Halifax W7878 (21/06/1943)

Halifax W7878 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Krefeld on the night of the 21st / 22nd June 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Michael Wilfred Peter Clarke (Pilot)
  • Bewick Johnston Dowse (Air Bomber)
  • Francis Montague Mazin (Navigator)
  • Harry Richard Fink (Wireless Operator)
  • Alister Campbell MacLeod (Air Gunner)
  • Joseph Georges Paul Emille Richer (Air Gunner)
  • Cledwyn Matthew Harcombe (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5210N 0137E, Krefeld, Nordwijk, Happisburgh.

W7878 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft did not return, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 22nd June 1943 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 21st / 22nd June 1943”.

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.272 (Flight 02/09/1943) reported MWP Clarke,  BJ Dowse, FM Mazin, HR Fink, JGPE Richer, AC MacLeod and CM Harcombe as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 371 (Flight 13/04/1944) reported MWP Clarke and HR Fink “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 375 (Flight 20/04/1944) reported FM Mazin 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:

  • 02/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Fink, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, was killed

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 do not show where the remains of  MWP Clarke, HR Fink and CM Harcombe were located but show that they were concentrated as follows:

  • CLARKE MICHAEL WILFRED PETER Flying Officer ‘127957’ BERGEN-OP-ZOOM WAR CEMETERY 32. B. 10.
  • FINK HARRY RICHARD Sergeant ‘1331566’ BERGEN GENERAL CEMETERY Plot 2. Row C. Grave 6.
  • HARCOMBE CLEDWYN MATHEW Sergeant ‘577177’ BERGEN GENERAL CEMETERY Plot 2. Row C. Grave 7.

[Source: Find-a-Grave]

The remains of the rest of the crew were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • DOWSE BEWICK JOHNSTON Sergeant ‘1078821’ RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL Panel 148.
  • MAZIN FRANCIS MONTAGUE Sergeant ‘1600686’ RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL Panel 158.
  • MACLEOD ALISTER CAMPBELL Sergeant ‘950711’ RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL Panel 158.
  • RICHER JOSEPH GEORGE PAUL EMILLE Flight Sergeant ‘R/81607’ RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL Panel 185.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Rudolf Sigmund, 10./NJG1, Sea 140km W Den Helder (Holland) (EF 2. Salzhering), 2,500m, 03.24

Bomber Command Loss Card

HR Fink’s body was washed ashore at Bergen on 4th July 1943

World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in the Netherlands and North Sea

  • MWP Clarke’s body was washed ashore on 5th July 1943 at beach pole 17.1, near Callentsoog, Holland
  • CM Harcombe’s body was washed ashore on 8th July 1943 at beach pole 29, near Bergen

Halifax HR848 (21/06/1943)

Halifax HR848 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Krefeld on the night of the 21st / 22nd June 1943.

Its designated Path Finder Force role was Backer Up

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Richard Joseph Quigly (Pilot)
  • John Henry Roy Sarano St. John (Navigator)
  • Francis Ronald Carpenter (Air Bomber)
  • Francis James Williams (Wireless Operator)
  • Jack White (Air Gunner)
  • Reginald Brian Capon (Air Gunner)
  • John Irvine Barrie (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5210N 0137E, Krefeld, Nordwijk, Happisburgh.

HR848 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft did not return, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 22nd June 1943 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 21st / 22nd June 1943”.

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. 273 (Flight 02/09/1943) reported JHRS St. John,  RB Capon and JI Barrie as “missing, believed killed in action”; also J White  as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 359 (Flight 23/03/1944) reported JHRS St. John, RB Capon and JI Barrie “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”; also J White  “previously reported missing” “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:

  • 06/08/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Quigly, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 24/08/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt White, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RJ Quigly, FR Carpenter and FJ Williams 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:

  • FJ Williams
    • Captured: Uden, Holland (22/06/1943)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Jul-43 to Oct-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg Oct-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RJ Quigly (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI
    • Repatriated:
  • FR Carpenter (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:

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 do not show where the remains of JHRS St. John, RB Capon, J White and JI Barrie were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at UDEN WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BARRIE, JOHN IRVINE, Sergeant ‘1010564’  Grave 5. E. 4.
  • CAPON, REGINALD BRIAN, Flying Officer ‘126833’ Grave 5. E. 6.
  • St. JOHN, JOHN HENRY ROY SARANO, Flying Officer ‘126886’ Grave 5. E. 5.
  • WHITE, JACK, Sergeant ‘941955’ Grave 5. E. 7.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Werner Baake, 1./NJG1, 3 km S Uden (Holland), 3.000m. 01.37 

Bomber Command Loss Card

Sgt Williams states:

(a) Informed by interrogating officer at Dulag Luft that Sgt White was dead. After attack he shouted something over the intercom but do not know what. We were ordered to bale out and to the best of my belief he was alive when I left the aircraft.
(b) Informed by interrogating officer that F/O St John was dead. I handed him his parachute prior to my leaving the aircraft. He nodded to me as I went out at approx 10,000ft; that was the last I saw of him.
(c) Informed by interrogating officer that F/O Capon was dead. I saw and heard nothing of him up until the time I left the aircraft.
(d) Informed by interrogating officer that Sgt Barrie was dead. I did not see him during attack or up to time I left the aircraft

Sgt Carpenter states:

Heard from an authoritative source that there were four bodies in wreckage of the aircraft and that the bodies of the above officers were four of them

Eye witness report (Rough Translation of a Dutch Report)

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TEXT CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT REGARDING THE AFTERMATH

On the night of 21 / 22 June 1943, an English bomber crashed into the Oak hill. It was a Halifax that was on its way to Krefeld in Germany. The device came down gently, anxiously watched by hundreds of residents of the Oak Hill and the surrounding area. Everyone was afraid that the large object would be crash on a farm but in the end it came down a hundred meters behind the farm of Dort van Driel at the end of a country road in the meadow of Bert Rovers.

German soldiers, who were quartered at Driek Verkuijlen, were quickly on the spot and closed immediately the area around the site. The Uden department of Population Protection also came with some men.

The plane was on fire with four airmen left on board. Their groans of pain were heart wrenching, but nobody was allowed to approach the aircraft. Young men from the neighbourhood including Adam and Verkuilen tried to come closer but as they crawled by a nearby watercourse they were noticed by the Germans and were driven off by warning shots. When comments were made by local residents about the hellish pains of the occupants this was dismissed by the German soldiers with: “The is only a Tommy “. In retrospect, it turned out to be very dangerous in the vicinity of the aircraft because the entire bombload was still present.

Days later when the fire was extinguished and what remained was cooled, the bombs were detonated from a distance. This happened from a silage silo at Driek Verkuijlen. Everyone in the neighbourhood was evacuated. The damage was great, with countless windows broken and tiles blown from roofs.

At Dort van Driel and Bert van den Broek there was a hole in the roof of the farm. Even At Duifhuis, many panes had to be re-laid. Hereafter, the Germans came with five boxes to collect the remains. Dort van Driel was requested the day before to sign up to help. He went early in the morning to his in-laws and got away from the job. People in prison clothes had the remains collected and put into boxes. A chest remained empty.

Bert van den Broek who happened to come by horse and cart was summoned to take the crates to Uden. Farmers still found body parts later, including a part of one hand found. A parachute that the Germans had hidden was taken home by Lambert van Duijnhoven van Duifhuis. The bloody part was cut off because it could not be cleaned and clothes were made from the rest, as the silk fabric was very suitable for this.

The part of the aircraft that had sunk into the ground was dug out and taken away by a scrap metal merchant in the 1950s. Some parts can still be found in the museum at Dorshout (a piece of the airframe and a bomb shard). Willem van Cuijk also has some remains and bullets that he collected.

[Source: eikenheuvel.nl]

Notes:

  1. WR Chorley suggests that the nightfighter claim was by Hptm. Hans-Dieter Frank, 1./NJG1 and that the aircraft crashed at 01.23 near Eikenheuwel

Halifax HR799 (21/06/1943)

Halifax HR799 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Krefeld on the night of the 21st / 22nd June 1943.

Its seven-man crew (plus 2nd Dickie) comprised:

  • William Henry Hickson (Pilot)
  • Henry John Krohn (2nd Dickie)
  • Allan Delamere Hutchinson (Navigator)
  • Patrick Norman Croft (Air Bomber)
  • James Harrison Graham (Wireless Operator)
  • Joseph Francis Dowsing (Air Gunner)
  • William Gordon Leslie Brown (Air Gunner)
  • Fred Shaw Maltas (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5210N 0137E, Krefeld, Nordwijk, Happisburgh.

HR799 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing and nothing was heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 22nd June 1943 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 21st / 22nd June 1943”.

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. 273 (Flight 02/09/1943) reported HJ Krohn and WGL Brown as “missing”

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

  • 06/08/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Dowsing, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war; also that Sgt Graham was killed [Note information on Graham was incorrect]
  • 02/09/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Maltas, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 27/09/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that P/O Hickson, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 07/10/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Graham, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 17/10/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that P/O Croft, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 12/01/1944: Information received from the Air Ministry that P/O Hutchison, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

WH Hickson,  AD Hutchison,  PN Croft,  JH Graham,  JF Dowsing and FS Maltas 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:

  • JH Graham
    • Captured: Venlo Area 22/06/1943 (Injured)
    • Hospitalised: Amsterdam Jun-43 to Aug-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Aug-43 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • WH Hickson (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • AD Hutchinson (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • PN Croft (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured: Paris (07/08/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg
    • Repatriated:
  • JF Dowsing (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • FS Maltas (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:

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.

Original Burials

CWGC records show that the remains of HJ Krohn and WGL Brown were located at Mook British Cemetery.

hr799-concentration

Post War Concentration

After the war, their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 3rd December 1947 at JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BROWN, WILLIAM GORDON LESLIE, Pilot Officer ‘155006’  Grave 7. H. 8.
  • KROHN, HENRY JOHN, Flight Sergeant ‘34017’ Grave 7. I. 1.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Maj. Gunther Radusch, Stab II./NJG3 (det. 3./NJG1), Klein-Oirlo NNW Venlo (Holland)(Himmelbett), 5500m, 01.34 (Note: also claimed by Flak of Flak Regt. 24 (8.-9., 14.-18. and 22./z.b.V. 5707 ‘Halifax Straelen 01.35hrs’) victory Maj. Radusch confirmed 19/12/1944)

WR Chorley (Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War)

Shot down by a nightfighter and crashed at 01.34 at Valkenburg. Sgt Krohn left the aircraft but died due to the failure of his parachute to fully deploy

Bomber Command Loss Card

Aircraft hit by flak over Holland; starboard engine caught fire

Notes:

  1. Digitised record for HJ Krohn available in Australian Archives (as at July 2017)

Halifax HR685 (21/06/1943)

Halifax HR685 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Krefeld on the night of the 21st / 22nd June 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Thomas Henry Lane (Pilot)
  • Peter McGregor Jackson (Navigator)
  • George William Darling (Air Bomber)
  • Albert Peter Balson (Wireless Operator)
  • Donald Robert Alexander (Air Gunner)
  • Roy Frederick MacDonald (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick James Rogers (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5210N 0137E, Krefeld, Nordwijk, Happisburgh.

HR685 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing and nothing was heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 22nd June 1943 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 21st / 22nd June 1943”.

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 provided No. 35 Squadron with the following information regarding the crew:

  • 04/08/1943: F/L Jackson and F/S Rogers, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, were captured
  • 06/08/1943: F/O Alexander, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 09/08/1943: F/O Lane, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 11/08/1943: F/S Balson, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 26/08/1943: P/O Darling, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 04/09/1943: F/S MacDonald, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war

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:

  • AP Balson
    • Captured: Wamel, Holland  24/06/43
    • Hospitalised: Wilhelmina Hospital, Amsterdam (Broken right ankle)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IX-C, Bad Sulza   Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydecrug Dec-43 to Jun-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Jun-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • TH Lane (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • PM Jackson (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • GW Darling (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • DR Alexander
    • Captured: Tiel, Holland (21/06/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Jul-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Marlag und Milag Nord, Westertimke (Tarmstedt) Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RF MacDonald (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • FJ Rogers (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Hptm. Manfred Meurer, 3./NJG1, 1/2 km SW Wamel (Holland) (Himmelbett) , 5500m, 01.48

Also see:

  • tremele.nl/english/crashes/e_wamel22061943/e_wamel22juni1943.htm
  • “Amazing Airmen: Canadian Flyers in the Second World War” by Ian Darling

Halifax BB368 (21/06/1943)

Halifax BB368 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Krefeld on the night of the 21st / 22nd June 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Donald Harold Milne (Pilot)
  • Anthony Graham Cox (Navigator)
  • Peter Richard Lissner (Air Bomber)
  • John Jolly (Wireless Operator)
  • Kenneth Wolstencroft (Air Gunner)
  • Robert Abner Hugh Bowring (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Reginald Maxwell Smith (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5210N 0137E, Krefeld, Nordwijk, Happisburgh.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft eventually ditched in the sea and all the navigator’s logs were lost. All crew safe. Starboard outer engine hit by flak 40 miles inside the Dutch Coast. Aircraft went on to the target, dropped bombs and port inner failed just after crossing the Dutch Coast”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

“Another kind of courage; Stories of the UK-based Walrus air-sea rescue squadrons” by Norman Franks

Main Walrus Rescues by No. 278 Squadron 22 June (1943)

Walrus L2238 (W/O F C Perry and Sgt D R Swindell) (Coltishall) and Walrus K8549 (F/O W A L and P/O P J Roy)

Crew of 35 Sqn Halfax (BB368) that ditched off Cromer coming back from Krefeld. Four of the seven men later transferred to second Walrus  07:30 – 09:15.

Bill Land helped with the rescue of the seven-man crew of a Halifax of 35 Squadron on 22 June, but it took two Walrus crews to do the job.

We proceeded to position H.1525, near the Cross Sands lightship, where we saw an Anson, flown by Flight Sergeant Peskett, orbiting a dinghy. Nearby on the water was a Walrus, pilot Warrant Officer ‘Fred’ Perry, who had taken seven men from a dinghy. I landed in a three-foot swell at 09.10 hrs.

We transferred four men from Fred’s Walrus and I was taxying for a take-off when my engine stalled. Paul Roy climbed on the wing and using a starting handle managed to restart it. This was no easy task in view of the swell and the fact that the Pegasus engine required plenty of brawn to turn it over.

Both our aircraft managed to take off at around 09:30, and headed for base. Our customers were all in good shape and spirits, and I was photographed with my four back at Coltishall.(Flying Officer W A Land, No.278 Squadron).

Their bomber (BB368/H) had been hit in the starboard outer engine by flak 40 minutes inside the Dutch border, but they had flown on to the target. On the way home the port engine had failed just after recrossing the Dutch coast and they had just failed to reach the English coast.

Halifax BB361 (21/06/1943)

Halifax BB361 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Krefeld on the night of the 21st / 22nd June 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • James Wesley Andrews (Pilot)
  • David John Jones (Navigator)
  • Frederick Vernon Barnard (Air Bomber)
  • Reginald Arthur Muldoon (Wireless Operator)
  • Neil Thomas MacAulay (Air Gunner)
  • William Downie Robertson (Air Gunner)
  • Robert Matthew Scott (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5210N 0137E, Krefeld, Noordwijk, Happisburgh.

BB361 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft did not return, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 22nd June 1943 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 21st / 22nd June 1943”.

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. 273 (Flight 02/09/1943) reported JW Andrews, FV Barnard, DJ Jones, RA Muldoon, NT Macaulay, WD Robertson and RM Scott as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 379 (Flight 04/05/44) reported NT Macaulay “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 380 (Flight 04/05/44) reported FV Barnard, WD Robertson and RM Scott “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 394 (Flight 15/06/44) reported JW Andrews “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”

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

  • 09/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Macaulay, missing on operations 21st / 22nd June 1943, was killed

Note 1: 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.

Note 2: It is known that the body of NT Macaulay was recovered from the shoreline at Texel (near beach pole 13), Holland on 7th September 1943; he was buried in Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery two days later

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 do not show where the remains of NT MaCauley were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) as follows:

  • MacAULAY, NEIL THOMAS, Warrant Officer ‘R/121633’ TEXEL (DEN BURG) CEMETERY Plot K. Row 5. Grave 100.

[Source: FindaGrave]

The remains of the rest of the crew were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • ANDREWS, JAMES WESLEY, Pilot Officer ‘J/18204’ Panel 175.
  • BARNARD, FREDERICK VERNON, Sergeant ‘1392675’ Panel 141.
  • JONES, DAVID JOHN, Sergeant ‘1338696’ Panel 155.
  • MULDOON, REGINALD ARTHUR, Sergeant ‘1382671’ Panel 160.
  • ROBERTSON, WILLIAM DOWNIE, Sergeant ‘1306838’ Panel 163.
  • SCOTT, ROBERT MATTHEW, Sergeant ‘575419’ Panel 164.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter and Flak Claim: Probably Hptm. Franz Buschmann, 12./NJG1, 15 km NW Den Helder (Holland)(EK, Salzhering), 3.000 m. 02.20. Note: also claimed by Flak of M. Fla. A. 808 (enemy aircraft 25 km. W. Den Helder 02.32 hrs), victory Hptm. Buschmann confirmed on 20.12.1944

World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in Holland and North Sea

  • Crashed in the North Sea, about 25km west of Den Helder
  • NT MacAulay’s body was washed ashore on 7th September 1943 at beach pole 13, Texel