Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 113 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

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113 SQUADRON - Bomber, Blenheim

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No. 113 reformed at Upper Heyford on 18 May 1937 as a day bomber unit with Hinds. In April 1938 it left for the Middle East, converting to Blenheims in June 1939. After Italy joined the war in June 1940, the Squadron carried out bombing raids on Italian bases in Libya before moving to Greece in March 1941. There it was overtaken by the German invasion and lost all its aircraft, the Squadrons personnel being evacuated to Crete and Egypt.

Bombing operations began in June 1941 but the after the outbreak of war in the Far East the Squadron was moved to Burma where it attacked Japanese columns until it was evacuated to Calcutta in March 1942. From Assam No. 113 bombed Japanese communications and airfields until it converted to Hurricanes in March 1943. These were used for ground-attack duties being replaced by Thunderbolts in April 1945 which were flown until the Squadron was disbanded on 15 October 1945.

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed; those with fatal losses are.

11/06/1940: El Adem, Libya. 1 Plane lost, 3 POW
24/06/1940: ? 1 MIA
29/06/1940: El Gubbi, Libya. 3 Planes lost, 3 POW, 5 or 6 MIA

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Losses 01/01/1940 - 09/05/1940 (incomplete)

Leading Aircraftman Arthur R. Martin, RAF 528493, 113 Sqdn., age 31, 04/04/1940, L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, France (see also 223 Sqdn)

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11/06/1940: El Adem, Libya

At dawn Blenheim Bombers of 45, 55, and 113 squadrons made an early morning bombing and straffing attack on the Italian airfield at El Adem. Libya. Sgt Shelton states: 'Several aircraft on the ground were bombed and the ground crew machine-gunned'. Three aircraft failed to return one of which was 113 squadron L4823 MkIV. 'All the other 113 sqdn aircraft returned safely except for holes caused by shrapnel'. The attack was repeated later that day and 18 enemy aircraft in total were destroyed on the ground. (see also 113 Squadron Timeline)

Bristol Blenheim Mk IV
Serial number: L4823, VA-?
Operation: El Adem
Lost: 11/06/1940
F/Lt D Beauclair, WIA, POW
W/O H. Owen - WIA, POW
Sgt J Dobson - WIA, POW
Shot down by fighters on return from El Adem, all crew members were injured (burns) and became POW's.

On the very same day as the incident 11/06/40 AC2 Sgt Bernard Shelton (B Flight) records in his diary the following: 'We lost one machine the crew being P/O Beauclair, Sgt Owen and L.A.C. Dobson. Their aircraft landed in flames behind the enemy lines, but all escaped injury. We have since learned that they walked all day towards our lines but were captured. They are now lodged in a hotel at Ben Ghazi.'

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24/06/1940: see 29/06, L8522

Leading Aircraftman James P. Toner, RAF 610188, 113 Sqdn., age unknown, 24/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial, Egypt

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29/06/1940: El Gubbi, Libya

At sunrise on 29 June nine Blenheims of 113 Sqdn. bombed the airfield of Tobruk T2. Three CR.32s of 93a Squadriglia, 8o Gruppo, 2o Stormo C.T. and three CR.42s of 77a Squadriglia, 13o Gruppo, 2o Stormo C.T. scrambled under the falling bombs to intercept them.

Bristol Blenheim Mk IV
Serial number: L8436, VA-?
Operation: El Gubbi
Lost: 29/06/1940
P/O D. Pike, PoW
Sgt R. Lidstone, PoW
Sgt J. Taylor, PoW
Damaged by flak while bombing El Gubbi and ditched into sea off Bardia. Crew members rescued and taken POW.

Sgt Bernard Shelton was a friend of the Air Gunner on L8436 and comments in a letter home: 'The pilot tried to get it back over the border, but failed and they came down in the Mediterranean and the crew were picked up by the Italian Navy. Apparently the crew are now being held prisoners of war in Libya'.

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Type: Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Serial number: L8447, VA-?
Operation: El Gubbi
Lost: 29/06/1940
Flying Officer Walter R.P.K. Mason, RAFVR 70450, 113 Sqdn., age 31, 29/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial, Egypt. Clerk in Holy Orders.
Sergeant James G. Juggins, RAF 562162, 113 Sqdn., age 28, 29/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Sergeant George K. Biggins, RAF 550227, 113 Sqdn., age 21, 29/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Shot down in flames by fighters.

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Type: Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Serial number: L8522, VA-?
Operation: El Gubbi
Lost: 29/06/1940
Flight Sergeant Ralph H. Knott, RAF 590277, 113 Sqdn., age 27, 29/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Sergeant James D. Barber, RAFVR 745841, 113 Sqdn., age 22, 29/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
The third crew member is according to the 113 Squadron website Leading Aircraftman James P. Toner, RAF 610188 - who the CWGC lists as missing on 24/06/1940.
Shot down in flames by Italian fighters.

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113 Squadron
Air of Authority - 113 Squadron
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database
Australian War Memorial
Bail-outs for 1940
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The invasion of British Somaliland, by Bill Stone
Middle East - the opening rounds (from the RAF 1939-1945)
New Zealanders in the Royal Air Force (Vol III) - Africa and Middle East
Prisoners of War captured in Europe 1940
Royal Air Force - 113 Squadron
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

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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)
Foreign Aircraft Landings in Ireland 1939-1946
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

Aircraft crashes on the North Yorkshire Moors, England
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 113 Squadron.

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