07.06.1940 12 Squadron Battle I P2162 PH:Q Sgt. Frederick J. Field
Date: 7th June 1940 (Friday)
Unit: 12 Squadron
Type: Fairey Battle I
Base: Sougé, France.
Location: St-Valéry, France
Pilot: Sgt. Frederick James Field 535052 RAF Age 24. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Herbert Cyril Claude Bevan 563098 RAF Age 26. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Frederick Walter MacKrell 751949 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The operation called for nine aircraft to carry out bombing attacks on tanks, armoured field units and troops in the Poix area. P2162 took off at 17:28 hrs from the forward operating base at Echimines, France.
During then raid Plt Off. Charles Norman McVeigh’s Battle I, L5420 was attacked by six Bf109s, and L2162 by two Bf109s. Plt Off. McVeigh was able to throw off the enemy aircraft, but L2162 went down in flames, accompanied by three Bf109s.
Sgt. Odell, DFM, Plt Off. McVeigh’s observer reported that his air gunner, LAC C. Landon was responsible for shooting down at least one of the Bf109s.
Sgt Edward Nelson Odell's DFM was awarded whilst with 12 Sqn, London Gazetted 31st May 1940. Citation reads: 513884 Sergeant Edward Nelson ODELL. 550950 Corporal Robert Tod TOMLINSON. These airmen acted as air observer and wireless operator-air gunner respectively in an aircraft piloted by Flight Lieutenant Simpson engaged on a low level bombing attack on enemy troops and convoys. After the attack a petrol leak compelled a forced landing, and the aircraft caught fire. These, airmen, without thought for their own safety, immediately went to the aid of the pilot (who was enveloped in flames) and pulled him clear of the aircraft which afterwards exploded. Valuable photographs of the bombing and convoy were obtained by Corporal Tomlinson.
Plt Off. Blowfield, flying Battle I L5237 saw these eight Bf109s pass 600 ft below him on way to the target area. Sgt. J. Wheeldon flying I L5415 was also attacked by one Bf109 with machine gun and cannon fire, which damaged the port wing, elevator and tail plane. All aircraft and crew returned safely to base except for Sgt. Field and his crew.
On the 14th June 1940 Plt Off. Philip Harvey Blowfield’s Battle I L5396 was shot down at Coulonges. His gunner LAC David Laing Grant was KiA. Plt Off. Blowfield and his observer, Sgt. Batty, set out on an attempt to evade capture. Sgt. J.J.C. Batty succeeded in reaching England where he report that Plt Off. Blowfield had been shot and killed by machine gun fire from a German Panzer . This happened near les Minières about 8 km NW of where they had crashed.
Sgt. James John Castleman Batty was to be killed on the 8th February 1941 on a training flight when 12 Sqn Wellington II W5365 stalled and crashed at Tollerton.
It is possible that P2162 was shot down by either Fw. Heinzeller or Uffz. Freitag which crashed and burnt out at St-Valéry, at 18:10 hrs.
Above St. Valery-En-Caux Franco-British Cemetery (courtesy Kate Tame)
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Sgt. Frederick James Field. St. Valery-En-Caux Franco-British Cemetery. Coll. grave A, 24-26. Son of Frederick Charles and Meta Field, of Newmarket, Suffolk, England.
Sgt. Herbert Cyril Claude Bevan.. St. Valery-En-Caux Franco-British Cemetery. Coll. grave A, 24-26. Born in the 3rd Qtr of 1913 in Kensington, London. Son of Albert Eustace and Charlotte (née Carmichael) Bevan from London, England.
His mother predeceased him in September 1939 and his father passed away in May 1942.
Sgt. John Frederick Walter MacKrel. St. Valery-En-Caux Franco-British Cemetery. Coll. grave A, 24-26. Son of Frederick John and Minnie MacKrell, of Frimley, Surrey, England.
Researched for relatives of these crews with thanks for additional information to Peter Cornwell - 'Battle of France Then and Now'. Thanks also to Aircrew Volunteer Kate Tame for the grave photographs taken during her visit in 2012. Updated with information researched by Aircrew Remembered and John Jones (Oct 2021). Other sources below.