3 September 1940

3 September 1940

Northern Front


The RAF has more and more difficulty organizing “massive” attacks, except by regrouping all its Squadrons. For example, No.47 (RAF) Squadron aligns only two Vickers Wellesley during a bombing raid on Kassala, where bombs are reported falling on several buildings. However, an additional aircraft (K7729) is flown from Egypt by Flight Lieutenant J. Stewart [1].

Finally, No.8 (RAF) Squadron loses Pilot Officer Derek N. Janes [2], transferred to India [3]. The latter was injured when the Bristol Blenheim Mk I L8506 was severely damaged ,and forced to a forced landing in Djibouti on 11 July 1940, by two Fiat CR.32 of the 410 Squadriglia CT. It is interesting to note that the The crew had, therefore, been authorized by the local French authorities to return to Aden.


Front Sud


After a long break, No.12 (SAAF) Squadron sends three Junkers Ju.86 to bomb Yabelo airfield in southern Ethiopia. The anti-aircraft defense is, however, intense as No. 654 is hit and crashes, killing all of its crew (Lieutenant Robert G. Donaldson[4] ; Warrant Officer Patrick W. Byrnes[5] ; Air Sergeant Cornelius F. Maritz[6] et James V. Penberthy[7] ; Air Gunner Alexander A. Cusens[8] et Francois P. du Toit[9] ; Air Mechanic I.D. du Plessis[10]).

The Junkers Ju 86 No. 641, former ZS-ANI. This aircraft is the only copy of the K-1 version purchased by SAAF. The belly gunner position specific to this version will be quickly adapted to the other Z-5 models. This aircraft, having served with No. 13 (SAAF) Squadron for maritime patrols and join No.12, then to No. 16. He will be lost following an accident to Debra Tabor on 23 September 1941, with No. 5 (SAAF) Coastal Flight. Source : SAAF WW2 Heritage Site – Lawrie Shuttleworth, via Tinus Le Roux.


This is the first losses of the Squadron since its deployment in Kenya [11]. A Fairey Battle of No.11 (SAAF) Squadron is sent shortly thereafter for photographic reconnaissance, confirming the destruction of three Caproni Ca.133 on the airfield [12].

[1] « 3 septembre 1940 » 47 Squadron RAF : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541), op. cit.

[2] « Casualty details :  Janes, Derek Norman », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2259494/JANES,%20DEREK%20NORMAN

[3] « 3 septembre 1940 » 8 Squadron RAF : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541), op. cit.

[4] « Casualty details :  Donaldson, Robert Graham », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2160138/DONALDSON,%20ROBERT%20GRAHAM

[5] « Casualty details :  Brynes, Patrick William Westley », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2160042/BYRNES,%20PATRICK%20WILLIAM%20WESTLEY

[6] « Casualty details :  Maritz, Cornelius », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2160824/MARITZ,%20CORNELIUS

[7] « Casualty details :  Penberthy, James Victor », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2157459/PENBERTHY,%20JAMES%20VICTOR

[8] « Casualty details :  Cusens, Alexander Adolphus », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2160095/CUSENS,%20ALEXANDER%20ADOLPHUS

[9] « Casualty details :  Du Toit, Francois Petrius », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2160151/DU%20TOIT,%20FRANCOIS%20PETRIUS

[10] « Casualty details :  Du Plessis, I D », Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2160150/DU%20PLESSIS,%20I%20D

[11] « 3 septembre 1940 et Operation Order No 30 » 12 Bomber Squadron SAAF, War Dirary, op. cit.; W. Brent, 85 tears of South African Air Force (1920 – 2005), op. cit., p. 62; J.-A. Brown, A gathering of eagles, the campaigns of the South African Air Force in Italian East Afica (1940 – 1941), op. cit., p. 64; S. McLean, Squadron of the South African Air Force and their aircraft (1920 – 2005), op. cit., p. 130 à 131; C. Shores et C. Ricci, Dust Clouds in the Middle East, op. cit., p. 58; J. Sutherland et D. Canwell, Air War East Africa, the RAF versus the Italian Air Force, op. cit., p. 65.

[12] « 3 septembre 1940 » Narrative northern operations SAAF, September 1940, Kew – TNA, AIR 54 / 8.

Leave a Reply