Date: 28/05/1940
Squadron Code: TR-K
Serial Number: Blenheim IV R3664
Flight/Mission Details:

Base: Andover - Advanced Landing Ground - Hawkinge.
Time Up: 1600 - Time Down: 1635
Duty: Recco.

Failed to return from reconnaissance sortie, shot down by flak near Dunkirk, crew bailed out; P/O. J. Peters (Pilot) safe and returned to squadron by tank & destroyer, via Margate... Sgt. T. McDonagh (Obs) and Sgt. J. Finlayson (WOp/Ag) Killed in action. The ORB notes that one parachute failed to open.

Area - DUNKIRK, height 3000' - 3500'. Large fires burning south of town, quay and dockyards appeared to have been heavily bombed. Two hospital ships by the mole, other shipping at anchor outside harbour. Tanks observed in battle approx. 15 miles south of DUNKIRK. Considerable light A.A. fire encountered, aircraft became uncontrollable and rolled on its back. crew descended by parachute. Soldiers reported although three left aircraft, only two parachutes seen to open. It is thought that the Air Gunner was either previously wounded or else struck his head leaving aircraft thus failing to open parachute. The observer may have drifted further and fallen into enemy hands. Shots were fired at pilot during descent, one bullet ripping sector of his parachute, thereby making descent more vertical and rapid. On striking ground, pilot wad rendered unconscious, but on recovery made his way by foot and on a tank to DUNKIRK. Here he went aboard HMS Pangbourne and arrived MARGATE following morning. The pilot was unable to locate wreckage of aircraft due to proximity of enemy fire.


Crew Details:

One survivor: P/O J Peters

KIA: Sgt. T. McDonagh (Obs) and Sgt. J. Finlayson (WOp/Ag) Killed in action.

Source: Bristol Blenheim - A Complete History. Warner

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