In June of 2015, through a remarkable coincidence, I was contacted by by Lionel ‘Rusty’ Russell, a retired RAF pilot who has spent a large chunk of his life researching and writing a book about a single raid on the docks at Rotterdam on 16th July 1941.

In 2 Group, Bomber Command, terms, it was an outstanding success, not only because of the tonnage of shipping claimed as destroyed or damaged, but also because ‘only’ four Blenheims were lost out of the 36 aircraft that attacked the docks.

Wg Cdr Tim Partridge, final photo of run-in, just passing the southeast corner of Waalhaven (Mrs Mary Hurst)
Wg Cdr Tim Partridge, final photo of run-in, just passing the southeast corner of Waalhaven (Mrs Mary Hurst)

Nine brave men lost their lives, including the young and charismatic leader of the Second Wave – Wing Commander Tim Partridge, CO of No 18 Squadron. Also lost was Rusty’s cousin, Sergeant Leonard Mynott, a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner on No 21 Squadron.

After Len’s Blenheim, V6240 (YH:B) of 21 Squadron, had been shot down at 1655 hours, it crashed into Waalhaven – the largest dock in Rotterdam. The wreckage of the Blenheim, and the bodies of two of the crew, Sergeant Eric Bevan (pilot) and Pilot Officer Ralph Slade (observer) were recovered shortly after the crash, but no trace was ever found Sgt. Mynott who is thus commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as having no known grave.

Rusty’s hope is that “Mast High Over Rotterdam will prove a welcome reference for anyone researching those very brave souls who served on Blenheims in No 2 Group, Bomber Command during the Second World War.”

It is a most remarkable work of more than 600 meticulously researched pages. Only one printed copy exists and that will reside in the RAF Museum at Hendon as a reference.  But we are privileged to be able to bring you this book in its entirety on RAFWatton.info.

To ease reading it has been split into three sections accessible from the following links, please note that splitting the book means that the viewer page numbering at the top of the screen in sections 2 and 3 does not correspond to the book’s page numbers. If you are looking for a specific page in those sections, please refer to the page numbers in the document itself:

Rusty’s biographies of some of the men involved in the raid are included under the Roll of Honour section of the site.

I should like to place on record my eternal thanks to Rusty for allowing me to include this remarkable work on RAFWatton.info Please respect Rusty’s Copyright to the work as detail in the first section.

4 thoughts on “Mast High Over Rotterdam by Lionel ‘Rusty’ Russell”

  1. Hello
    George Dvorjetz was my Uncle although he died before I was born so I was thrilled to find the information in ” Mast High over Rotterdam” whilst researching my family tree. My father was Samuel Dvorjetz, George’s older brother. .One point I would like to correct: the book says that George was from a Polish family but my grandparents were Russian and proud to be naturalized British in 1919!
    I visited my Uncles grave in Crooswijk Cemetery in Rotterdam on 4th May 2017, the annual Remembrance Day in the Netherland, to pay my respects. I also found the memorial along the Noordsingel Canal at the site of the crash.

    1. ED: Response from Rusty. . .
      Thank you very much for your enquiry regarding your illustrious uncle, George Dvorjetz. I am delighted that my book has added to your knowledge of a relative whom you did not have the fortune to meet.
      All I know about George is in the biography that I appended in Mast High Over Rotterdam. However, I can add an observation or two! The person who informed me (Wg Cdr Tom Jefferson – who became a close friend) that George was ‘Polish or of Polish extraction’ is fairly easy to explain. When George enlisted in October 1939, Russia had already signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler, so that country was definitely persona non grata, or in fact regarded as an enemy of Britain! If George had informed the authorities of this when he signed on, they would have kicked his application into touch! All members of the Armed Forces are vetted before joining up. So a good cover would have been ‘Polish’, a country that had suffered untold aggression over the years, but more importantly, gave us a copy of the Enigma machine for Bletchley Park! They also most certainly stopped us losing the Battle of Britain, and hence the War! Of course, on 22nd June 1941 (just over three weeks before George was tragically killed) Hitler invaded Russia under Operation Barbarossa, and we became allies for the rest of the War.
      Wg Cdr Tom Jefferson was a few feet to the right of George’s Blenheim when it was shot down. He could vividly recall this very sad occasion. George was teamed up with a really lovely man, Wg Cdr Tim Partridge, a gentle soul and a great CO. I got to know his widow very well.

  2. I am related to Len Mynott. I always knew he passed during WW2 and am forever grateful to his cousin for bringing his story to life. The Mynott family will never forget.
    Carolyn Mynott

  3. Hello,
    I am Alex JS Marsh, only son of Warrant Officer Vernon R Marsh, who features in this great record of the Blenheim missions.
    He, along with Broadley and Ramsey were shot down near Lampedusa on August 3rd 1941, having arrived in Malta only three days earlier.
    If I can assist you with any biographical details or the various memorabilia I have, please let me know.

    Alex Marsh

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