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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 227608
Last updated: 15 June 2020
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Type:Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B.Mk V
Owner/operator:102 (Ceylon) Squadron Royal Air Force (102 (Ceylon) Sqn RAF)
Registration: N1380
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bois des Mortiers, near Hamegicourt (Aisne), 10 km SSE of St-Quentin -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B.Mk.V 1380 (DY-R) of 102 (Ceylon) Squadron RAF: Written off (destroyed) when lost (failed to return) from combat operations on the night of 20-21 May 1940. According to the official Air Ministry file on the incident (File AIR 81/446): "Whitley N1380 crashed at Senercy, France, 20 May 1940. Sergeant D H J Barrett, Leading Aircraftman R J Newberry, Aircraftman 2nd Class M D Dolan, Pilot Officer D F S Holbrook and Acting Flight Lieutenant D W H Owen, report of deaths".

N1380 was one of a force of 77 aircraft from 92 dispatched (32 Wellingtons, 24 Whitleys and 18 Blenheims) which continued the RAF's attempt to halt the German advance in northern France. The missing was Bombing the road/rail communications at Catillon-Hannapes, Julich and bridges over River Oise. 10 Squadron sent six aircraft. Five bombed from low level (2-6,000 feet). 51 Squadron also sent six aircraft, four bombed. 77 Squadron sent seven aircraft. Six bombed, one lost. 102 Squadron sent five aircraft. Four bombed, one lost, which was N1380/DY-R

Five Aircraft were detailed to fly a Mission to destroy bridges across the River Oise in Northern France and to disorganize and interfere with enemy movements.

Whitley N1380 was airborne at 20:29 hours on 20 May 1940 from RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire to bomb a bridge spanning the River Oise at Ribemont. Crashed at 23:30 hours in a wood, the Bois des Mortiers, near Hamegicourt (Aisne), 10 km South South East of St-Quentin, France, a victim to enemy anti-aircraft fire

The mission required low level flying despite the known presence of enemy anti aircraft fire and aircraft. The records reveal all 5 aircraft they reached their targets and completed their tasks. Four of the aircraft returned to Driffield during the early hours of the morning of 21st May. All five crew of Whitley N1380 were killed in action.

Crew of Whitley N1380:
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) David W.H. Owen, RAF 39332, age 22, killed in action 20/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Dennis F.S. Holbrook, RAF 41703, age 20, killed in action 20/05/1940
Sergeant (Observer) Duncan H.J. Barrett, RAF 580865, killed in action 20/05/1940
Leading Aircraftman (Wireless Op.) Reginald J. Newberry, RAF 549885, age 20, 20/05/1940
Aircraftman 2nd Class (Wireless Op./Air Gunner) Michael D. Dolan, RAF 631053, age 19, 20/05/1940

All five crew were buried at Hamegicourt Churchyard, Aisne, France


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1977 p 7)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/446:

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley N1380/DY-R at RAF Driffield North Yorkshire in April 1940 ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1939-1940. ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1939-1940. IWM (C 927)

Revision history:

26-Jul-2019 02:35 Dr. John Smith Added
26-Jul-2019 02:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
26-Jul-2019 11:39 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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