ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 225792
Last updated: 15 June 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:30-OCT-1939
Time:12:45 LT
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk IV
Owner/operator:139 (Jamaica) Squadron Royal Air Force (139 (Jamaica) Sqn RAF)
Registration: N6234
C/n / msn: XD-E
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:between Westerloh and Groß Berßen, Meppen, Lower Saxony -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Wyton, Huntingdonshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV N6234 (XD-E) of 139 Squadron, RAF; written off (destroyed) 30 October 19393 when shot down over Meppen, Emsland district of Lower Saxony, Germany. Failed to return from combat operations, all three crew killed. According to the following account in a newspaper ("Osanbrucker Zeitung" 31 October 2004) originally published in German, and roughly translated:

"Meppen. The first three deaths of the air war over the Emsland were on Monday, October 30, 1939. Almost a fourth person would have died.

In the morning started at Wyton in the county of Cambridgeshire in England a light bomber of the type Bristol Blenheim Mk IV, serial number N6234 of the 139 Squadron to an armed reconnaissance flight over northern Germany. In order not to injure the neutrality of the Netherlands, the crew flew the machine with the identifier "XD-E" over the North Sea and across Ostfriesland away to the south.

Obviously there were problems at 12.40 German time over the Emsland with one of the two engines, probably due to shelling by the German air defence. In order to keep the machine better in the air, the bombs on board were dropped. The bombs landed in Meppen on the bakery behind the home and office building of the master baker Wilhelm Lüken on the Gymnasialstraße.

The bakery was destroyed, the air pressure tore away from the surrounding houses roof tiles and smashed windows. Heinrich Heeren, born on May 30, 1939, whose family lived in the house next to the Lüken bakery, was told that his mother ran to the cot after the bang to check on him. As she picked up the four-month-old baby, she spotted a fragment of shrapnel stuck in her pillow.

Meanwhile, the crew was no longer in control of the machine. At 12.45 the plane crashes between Westerloh and Groß Berßen. This killed the pilot, 21-year-old, William George McCracken, from Melbourne, Australia, and two Englishmen, the observer Stanley Robert Mitchell (24) and radio operator and gunner Robert Boaler Smith (21). For the extinguishing and cleaning up the Haselünner fire-brigade was called. The bodies were first buried in the New Cemetery in Lingen. After the war, McCracken was reburied to the British Imperial Forest Military Cemetery, his comrades to the Rheinberg Military Cemetery."

Crew of Blenheim N6234:
Pilot Officer William George McCracken (Pilot, Service Number 36157, aged 21)
Sergeant Stanley Robert Mitchell (Observer, Service Number 580376, aged 24)
Aircraftman 1st Class Robert Boaler Smith (Wireless Op/Air Gunner, Service Number 526371, aged 21)

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/39: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14142119
3. Osnabrucker Zeitung 31 October 2004: https://www.noz.de/lokales/meppen/artikel/518847/britischer-flieger-uber-meppen-im-oktober-1939
4. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2047971/mccracken,-william-george/
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1076978/mitchell,-stanley-robert/
6. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2032837/smith,-robert-boaler/


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-Jun-2019 18:35 Dr. John Smith Added
04-Jun-2019 04:14 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description