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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 225715
Last updated: 17 January 2022
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Date:20-SEP-1939
Time:11:47 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic bttl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Fairey Battle Mk I
Owner/operator:88 Squadron Royal Air Force (88 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K9242
MSN: F.2380
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:West of Saarbrücken-Merzig, Merzig-Wadern, in Saarland -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Mourmelon-Le-Grand, France
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Fairey Battle Mk.1 K9242 ("RH-B") of 88 Squadron, RAF: Lost on combat operations on 20th September 1939; three Fairey Battle bombers of 88 Squadron based at Mourmelon-Le-Grand in France as part of the RAF Advanced Air Striking Force (A.A.S.F.) took off at 10 am for a recce flight over Aachen. The aircraft were fired on by French anti-Aircraft guns before they crossed the border.

Over Aachen they were engaged by three Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. Battle K9245 flown by Flight Sgt D.A. Page with crewmen Sgt A.W. Eggington and AC1 W.A.W. Radford was shot down, quickly followed by Battle K9242 flown by Flying Officer R.C. Graveley with crewmen Sgt W.S. Everett and AC1 D.J. John

Battle K9242 crashed on fire at 11:47 am local time, and crashed west of Saabrucken, after interception by Hptmn Wilheim Leesman of the Luftwaffe in a Bf 109-D. Reginald Graveley had managed to crash land his shattered craft and despite severe burns dragged his wounded observer Sgt Everett to a safe distance from the burning wreck. He returned for AC.1 David John but found him dead at his gun with a bullet through the head and Graveley was unable to retrieve his body. Graveley and Everett were rescued but despite having his leg amputated the Sergeant died of his wounds that day. Graveley was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal in December by the King who was touring France. This award was later converted to the George Cross on its inception with the following description in the London Gazette.

"This officer displayed great gallantry and a total disregard of his own safety when the aircraft of which he was the pilot was shot down by an enemy fighter in September 1939, and crashed in flames. Though badly burned, he pulled his wounded air observer from the wreckage to a place of safety and then returned to rescue the gunner. He found the airman dead however, and was unable to lift him from the cockpit."

Crew of Battle K9242:
Flying Officer Reginald "Reg" Gravely (pilot) - survived injured, as per above
Sgt William Stanley Everett (Observer, Service Number 563100, aged 26) - Killed (Died of Injuries sustained)
AC.1 David Joshua John (Wireless Op/Air Gunner, Service Number 531085 aged 22) - killed

All of the dead are buried at Choloy War cemetery.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1976 p 76)
2. The Battle File, Sidney Shail, Air Britain 1997 p 131
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/13: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14141992
4. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2319724/everett,-william-stanley/
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2319800/john,-david-joshua/
6. http://www.dingeraviation.net/skuaroc/first_blood.htm
7. http://www.vconline.org.uk/reginald-c-graveley-egm/4589206849
8. http://www.oldhaltonians.co.uk/pages/rememb/ROH/19.htm
9. http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=1837
10. http://boredhistorian.blogspot.com/2015/09/first-victory-fairey-battles-over-aachen.html
11. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?2814-First-RAF-victory-WW2
12. http://39-45.auzeau.fr/france/54-meurthe-et-moselle/54-choloy-war-cemetery/ .


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
01-Jun-2019 17:56 Dr. John Smith Added
01-Jun-2019 18:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Source, Narrative]
03-Jun-2019 09:38 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Location]
22-Oct-2020 21:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source]

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