. Douglas Frederick Spencer. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI. C.23. Son of Victor Ernest and Charlotte Lavinia Spencer, of Winton, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

Sgt. Owen Prys Evans. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI. C.23. Son of William Griffith Evans and Annie Evans, of Llandudno, Caernarvonshire, Wales.

Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: Jane Chilvers Aircrew Remembered volunteer. Thanks to Robin Tedder, the nephew of Fg.Off. Tedder, for the eye witness information. (Oct 2020). Review and update by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2020).

RS 31.10.2020 - New information added and narrative updated

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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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