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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 225983
Last updated: 15 June 2020
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Date:19-APR-1940
Time:morning
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk IV
Owner/operator:107 Sqn RAF
Registration: P4906
C/n / msn: OM-J
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North Sea (Target: Stavanger Airfield, Sola, Stavanger) -   Norway
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Lossiemouth, Morayshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV P4906 (OM-J) of 107 Squadron, RAF: failed to return from air operations over Stavanger, Norway, 19 April 1940. All three crew killed. The stark facts are that Bill Mullally, aged 21, as navigator/bombardier, his pilot, Sergeant Peter Chivers, aged 19 (from Purley, Surrey) and AC.2 Henry Greggan, aged 18, as telegraphist/air gunner (from Bootle, Lancashire) set off from Lossiemouth near Inverness, Scotland, on 19 April 1940 to fly to support the British Army then fighting in Norway.

They were flying in a Blenheim Mark 4 bomber (P 4906) loaded with 4 x 250lb bombs to bomb the large airfield at Sola, near Stavanger in west Norway, a round trip of about 600 miles in daylight. The airfield had recently been occupied by the Luftwaffe and a large force of fighters and bombers had been concentrated. They posed a threat to the British Army that had landed in Norway and to Royal Navy targets in Scotland and the north of England. By the end of the month, 107 Squadron had lost 10 aircraft on several missions but, although it cannot be proved, it is very likely that Bill and his crew had flown on at least one mission to Stavanger before their final fatal one.

It is difficult to imagine how such young men were given such responsibility but they were not unique in war time. The Blenheim was regarded as a pleasant aircraft to fly although, like many other aircraft of the time, it did have some characteristics which could catch even experienced pilots by surprise.

They never returned home. Whether or not they ever reached their target is not known but somewhere presumably over the North Sea they simply disappeared. According to the book "Fledgling Eagles" by Christopher Shores:

"Early next morning" [19 April 1940] "six Blenheims from 107 Squadron again prepared to raid Stavanger. Due to a series of mechanical mishaps only three got off, and two of these returned when the pilots realised that the formation was incomplete.

Sgt Peter Chivers continued alone in P4906, and was intercepted by Fw Lothar Linke of 3/ZG 76, who shot the Blenheim down west of Stavanger. Fw Linke reported that the Blenheim crew put up a good fight. Even with flames pouring from the aircraft when just about to crash into the sea, the pilot pulled up into a climb, opened fire and obtained hits on a second Bf 110 which was flying as Rottenflieger [Wingman] to Linke".

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft P1000-P9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1979 p 26)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/155: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14141934
3. "Fledgling Eagles" by Christopher Shores
4. https://rafyatesbury.webs.com/articles3.htm
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1084390/chivers,-peter/
6. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1077376/mullally,-william-michael/
7. http://stmhs.proboards.com/post/477


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
09-Jun-2019 23:01 Dr. John Smith Added
09-Jun-2019 23:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
11-Jun-2019 05:28 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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