Monday, 20 May 1940


German forces reach the English Channel. The BEF and the cream of the French Army are trapped in north-eastern France and Belgium, unable to join the rest of the French Army further west and south.

24 Squadron

F/Lt Frank Keast flies a D.H.89 Dragon Rapide to the fighter airfield at Merville and returns to Hendon. Though Keast’s logbook does not mention his passengers, or the purpose of the flight, he was probably dropping off P/O Louis Strange, who was to act as an Air Movements Officer to organise the safe evacuation of RAF men and machines back to the UK.

51 Squadron

Flying Officer Albert John Oettle flies as Second Pilot in Whitley V No. 4972, on a 51 Squadron raid to attack German forces at Ribemont. Jack Oettle had joined the RAF in 1937 and this was his eighth operation. His first had been flown from Rheims, dropping leaflets over Germany two nights after war had been declared. More recently, on the night of 3 May, Oettle has had to bale out over England from a 51 Squadron Whitley when it ran low on fuel after a raid on Norway.