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Thread: One for the Blenheim experts.

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    Default One for the Blenheim experts.

    Hallo all,

    Seven Blenheims are noted in the Air-Britain 'RAF AIRCRAFT L1000-N9999' as diverted to the RCAF on 19 February 1940. Apparently none had previous RAF service.
    They were; L9309, L9311, L9312, L9376, L9377, L9380 and L9384.

    Can anyone please tell me if in fact they (all 7) ever went to Canada ? And if they did whether they saw any service there ?

    I have already checked Bill Walker's great website on Canadian serials but could not find any of them listed.

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Default

    The one Blenheim on the RCAF's books in North America (K7072) was in Canada for a year at least, as a pattern aircraft at Fairchild, before being taken on strength by the RCAF it February 1941. It seems unlikely that these others went to Fairchild for tooling or parts purposes in February 1940, since full production at Fairchild in Longueuil was underway by September 1939.

    Aircraft at RAF units in Canada in 1940 would not have been transferred to RCAF books until late in the year or in 1941. Maybe your Blenhiems were intended for an RAF school, and never survived long enough to transfer to the RCAF?

    Another thought: the RCAF in Great Britain (later RCAF Overseas) was in existence by 1 January 1940, with HQ in London, England. Could these aircraft have been intended for this establishment?

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    Hallo Bill,

    Thanks for your reply. I suspect if they had gone to the RCAF Overseas, eg; 404 Squadron RCAF, that some part of their histories would show up like other aircraft used by such units.
    Another possibility is that they were lost on a ship going to Canada.

    Regards,

    Martin.

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    Default

    Hello Martin,

    The date given in AB for K7072 is 2 October 1940.
    And the first Bolingbroke Mk.I was delivered to the RCAF in mid November of 1939.
    The seven in the "L" range is given as the 19th February 1940.
    Then there is also P6951, given as ME, NFT 17.6.40, intended for RCAF.

    So perhaps these a/c were as Bill suggests, for RCAF use in the UK (or Middle East perhaps?).

    Bill's sugestion that they may also have been lost at sea on delivery did occur to me but would they not have been flown over to Canada rather than sent by sea - newly built a/c stripped down, crated etc etc ?

    Also it did occur to me that the RCAF could perhaps be for Royal Croat Air Force but I think the date February 40 too early ?

    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 1st September 2009 at 11:54.

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    I doubt that Blenheims would have been flown west bound across the Atlantic in 1940. The west bound crossing is against the prevailing winds, and much trickier.

    Ansons were delivered to Canada in crates well into 1941 (maybe later), and all the Beauforts delivered in mid 1941 also came in crates. Also the Hampdens delivered in 1943 for the west coast OTU appear to have arrived in crates, although I'm not 100% sure about that.

    I think the first RCAF squadron in the UK to use Blenheims was 404 Squadron, which started up in April 1941. These 1940 RCAF Blenheims are still a mystery to me.

    Another possibility is that they were transferred to the RCAF in Great Britian on paper, but some delay in the forming of 404 Squadron could have seen them transferred back again without ever having actually been in the hands of the RCAF.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 1st September 2009 at 12:30. Reason: added last para.

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