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Thread: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

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    Default Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    Hello everybody,

    Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. was SOC on 2 May 1941, reason unknown.
    Is there anyone with access to the ORB (or any other info), who have any additional info?

    Best wishes/Håkan
    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces
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    My co-author, Pel Temple, could find nothing in the ORB to explain this SOC. We wonder whether the aircraft was simply worn out.

    David

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    Default Blenheim L8398

    Hello David,

    Thanks for your quick reply. Actually it was your nice book that triggered the question since I've found an Italian claim on 2 May 1941 over North Africa. However if the ORB only mention that the aircraft was SOC and doesn't mention any operational sorties with it during the day, then the Italian claim was against some other aircraft.

    Best wishes/Håkan
    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces
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    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces Blog
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    Default Re: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    An old thread! I'm currently enjoying Brian Cull's "Blenheims over Greece and Malta" (thanks to Col for the tip about it).
    On Page 129 it refers to an op by 30 Sqn on 11 April 1941, and there is a quote by Sgt Geoff Chapman who was "the air-gunner in Flt Lt Horgan's aircraft (L8398)".
    Maybe everyone has been looking for the wrong squadron in relation to this aircraft?
    Andy

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    Default Re: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    Andy, Hakan,

    I was heavily involved with Brian's book and the quote by Geoff Chapman was taken from an interview I did with him a number of years ago.

    Chapman was posted to 30 Sqn in January 1941 as was his Pilot F/LT. Horgan and Observer Sgt. Strong. This crew flew Blenheim L8398 from Abu Sueir to Eleusis, Greece via Fuka on the 6th & 7th January. This is the first time this A/C appears with 30 Sqn.

    Generally this crew flew L8398 on operations during the Greek campaign. Last flight I have registered with 30 Sqn for this A/C is on 18th April 41 when when it evacuated from Eleusis to Maleme, Crete.

    Regards,
    Simon

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    Default Re: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    Hello all,
    I believe that L8398 was flown by F/Lt Horgan on 10th April 1941 on "ground attack on enemy transport on road between Bitolj & Prilep" (although listed as L8378 - that flew with 34 Sqn, so I guess a typo).
    P/O Strong mentioned above also flew on that mission, as observer in K7095 VT-G.

    Zoran
    Last edited by Zoran Petek; 15th February 2021 at 09:13.

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    Default Re: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    Hi Zoran,

    Confirmed, I have multiple log book entries showing Horgan, Strong & Chapman in L8398 ground strafing German transport on 10th April 1941.
    Strong also went on another mission the same day, same target in K7095 with S/L Milward as Pilot.

    Simon

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    Default Re: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    Thanks to all for the responses.
    Given that we now know that L8398 was with 30 Sqn when flown to Maleme, Crete on 18 April 1941, it would have had to have been flown to North Africa almost immediately if did indeed go on to serve with 55 Sqn. Is there anything on the aircraft's record card that indicates when it was actually transferred too 55 Sqn, if indeed such a move took place?

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    Default Re: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    All,

    Looking at the F.78 for L8398 I think I can see the problem re. 55 Squadron. Page 1 of the F.78 which lists the units/stations it served with has only two entries; '10 M.U. 22-2-1939' and 'Thorney Island 15-3-1939'. However under the 'Authority' section of the same page we see three entries; 10 M.U., Thorney Island and '20-4-1939 No. 55 Sqd. Iraq'.
    On page 2 the equivalent entry under 'Reason for Allotment' has ' I.E. replacing Vincents'. No details of write-off or damage but it does have as mentioned previously the 'SOC' date of 2-5-1941 by authority of 'HQ ME'. No mention of 30 Squadron anywhere.

    I can find record of L8398 being used operationally by 55 Squadron during the period June to 22 November 1940. Their Blenheim Mk. Is were replaced by Mk. IVs during December 1940. So almost certainly L8398 and others were left at Fuka where 55 Squadron were fortuitously based at the time. From the 55 Squadron ORB (AIR 27/516).

    L8398 was abandoned in Crete during May 1941. Several photos of it in an aircraft dump have appeared on EBay over the years, including one showing '..398' of the serial. None show any fuselage letters, probably due to the poor quality of the photos.
    For completeness John F. Hamlin in 'FLAT OUT' (A history of 30 Squadron) records L8398 was coded 'VT-B'.

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson

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    Default Re: Blenheim L8398 of 55 Sq. lost on 2 May 1941

    Martin,
    Many thanks for sorting the final fate of this one.
    Andy

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