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Thread: Sgt. Thomas Mongey & Blenheim L9187 Crash Site

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    Default Sgt. Thomas Mongey & Blenheim L9187 Crash Site

    Hi List,

    This being my first post on the forum, I would like to briefly introduce myself. I am an amateur researcher from County Kilkenny in Ireland. My interest is mainly WWII (ETO) and more specifically the Normandy Invasion.

    Normally I reside over on the DDay Historian forum and you can see several of my threads on the lead page here:

    http://battlebus.19.forumer.com/viewforum.php?f=7

    Recently, I have taken on a new project, which is a bit outside my comfort zone, and have come here to RAF Commands in the hope that you guys might be able to help me with this research.

    My quest is to attempt to locate the crash site of a Blenheim IV from No. 18 Squadron which was lost on either the 16th or 17th of May 1940 near the WWI Cemetery at Gouy, France. The observer/navigator was Sgt. Thomas Mongey (581237) and was the only fatality from the crew. It is with the Mongey family’s kind permission that I carry out this research. Sgt. Mongey is the only WW2 causality interned at Gouy Cemetery.

    My objective is twofold – to locate, if possible, the exact location of the crash landing of the aircraft (L9187 – WV-?) and in so doing, learn more of the exploits and heroic actions of the RAF during those desperate, long ago weeks of May 1940.

    I have uploaded a transcript of a letter written by the pilot of L9187, P/O James Roger Whelan, to the window of Sgt. Thomas Mongey (with the permission of the Mongey family) to set matters in train. The letter can be viewed at the link below:

    http://www.whitebeamimages.ie/mongey/letters/letter_whelan_to_mongey.png

    Any help or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    Best Regards,

    Pat Curran

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    Hello Pat,

    If you haven't already done so, a glance at the following sites provides interesting background material on Sgt Mongey's pilot; 40330 P/O James Roger WHELAN:

    http://airforce.ca/honours-awards/search-awards-database/

    Click on Service Number, then enter 40330 in KEYWORD SEARCH box.

    and...

    http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/Whelan_JR.htm

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 31st March 2012 at 23:39.

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    Hi Pat, I did a brief bit of research into Whelan a few years ago as he was involved in an accident at RAF Tern Hill in 1938 that I was looking at. As Col has supplied you with a link to his DFC citation, all I can really add is that his log books are held at the RAF Museum's Department of Research, Hendon. Might be of interest.

    Cheers,

    Tom

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    Hi Col., Tom & List,

    Many thanks guys for your help and suggestions, which I will certainly follow up on. I had not found either of the references to P/O Whelan to which you refer and I would be very interested in getting a look at his log book for May 1940.

    For those readers who might be wondering where exactly we are in France, I have done some screenshots which should help. Unfortunately, this forum is not set up to view images directly in posts so you will have to copy each address into your browser. The first is a wide field view with the search area near Gouy and No. 18 Squadron's home on the 16th May 1940, RAF Meharicourt (now reinstated farmland) marked thereon. Note Amiens to centre left:

    http://www.whitebeamimages.ie/mongey/maps/gouy_location_ge.png

    I have zoomed to the search area below and put a circle of 500 yards radius around the WWI Cemetery - you will recall in the letter referenced in my last post above that "...A few hundred yards down the road we came to an English lastwar cemetery." Note the village of Gouy at centre left:

    http://www.whitebeamimages.ie/mongey/maps/gouy_cemetery_ge.png

    A couple of years back, a nephew of Thomas Mongey, who happens to be a work colleague, accompanied me to the search room at The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives (TARA) in Edinburgh. While I was engrossed in searches of the Cotentin Peninsula for the summer of 1944, Lorcan done a search for his uncle's crash site and found a very interesting photograph of the area, taken only two weeks after the crash on the 2nd June 1940. I have uploaded a downsized copy under licence from TARA at the link below. Note the same yellow circle around the cemetery for comparison purposes. We were both very excited when Lorcan noticed the aircraft like object located at the centre of the red rectangle - it looked like he had hit the jackpot - on the low resolution version of the image:

    http://www.whitebeamimages.ie/mongey/maps/TARA_ACIU_FAA_027_S0010_rotated_800wide_marked.png

    However, when we eventually got hold of a high resolution copy and done some measurements of the "wings" at 'A' it appears they are about 200 ft long! The photograph was deemed a disappointment and filed. However, I have taken a second look at this object and done a bit of adjustment in Photoshop and am now focused on the part which on the low resolution version appeared to make up the tail section. I have lettered this 'B' below:

    http://www.whitebeamimages.ie/mongey/maps/possible_crash_site.png

    Is 'B' an aircraft with a burn mark around it?

    If the "wings" at 'A' are 200 ft in length, then 'B' must be near the 56ft 4in wingspan of a Blenheim.

    Comments and corrections welcomed and appreciated.

    Regards,

    Pat

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    Hello

    I've done some researches into the two losses of No. 18 Squadron that day. The Squadron Operations Record Book is quite helpless, and seems to have mixed both. The other crew is buried in Crevecoeur-sur-l'Escaut. I've visited the grave of Mongey as well, years ago. The cemetery is out of my normal research area (Nord and Pas-de-Calais) but it's linked to a crash in the Nord, with conflicting informations.

    There are pictures of a crashed Blenheim of No. 18 Squadron (code letter VW visible on the wreckage) but it's difficult to say if this is Whelan-Mongey's. I think it is. The Blenheim was burned in the middle, but still looked like a Blenheim, especially the tail. For farming purposes the engines were moved closer to the main wreckage, as the pictures show different arrays

    I just can't access none of the links you have provided.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 11th April 2012 at 03:18.

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    Hi Joss,

    Thank you very much for this additional information. Have you located either crash site in your research?

    Unfortunately this forum is not set up to embed web links in the posts so to view the links in my previous posts, please proceed thus:

    1) Highlight the entire image web address by clicking and holding down the left mouse button at either end of the link address and drag the mouse until all the address is highlighted.

    2) Hold down the [Ctrl] key and press the [C] key to copy

    3) Open your web browser and click into the address field at the top

    4) Hold down the [Ctrl] key and press the [V] key to paste in the image address, then press [Enter]

    It's very cumbersome, but it works.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Regards,

    Pat

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    Hello

    I know how to copy and past an URL. It's just that the website doesn't open, even after several minutes waiting...

    Will try again tonight from home, as last night Windows7 automatically upgraded on my PC, that was perhaps the problem, that or my antivirus. It works from work

    I'll have to have a look at my files about these two losses as I just came back from a long trip abroad 2 days ago. With the pictures taken on the ground, with the different angles of view, and despite the limited background and the faint details in the background, we tried with some people of the Cambrai area to triangulate the position. Also with the help of an elderly woman who provided one of the picture (I haven't seen her directly). My Cambrai contacts thought it was a Beaufighter because of the shape of the fin, but it's definitively a Blenheim, and on one of the pictures it's possible to guess the VW code letters of No. 18 Squadron.

    From my own researches, one of the two Blenheims lost by No. 18 Squadron that day took off for a recce of the front line. Shot down by enemy fighters, it crashed near "ferme des Angles", on the territory of Crévecoeur-sur-l’Escaut, between Lesdain and Villers-Outréaux. STUART, BORTHWICK and JAMES are buried in this village cemetery.

    The other Blenheim crashed between Gouy and Beaurevoir, at about 10 AM, near "ferme de Bellevue", at the place called « Bitarde », not far from the British cemetery.

    Navigator Sgt Thomas John MONGEY was killed in action and seemed to have been initially buried near the wreckage of the plane. Pilot P/O J.R. WHELAN was wounded, WopAG LAC BROWN was safe. Both managed to get back to allied lines. MONGEY was later buried in Prospect Hill British Cemetery at Gouy (Aisne).

    This crew had previously made a forced-landing at Vitry-en-Artois on 11 May in Blenheim IV L9192.

    The « Loss Card » of STUART's crew doesn't give a serial number, I couldn't find one for the WHELAN crew at the RAF Museum Hendon.

    It is my humble opinion that the serial numbers of the two lost Blenheim were swapped, STUART in L9187 and WHELAN in L9254, but I'm open about this.

    Any additional information on the whole subject would be most welcome. The log-book of WHELAN might be very interesting to check. I don't remember if I had highlighted it in the list of log-books held by the RAF Museum in Hendon, but I have never "borrowed" log-books from them, so I don't know if they are easily to request for checking / copying when visiting the reading room at Hendon.

    Just accessing your aerial pictures, I'll try to figure out whether the spots you have pin-pointed are STUART or WHELAN's Blenheims, but again, Battle of France losses can be very difficult to identify, as some days, many planes came down in the same geographical area.

    Regards

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 12th April 2012 at 06:55.

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    Hi Joss,

    Thanks again for all this new information - spectacular research by the way!

    I tracked down the Ferme de Bellevue today by going onto the 'carte a la carte' section of the IGN.fr site. If you can, I would very much appreciate your opinion of the object circled red in the field across the road to the NE of the farm:

    http://www.whitebeamimages.ie/mongey/maps/TARA_ACIU_FAA_027_S0010_rotated_ferme-de-bellevue-01.png

    There appears to be a vehicle track leading from the object to the road.

    Much appreciated Joss.

    Regards,

    Pat

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    Hi List,

    Apologies to those readers who may not know where the Ferme de Bellevue is located; please see the GE screenshot at the link below:

    http://www.whitebeamimages.ie/mongey/maps/ferme_de_bellevue_locator.png

    The red rectangle is the extract from the reconnaissance photograph TARA_ACIU_FAA_027_S0010 shown in my last post.

    Regards,

    Pat

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    Hello,

    Splendid work with the aerial pictures. I think it's quite conclusive.

    I'll have a look at the pictures of the crashed Blenheim, and will try to match the pictures on the ground with the aerial pictures.

    Joss

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