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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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Operation: Reconnaissance

Date: 27th June 1940 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 235 Squadron (Coastal Command) 16 Group (motto: Jaculamur Humi - 'We Strike Them to the Ground'.

Type: Blenheim IVF

Serial: L9447

Code: LA-Y

Base: RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk

Location: Hoogen Dijk, Waverveen, Netherlands

Pilot: P/O. John Richard Cronan NZ/42109 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Aubrey Owen Lancaster 755199 RAFVR Injured PoW No: 81 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Philip Laurence Lloyd 551596 RAF Age 19. Killed


Taking off at 12:55 hrs with 5 others on a reconnaissance patrol of Zuider Zee (IJsselmeer). They crossed the coast at Noordwijk and turned north east towards Amsterdam. At around 15:00 hrs they were intercepted by Me109's south of Schiphol.

It is thought that they were hit by either Uffz. Wilhelm Schilling of 3./JG21 or Oblt. Roloff von Aspern, Staffelkapitän of 2./JG76. The machine guns hit and mortally wounded Sgt. Lloyd, the pilot was hit in the shoulder and his observer hit in his left leg. Sgt. Lancaster tried to pull P/O. Cronan away from the controls but the pilot recovered and tried to regain control of the Blenheim.

The controls had been rendered useless during the attack so he ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. P/O. Cronan left through the open canopy but struck his head on the tailplane and never managed to open his parachute. Sgt. Lloyd was found with severe burns and died shortly afterwards. (some reports state that he never left the aircraft)

On landing Sgt. Lancaster managed to walk to a farm where he was treated to his wounds by a doctor and a nurse before being taken PoW. The aircraft crashed at location shown.

4 of the 6 failed to return, the others:

20 year old, P/O. Alan Roger Wales 41968 RAF, from London. Flying Blenheim IV N3543 LA-U.

20 year old, P/O. Peter Weil 41971 RAF, from Tadworth, Surrey. Flying Blenheim IV P6957 LA-R

23 year old, Hugh Spicer Pardoe-Williams 41974 RAF, From Exeter. Flying Blenheim IV P6958 LA-D all with crews of and all killed.

Burial details:

Initially buried at Waverveen cemetery on the July 1st 1940, but reinterred in 1953.

P/O. John Richard Cronan. Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Grave 8. H. 8. Born on the 13th August 1918 at Simla, India. Son of Cyril Preston Cronan and Phyllis Lawrence Cronan, of Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Philip Laurence Lloyd. Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Grave 8. H. 9. Son of James and Laura Lloyd, of Conway, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Grave inscription: 'A Dear Son And Brother. Loving Memories Across The Years Will Come'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Luchtoorlog, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, Traces of War, Ross McNeill 'Coastal Command Losses Vol 1', other sources as quoted below:

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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