Traces of World War 2 
RAF - 10 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 6 February 2008

10 SQUADRON - Bomber, Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
Bomber Command, No. 4 Group

History | Operations and losses | Sources | Links | Books | Questions and/or remarks

Equipped with Whitleys by the outbreak of the Second World War, No.10 made a leaflet raid on Berlin on 1st/2nd October 1939 (and in so doing became the first RAF aircraft to visit that city in wartime) in very severe weather conditions. Slight enemy opposition was encountered and one of the four aircraft operating failed to return.1

The squadron's first bombing raid of the war was on 19/20th March 1940, when eight Whitleys, each carrying mixed bomb loads of 1,500 lb, attacked the German minelaying seaplane base at Hornum on the island of Sylt. All returned safely.

Italy's declaration of war on 10/11th June 1940 brought a swift reply. The following night the squadron flew from an advanced base in the Channel Isles (Guernsey Airport) through thunderstorms and severe icing to attack the Fiat Works at Turin. One aircraft was struck by lightning and had to abandon the mission because of shock to the rear gunner who had been leaning on his guns, and burns to the wireless operator. One other aircraft failed to return.

The squadron converted to Halifaxes in 1941 and continued to operate with these for the rest of the European war.

1. Three of the Whitleys claimed to have dropped leaflets on Berlin. The other was unable to reach Berlin, disposed of its leaflets over Denmark (thus violating neutrality of that country) and was last heard of approximately 180 miles from St. Abbs Head.

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 31/06/1940
Not all operations are listed, those with losses are

17-18/05/1940: Bremen, D
27-28/05/1940: Ruhr, D
03-04/06/1940: Homberg, D. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA
11/06/1940: Battle area, F. 1 Plane lost, 5 KIA
11-12/06/1940: Genoa and Turin, Italy
19-20/06/1940: Ludwigshafen, D. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA

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17-18/05/1940: Bremen, D

Oil installations in Hamburg and Bremen are attacked by 48 Hampdens and 24 Whitleys respectively. A further 6 Wellingtons bomb railway yards at Cologne while 46 Wellingtons and 6 Hampdens attack German troops in Belgium. No losses.

P4963, ZA-B (F/L A.S.Phillips) badly damaged by Flak, crew unhurt. See also 03-04/06/1940

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27-28/05/1940: Ruhr, D

120 aircraft to a variety targets; 24 Hampdens attack oil refineries near Hamburg and Bremen, 36 Whitleys bomb railway yards in the Ruhr and 35 Wellingtons and 25 Hampdens attack communications behind German lines. No aircraft lost. First German fighter to be shot down by RAF claimed by tail gunner in 10 Sqn Whitley.

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03-04/06/1940: Homberg, D

Whitley Mk.V
Serial number: P4963, ZA-B
Operation: Homberg
Lost: 04/06/1940
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Allan S. Phillips, RAF 39153, WIA
F/O G.L.C. Bagshaw- WIA
Sgt D. Donald- WIA
Sgt Nicholson
Pilot Officer (Air Gnr.) Antony H. Fields (Tony), RAF 43257, 10 Sqdn., age 18, 04/06/1940, Cleethorpes Cemetery, UK
Airborne 21.19 hrs 03/06/1940 from Dishforth. Encountered thick fog on return and crash landed 0345 4Jun40 at Lower Manor Farm, Battisford, 2 miles WSW of Needham Market, Suffolk. P/O Fields was killed in the crash, and three others were admitted to Ipswich Hospital with quite serious injuries. F/L Phillips recovered from his injuries sufficiently well to resume operational flying. He was KIA 21/22Oct40 and is buried in Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.

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11/06/1940: Battle area

Type: Whitley Mk.V
Serial number: P4954, ZA-T
Operation: Battle Area
Lost: 11/06/1940
Sergeant (Pilot) Leslie A. Keast, RAF 564740, 10 Sqdn., age 25, 11/06/1940, Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, F
Pilot Officer (Pilot) David F. Braham, RAFVR 72463, 10 Sqdn., age 25, 11/06/1940, Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, F
Sergeant (Obs.) John J. Myers, RAF 580910, 10 Sqdn., age unknown, 11/06/1940, Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, F
Sergeant (W. Op.) James McD Black, RAF 536996, 10 Sqdn., age 24, 11/06/1940, Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, F
Leading Aircraftman (W. Op) Raymond R.H. Nuttall, RAF 624643 (NZ), 10 Sqdn., age 28, 11/06/1940, Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, F
Airborne 20.47 hours 11/06/1940 from Dishforth. Crashed in the vicinity of Abbeville (Somme), France.

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To mark the entry of the Italians into the war, 36 Whitleys drawn from Nos. 10, 51, 58, 77 and 102 Squadrons were tasked to raid Genoa and Turin during the night of 11 June 1940, although only 13 aircraft actually reached their targets due to a combination of inclement weather and engine troubles.

Eight aircraft of No. 10 Sqdn. ordered to Turin. Five aborted, three bombed.

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19-20/06/1940: Ludwigshafen, D

Type: Whitley Mk.V
Serial number: P4960, ZA-S
Operation: Ludwigshafen, D
Lost: 20/06/1940
Flying Officer (Pilot) Henry V. Smith, RAF 39692, 10 Sqdn., age 25, 20/06/1940, Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk
P/O R.H. Thomas - WIA
Sgt Godfrey
Sgt Roberts - WIA
LAC Cowie
Airborne 2104 19Jun40 from Dishforth. Attacked port facilities at Antwerp, Belgium as a secondary target. On return, and while approaching Honington, Suffolk, from a south-westerly direction the Whitley crashed into a tree at Ampton Park, apx. 3 miles from the airfield. The Whitley broke into sections and caught fire. At the time of the crash, Honington was under air-raid alert and was displaying no airfield illumination.

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Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Lost Bombers - A.W. 38 Whitley
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF History - Bomber Command
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
Rickard, J (17 March 2007), Armstrong Whitworth A.W. 38 Whitley
Rickard, J (1 May 2007), No. 10 Squadron (RAF): Second World War
The Second World War - a day by day account
War over Holland


D C T Bennett 'Pathfinder' (Goodall Publications 1958/88)
W.R. Chorley, Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume 1, 1939/40, Midland Counties Publications, ISBN 0 904597 85 7
Tom Sawyer 'Only owls & bloody fools fly at night'
J G Shirt 'Gordons tour with shiny 10' (Compaid 1994)
Silver 'Last of the gladiators' (Airlife 1995)
Chris Ward '10 Squadron' (Bomber Command Profile no. 3)


Abbreviations used in the Royal Air Force
Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aircraft Directory
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
Canada's Air Force History
HMS Cavalier
Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
CWGC Cemeteries Germany
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots

Dutch Pilots in RAF Squadrons
Eagles Squadrons (American pilots in the RAF)
Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2 aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
RAF Upwood
De Slag om de Grebbeberg
Warbird Alley
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway
The Lancastershire Aircraft Investigation Team
Luftfahrt-Archäologie in Schleswig Holstein (in German)
North East Diary 1939-1945
Wartime Leicester and Leicestershire

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
WW1 Cemeteries

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This page is dedicated to the men of No. 10 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2007-2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to