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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 68458
Last updated: 12 February 2020
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Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:30 Squadron Royal Air Force (30 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K7103
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Khalkis -   Greece
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
On 1 December 1940 three Blenheims from 30 Sqn RAF returning over the mountains to their Greek base from a raid on Valona ran into a severe front which caused ice to begin forming on the wings, badly affecting control of the aircraft. As conditions deteriorated further, the formation leader, Flt Lt Alfred Llewellyn Bocking, a Canadian in the RAF since 1935, started to consider whether or not the crews should all bale out. At that point however, a murky gap in the snow clouds was sighted and Bocking and another pilot managed to dive through it, emerging in clearer air between the whitened mountain-sides, and reached base.

The third pilot, Sgt G. Ratlidge, became separated in the dive, so he attempted to climb over the cloud layer. However, at 20,000 ft his Blenheim I K7103 wallowed so badly that, despite full power and his strenuous efforts, it kept slipping back into the clutches of the cloud, taking on more ice, which soon blocked a carburettor air intake. One engine stopped, flipping the aircraft into an immediate spin in the cloud. Ratlidge ordered his crew to abandon the aircraft but the violent spin had flung the observer’s parachute pack into the well, way out of reach so he could not clip it on. The pilot and the air gunner decided to stay with him aboard the aircraft, which lost 13,000 ft and spun out of the cloud at 7,000 ft into a narrow valley near Khalkis with sheer mountain faces rising into the cloud on either side of them. The pilot recovered from the spin and on sighting a small but rough cultivated area made a successful ’dead-stick’ forced landing on to it - the only possible place to put the aircraft down for miles around. All three crew were safe. The Blenheim was not recovered.

K7103 had been the first Blenheim delivered to RAF in the Middle East, joining 30 Sqn in January 1938 and being used for type trials.


"Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete 1940-1941", by Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia. ISBN 0-948817-07-0
"The Bristol Blenheim: A Complete History", by Graham Warner. ISBN 0-85979-101-7

Related books:

Revision history:

04-Oct-2009 21:06 JINX Added
15-Dec-2014 17:38 Jixon Updated [Operator]
01-Dec-2015 16:38 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
09-Oct-2018 04:59 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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