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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 226562
Last updated: 15 June 2020
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Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:604 (County of Middlesex) Squadron Royal Air Force (604 (County of Middlesex) Sqn RAF)
Registration: L6615
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near RAF North Weald, Essex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF North Weald, Essex
Destination airport:RAF North Weald, Essex
Bristol Blenheim Mk.1 L6615, 604 (County of Middlesex) Squadron RAF: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Sunday, 3 September 1939 (the day WW II broke out) when crashed near RAF North Weald, Essex. According to the official Air Ministry file on the accident (File AIR 81/4750): "Aircraft accident, Blenheim L6615, 604 Squadron, 3 September 1939. Pilot Officer H Speke uninjured"

According to a published history of 604 (County of Middlesex) Squadron, RAF, the accident was described thus:

"The Squadron‟s war record got off to a roaring start the same day, when Pilot Officer Hugh Speke, in Blenheim L6615, crashed on the approach to the airfield following his return from a training flight, cartwheeled and finished up in a hedge opposite 604‟s dispersal. P/O Speke fortunately escaped unhurt."

The account goes on to state an eyewitness account:

"Our first casualty was F/O Speke** with Sid Shirley in the back seat.'Spekie' undershot the airfield coming into land and touched down a bit short in a field, but fortunately the only casualty was a cow! We all trooped out in the morning to inspect the wrecked Blenheim and the cow. The poor beast was laying on its back and was blown up like a barrage balloon".

**There appears some confusion as to Hugh Speke‟s rank on this occasion. George Evans gives it as Flying Officer in his book, Bless ‘Em All, page 37, and this is confirmed in Kenneth Wynn‟s, Men of the Battle of Britain, page 473, but the 604 Sqn Diary states Hugh Speke's promotion to Flying Officer as 6th December 1939. By way of explanation, it is possible that Hugh Speke was promoted to Acting Flying Officer on 24th August 1939 and substantitively promoted on 6th December.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 44)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/4750:

Related books:

Revision history:

25-Jun-2019 22:06 Dr. John Smith Added
26-Jun-2019 09:54 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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