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Thread: Probable E/a by P/O Denby, 600 Sqn night 27/28 Sept 1940

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    Default Probable E/a by P/O Denby, 600 Sqn night 27/28 Sept 1940

    Hi,

    On the night 27/28 September 1940 Pilot Officer Gordon Alfred Denby, RAF 80812 claimed a probable enemy aircraft. He was flying with Sgt Peter Coulson Whitwell, RNZAF NZ40613 as air gunner and Sgt R M Holland as radar operator in Blenheim l “P” of No.600 Squadron.

    According to the squadron ORB two aircraft was attacked and the second probably destroyed but the combat report indicates that first aircraft was destroyed.

    ORB “Pilot Officer Denby on the 27th September was credited with a probable. I the Maidstone district his gunner sighted the glow of two exhausts, which were identified as an enemy aircraft. A long … ensued and two bursts were put in by the pilot and one by the air gunner when the hostile plane went into a steep dive near Hastings. Shortly afterwards the pilot sighted the glow of two exhausts and he continued he chase to France again firing at close range. It was believed this was a second enemy aircraft and the gunner believes that this enemy aircraft was shot down. Uncertified reports from Hastings stated that one enemy aircraft was shot down in the sea, in that district about this time.”

    Fighter Command Combat Report: “Blenheim took off 0210 hours landed 0345. Pilot Officer Denby patrolling at 14,000 feet Kenley Control South of Sheppey on an Easterly course intercepted an E/a. Air gunner sighted two glows from the exhaust of an aircraft on a Southerly course some distance below. Pilot turned South and closed on two exhaust rings to within 250 yards when he opened fire. Gunner confirms that tracer was going in and pilot’s fire was very accurate. Return fire was experienced from enemy rear gunner. Enemy aircraft went into a spiral dive and air gunner shot off about sixty rounds. Pilot again picked up enemy aircraft at 11,000 feet and put in two more bursts of five seconds during a chase of several minutes which took Blenheim to French coast. During this time the twin glow of exhausts was visible but enemy rear gunner has ceased fire. AI was used to inform if gaining on enemy but enemy was visible to pilot until he went into a spiral and was lost. AI operator confirms that two separate enemy aircraft appeared on tubes before opened fire and it is possible that a second quarry may have been picked up when first aircraft went onto spiral dive after pilot and gunner had fired. Reported that an enemy aircraft was down in the sea near Hastings. This enemy aircraft may have been the original machine sighted and pilot the picked up another bandit returning home. Pilot states on second chase enemy aircraft was much slower whereas previously Blenheim was overtaking at a rate of 5 mph his aircraft was gaining rapidly in subsequent chase.”

    Is there anyone with some more information about this claim? I am especially interested in the involvement by the air gunner in this combat.

    Thanks in advance,
    Peter

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    A little off-topic, but would anyone happen to know the serial number for the Blenheim If BQ-P used in this engagement? The ORB Form 541 just lists the invidual code letters for their Blenheims, and I can't see a combat report on the National Archives website.

    Whitwell was born at Hartlepool in 1920, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1938. After serving with 600 Sqn, he would go to serve as a rear gunner with 7 Squadron on Stirlings when 600 converted to Beaufighters, and was awarded the D.F.M. in December 1941. He was killed on November 7th 1942 when Stirling I W7620 MG-L was lost on a 'Gardening' mission.

    http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Whitwell.htm

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon,

    I am also interested in the serial number. The Combat Report is from HQ No.11 Group and unfortunately you will not find any more information. 600 Sqn is not mentioned in the CR (just search for Denby without any sqn at the NA).

    Regards,
    Peter

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    Peter

    Thanks for the reply - obviously you've been through this already thoroughly without discovering the serial.

    It's unusual to have the code letter and not the serial - it's more often the other way round!

    Regards

    Simon

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