11 August, 1940
Bristol Blenheim Mk IV (T1850 - code OM-?)
Mission over Dinard (35)
(contributors : Daniel Dahiot, Jean-Louis Roba, France-Crashes 39-45).
Blenheim Mark IVFs No. 254 Squadron RAF, in flight over Northern Ireland
© IWM (CH 2992)
Crew (no 107 Squadron RAF) :
- Squadron Leader (pilot) John Bernard FYFE, DFC - 33 years old, MIA (service number 24208)
Son of David Adam and Mary Jane (Dickenson) FYFE,
husband of Katherine Georgina FYFE.
Memorial Runnymede, P4 (UK)
John Bernard FYFE
photo : number59squadron.com
- Sergeant (observer) Philip Bernard TAYLOR - MIA (service number 581362)
Memorial Runnymede, P20 (UK)
- Sergeant (wireless operator - air gunner) Thomas Oliver PRICE - 23 years old, MIA (service number 638145)
Fils of John and Frances Maud PRICE.
Memorial Runnymede, P18 (UK)
We don't know that much about this disappearance. The only information we have is that the aircraft had taken off from RAF Wattisham, Suffolk, England, at 12:40 p.m. The mission was to attack Dinard airfield. The aircraft was shot down by Lt Erich Bodendieck of 4./JG 53, for whom this was the 1st victory.
John Bernard FYFE
(source : number59squadron.com)
In 1939, Squadron Leader FYFE was Commanding Officer of No. 59 Sqn RAF in France. Returning in May 1940 to England, he was posted to No. 107 Sqn.. His son, Malcom FYFE, testifies : "My father was based at RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment) Farborough prior to taking up as CO of 59 Squadron at Old Sarum in 1937. I have some memories of that time, the quarters, the Hawker Hectors and the arriving Blenheims. We then moved to Andover where we were when war broke out and we were given our marching orders to a life of wandering until 1947. Of course, as you will know, my father moved to 107 Squadron at Wattisham when 59 Squadron returned from France. He then was lost in August 1940 at which time his CO was Australian Hughie Edwards VC.".
Articles from the London Gazette give us some additional information :
- December 1927 : "(J.B. FYFE) granted short service commission as a Pilot Officer on probation - effective 31st Dec. 1927. Later confirmed in rank 3rd April 1929.
- 2 July 1929 : John was promoted from the rank of Pilot Officer to Flying officer, effective 9th May 1929.
- 7 December 19374 : Flight Lieutenant promoted to the rank of Squadron leader - effective 1st Dec. 1937.
The magazine Flight dated April 19, 1936 informs us : "Flight Lieutenant John Bernard Fyfe DFC was granted a Permanent Commision in the general duties branch.".
The Operational Recod Book (O.R.B.) for August 1940 informs us that on August 11, several aircrafts were sent to attack airfields in Holland, France (Brest, Dinard, Caen) and Guernsey. Several of them were unable to carry out their mission due to heavy cloud cover. Two planes attacked Dinard that day. One, flown by Pilot Officer OTTERWAY, dropped a bomb in the center of the airfield and fires were started by incendiary bombs to the South-East and South-West of the site. The other aircraft was flown by Squadron Leader FYFE. He is reported as failing to return from mission (see below).
Source 'The National Archives'