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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 226170
Last updated: 29 December 2019
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Date:04-SEP-1939
Time:afternoon
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:110 (Hyderabad) Squadron Royal Air Force (110 (Hyderabad) Sqn RAF)
Registration: N6199
C/n / msn: VE-O
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:11
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Wilhelmshaven, Heligoland Bight -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Wattisham, Suffolk
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Bristol Blenheim Mk.1 N6199 (VE-O) of 110 Squadron. Shot down while on raid to Wilhelmshaven, Heligoland Bight on 4 September 2019 and crashed in target area. The first raid by the RAF, some 24 hours after war was declared. Airborne 15:45 4 September 1939 from Wattisham. Shot down by Flak in the target area. Five Blenheims were lost (N6199, N6184, N6186, N6189 and N6240) as were all 15 crews (three per aircraft). Only 2 survived to be captured and taken as POWs

On 4 September 1939, warships were sighted off Brunsbüttel, Wilhelmshaven and in the Schillig Roads of the Heligoland Bight. A force of 10 Blenheims from No. 110 Squadron RAF and No. 107 Squadron RAF along with five more from 139 Squadron and eight Wellingtons of 149 Squadron RAF took off to locate the German warships Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Admiral Scheer, which some aircraft found.

149 Squadron was not prepared for war. At least one of the crews—Flying Officer (F/O) Bill McRae—nearly took off without a bomb load; looking in, he noticed the bomb bay was empty. On the way to the target, Squadron Leader Paul Harris ordered his gunners to test their weapons. They all failed and he was heading into German territory defenceless. Not wanting to turn back on his first raid, he pressed ahead.

The same targets were attacked by Wellingtons of 9 Squadron later in the day, in and around Brunsbüttel. Results were poor with five Blenheims and two Wellingtons lost and only minimal damage caused to the German warships. Admiral Scheer was hit by three bombs that failed to explode, while the light cruiser Emden - not one of the priority targets - was present and also damaged by a Blenheim that crashed into the forecastle of the ship. The crash killed 11 sailors and injured 30.

II./Jagdgeschwader 77 (II JG 77; II Wing, Fighter Group 77, Oberstleutnant Carl-August Schumacher) took off from Nordholz Airbase and intercepted 9 Squadron. Feldwebels Hans Troitzsch and Alfred Held each claimed a victory and Leutnant Metz another. These aircraft from No. 9 Squadron were the first RAF aircraft to be shot down by enemy fighters during the war and Troitzsch was most likely to have been the first enemy pilot to shoot one down. Another four Blenheims of No. 107 Squadron were shot down by anti-aircraft fire.

In his book, The Right of the Line. John Terrain reports that Blenheim N6199 crashed on the deck of the training cruiser Emden killing nine of her crew and wounding several more. [Other published sources sate 11 fatalities and 30 injured]. Although Terrain does not identify Flying Officer Emden, this odd quirk of fate (that the very first pilot killed in Bomber Command in WW2 was named Emden, lost in an attack against the Emden due to crashing into a ship named "Emden") has been noted by a number of writers during their research of this particular action.

Crew:
Flying Officer Henry Lovell Emden Pilot 36138 killed Buried: SAGE WAR CEMETERY, 4. B. 12. 2
Sergeant Stanley George Mckenna Otty ​509143 killed Buried: SAGE WAR CEMETERY4. C. 4 3
Sergeant Raymond Charles Grossey Observer 516460 killed Remembered on the RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL, Panel 1.
Aircraftman First Class Ralph Evans 537187 killed Buried: SAGE WAR CEMETERY 4. E. 1.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR81/1; https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14141980 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Heligoland_Bight_(1939)#3_September_%E2%80%93_17_December
4. http://ww2f.com/threads/blenheim-n6199-1st-bomber-command-loss-of-ww2.52777/
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2073709/emden,-henry-lovell/
6. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2074034/otty,-stanley-george-mckenna/
7. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1798953/grossey,-raymond-charles/
8. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2073714/evans,-ralph/


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
14-Jun-2019 21:44 Dr. John Smith Added
15-Jun-2019 19:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Narrative]
15-Jun-2019 21:56 Nepa Updated [Operator, Source, Operator]

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