21.06.1940 No 42 Squadron Beaufort I L9810 F/O. Barrie-Smith Location: North sea – off Bergen Norway. +
Mission: Scharnhorst

Date: 21st June 1940 (Friday)

Unit: No. 42 Squadron Coastal Command

Type: Beaufort I

Serial: L9810

Code: AW-M

Base: Wick, Scotland

Location: North sea - off Bergen Norway.

Pilot: F/O. William Barrie-Smith 39178 R.A.F. Age ? Killed

Navigator: P/O. Murray Anderson Butler 42103 R.A.F. Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William John Bates 567448 R.A.F. Age 21. Killed

W/Radar/Op: Sgt. Frederick Dale 508348 R.A.F. Age 30. Killed


Part of Coastal Command and using Bristol Beaufort equipped with torpedo's. They moved to Wick to take part in the attacks on the German Navy.
Took off at 14.25 hrs with eight other Beaufort's to attack the Scharnhorst which was based at the time at Trondhjem. The aircraft were armed for this raid with armour piercing bombs and dive bombed the huge Battle-Cruiser. The raid although not a total success did hit the ship with 3 bombs and had to return for repairs to Kiel - taking her out of action for about 6 months.

The Squadron were attacked by Bf109's from II./JG77 and three Beaufort's were shot down with all 12 crew members losing their lives.

F/O. William Barrie-Smith (Courtesy Andrew Stiles)

42 Squadron Beaufort

L9810 was lost after being attacked by two 109's and then managed to catch up with the formation when the starboard undercarriage suddenly dropped and the engine burst into flames - the aircraft then crashed into the sea. Some two months later (23.08.40 )the body of P/O. Butler was washed ashore on Madsbol beach. The police arrived and under the control of Ass/Chief Constable Poulsen of Thisted Police arrived to take charge of the situation. This proving difficult as two mines were also washed up at the same time! The body was removed without incident, identified and laid to rest in Hjaardemaal Klit Churchyard four days later. Also Lost on this raid: L4486 AW-C, flown by F/O. Herbert John Seagrim. L4501 AW-A, flown by P/O. Alan George Rigg. Further information including photographs will be added to this article over the coming weeks as the Society are planning to visit the relatives.

Scharnhorst (Courtesy Bundesarchives)

Burial details:

F/O. William Barrie-Smith. Runnymede Memorial Panel 5. No further details as yet.

P/O. Murray Anderson Butler. Hjaardemaal Klit Churchyard Grave 16. Son of Floyd Allison Butler and Isabelle Mignonette Butler, of Newcastle, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. William John Bates (Cpl. at date of loss). Haugesund (Rossebo) Var Frelsers Cemetery British Plot. J.13 Son of John and Hilda Alice Bates, of Porchester, Fareham, Hampshire.

Sgt. Frederick Dale (Cpl. at date of loss). Runnymede Memorial Panel 13. Son of George and Alice Dale; husband of Elsie May Dale, of Docking, Norfolk.

For the son of Sgt. Dale, Barry and relatives of the other crew members. Acknowledgments: With thanks to the following: Ross McNeill - "Coastal Command Losses", the C.W.G.C.
The family of Sgt Dale would be very interested in hearing from other relatives with any further information. Please contact us and we will be pleased to forward this on to them.

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