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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 230015
Last updated: 15 June 2020
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Time:12:15 LT
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:236 Squadron Royal Air Force (236 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L6639
C/n / msn: FA-J
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Villerville, Calvados, Normandy -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Thorney Island, Emsworth, Hampshire
Destination airport:
Bristol Blenheim Mk.I L6339, (FA-J) 236 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) when lost (Failed To Return) from air operations over Northern France. Both crew killed. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/1139): "Blenheim L6639 crashed at sea off the French coast, 18 July 1940. Pilot Officer R H Rigby and Sergeant D D MacKinnon: report of deaths"

P/O Rigby joined 236 Squadron at Stradishall on 6th November 1939. Took off from RAF Thorney Island, Emsworth, Hampshire at 11:20 hrs on 18 July 1940 .He failed to return from a photographic-reconnaissance operation over Le Havre in Blenheim L6639. The weather was bad and intense flak was encountered over Cap de la Hague though it is believed the aircraft was shot down by a Me109 of 2/JG 2 at about 12:15 hrs. Wireless Op/Air Gunner Sgt D D Mackinnon was also lost. Rigby was 24. He is buried in Sainte Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, France. Sgt D D MacKinnon was 21. He is buried in Villerville Communal Cemetery, France.

Crew of Blenheim L6639:
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Robert Harold Rigby, RAF 41249, aged 24 - killed in action 18/07/1940, buried at Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France
Sergeant (Air Gunner) Donald Duncan Mackinnon, RAF 745928, aged 21 - killed in action 18/07/1940, buried at Villerville Communal Cemetery, Calvados, Normandy, France

It is notable that the two crew were buried in different cemeteries; this is probably related to where the bodies were washed shore. Two Blenheims of 236 Squadron were lost on this operation - L6779 and L6639 - and both crew of both aircraft were killed in action


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 46)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/1139:

Related books:

Revision history:

17-Oct-2019 15:08 Dr. John Smith Added
27-Oct-2019 22:16 Anon. Updated [Operator, Operator]

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