26 August 1940

26 August 1940

Northern Front

Since his return to Sudan, No.223 (RAF) Squadron tqke off for its first mission when five Vickers Wellesley leave to attack the Asmara airfield between 06h00 and 10h00. The opposing reaction is intense with a strong anti-aircraft defense, as well as two Fiat CR.42 from the 412 Squadriglia CT. During the fight, a fighter is claimed damaged, while Tenente Mario Visintini claims a bomber [1]. Indeed, the Vickers Wellesley K7731 (Pilot Officer Joseph C. Smitheram [2], Sergeant Denis F. Shaller [3], Leading Aircraftman Meads [4]) crashed without the crew being able to jump. [5]

Pilot Officer Joseph Colin Smitheram, No.223 (RAF) Squadron. Source : Ancien Combattants Canada – Mémorial Virtuel du Guerre du Canada.

A little earlier in the morning, at 05h30, the Bristol Blenheim Mk IVF L9218 (Flying Officer Stanley C. Pendred [6], Flying Officer Frank M. Hunter [7], Leading Aircraftman Walter Love [8]) is sent for a reconnaissance of the Assab – Mille sector. However, the aircraft not returnn and the Glenn Marin 167-F No. 82 (Flight Lieutnant Jacques Dodelier, Warrant Officer Yves Trecan, Flying Officer Pierre Fenot de Maismont, Flight Sergeant Robert Cunibil) is sent on research, though without success.

[1] H. Gustavsson et L. Slongo, Gladiator vs CR.42 Falco (1940 – 1941), Oxford, Osprey Publishing, 2012, p. 42.

[2] « Casualty details :  Smitheram, Joseph Colin », Commonwealth War Graves Commission : http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2272220/SMITHERAM,%20JOSEPH%20COLIN ;  « In memory of Pilot Officer Joseph Colin Smitheram, who died on August 26, 1940 », Canadian Virtual War Memorial : http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/2272220

[3] « Casualty details :  Shaller, Denis Frederick », Commonwealth War Graves Commission : http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2272215/SHALLER,%20DENIS%20FREDERICK

[4] The latter may have survived since his name does not appear on the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

[5] « 26 august 1940 » 223 Squadron RAF : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541), op. cit.; C. Shores et C. Ricci, Dust Clouds in the Middle East, op. cit., p. 57; J. Sutherland et D. Canwell, Air War East Africa, the RAF versus the Italian Air Force, op. cit., p. 65.

[6] « Casualty details :  Pendred, Stanley Clifton », Commonwealth War Graves Commission : http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2272185/PENDRED,%20STANLEY%20CLIFTON

[7] « Casualty details :  Hunter, Frank MacDonald », Commonwealth War Graves Commission : http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2272103/HUNTER,%20FRANK%20MACDONALD

[8] « Casualty details :  Love, Walter », Commonwealth War Graves Commission : http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2272130/LOVE,%20WALTER

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