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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 2658
Last updated: 23 February 2020
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Time:13:30 LT
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:57 Squadron Royal Air Force (57 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L1138
C/n / msn: DX-A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Idar Oberstein, Birkenfeld district, Rhineland-Palatinate -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Metz, France
Destination airport:Metz, France
Bristol Blenheim Mk.1 L1138 (DX-A) of 57 Squadron, RAF. Airborne 11:40 hrs on Friday 13 October 1939 to reconnoitre roads and railways the Hamm-Hannover-Soest areas, shot down by Uffz Stephan Lütjens of 11./JG 53, near near Idar Oberstein, Birkenfeld district, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Two of the three crew were killed, one bailed out injured, captured, and taken as POW.

Pilot: Wing Commander Harry Melville Arbuthnot "Wings" Day RAF (Service Number 5175, Commanding Officer of 57 Squadron at the time) survived, bailed out, injured (burns to face and hands) became PoW No.37 after medical treatment.
Observer: Sgt Eric Bernard Hillier (Service Number 580543, aged 23) - killed in action.
Wireless Op/Air Gunner: AC.2 Frederick George Moller (Service Number 548867) - killed in action.

An investigation into the incident was undertaken in 1947 when a report was written: -

"Investigations were carried out on 27.2.1947 and the following information obtained: - Burgomeister of Langweiller stated that on 13.10.39 at approx 13:30 hrs. a twin engined bomber which was on fire, exploded in mid air over the village. Just before the explosion he saw one airman bale out. The wreckage of the plane was spread over a large area but the main part was in the wood near the village.

He went to the scene of the crash and saw one severely burned body, a few minutes later another body, also severely burned was found 200 metres away. A German doctor identified the bodies and they were removed for burial to Kaiserslautern. The member of the crew who had baled out was caught in a tree and taken into custody first by the police then handed over to the Wehrmacht. he was slightly wounded about the head. The Burgomeister's son confirmed the above and added that the aircraft was a Bristol Blenheim."

Note that the official Air Ministry record file (File AIR 81/27) gives the crash locations as "near Idar Oberstein" but pilot Harry Day himself (in his biography) gives the crash location as "Birkenfeld" (a town and the district seat of the Birkenfeld district in southwest Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany at approximate Coordinates: 49°39′N 7°11′E).


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J./ Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 6)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/27:
3. The Last of the 39-ers: The Extraordinary Wartime Experiences of Squadron Leader Alfie Fripp By Sean Feast p 12
4. Biography of Pilot (Harry Day 1898-1977): Wings Day, by Sydney Smith, story of Wing Commander Harry "Wings" Day, Pan Books, 1968, ISBN 0-330-02494-9

Related books:

Revision history:

25-Feb-2008 02:12 JINX Added
22-Jun-2008 21:17 JINX Updated
21-Oct-2009 10:35 JINX Updated
20-Jul-2011 09:14 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
26-Jun-2013 19:17 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
26-Jun-2013 19:18 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location]
03-Aug-2013 11:59 JINX Updated [Operator, Location, Source]
15-Dec-2014 10:54 Jixon Updated [Operator]
11-Jun-2017 14:25 Uli Elch Updated [Operator, Location]
30-Jul-2017 15:56 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
06-Oct-2018 15:20 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative, Operator]
02-Jun-2019 21:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jun-2019 09:39 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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