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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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272 Squadron crest
10.03.1941 No. 272 Squadron Blenheim IV Z5752 XK-L P/O. Arthur A.L.Van Waeyenberghe

Operation: Convoy escort

Date: 10th March 1941 (Monday)

Unit: No. 272 Squadron (Coastal Command)

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: Z5752

Code: XK-L

Base: RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland

Location: Off Northern Ireland, Atlantic Ocean.

Pilot: P/O. Arthur Albert Leopold Van Waeyenberghe 81629 RAFVR Age 26. Missing (1)

Obs: Sgt. James Robert Thompson 755146 RAFVR Age 24. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Denis Ince McWatt 977821 RAFVR Age 22. Missing


Taking off from RAF Aldergrove on a convoy escort. During the operation the weather deteriorated and they were spotted by another aircraft undertaking a search operation but were soon lost in the poor visibility.

Some reports state that it collided with another Blenheim from the same Squadron - Z5722 XK-E, (2) but we are unable to confirm this. No trace of the aircraft or the crews.

Blenheim IV's (courtesy IWM)

Left: P/O. Arthur A.L. Van Waeyenberghe (courtesy Johny Recour)

(1) P/O. Waeyenberghe also spelt Wayenberghe.

(2) Blenheim Z5722 XK-E Was flown by a 21 year old Canadian from Toronto, Sgt. Peter G.V. Chanler, who had just joined the squadron from the OTU at Catfoss. Also lost on his aircraft were Sgt. Harold K. Pass, the 21 year old observer from Warrington, England and the air gunner, Sgt. William A. Newton RAFVR - all the crew are missing, also commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Burial details:

P/O. Arthur Albert Leopold Van Waeyenberghe. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 35. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information? Further information: Born at Herzele, Belgium 1915 - joined the Belgian Army on the 26th June 1933, transferring to the Belgian Airforce on 1st April 1935. Joined the RAF on 27th June 1940. Served with 236 Squadron prior to joining 272 Squadron on the 19th November 1940.

Sgt. James Robert Thompson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 53. Son of James Summer Thompson and Lilian Gertrude Thompson, of King's Heath, Birmingham, England. Further information: Joined the RAF under call up on the 1st September 1939, after training, joined 236 Squadron later to 272 Squadron.

Above left: Sgt. James Robert Thompson (courtesy Frank Edmonds) Centre: Sgt. Denis Ince McWatt on extreme left of this group - pictured at RAF Aldergrove - circa 1940 and on right (courtesy Gabi Bateman)

Above, grave of the McWatt family at the Rake Lane Cemetery, Wallasey, Wirral, UK - with Denis McWatt name inscribed (courtesy Mike McQuaid - February 2016)

Sgt. Denis Ince McWatt. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 48. Son of Thomas and Mary McWatt, of Wallasey, Cheshire, England.

Above: Sgt. Denis Ince McWatt on right, also shown with his elder brother. courtesy Gabi Bateman)

Sgt. James Robert Thompson shown extreme left on centre row - probably during training prior to joining 236 and 272 Squadron - available at a higher resolution if you feel that you are able to recognise others? (courtesy Frank Edmonds)

James Robert Thompson whilst just a schoolboy and right: 'the Letter". We are often asked why we post such photographs - it is to show that they were real people, making the page far more personal to the family. (courtesy Frank Edmonds)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew, with thanks to, Johny Recour from Belgium, Gabi Bateman, great niece of Sgt. Dennis McWatt, Frank Edmonds, nephew of Sgt. James Thompson, Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim’, Ross Mcneill - 'Coastal Command Losses’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Aircrew Remembered own Archives. R.A.F. Commands Forum. Also to Mike McQuaid for photograph of the McWatt family grave.

KTY 18.02.2016 Further photographs added.

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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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