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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 53860
Last updated: 4 January 2021
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Time:13:07 LT
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk IV
Owner/operator:82 (United Provinces) Squadron Royal Air Force (82 (United Provinces) Sqn RAF)
Registration: R3619
C/n / msn: UX-T
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:De Waard Farm, Cocksdorp, Texel, West Frisian Islands -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Watton, Norfolk
Destination airport:
Bristol Blenheim R3619 ("UX-T") from 82 Squadron based at RAF Watton took off just before noon with its three man crew on the 29th July 1940 to bomb Hansestadt, Bremen, in Germany. Because it was a cloudless day, this lone aircraft was very visible and it was decided that the original plan be scrapped and a closer target of opportunity, Leeuwarden Airfield, was chosen. This turned out to be like sticking your hand into a hornets nest.

After they bombed the target from 2,000 feet (700 metres) there was an immediate scramble of Luftwaffe fighters taking off in high speed pursuit. Before the Blenheim reached the coast and its cloud-cover they were under attack by Bf-109Es of unit II./JG.27 who had only been stationed at Leeuwarden since 12th July that year. In the first attackers' gunfire their wireless operator/gunner Sergeant Keith MacPherson was killed.

The pilot, Flight Lt Keighley did not realise that he himself had sustained leg and other injuries and was wrestling with the controls and thinking they might make it home when suddenly they lost one of their propellers. To avoid ditching in the sea he turned the aircraft towards the Dutch coast. Bill Keighley fortunately made a successful wheels-up landing at the De Waard family's farm at Cocksdorp, on the West Frisian island of Texel. It was only then that he was aware of their dead crew-mate and his own wounds.

After he and his Observer, John Parsons, were captured Flight Lt Keighley was hospitalized and it was six weeks before he was fit enough to be sent on to a POW camp.

His remaining war years were spent at Camps 9AH/L3 (Sagan in former German Lower Silesia (now Poland) and Sgt John William Hammond Parsons to camps L1/L6/357 at Fallingbostel and Niedersachsen in North Germany. Their crewmate Sgt Keith Dalroy MacPherson was buried with full German military honours at Den Burg, Texel on 30th July 1940.

Two different pilots have been named for the destruction of the Blenheim. One was Lt Hans Bosch and the other Lt Herbert Kargel. Another record shows the victor to be Fw W Petermann but that has both the date and the RAF squadron wrong.


1. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/1227:


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Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
15-May-2019 23:17 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
16-May-2019 09:42 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Embed code]
23-Jul-2019 15:09 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Source]
17-Sep-2019 15:50 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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