Halifax W1021 (08/06/1942)

Halifax W1021 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Essen on the night of the 8th / 9th June 1942.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • JK Watson (Pilot)
  • TA Drower (2nd Pilot)
  • SG Cooper (Observer)
  • R Yates (Wireless Operator)
  • HG Pike (Air Gunner)
  • D Wrampling (Air Gunner)
  • E Corcoran (Flight Engineer)

W1021 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Took off from Linton for Essen; nothing was heard of this aircraft after leaving base”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 9th June 1942 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that the aircraft and crew were missing.

A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of each crew member advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 8th / 9th June 1942”.

telegram 2

An example of the telegram that was sent

The crew’s kit and personal belongings were removed from their lockers and catalogued; kit was returned to stores and personal belongings sent to the RAF Central Depository at RAF Colnbrook.

For the remainder of the war, the Air Ministry Casualty Branch utilised information obtained from radio intercepts and from the German Authorities and prisoners of war (which was supplied via the International Red Cross) to establish whether lost crew had been killed, wounded, imprisoned or were “missing”; the squadron and the relevant families were kept informed.

No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the following information was received relating to the crew:

  • 22/07/1942: Information received that the crew of W1021, missing on the night of 8th / 9th June 1942 are all prisoners of war with the exceptions of Drower and Pike of whom nothing has been heard

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

All crew members survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

Their POW Liberation Questionnaires, which were completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre, RAF Cosford, in 1945, show the following details:

  • JK Watson (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Not Known
    • Repatriated:
  • TA Drower (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft I, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft IV
    • Repatriated:
  • SG Cooper (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • R Yates (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III (Centre Compound) – Transferred out late 1943, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • HG Pike (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III (Centre Compound) – Transferred out late 1943, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • D Wrampling (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III (Centre Compound) – Transferred out late 1943, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • E Corcoran (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft IV
    • Repatriated:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt Echart-Wilhelm von Bonin,  6./NJG1, Diegem 4 km NE Brussels (6B), 4600 m, 02.38

Bomber Command Loss Card

Shot down near Brussels; all unhurt.

Attacked by nightfighter from astern and above and shot down 15m east of Uphoven on Dutch / German frontier on return journey