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13.06.1940 No.107 Squadron R.A.F Blenheim IV R3616 P/O. Stidston Location: Cauge, France.
Mission: Vernon

Date: 13th June 1940 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 107 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: R3616

Code: OM-?

Base: R.A.F. Wattisham, Suffolk

Location: Caugé, France.

Pilot: P/O. Arthur Frank Stidston 42448 R.A.F. Age ? Killed

Obs: Sgt. Francis Charles Higgins 580577 R.A.F. Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Raymond Browning 537351 R.A.F. Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:


Took off from R.A.F. Wattisham, Suffolk to bomb strategic bridges over the Seine near Vernon, France.
This followed a message from Winston Churchill to the French Premier Raynaud and to general Weygand that the R.A.F. would assist them as much as possible with "maximum effort". During the daylight hours of the 13th June all available Blenheims will be ready to attack and that heavy bombers from England will also be available during the night of 13/14th June.
Weather hampered the available 60 Blenheims and the longer distance meant it difficult to provide fighter cover. The raids were concentrated upon various targets from the advancing Panzers to the bridges across the Seine to try and delay the rapidly advancing German army.
During the day the R.A.F. lost some 11 Fairey Battles and 6 Blenheims. 19 Crew members were killed, 8 injured and a further 15 made p.o.w. 107 squadron lost R3616 after it was shot down by Uffz. Konrad Nellescamp (1) of 5./JG3 in the battle area at about 15.45 hrs.
We hope to have a map of the crash area added to this page once our French researcher has received confirmation from his sources.

(1) This was the 2nd kill for Uffz. Konrad Nellescamp who went on to claim one more before he was killed when shot down by a Spitfire and a Blenheim over the North Sea, north west of Haarlem on the 15th March 1942.

107-squadron-blenheim-iv-r3616-crew-graves-gauge-france
Crew graves (Courtesy Jean-Claude Langevin)

We would appreciate contact from relatives of this crew who maybe able to supply further information / photographs

Burial details:

This crew are the only commonwealth graves in the cemetery at Caugé, France.

P/O. Arthur Frank Stidston. Caugé Communal Cemetery. Grave 3. No further details as yet.

Sgt. Francis Charles Higgins. Caugé Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Son of John and Hetty Kate Higgins, of Hanworth, Middlesex.

Sgt. John Raymond Browning. Caugé Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Son of John Henry and Edith May Browning.

Researched by: Jean-Claude Langevin (A.R. Society) for relatives / friends of this crew. Acknowledgments: With thanks to the following: Tom Kracker - The Kracker Archives", Graham Warner - "The Bristol Blenheim", Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses", the work of the C.W.G.C.
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