Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Biville is a village commune near the west coast of the Cherbourg peninsula, 18 kilometres west-south-west of Cherbourg. In the village church yard is the grave of Squadron Leader P E Drew. No relation to me but we do share the same name. As we were visiting that part of Normandy in October 2004, I just happened to see the Commonwealth War Graves Commission marker on the Gate.

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CWGC grave marker.

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Blenheims.

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RAF crew dressing for a raid.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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21 October 2004

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L´église Saint-Pierre.

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On seeing the CWGC sign on the gate I decided to walk through the church yard whilst the others made there way to the local bar/restaurant for lunch.

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L´église Saint-Pierre.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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21 October 2004

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew.

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Here against the wall I found the grave, Over the wall is a beautiful view of the countryside all the way down to the sea.
Like all CWGC graves they are very well looked after and also the local villagers lay flowers on the grave.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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21 October 2004

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew.

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On seeing the name I felt I had to find out more and so far only used the Internet to do any research.

S/Ldr P.E.Drew, Biville, Normandy of No.236 Squadron was killed on the 1st of August 1940 along with his gunner F/O B Nokes-Cooper flying a Blenheim IV (N3601) during an attack on Querqueville, France at 17:15hrs. (Other documents say attacking Maupertus Aerodrome east of Cherbourg).

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Maupertus Aerodrome.

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Querqueville Aerodrome west of Cherbourg where Me109's were stationed.

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Me109´s at Querqueville 1940.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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31 October 1939 236 F (fighter) Squadrons was equipped with Blenheim I´s. and IV´s, and transferred to Coastal Command in February 1940 before becoming operational. Because of serviceability problems it was June 1940 before the squadron was declared operational, flying convoy patrols over the Bristol and English Channels and also contributing to patrols along the Havre/Cherbourg stretch of enemy coastline. On the 17th July finding three Junkers Ju 87s they damaging one.

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Blenheims cockpit.

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Stuka dive bombers.

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PR photo of Maupertus.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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25 November 1957

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew. Graves Registration Report Form.

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Probably Sdn. Ldr. Drew was buried by French locals before the German occupation forces could get to him. As he was buried in consecrated ground I believe he cannot be re interred into a CWGC cemetery.

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CWGC cemetery.

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A headstone being carved post WW1.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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There seems to be two slightly conflicting stories. As far as I can see one squadron of Bristol Blenheim Bombers were attacking Maupertus airfield and 236Sqn Blenheim IV fighters were used as fighter cover. S/Ldr Drew's plane was hit by AA fire and crashed near Biville.
Another says they were attacking Querqueville on western side of Cherbourg. As Maupertus and Querqueville airfields were both used by the Luftwaffe as forward operating bases for fighter/bombers against targets in the south west of England.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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1944

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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A 1944 Photo Reconnaissance of Maupertus Aerodrome 1944.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Red circle ----- Maupertus Aerodrome.
Yellow circle -- Biville.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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1940s

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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31 October 1939 236 Squadrons F (fighter) was equipped with Blenheim I´s. and IV´s.

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Air gunners of 236 Sqn.

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Air gunner cleaning his gun.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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1940s

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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A pilot, air-gunner and bomb-aimer showing the uniforms worn and their flying clothing.

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236 Sqn RAF.

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Crews and planes of 22 Sqn RAF.

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Camouflage and lettering on the side of an 236 Sqn RAF Blenheims.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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RAF Thorney Island.

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RAF Thorney Island a modern RAF station designed under the RAF expansion scheme. Building started in the 30's and was nearly finished when WW2 started. It had four large 'C' type aircraft sheds (hangars). A complete camp behind the hangars with barracks, heating plants, stores, workshops to a standard design.

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Aerodrome layout with four 'C' type aircraft sheds (hangars).

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'C' type aircraft sheds (hangars).

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'C' type aircraft sheds (hangars) inside.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Buried in Bayeux CWGC cemetery.

Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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21 October 2004

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French WW1 memorial to the fallen from Biville.

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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1939/40

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Sqn. Ldr. PE Drew & FO. B Nokes-Cooper.

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Blenheims scramble, possibly a pre-war photo.