Plt Off C E
The Fatal Mission
On 26 June 1941 two Blenheim Mk IV aircraft of No 53
Sqn RAF Coastal Command were tasked to search for and
attack three German naval ships which had been sighted
off the south-west coast of Brittany. After their
take-off from RAF St Eval at 11.08 AM, nothing further
was heard from either aircraft. Both of them failed to
return to base.
The crew of aircraft PZ-Y (V6122) was Plt Off Charles
Greville-Heygate DFC (pilot), Plt Off Geoffrey Troup
(observer), and Sgt Charles Naylor (wireless operator/air
gunner). All three were posted as 'missing', and for many
years the details of their fate remained a mystery to
their family and colleagues. A month after their
disappearance a report was received from the
International Red Cross that the pilot of the second
aircraft, Dennis Herrick, (flying PZ-O, V6087) had been
taken prisoner, albeit seriously wounded, but there was
no further news of his two crewmembers Sgt G Gahagan and
Sgt G Wells or of any of Charles' crew.
and his crew, with Coastal Command Liaison Officer Wg Cdr
Lionel 'Sos' Cohen.
53 Sqn Blenheim IV, V5378, RAF St Eval, prior to bombing
strike on Brest 23/24 April 1941.
Left to Right: Charles Naylor, Geoffrey Troup, Charles
Greville-Heygate, Sos Cohen.
(Photo Naylor family collectionę)
60 Years Later - The End of an
Almost exactly 60 years later, previously Top Secret
documents were discovered in the Public Record Office at
Kew: these showed that the aircraft had been shot down by
anti-aircraft fire during their attack on the three
anti-submarine vessels numbered UJ 126, UJ D and UJ E.
These ships were part of the 3rd Sicherungsdivision's
12th U-Jagdflottille, a coastal defence unit of the
German Navy. Although details of the aircrafts' loss must
have been known to British Intelligence services, this
information had been obtained by the decoding of
intercepted 'Enigma' radio messages from the German
ships. Consequently, the details could not be released
for fear of compromising this new and crucial ability to
read the German codes.
Submarine Hunter UJ126
showing 8.8cm SK C/35 and 20mm/33mm C/30 anti-aircraft
guns fore and aft
The aim of this website is to reveal the story of a
RAF Coastal Command Blenheim crew and their flying
missions from RAF St Eval. In addition, I hope it can
provide some links, suggestions, and sources for others
who are carrying out research into the history of one of
their relatives. It is a small tribute to just a few of
the very many.
Research is still underway: please help me by sending
any additional information, corrections, or observations