Date: 28/04/1941
Squadron Code: TR-F
Serial Number: Blenheim IV V5520
Flight/Mission Details:

Base: Bircham Newton (on detachment from Thorney Island)
Take off time: 1018 hrs.
Op: Strike.

Shot down by a flak-ship at 1220 hrs during a convoy attack off the Hook of Holland. All rest in Hoek van Holland General Cemetery, Holland.

On this day 59 lost four aircraft: TR-E: TR-F: TR-H: TR-A

An excerpt from the book "How I won the War - Personal Accounts of WWII by Alex Fry" (source) A letter from P/O RD Morton (the pilot of TR-H who was taken prisoner) to the father of F/Lt Anthony Fry DFC after the war.

"The circumstances of that unfortunate operation were breifly this. From Bircham Newton, Norfolk, in the morning of April 28th 1941, Tony led our formation of Blenheims into a low level attack on a German convoy off the Hook of Holland. The attack was carried home at mast height and the ship's heavy AA defences succeeded in bringing down all four aircraft. My own was the only one able to turn for home but it was on fire and I was forced to crashland. My own difficulties prevented me from seeing what happened to the other three aircraft but I was advised afterwards by the Germans that they had all been shot down into the sea, with no survivors..."

Crew awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp - Although entitlement was revoked by the Air Ministry in 1960 (read more)



Crew Details:

All lost:

The following images were kindly sent in by Vikki Watmough.

P/O Collier & Sgt Powell with Blenheim TR-E

Sgt Mingham & Sgt Powell with Blenheim TR-E


Operations: P/O Collier & crew were posted to the Squadron in August 1940 and it appears that they were assigned to 'A' Flight, that was under the command of F/Lt G.T. "Ropey" Palmer. Thus they took part in Coastal Commands day and night bombing of the French & Dutch coast lines during the Battle of Britian. Their first sortie appears to have been on the 31st of August in Blenheim TR-D. They took off early in the morning for a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Time Up: 0420 hrs - Time Down: 0530 hrs. ORB notes that "Intense light and heavy A.A. fire and searchlights. Target bombed but no results observed due to evasive action".

(above) The 'A' Flight crest.

Blenheim TR-F: Until the end of 1940, for the most part their operations were undertaken in Blenheim TR-F, which was obviously their aircraft of choice/assigned to them. Pictured below are Jack, Bill and the name of the airmen on the right is unconfirmed at this stage, standing in front of Blenheim TR-F. I have come across this image online before - that had the caption "West - Mcdonagh - Finlayson" (below, red border) and although wrongly noted as such, perhaps the airmen on the right is actually Sgt. West?

Source: C/C Losses - McNeill - Alex Fry -

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