Accident Bristol Blenheim Mk IV L8744, 28 May 1940
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 228457
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BLEN model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bristol Blenheim Mk IV
Owner/operator:21 Squadron Royal Air Force (21 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L8744
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Clairmarais Forest, 2 km E of St-Omer (Pas-de-Calais) -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Watton, Norfolk
Destination airport:
Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV L8744 (YH-L) 21 Squadron, RAF: Written off (presumed destroyed) 28 May 1940 when lost (failed to return) for combat operations over France. Of the three crew, one was killed, and two survived uninjured. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/630): "Blenheim L8744 shot down at Ghyvelde, east of Dunkirk, France, 28 May 1940. Sergeant A E D Twamley - report of death. Aircraftman 2nd Class S C Thompson and Sergeant R G Bailes - uninjured"

Blenheim L8744 was airborne at 12:30 hrs from RAF Watton, Norfolk. Lost attacking enemy positions in the Clairmarais Forest, immediately East of St. Omer (Pas-de-Calais), France. As stated above, one crew member killed, the other two survived uninjured.
Shot down by Flak during attack on troop concentration East of St Omer at 14:00L.
Crew of Blenheim L8744:
Sergeant (Observer) Arnold Edward Desmond Twamley, RAF 580573 (Ireland), age 19, killed in action 28/05/1940, buried at De Panne Communal Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Sgt R G Bailes (pilot); survived uninjured
AC.1 S C Thompson (Wireless Op./Air Gunner); survived uninjured

Note that the official location of the crash site for Blenheim L8744 is "Ghyvelde, east of Dunkirk, France". This location is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is located on the Belgian border, and just inland from the North Sea at approximate coordinates: 51°03′08″N 2°31′41″E. The unofficial crash location is the "Clairmarais Forest, 2 km E of St-Omer (Pas-de-Calais)" which is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France at approximate Coordinates: 50°46′27″N 2°18′03″E. The two locations are 54.3 km apart. Also, as the sole crew fatality was buried in Belgium, it is possible that Blenheim L8744 actually crashed over the Belgian border, nearer to DePanne.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 59)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/630:

Revision history:

23-Aug-2019 23:46 Dr. John Smith Added
24-Aug-2019 08:24 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
21-Jun-2022 16:31 Anon. Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
22-Dec-2022 10:30 Nepa Updated [Time, Location, Narrative, Operator]
22-Dec-2022 10:31 Nepa Updated [Time, Location, Narrative, Operator]
27-Dec-2022 17:14 Nepa Updated [Time, Location, Narrative, Operator]

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