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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 226312
Last updated: 17 January 2022
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Time:17:55 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic bttl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Fairey Battle Mk I
Owner/operator:12 Squadron Royal Air Force (12 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L4949
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:'Mohimont', Sommethonne, north-west of Virton -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Amifontaine, France
Destination airport:
Fairey Battle Mk.1 L4949 (PH-V) of 12 Squadron, RAF: Lost on combat operations - officially described as "Battle L4949 crashed in France, 10 May 1940". Airborne 17.15 hrs from Amifontaine with orders to attack enemy troop columns reported between Luxembourg and Junglinster, 14 km NNE of Luxembourg. Shot down by ground fire in the target area. Crash-landed on fire at 'Mohimont', Sommethonne, north-west of Virton, 17.55 hrs. All three crew survived, although two of them were injured.

Crew of Battle L4949:
Flt Lt William Simpson DFC Injured, captured, taken as PoW
Sgt E.N. Odell - unhurt
LAC R.T. Tomlinson Injured, captured, taken as PoW

Flt Lt Simpson was dreadfully burned, LAC Tomlinson less badly. Both airmen were eventually treated at an emergency hospital near Verdun, before transport to hospital in Bar-le-Duc, where they were separated. Flight Lt Simpson was repatriated to England via Spain in 1941. Flight Lt Simpson was later awarded the DFC, his crew both receiving the DFM.

In the "London Gazette" for 31 May 1940, the recommendation for an immediate award of the DFM to LAC Tomlinson states as follows:

"On 11 May 1940, Corporal Tomlinson acted as Wireless Operator/Air Gunner to Flight Lieutenant W. Simpson on a low-level bombing attack on troops and convoys on the road between Luxembourg and Junglister, the aim being to check the German advance after the violation of Holland and Belgium.

In spite of intense opposition from light A.A. fire, from the time the frontier was crossed at Petange, the attack was pressed home and direct hits scored. After the attack, a petrol leak developed, and the pilot had to make a forced landing two and a half miles N.W. of Virton. After touching down, the aircraft caught fire. Immediately, Corporal Tomlinson, and the Air Observer Sergeant Odell, without thought for their own safety, scrambled to the pilot who was enveloped in flames, and pulled him clear of the aircraft, which afterwards blew up. This mission was carried out in Battle aircraft L4949."

On 19 September 2003, LAC Tomlinson's DFC was put up for action (see link #8) and fetched 3500.


1. Royal Air Force Aircrqaft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 32)
2. The Battle File (Sidney Shail, Air Britain, 1997 p 138)
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/240:
4. W.R. Chorley, Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume 1, 1939/40;
5. Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

Revision history:

18-Jun-2019 19:53 Dr. John Smith Added
21-Jun-2019 14:29 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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