Halifax L9521 (08/07/1941)

Halifax L9521 was one of seven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack the Synthetic Oil Refinery at Leuna on the night of the 8th / 9th July 1941.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • LW Bovington (Pilot)
  • AR Kiddey (2nd Pilot)
  • GD Barry (Observer)
  • AE Hammond (WOP / Air Gunner)
  • HS Bradbeer (Air Gunner)
  • NEH Coleman (Air Gunner)
  • TA Parkes (Flight Engineer)

L9521 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft was not heard of again and is now officially reported missing”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 9th July 1941 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 July 1941”.

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.

The Air Ministry Casualty Branch, which was responsible for investigating, monitoring and reporting on the status of missing aircraft and airmen, subsequently published the following information regarding the crew:

  • Air Ministry Communique No. 86 (Flight 30/10/1941) reported NEH Coleman, AE Hammond and TA Parkes as “missing, believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Communique No. 114 (Flight 05/03/1942) reported NEH Coleman, AE Hammond and TA Parkes “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”

Note: Presumption of death meant that a death certificate could be issued; personal belongings could then be returned to the next of kin, along with any monies due. 

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

  • 12/08/1941: Information received, passed on from International Red Cross Society quoting German information states that according to F/S Barry, Sgts. Coleman and Parkes and F/S Hammond were killed on 8th July 1941 and buried in a cemetery at Uden, Holland and that Sgt Bradbeer is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

HS Bradbeer, LW Bovington, AR Kiddey and GD Barry survived the crash

  • HS Bradbeer (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Hospitalised: Marine Lazarett, (Naval Hospital) at Bedburg-Hau in Westphalia immediately after being captured. Doctors fought to save his right leg which had been seriously damaged but eventually it had to be amputated.
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IXC (Bad Sulza)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated: October 1943.
  • GD Barry
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Probably with Bovington and Kiddey
    • Died as POW: 25th April 1945.

LW Bovington and AR Kiddey 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, show the following details:

  • LW Bovington
    • Captured: Nr Eindhoven Drome
    • Interrogated Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jul-41 to Jul-41
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IX-C, Bad Sulza Jul-41 to May-42
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan May-42 to Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jun-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • AR Kiddey
    • Captured: Holland
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IX-C, Bad Sulza Aug-41 to Apr-42
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Apr-42 to Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jun-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: Apr-45

Post War search for the missing crew members

After the war, an investigation officer from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was tasked with locating the remains of the missing crew member(s).

Original German documents, burial records and eye witness accounts were utilised to establish the location of the crash site, the cause of the loss and the initial fate of the crew; information was recorded in a MRES Investigation Report.

As part of the process, any remains that were located were exhumed, identified (wherever possible) and concentrated (reinterred) at one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Cemeteries in the country that they fell, in accordance with Government policy at the time.

Graves were marked with a simple wooden cross, which was replaced by the familiar CWGC headstone during the 1950’s.

Missing airmen who could not be found, or formally identified, had their names commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.

CWGC records show that the remains of NEH Coleman, AE Hammond and TA Parkes were located at Uden, Holland.

l9521-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at UDEN WAR CEMETERY on 19th June 1946 as follows:

  • PARKES, THOMAS ARTHUR, Sergeant, ‘526677’, Grave 5. D. 3.
  • HAMMOND, ALBERT EDWARD, Flight Sergeant, ‘535641’, Grave 5. D. 4.
  • COLEMAN, NOEL ERIC HENRY, Sergeant, ‘1107286’,  Grave 5. D. 5.

GD Barry’s remains were located at Diepholz Cemetery, Germany.

barry-concentration

His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 7th June 1947 at HANOVER WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BARRY, GEORGE DONALD, ‘580820’, Grave 6. G. 16.

 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. August Geiger, 9./NJG1 , near Mook 10km S Nijmegen,  03.32

P.4 (Cas) Casualty Branch Files

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/7483 Flight Sergeant A E Hammond, Sergeant H E Coleman, Sergeant T A Parkes: killed; Sergeant L W Bovington, Sergeant A R Kiddey, Sergeant H S Bradbeer, Flight Sergeant G D Barry: prisoners of war; aircraft shot down and crashed, Mook, Holland, Halifax L9521, 35 Squadron, 9 July 1941. With negatives.