Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 39 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 11 March 2008

39 SQUADRON - Bomber, Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV

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

No. 39 Squadron received Blenheims in August 1939, following which the squadron transferred to Singapore. Returning to India in April 1940,it was intended that the squadron should carry on to the Middle East but was diverted to Aden instead. From here it operated against Italian targets in East Africa until November 1940 when it moved to Egypt.

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

28/06/1940: Macaaca (Masaala) airfield
29/06/1940: Raid on Diredawe. 1 Plane lost, 1 MIA

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28/06/1940: Macaaca (Masaala) airfield

In the afternoon on 27 June a Blenheim of 39 Squadron flown by Squadron Leader Bowman led three Gladiators of 94 Squadron to Perim Island from where they were to make a dawn attack on Assab's Macaaca (Masaala) airfield.

At dawn next day Bowman's Blenheim and two of the Gladiators (N2279 and N2294) took off from Perim Island to attack a fuel dump at Assab. The Blenheim bombed, but missed. The Gladiators flown by Squadron Leader 'Freddie' Wightman and Pilot Officer Carter then set fire to some 100 drums of alcohol and petrol. The three British aircraft made good their escape before any opposition was encountered.

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29/06/1940: Raid on Diredawe

Bristol Blenheim Mk. I
Serial number: L4920, XZ-?
Operation: Raid on Diredawe
Lost: 29/06/1940
P/O. D. Hunter (Pilot) - injured
Sgt R. Ellis (Obs) - injured
Sergeant [W. Op/Air Gunner] Reginald Olley, RAF 520817, 39 sqdn., age 23, 29/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial
Damaged by CR.42 in raid on Diredawe; force landed in Somalia. P/O Hunter and Sgt Ellis were rescued by Somali Field Force; LAC R. Olleydied of his injuries.

Source: Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim A complete History', via Peter Clare.

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Air of Authority - 39 Squadron
Bail-outs for 1940
Biplane Fighter Aces - Group Captain William Taylor Forest 'Freddie' Wightman DFC
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
New Zealanders in the Royal Air Force (Vol III) - Africa and Middle East
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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Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim A complete History', Crecy Publishing; 2 edition (2006)

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This page is dedicated to the men of 39 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