Halifax HX160 (05/01/1944)

Halifax HX160 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Stettin on the night of 5th / 6th January 1944

It was equipped with Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S), Monica and Fishpond and was carrying 4 x 500lb MC and various Target Indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Backer Up.

Its seven-man crew (plus KAJ Campbell as 2nd Dickie) consisted of:

  • TWA Hutton (Pilot)
  • KAJ Campbell (2nd Dickie)
  • WHLS Way (Navigator)
  • DR Perrin (Wireless Operator)
  • P Barber (Air Bomber)
  • RJ Child (Flight Engineer)
  • W Inverarity (Air Gunner)
  • JRT Godin (Air Gunner)

The route was as follows: Base, 5600N 0600E, 5600N 1300E, 5405N 1323E, Stettin, 5325N 1450E, 5500N 1505E, 5600N 1300E, 5600N 0600E, Base

HX160 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take-off”

Wartime activity relating to the loss

On 6th January 1944 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 5th / 6th January 1944”.

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.

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 Casualty Communique No. 357 (Flight 16/03/1944) reported KAJ Campbell, WHLS Way, RJ Child and JRT Godin as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 489 (Flight 12/04/1945) reported JRT Godin “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”

Note: Presumption of death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could then be sent to 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:

  • 19/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that W Invararity, missing on  5th / 6th January 1944, was a prisoner of war (but wounded) and that JRT Godin had been killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured and imprisoned

TWA Hutton, DR Perrin, P Barber and W Inverarity 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 in 1945, show the following:

  • TWA Hutton
    • Captured: Nr Stettin 06/01/44
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Jan-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Jan-44 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Oflag IIIA, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • DR Perrin
    • Captured: Nr Stettin 06/01/44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Jan-44 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Oflag IIIA, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • P Barber
    • Captured 30km NW Stettin 08/01/1944
    • Interrogated Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jan-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Jan-44 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft IIIa, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated May-45
  • W Inverarity
    • Captured: Stettin 05/01/1944 (Broken Ribs, Broken Pelvis and Head Injuries)
    • Hospitalised: Stettin Jan-44
    • Hospitalised: Stortmunden? Jan-44 to Feb-44
    • Hospitalised: Greifswald Feb-44 to Mar-44
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Mar-44
    • Imprisoned: Red Cross Transit Camp Mar-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Mar-44 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Nurnberg / Moosburg Jan-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45

Post-War search for the missing crew member(s)

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 Runnymede Memorial, which was unveiled in 1953.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) records show that the remains of KAJ Campbell, WHLS Way, JJRT Godin and RJ Child were located at Stettin (Map Reference O54/Q55)

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (re-interred) at Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery on 8th October 1948 as follows:

  • GODIN, Joseph Jean Robert Theobald ‘J/18240’  Coll. grave 6. C. 3-12.
  • CAMPBELL, Kenneth Alfred John ‘1386525’ Coll. grave 6. C. 3-12.
  • CHILD, Royston James ‘149060’ Coll. grave 6. C. 3-12
  • WAY, William Henry Lewis Sidney ‘129744’ Coll. grave 6. C. 3-12.

 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Dr Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd War Diaries)

Dr Theo Boiten, author of the “Nachtjagd War Diaries” advised on 7th June 2015 that there are two possible nightfigher claims for the loss:

  • Fw. Andreas Hartl:  6./JG302, W. Stettin, 03.41
  • Ofw. Kurt Welter: 5./JG302, W. Stettin, 03.46

Bomber Command Loss Card

Barber says “We were (_) The aircraft was damaged; P/O Godin reported that he had been wounded in the leg. The (-) which set our fuel tanks on fire. Before anyone could leave the aircraft the tanks exploded blowing up the aircraft. I woke up to find myself falling through the air. I have no further recollections of my companions. Perrin corroborates

Hutton says “Barber and Perrin were informed at the Dulag Luft that Campbell had been killed. Same of Godin who was seriously injured in aircraft during first attack. We carried on to target and were attacked a second time. Aircraft hit amidships and starboard wing set on fire. Order to abandon. Presume Way and Child badly injured in second attack as there was time and height for them to get out

From Stalag Luft 3 Facebook Page

W Inverarity was imprisoned in the East Compound of Stalag Luft 3 and ended up at Nürnberg after the evacuation of Stalag Luft 3 in January 1945.

Stalag Luft 3 (East Compound) [Courtesy of Ben Van Drogenbroek]

Crew Information

The following link provides information on TWA Hutton’s operational sorties as Captain of a No. 35 Squadron aircraft and the composition of his crew on these sorties


Notes:

  1. L Gorman (whose name is included on JJRT Godin’s headstone) was Leonard Gorman (Service Number 1490579) who was killed on 6th January 1944 whilst serving with No. 57 Squadron (Lancaster JB541)