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Thread: Blenheim R3817 crew killed 16 June 1940

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    Default Blenheim R3817 crew killed 16 June 1940

    Could someone tell me the mission/target and circumstances that led to the deaths of the following Blenheim crew who are buried in Dreux Communal Cemetery, Northern France

    1) 41769 Pilot Officer Clive Robinson WYLIE, pilot, 59 Squadron, died 16 June 1940, age 26.

    2) 563138 Sergeant James William HARRIS, observer, 59 Squadron, died 16 June 1940, age 26.

    3) 625095 Sergeant Thomas Arthur THOMAS, wireless operator/air gunner, 59 Squadron, died 16 June 1940, age 20

    Thank you
    Norman

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    Hi Norman,

    according to RAF Serials by Air Britain it was missing from reconnaissance flight.

    According to http://www.number59.com/new_59/roll/crews.html:
    P/O CR Wylie Blenheim IV R3817- TR-? - Lost 16/06/1940 (shotdown by RAF Spitfire)

    And detials are here:

    http://www.number59.com/new_59/roll/crew_html/blen_wylie.html:
    Base: Odiham
    Take off time. Unknown
    Op: Recon

    Mission was to observe the advance of the German forces. Crashed west of Dreux. All are buried at the Dreux Communal Cemetery.

    A Canadian fighter ace flying with the RAF, F/L Robert D Grassick DFC also claimed that a Ju.88 he shot down on this date, may have been a Blenheim of 59 Squadron.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Norman
    Warner-"Blenheim" confirms that R3817 was shot down on a Recce of the area Le Mans-Rennes.In Warner's book the pilot was from New Zealand and his age is given as 20. There is no mention of RNZAF. He also gives the Air Gunner the rank of AC1.
    The N Z connection makes it possible that Wylie is in Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow"
    Regards
    Dick

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    Norman,

    From my 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume One: Fates 1915-1942)':

    Sun 16 Jun 1940
    Fighter Command
    Reconnaissance of SW of Seine River, France
    59 Squadron, RAF (Odiham, Hampshire - 22 Group)
    Blenheim IV R3817 - took off from Le Mans, France, at 0945 with the intention of landing at Rennes airfield upon completion of the sortie, but brought down near Nonancourt. The three crew were buried in the La Madeleine-de-Nonancourt cemetery, but later reinterred at Dreux. Twenty-two Group was an Army Co-operation formation but came under Fighter Command until 24 June, when it became an independent group with Command status.
    Pilot: 41769 Plt Off Clive Robinson WYLIE, RAF - Age 26. 220hrs.

    And amendment from Vol Three:
    p85; WYLIE, C R the crew were first buried at the scene of the crash

    The crew are as in your post.

    Wylie was born in New Zealand and selected here in 1938 for an RAF short service commission.

    Errol

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    If this was a case of mistaken identity and the pilot of the other aircraft was Robert Grassick, then his aircraft would have been a Hurricane and not a Spitfire.

    P/O Grassick was with 242 Sqdn, a Hurricane unit.

    a15.

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    Thanks for this

    I didn't know the issue had been previously discussed.

    However, according to my records, Grassick shot down 'his' Blenheim on 16 May, not 16 June.

    The mystery remains!

    Cheers
    Brian

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