Bristol Blenheim Z7646

Emly Bank, Moorfoot Hills, Borders

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: A Bristol Blenheim Mk I bomber in flight.

 

A Bristol Blenheim Mark I in flight

 

Photo: [pre-1949] Taken by a member of the Canadian armed forces. Now, in the public domain.

 


 

BELOW: A Bristol Bolingbroke (the Canadian-built variant of the Blenheim).

 

Note the longer nose on this variant, compared to the Mk I variant above. This longer nose was a feature of both the Canadian-built Bolingbrokes and the British-built Blenheim Mk IV's, etc.

 

A Bristol Bolingbroke - the Canadian-built equivalent of the Blenheim

 

Photo: [pre-1949] Original source unknown.

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

RAF Bristol 142M Blenheim IV / Z7646

 

(Click hyperlink above for RAF history of this type)

 

Ordered and funded initially by Lord Rothermere, the civilian Bristol Type 142 was designed to meet this tycoon's requirements for a private 'executive' aircraft. However, it proved so successful in trials that the Air Ministry requested the use of this aircraft for further evaluation. Lord Rothermere donated his aircraft (named, 'Britain First') to the nation, whereupon the RAF immediately began extensive trials with this type. Ultimately, Lord Rothermere's Type 142 was to become the Bristol Type 142M (Military) and designated the 'Blenheim.'

 

The Bristol Type 142 had first flown in 1935. The Type 142M (military version) entered service with the RAF in 1937.

 

By the time war broke out, most of the Mk I Blenheims had been replaced by Mk IV variants. The Mk IV was essentially the same airframe, but equipped with two Bristol Mercury XV radial engines. The Mk IV also had an extended nose and some other modifications.

 

The bomber was equipped with one 7.7mm / 0.303in Browning machine gun (port wing), and one 7.7mm / 0.303in Vickers machine gun (dorsal turret). It had an internal bomb capacity of 454kg / 1,000lb.

 

Unfortunately, the Blenheim was no match for the fast Luftwaffe fighters. Despite heroic attempts by the RAF to help avert shipping losses in the North Sea, many of these Blenheim bombers were lost in combat. Ultimately, the Mk IV Blenheims were replaced by Douglas Bostons and de Havilland Mosquitoes.

 


 

BELOW: A Bristol Blenheim Mk IV cockpit on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

 

Bristol Blenheim Mk IV cockpit at IWM Duxford

 

Photo: 2005 Mark Murphy. Released by the author to the public domain. (More details at Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Accident Details

 

On 30 July 1941, Bristol Blenheim Z7646 of 18 MU, No 41 (Maintenance) Group, was on a ferry flight from RAF Lennoxlove, Haddington, to RAF Dumfries where 18 MU was based. However, during the flight, the aircraft crashed into Emly Bank not far from Bowbeat Hill. These hills form part of the Moorfoot Hills in the Scottish Borders.

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Pilot Casualty

 

The pilot died in this incident. He was:

  • P/O Elejah H Henson

P/O Henson was laid to rest at Dumfries

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

NOTE: In the Middle of the windfarm on top of Emly Bank this wrecksite is less than half a mile from pieces of the Javelin. The site consists of small fragments only lying in a hollow, the largest part I found was a piece of curved Perspex after I cleaned it. I didnt take any photos of the route because it is mostly the same as to the Gloster Javelin. [Gary Nelson]

 

 

BELOW: Scattered fragments of the Bristol Blenheim lying on the hillside.

 

Scattered fragments of the Bristol Blenheim lying on the hillside.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Unidentified hinged part.

 

Unidentified hinged part.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Fragmented cylinder head.

 

Fragmented cylinder head.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A small piece of aluminium from the airframe.

 

A small piece of aluminium from the airframe.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: The area where many of the remaining fragments are concentrated.

 

The area where many of the remaining fragments are concentrated.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: The above area in relation to the wind farm and the communications mast beyond.

 

The above area in relation to the wind farm and the communications mast beyond.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Unidentified part.

 

Unidentified part.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Another view of the debris field, the nearby wind turbines, and the communications mast (in the distance).

 

Another view of the debris field, the nearby wind turbines, and the communications mast (in the distance).

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A closer view of the above.

 

A closer view of the above.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Another unidentified object from Bristol Blenheim Z7646.

 

Another unidentified object from Bristol Blenheim Z7646.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: More aluminium skinning from the airframe.

 

More aluminium skinning from the airframe.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Wreckage fragments.

 

Wreckage fragments.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A piece of curved Perspex.

 

A piece of curved Perspex.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A closer view of the Perspex piece.

 

A closer view of the Perspex piece.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Another view of the Perspex.

 

Another view of the Perspex.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Another unidentified part.

 

Another unidentified part.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: The debris field in relation to a nearby wind turbine and the forest beyond.

 

The debris field in relation of a nearby wind turbine and the forest beyond.

 

Photo: ©  2015 Gary Nelson

 

 


 

 

Earlier Photo

 

 

BELOW: Site of dig for Blenheim Z7646 remains at Emly Bank.

 

site of dig for blenheim z7646 remaining parts 

 

Photo: ©  2009 Alan Leishman 

 

 

A dig was carried out by the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum during 2009 and the following items were found: 

 

Both engine pumps, battery parts, bomb release mechanism, part of the rocker gear from an engine and part of a wing tank. The best item was a panel with the serial number painted on it.

 

The site was in a peat hag with a few visible panels and burnt alloy lying around. The site was tidied up afterward, so only a few fragments remain.

 

[Many thanks to Alan Leishman for providing this information.] 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Page last updated: 29 Aug 2015

 


 

Accident Date: 30 Jul 1941

 

Accident Site:

Emly Bank (605m)

(Near Bowbeat Hill (626m) / Moorfoot Hills)

 

Region: Scottish Borders

 

Nearest town or village:

Innerleithen or Peebles

 

Nearest large towns:

Peebles (SW), Penicuik (N) or Gorebridge (NW)

 

OS Grid Ref. N/A

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: No known wreckage remaining onsite.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

Registration or Serial: Z7646

 

Operator: RAF (18 MU—Maintenance Unit)

 

Operating Base: RAF Dumfries (Tinwald Downs)

 

Base Location: Dumfries

 

Current Airport Status: Airport assigned to Scottish Aviation in 1941, but MU facilities retained until 1957. May still be used by very light aircraft. Partly industrial.

 

Airport tower and  hard standing now Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.

 

 

 

 

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