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.
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:
- Mast High Over Rotterdam Section One
- Mast High Over Rotterdam Section Two
- Mast High Over Rotterdam Section Three
- Lionel “Rusty” Russell
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.