Halifax L9501 (30/06/1941)

Halifax L9501 was one of six No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Kiel on the 30th June 1941 (daylight raid)

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Robert Fenwick Owen (Pilot)
  • Leslie Alec Hayward (2nd Pilot)
  • Eric Arthur Fawns Gibb (Observer)
  • Douglas Peter Hogg (WOP / AG)
  • Alexander Urquhart Simpson (Air Gunner)
  • J Lewins (Air Gunner)
  • James William Hays (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Encountered accurate heavy flak and in turning away from the target was attacked by three ME110’s one of which it is believed was subsequently shot down. Enemy fighters made five attacks disabling the starboard outer engine and the wireless set and causing numerous holes in fuselage and wings. The beam gunner Simpson was seriously wounded and although every possible aid was rendered to him by members of the crew he died during the journey. The second pilot and observer suffered slight shrapnel wounds. The Wireless Operator was remarked for commendable services in piecing together the wireless set and getting it to work again. Aircraft landed safely at base”.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) records show the following burial details:


[Source: Find-a-Grave]


P.4 (Cas) Casualty Branch File

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/7255 Sergeant AV Simpson: died of injuries; Flying Officer RF Owen, Sergeant LA Maynard, Sergeant EAF Gibb, Sergeant DR Hogg, Sergeant J Lewins, Sergeant JW Hays: uninjured; enemy action, aerial combat, Halifax L9501, 35 Squadron, 30 June 1941.

It provides the following information (which contains graphic detail regarding the loss of AU Simpson):

“The aircraft left Linton at 10.13 hours on the 30th June 1941, in a daylight formation attack on Kiel which it delivered at approximately 13.15 hours. After delivery of attack, as aircraft was taking up its place in the formation, it was attacked by three enemy fighters. Sgt Simpson was manning the beam guns and in the engagement was severely wounded by machine gun bullets in the right thigh. The crew gave him every possible assistance to stem the flow of blood but he died on the return journey due to loss of blood. The starboard outer engine was disabled and the main plane and fuselage were damaged by machine gun fire and cannon shell, but the aircraft was landed safely and is repairable at this unit”

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