Date: 12/07/1940
Squadron Code: TR-J
Serial Number: Blenheim IV ?
Flight/Mission Details:

Base: Thorney Island
Time Up: 1115 - Time Down: 1230

Op: Recco - Cherbourg

Blenheim 'J' of 59 Squadron bombed Cherbourg and suffered flak damage. It was then attacked by no less than 12 Bf109's (also known as the ME109) who pursued them and only broke off their attack when they were 5 miles from the Isle of Wight. Upon return to Thorney Island, the plane crashed on landing. P/O Ayres was unharmed but Sgt Webb and Sgt Roper were injured. This incident would also later be cited in a DFM award for Sgt Webb. Sgt Roper who rose to the rank of P/O also recieved a DFM but it is unknown if his reward was directly related to this incident, later dying as a result of air operations in 1945. P/O Ayres recieved a DFC and rose to the rank of F/L and died in mid 1941. I have no record of death for Sgt Webb. The ORB notes the following:

"1150: CHERBOURG. Photographs taken - camera failed. 2 M.V and 12 small craft in harbour. Aerdrome: 2 ME109's and one large French a/c. Dive bombed aerodrome. 4 - 250lbs bombs released. Damage not known. AA shell damaged leading edge of main plane and blew out port escape window. 1208: Intercepted by 12 ME 109's which attacked in pairs until within 5 miles of the isle of Wight. rear gun put out of action early on. Air Gunner slightly wounded. A/C considerably damaged. Permanently U/S"

Crew awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp - Although entitlement was revoked by the Air Ministry in 1960 (read more)




Crew Details:

All crew survived, 2 injured.


Source: C/C Losses - McNeill

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950