An extract on #lisesi
In 1936, the Finnish Air Force became the first export customer for the Blenheim, ordering 18 Blenheim Mk Is, which were delivered from Britain between June 1937 and July 1938. Two years later, Finland obtained a manufacturing licence for the Blenheim. Before any aircraft could be manufactured at the Valtion lentokonetehdas (State Aeroplane Factory) in Finland, the Winter War broke out, forcing the Finns to order more aircraft from the UK. A further 24 British-manufactured Blenheims were ordered during the Winter War and were delivered from the RAF's own stocks.
In the aftermath of the Winter War, 55 Blenheims were constructed in Finland, the final aircraft being completed in September 1944; this brought the total number of Blenheims in Finnish service to 97 (75 Mk Is and 22 Mk IVs). The Finns also received 20 half-completed ex-Yugoslavian Mk IV Blenheims captured by Germany, together with manufacturing tools, production equipment, and a huge variety of spare parts, although some of these had been damaged or otherwise destroyed through sabotage. Yugoslavia had ceased production of the Mk I and commenced a production run of Mk IVs just prior to the April 1941 invasion.
The Finnish Blenheims flew 423 missions during the Winter War, and close to 3,000 missions during the Continuation War and Lapland War. Blenheim machine-gunners also shot down eight Soviet aircraft. Thirty-seven Blenheims were lost in combat during the wars.
After the war, Finland was prohibited from flying bomber aircraft by the Paris Peace Treaty, with Finland's Blenheims being placed into storage in 1948. However, in 1951, five Blenheims were re-activated for use as target tugs, with the last flight of a Finnish Blenheim taking place on 20 May 1958.
An airworthy Blenheim had been rebuilt from a scrapped Bolingbroke over a 12-year period, only to crash at an airshow at Denham within a month of completion in 1987.
A replacement Bolingbroke Mk IVT was rebuilt to flying status in just five years and painted to represent a Blenheim Mk IV in RAF wartime service. It began appearing at air shows and exhibitions in the UK, flying since May 1993 and was used in the 1995 film version of Shakespeare's Richard III. This aircraft crashed on landing at Duxford on 19 August 2003; the crash was feared to have made it a writeoff, but after extensive repair and conversion to the Mark I "Short nose" version by The Aircraft Restoration Company (ARC or ARCo) at Duxford, was displayed to the public on 30 May 2014, and first flew for 29 minutes on 20 November 2014, following restoration at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England.. The aircraft appeared in the 2017 Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk.
In Finland, the sole surviving original Blenheim in the world, a Mk IV registered as BL-200 of the Finnish Air Force, has been completely restored and is now on display at the Aviation Museum of Central Finland at Tikkakoski.
In the summer of 1996, a Bristol Blenheim Mk IVF was recovered from the sea, a few kilometres off Rethymnon, Crete. The aircraft belonged to No. 203 Squadron RAF and was downed by friendly fire on 28 April 1941. The Blenheim was moved to the Hellenic Air Force Museum for restoration.