Video: 1995 – The discovery, and recovery of Blenheim R3821 UX-N

Don Macfarlane remembers:

On 17th May, 1940, twelve aircraft of 82 Squadron, based at Watton, in Norfolk, took off to attack troop concentrations at Gembloux, Belgium, where the German army was sweeping West towards the Channel ports. Eleven of them were shot down and the survivor, badly damaged, managed to reach Watton, but it was written off due to the damage sustained. Fortunately, for me, my name did not appear on the flying programme for that day! Shortly afterwards, replacement crews and aircraft arrived at the Station, including R3821, which was painted with the wartime 82 Squadron code – UX, and given the individual letter – N.

Pictured is R3821 with left to right, Sgt. Don A.W. McFarlane, Observer, Sgt. Peter K. Eames, Wireless operator/airgunner and Pilot Officer Donald M. Wellings, Pilot, in flying kit by R 3821.  On 22 October1940, Eames and McFarlane were awarded the D.F.M., Wellings the D.F.C. 

Pictured is R3821 with left to right, Sgt. Don A.W. McFarlane, Observer, Sgt. Peter K. Eames, Wireless operator/airgunner and Pilot Officer Donald M. Wellings, Pilot, in flying kit by R 3821. On 22 October 1940, Eames and McFarlane were awarded the D.F.M., Wellings the D.F.C.

Unluckily for her, (if I may call a beautiful aircraft “her”) she lasted only from May to August, and was lost on 13th August when eleven aircraft of 82 Squadron were shot down during a raid to Aalborg aerodrome in Northern Denmark. This time my crew did appear on the flying programme, but by an amazing stroke of luck, we were informed as we were running up the engines, that all three of us had been posted, and that the spare crew would take our places. They did not return.

The total flying life of R382l amounted to some 45 hours and I was privileged to fly in her for just over 36 of those hours, mainly with the same Pilot and Wireless Operator/Airgunner. Most of the operations we carried out in her were pretty standard at that time, North Sea sweeps, and attacks on the German army overrunning NW Europe, but possibly of interest are two which are highlighted in my memory”

In 1995, while laying a cable across Aalborg airfield, the trenching machine caught the tip of a propeller. The video below, shows what happened when the Danish Police, led by our great friend Ole Ronnest, investigated the discovery  of R3821 (the actual aircraft in the picture above) in September 1995.

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