26 October 1940
On the northern front, an air incident is close to turning to tragedy for No.14 (RAF) Squadron. The unit is still in training on the Bristol Blenheim Mk IV. For this purpose, the Squadron Leader Deryck C. Stapleton is responsible for testing the Bristol Blenheim T2057 in flight. He is however surprised by a Gloster Gladiator of K Flight which having taken off following the announcement of the approach of Italian bombers. Pilot Officer Geoffrey B. Smither (K7948) thinks he is dealing with a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 and immediately attacks the unfortunate Bristol Blenheim. The attack is a success as Squadron Leader Deryck C. Stapleton is quickly wounded in the arm and wrist. He managed, however, to crashed-landing with his aircraft on Port Sudan. The damage is such that the Bristol Blenheim is struck off. At the hospital, Deryck C. Stapleton receives the visit of the pilot who comes to apologize. They are accepted on the condition of immediately drinking half a pint of vinegar mixed with tonic water.
Crash-landing of a Bristol Blenheim of No.14 (RAF) Squadron (Port Sudan). Collection : No.14 (RAF) Squadron Association.