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Memorial Crash Bristol Blenheim L9447

27th June 1940.

6 Bristol Blenheims of 235 Sqdn. RAF Coastal Command were dispatched on a mission to search the canals arround Amsterdam and west side of the Zuidersea area for ships and special landing ships, and to look out for the crew of a Wellington bomber which was missing off the Dutch coast the night before.

The Blenheims took off from their base in England at around 13:00 hours.

The formation reached The Netherlands at Noordwijk and turned towards Amsterdam. In the area of Schiphol Airbase, the Blenheims were shot at by German anti-aircaft guns (Flak). Some time later the Flak stopped as German fighter planes were nearby, which the Blenheim crews had seen taking off from Schiphol. The German Messerschmitt Bf109's (under command of Hptm. Hubertus von Bonin of the 1st Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 54, and supported by Bf109's of 2th Gruppe/JG54, under command of Ltnt Joachem Schypek, which had taken off from airbase Waalhaven) intercepted the Blenheim formation, which spread out to escape from their attackers.

Blenheim L9447, LA-Y, was shot at by several German Messerschmitt's and got severely damaged. The crew was injured and the order was given to abandon the aircraft.

Sgt Lancaster tried to open the escape hatch in the floor of the Blenheim without result. P/O Cronan left the Blenheim from the escape hatch in top of the canopy, but came in contact with the tailsection of the Blenheim and was killed.

While Lancaster tried to get out of the top escape hatch, the Blenheim was shot again and Lancaster was thrown out of the plane. He opens his parachute just in time and has a hard landing in a grassland.

He received medical assistance from a doctor in a farmhouse nearby. After that, the doctor brought him to the place where Cronan was found. There, Lancaster was taken prisoner of war by a German soldier.

Gunner Lloyd couldn't escape from the L9447 due to his injuries and was killed in the crash.

3 sons of the van Wijk family were working on the land at the Poeldijk in Waverveen and saw the Blenheim crash against the Poeldijk.

They were the first people at the crashsite.

Cronan and Lloyd were buried at the cemetery at Waverveen on July 1st 1940.

Aubrey Lancaster was transported to Germany and was prisoner of war during the rest of the war.

After the war, members of the Dutch Internal Armed Forces (NBS), section Vinkeveen-Waverveen, adopted the graves and organized Memorial services on May 4th, (Dutch Remembrance day).

In 1953, the remains of J.R. Cronan and P.L. Lloyd were reburied at the Canadian War Cemetery, Ruytershovenweg in Bergen op Zoom (The Netherlands) where they were given their final resting place in the graves at: plot 8, row H, grave 8 and 9.

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  • Text: Chris van der Linden
  • Photos: Chris van der Linden