Date: 25/07/1940
Squadron Code: TR-K
Serial Number: Blenheim IV L9473
Flight/Mission Details:

Base; Thorney Island.
Take off time: Unknown.
Op; A/S Rescue Patrol/Locate destroyers

Squadron ORB notes for the 25th:

25/7/1940 - 0450-0730 hrs - Blenheim TR-S (P/O Turnbull and crew) searched for the wreck of S.S Meknes and sighted lifeboats carrying survivors.

At 0815 hrs, Blenheim TR-T (F/O Powell and crew) and Blenheim TR-K (F/O Haswell and crew) set out to search for survivors. Powell and crew observed 20 miles Nth of ALDERNEY deserted lifeboats and rafts observed. No sign of life. Haswell and crew observed the same plus six dead bodies. Both crews returned to base.

1200 hrs: F/O Haswell and crew in Blenheim TR-K, took off to "locate area to destroyers". Machine failed to return


The Other Few - Larry Donelly - Shot down off Portland Bill. F/O Haswell (South Africa) and crew are commerated on the Runnymede memorial. At 0600 hrs two Blenheims of 59 Sqn on channel patrol had located the survivors of an attack on shipping the previous night, they sighted approx 50 survivors in a life raft and called in the RN to aid them. A little further on they sighted empty life rafts with bodies floating nearby.


Whilst F/O Haswell and crew were passing over this area, they were attacked by a Bf109 flown by Unteroffizier Karl Born of 7.JG27 and were shotdown, no survivors. (taken from a website on German Ace fighter pilots)


The following was submitted by Margerat Wendels - Niece of Sgt Raymond Martin:

"We know he was searching for life rafts when he was killed – we believe from a French refugee ship, to which the Germans had promised free passage, but had  bombed anyway..." (24-09-2009)


The Bristol Blenheim' - Warner.

25 July 1940
59 Squadron
Blenheim IV L9473
Failed to return from a sortie to Le Havre to search for survivors of the SS Weknes (poss typo)
sunk by the Germans. F/O. H. Haswell, Sgt. R. Martin and Sgt. D. Simpson commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.'


The following was supplied by Peter Clare:

SS MEKNES (July 25, 1940)
French passenger liner of 6,127 tons left Southampton carrying 1,277 French naval personnel who were being repatriated to France to continue the fight. At 10.30 pm the ship was hit by a torpedo from the German motor torpedo boat S27 off the coast of Brittany. Some 383 Frenchmen were lost. (Fifty-nine French ships, which had sought refuge in the harbours of Plymouth and Portsmouth were seized by the British Royal Navy on July 3, 1940)

French steamer MEKNES (6127grt), carrying 1277 French sailors being repatriated to Marseilles. was sunk by German motor torpedo boat S.27 in 50-04N, 02-14W. Three hundred and eighty three of the passengers died in the sinking, and of the 104 crew, thirty three were missing. Destroyers VISCOUNT, WOLVERINE, SABRE, and SHIKARI rescued the survivors.



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



Crew Details:

All lost:

Source: The Other Few - Larry Donnelly - Bristol Blenheim - Warner - Peter Clare

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