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Thread: 1st July 1941.

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    Default 1st July 1941.

    I am researching details on any escorting squadron's who went with the Blenheim's of 139 Squadron on the following raids.

    30th June 1941. 139 Squadron took of at 17.32 Hours with 8 machines lead by Squ/Leader Thompson, DFC and 10 aircraft of 18 Squadron supported by fighter escort to rendezvous at Clacton, on Raid I A J 440 and returned 19.37 Hours with all aircraft having carried out a bombing raid on Pont-A-Vendin Thermic Power Station 4 miles N.E. of Lens.

    1st July 1941, five machines of 139 Squadron left Horsham St. Faith, lead by Squadron Leader Sidney Smith at 08.48 on a daylight raid to Oldenburg Power Station.

    What l am trying to find out is if James McCairns and 616 Squadron escorted the Blenheim's on either or both of these raids.

    This would be a 'nice' coincidence as my Father was shot down on 1st July and McCairns on 6th and they both ended up in the same POW camp.

    If not, then l an still interested to see if there is any referance to my Father being shot down with any more details.

    Regards,

    Nick

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    Hi Nick
    Chorley Bomber Command Losses Vol 2 has your Father as ditching 60 kms NW of Vlieland (Dutch Friesian Is.) after, it is believed,he was shot down by Fw Bachman of 1/JG53. The target you have as Oldenberg which I would have thought might be a bit far for Fighter Escort in 1941.
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 18th November 2007 at 22:32.

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    Default 616 Squadron ORB

    hello Nick,

    I have 616 Squadron ORB for June-July 1941, but it's one of the poorest ones I've ever seen. Several pilots of 616 were lost in my area (northern France) at that time, hence my interest in this unit.

    I'll have a look tonight at home but I can tell you from now that the Form 541 doesn't contain name of pilots and serial number of planes. Typical entry is "Squadron Leader and 11 aircraft took off for an operation over France"...

    Hence my question on the old board, unanswered, about the ORB of RAF Westhampnett, in order to check if I could find some more details. Could be in Tangmere ORB, as Westhampnett was its satellite.

    Joss

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    Nick,

    It appears that on July 1st, 1941 No 616 Squadron had a target support mission for 12 Blenheims on an early evening raid on a power station in Choques, N. France (Circus 28).

    The Northolt, Hornchurch, Tangmere and Kenley wings were all involved in escort duties for these Blenheims.

    On 6th July, 1941 11 Spitfires of No 616 Squadron were part of Target Support Wing B for Circus 35, a raid of some Stirling bombers to Lille, France from 13.30-15.20 hrs.
    It was on this occasion that Sgt McCairns became POW when his Spitfire P8500 crashlanded on the beach near Dunkirk.


    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Default bingo for 30th June 1941

    Hello again

    The ORB of 616, as I said, is not very comprehensive. And the microfilm in Kew is a poor quality one, but this is probably due to the original one being bad.
    The form 540 for 30th June 1941 says : Local flying practice and Lt Montgomery did some air to sea firing. One patrol and one sweep carried out. In the latter, Sgt McCairns was shot at, explosive bullets entering his cockpit, but he managed to land safely and uninjured at base. […]. On the Form 541 : W/C Bader and eleven aircraft – Wing patrol over northern Franc – 1747 1950 – nothing of interest to record (sic)
    So you have your answer, McCairns did fly on 30th June 1941 as in the same mission as your father. There are files in Kew which would give the exact organisation of the raid and of the escort, and the job carried out by 616 Sqn and Tangmere Wing (Target Support Wing, close escort Wing, withdrawal support wing, etc...). I just can't remember the reference at the moment.

    No serial number of the damaged Spitfire, but perhaps a forumite might provide it. And I'm even more interested in Westhampnett station ORB, as it may hold details about this damaged Spitfire, who knows...

    For the 1st July 1941, I concur with Leendert's information, 616 Squadron flew again over northern France, not escort to the Low countries.

    Joss

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    The Tangmere Wing was on target support duties for 18 Blenheims to the power station in Pont à Vendin (near Lens?), N. France in the given time frame (17.40-19.20) on 30 June 1941.
    This was Circus 27.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Default Pont-à-Vendin is indeed a few miles from Lens

    hello Leendert,

    Pont-à-Vendin is about 10 km ENE of Lens, in the French département of the Pas-de-Calais, in what used to be a coalmines and industrial area.

    A shame that Nick who initiated the thread doesn't come back to see we have worked out details for him...

    Joss

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    Default

    Thanks Fella's.

    I think this answers my question but as always raises others.

    So it appears that McCairn's was in the Tangmere wing that escorted the Blenheim's to Pont-à-Vendin on the 30th as well? I know that 139 squadron and my Father were on this circus operation from the Group ORB's at Kew so this is nice to see.

    But it looks unlikely that there was the same escort for the raid on 1st July on Oldenburg Power Station as the escort seems to be a distance away at the time. I can also find no referance to 139 Squadron being involved in a circus on that date.

    Sorry, but l only seem to be able to get the time to access the forum at the weekend but l do appreciate your help.

    If you have any views were this information is or where else to look, please let me know.

    I have copies of the 139 Squadron ORB's as well as those of 2 Group Bomber Command and Horsham St. Faith from where they left.

    McCairns and my Father first met up in Dulag Luft.

    Regards,

    NIck

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