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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
11.09.1940 No. 235 Squadron Blenheim IV L9396 LA-E P/O. Peter C. Wickings-Smith

Operation: Escort

Date: 11th September 1940 (Wednesday)

Unit: 235 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L9396

Code: LA-E

Base: RAF Thorney Island, West Sussex.

Location: English Channel off Calais, France

Pilot: P/O. Peter Claude Wickings-Smith 42929 RAF Age 22. Missing

Nav: P/O. Alexander William Valentine Green 78082 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Douglas Haig Watts 746868 RAFVR Age 35. Missing


Weather report for the day: Heavy cloud cover dispersed overnight giving way to a fine day in most areas, occasional cloud and some local showers in the midlands and the north with the exception of the English Channel and south-eastern England where cloud continued.

Taking off at 15.55 hrs from RAF Thorney Island to escort Fairey Albacores from the Fleet Air Arm on an operation to bomb a convoy off Calais France.

Intercepted and shot down by Me109s of both 1./JG52 and III./JG53 at 1740 hrs. The air gunner, Sgt. Reg Watts was seen to continue to be returning fire, right up till the time the Blenheim hit the sea. (As witnessed by other crews)

Above: Sgt. Reginald Douglas Haig Watts - seen to continue firing right up to the point of hitting the sea!

Also lost from 235 Squadron on this operation at about the same time and location:
Blenheim IV Z5725 LA-G Flown by Fl/Lt. Frederick William Flood, missing with his 2 other crew members. (see Battle of Britain Database: Flood

Left: Panels at Runnymede Memorial (archives)

Burial details:

P/O. Peter Claude Wickings-Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 10. Son of Claude Trebeck Wickings-Smith and Vera Frances Wickings-Smith, of Bedford, England.

P/O. Alexander William Valentine Green. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 8. Son of Alexander and Marjory Green, of Craigavad, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.

Sgt. Reginald Douglas Haig Watts. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 20. Son of Charles and Alice Louisa Watts, of Far Cotton, Northamptonshire, England.

'Coastal Command Losses Vol. 1’ (Vol. 2 -awaiting publication) and ‘Coastal Dawn’ are both available from Amazon and leading book stores.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Ross Mcneill - 'Coastal Command Losses’, Andrew D. Bird - ‘Coastal Dawn’, Winston G. Ramsey - 'Battle of Britain Then and Now'. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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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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