Halifax DT489 (05/10/1942)

Halifax DT489 was one of twelve No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Aachen on the night of the 5th / 6th October 1942.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harry Burns MacDonald (Pilot)
  • Ronald Edward Wilkes (2nd Pilot)
  • John Baker (Navigator)
  • Edward Whitter (Wireless Operator)
  • Jack Reginald Ely (Air Gunner)
  • George Carpenter (Air Gunner)
  • James Ellis Jones (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Aircraft returned early from 20 miles south of Cambridge after being struck by lightning at 20.00hrs, the trailing aerial breaking off and the Flight Engineer, Sergeant Jones being temporarily blinded by lightning flash. A landing was made with flares still on at Wyton.


Halifax W1231 (08/04/1943)

Halifax W1231 was one of eight No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Duisburg on the night of 8th / 9th April 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harold Cass Pexton (Pilot)
  • Francis Fenton (Navigator)
  • Cyril Duggan Hughes (Air Bomber)
  • Colin John Weldon (Wireless Operator)
  • James Walter Warren (Air Gunner)
  • William David Ronald Walters (Air Gunner)
  • Ernest Frederick John Willis (Flight Engineer)

The Squadron’s Record Book shows “Returned early from Rotterdam (approximately) 23.38 hours, 13,000 feet owing to icing which prevented aircraft climbing even after jettisoning 4 x 1000lb GP; also DR Compass showed error of 120 degrees and Gee went U/S. Cloud up to 12,000 feet all the way to Dutch Coast with icing. 2 x 1000lb GP safe in sea 23.05hrs 9000ft, 5 x 1000lb GP live in sea off Dutch Coast 23.50hrs 12000ft. I x 2000lb HC hung up and fell off on runway on landing”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Graveley Flight Log

In the early hours of the 9th April 1943, a Halifax, U-Uncle was the last to land from operations. This was fortunate because as soon as it touched down, sparks were observed streaming out below the tail. After the aircraft had run a few hundred yards they ceased. An investigation disclosed a 2,000 lb. bomb on the centre of the main runway, near Flying Control. It had been hung up by its tail and when the aircraft touched down its nose was dragged along the runway until the bumps caused it to fall off. At dawn an airman was seen to be sitting on it smoking a cigarette, his job being to keep the inquisitive away.

AM Form 78

Halifax W7885 (03/01/1943)

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 3rd January 1943.

There were no operational sorties recorded in the squadron’s Operations Record Book for that day, so it is assumed that any damage was sustained during exercises. The aircraft was operational again by 4th February 1943


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) is confusing, as it suggests that it was on charge of No 105 Squadron, but they were flying Mosquito at the time

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) for the incident, so no further information is available

Halifax W7878 (29/03/1943)

Halifax W7878 was one of seventeen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of 29th / 30th March 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Oscar William Rees (Pilot)
  • Ronald George Hands (Navigator)
  • Vernon Reginald Matthews (Air Bomber)
  • Arthur Denby Barker (Wireless Operator)
  • Ivor Corfield (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Henry Navin Emerson (Air Gunner)
  • George Henry Cross (Flight Engineer)

The Squadron’s Record Book shows “Berlin at 19500ft, hit repeatedly by HFF; starboard outer and port hit. On run up, aircraft subjected to considerable amount of heavy flak. After dropping TIs, coned in a heavy flak which put starboard inner engine out of action and riddled aircraft from nose to tail, hitting petrol tanks. Also starboard and port outer hit, fortunately not putting these out of action. Landed Coltishall”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 30th March 1943 and it was sent for repair; it was returned to the squadron on 27th May 1943

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) for this incident, so no further details are available

Halifax W7878 (30/01/1943)

Halifax W7878 was one of three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of the 30th / 31st January 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Oscar William Rees (Pilot)
  • Herbert Brian Felix  Lymna (Observer / Navigator)
  • Vernon Reginald Matthews (Air Bomber)
  • Arthur Denby Barker (Wireless Operator / [WOP/AG])
  • Ivor Corfield (Air Gunner)
  • Leonard Jesse North (Air Gunner)
  • John Maurice Mitchell (Flight Engineer)

There are no details of any damage recorded in the squadron’s Operations Record Book but the AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows: “Aircraft landing, strong cross wind xxxxx swung off runway; unable to check aircraft to avoid hitting unmarked defence post”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 31st January 1943; it was sent for repair and returned to the squadron on 11th February 1943

Halifax W7872 (31/01/1943)

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “Sgt. Fitter (H Wasley) taxying aircraft to dispersal in the dark without assistance collided with tail of W7875 standing on perimeter track”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The Movement Card (AM Form 78) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 31st January 1943. It was sent for repair and returned to the squadron on 13th February 1943

Halifax W7779 (20/04/1943)

Halifax W7779 was one of thirteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Stettin on the night of the 20th / 21st April 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • John Rushbrooke Petrie-Andrews (Pilot)
  • John Wright Armitage (Navigator)
  • Horace John Backhouse (Air Bomber)
  • Rhubean Burns Berwick (Wireless Operator)
  • George Dale (Air Gunner)
  • Norman Wilken Barnett (Air Gunner)
  • John Henry Morgan (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows: Shell exploded in nose of aircraft at 5459N 1053E at 23.57 hours whilst at 1000ft. Bomb Sight, air speed indicator, DR Compass and inter-com all made unserviceable. Wireless Operator and Navigator were wounded


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 21st April 1943; it was sent for repair and returned to the squadron on 24th May 1943

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) available; as such, there are no further details

Armitage and Berwick

Both airmen returned to operational service with the squadron shortly after the incident

Halifax W7778 (08/03/1943)

Halifax W7778 was one of eleven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Nurnburg on 8th / 9th March 1943

Its six man crew consisted of:

  • George Frank Lambert (Pilot)
  • Gordon Davidson Hogg (Navigator)
  • James Errol Philip Doll (Air Bomber)
  • Ronald Arnold Kempsell (Wireless Operator)
  • Samuel James Knight (Air Gunner)
  • Anthony Claude Beddoe (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows: At Longuyon, 21.38 hours, 13500ft, attacked by JU88, port inner oil tank holed. Port flap approx. 2ft shot away, rear turret U/S due to oil leak. Port inner bomb door shot off and port inner propeller damaged. Sortie abandoned as still over 200 miles from target


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 8th March 1943; the aircraft was sent for repair and was returned to the squadron on 22nd March 1943

(Note: The AM Form 78 suggests that it was not returned to the squadron until 22nd April 1943; however the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows that it was operational again from 22nd March)

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) for this incident; as such, there are no further details available

Halifax W7778 (29/05/1943)

Halifax W7778 was one of twenty-one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Wuppertal on 29th / 30th May 1943

Its seven man crew consisted of:

  • Nelson Alexander Cobb (Pilot)
  • David Archibald Codd (Navigator)
  • Walter Palfrey Trask (Air Bomber)
  • Charles Henry Bulloch (Wireless Operator)
  • Norman Francis Williams (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Richard Desmond Smith (Air Gunner)
  • Roland Hurlston Baldwin (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows: Aircraft hit by flak. Port tyre burst and aircraft crashed, belly landing at base


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 29th May 1943. The aircraft was struck off charge of the squadron and sent to Handley Page for repair. It was not returned to the squadron on completion of repairs

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) for this incident; as such, there are no further details available

Extract from “Blue Job – Brown Job” by David Codd DFC

“Over the target area we had felt a considerable bump when our aircraft was hit. The elevator had suffered some damage but not enough to make the aircraft unflyable. We got back to base without too much trouble but when we made our final approach to touch down we had a nasty shock. Unbeknown to us, the port undercarriage and tyre had been damaged. As we hit the runway, the aircraft slewed off to the left and both legs of the undercarriage sheared off as it went into a ground loop, finishing with a belly landing on the grass. Fortunately, none of the crew were injured and the aircraft was sufficiently clear of the runway to allow other returning aircraft to land safely”.

Halifax W7711 (12/05/1943)

Halifax W7711 was one of twenty No. 35 Squadron aircraft that were detailed to attack Duisburg on 12th / 13th May 1943

Its seven man crew comprised:

  • Peter Johnston (Pilot)
  • Reginald Gordon Houston (Navigator)
  • Roy Wood (Air Bomber)
  • Benjamin Thomas Royall (Wireless Operator)
  • Harold John Rogers (Air Gunner)
  • Charles Fullerton Stewart (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick James Jarvis (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows: Gee and Navigational Aid U/S. Duisburg 02.03 hours, 15500ft heavy flak shell near miss. Utrecht 10 miles WNW 02.45, 8000ft – tracer from enemy aircraft


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The Movement Card (AM Form 78) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 13th May 1943; the aircraft was struck off charge of the squadron and sent to Handley Page for repair. It was not returned to the squadron on completion of repairs

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) for this incident; as such, there is no further information available

Halifax HR987 (01/09/1943)

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 1st September 1943.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book has no information regarding any damage sustained


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 1st September 1943 (possibly whilst being utilised by 158 Squadron?) ; it is unclear when it was returned to the squadron, but it was operational on 8th September 1943

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) for this incident; as such, there is no further information available

Halifax HR987 (27/09/1943)

Halifax HR987 was one of twenty-one aircraft No. 35 Squadron detailed to attack Hanover on the night of 27th / 28th September 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Brian Guinness Glover (Pilot)
  • Edmund Howard Williams (Navigator)
  • John Brett (Air Bomber)
  • Arthur William Griffiths (Wireless Operator)
  • Philip Charles Potter (Air Gunner)
  • William Carroll Connelly (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Smith Redpath (Flight Engineer)

The squadron Operations Record Book does not contain any information about damage but the AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “Damaged by incendiaries over the target”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC. It was allocated to Handley Page (for repair) and was not returned to the squadron.

Halifax HR736 (13/05/1943)

Halifax HR736 was one of twenty No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Pilsen / Bochum on the night of 13th / 14th May 1943

Its crew comprised:

  • Not known

No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows that “Aircraft HR736 was withdrawn after its was burnt out when its incendiaries were accidentally jettisoned”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat E (Burnt) on 13th May 1943. It was struck off charge on 21st May 1943

AM Form 1180

The Am Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “Aircraft stationary, electricians testing circuits; incendiaries released and aircraft caught fire. There were 2 possibilities (1) jettison bars were at “jettisoned” when Ground / Flight switch was turned to Flight (2) jettison bars at “safe” before bomb load xxx off, but pushed into “jettisoned” position by blow or pressure on Switch Box indicating electrical fault in aircraft. Impossible to be checked as all evidence destroyed”


Halifax HR863 (09/07/1943)

Halifax HR863 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Gelsenkirchen on the night of 9th / 10th July 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Edmund Solomon (Pilot)
  • Horatius Douglas Stewart White (Navigator)
  • Donald William McGlashan Archer (Air Bomber)
  • Stanislaus Cyril McKiernan (Wireless Operator)
  • Alexander Stephen (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald Cecil Davies (Air Gunner)
  • Alfred Norman Leslie Moss (Flight Engineer)

The route was Happisburgh, Texel, 5215N 0705E, Gelsenkirchen, 5040N 0725E, 5005N 0635E, 5000N 0115E, Beachy Head, Reading

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Both the bomb aimer and the navigator were hit by flak at position of green steady but bombed successfully.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Citation for HDS White

One night in July 1943 this airman was navigator of an aircraft detailed for an operation against Gelsenkirchen. On the outward flight, whilst many miles from the target, the bomber was his by anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant White sustained 3 wounds in the leg but, in spite of considerable pain, he continued to navigate the bomber to the target which was successfully attacked. On the return flight he made light of his injuries and remained at his station to navigate the aircraft safely back to base when he collapsed through loss of blood. Sergeant White displayed outstanding fortitude and courage, setting an example worthy of high praise.’


Notes:

  1. HDS White (Navigator) was posted to RAF Wyton as N/E (Sick) on 29th August 1943, returning to the squadron on 12th September 1943.
  2. DWM Archer (Air Bomber) had returned to operational duties by 24th July 1943

Halifax HX169 (22/10/1943)

Halifax HX169 was one of twenty-two No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Kassel on the night of the 22nd / 23rd October 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Randall Vincent Jones (Pilot)
  • Horatius Douglas Stewart White (Navigator)
  • Ronald Booth (Air Bomber)
  • Thomas Donald Henderson (Wireless Operator)
  • Gerald Carrell (Air Gunner)
  • Peter Ross Jung (Air Gunner)
  • Wilfred Arthur Jeffries (Flight Engineer)

The AM Form 1180 shows: “Aircraft hit by incendiaries from friendly aircraft whilst over the target area”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Halifax HX169

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC; it was repaired and returned to the squadron on 5th November 1943

Halifax HX157 (13/10/1943)

Halifax HX157 was being utilised for a cross country exercise on 13th October 1943.

Its crew comprised:

  • TW Hill (Pilot)
  • Others?

The AM Form 1180 shows that the aircraft swung on take off and undercarriage collapsed, due to pilot being taught to use brakes instead of the use of glide to correct swing


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FA/E (Salvage) and struck off charge of the squadron

Aircraft Crash Log (Compiled by Nicholas Roberts)

Swung on take-off for Cross Country; undercarriage collapsed

Halifax HR925 (11/11/1943)

Halifax HR925 was one of twenty-four No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Cannes on the night of 11th / 12th November 1943

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • Desmond Ewart Abel Lander (Pilot)
  • Norman Sidney Francis Palmer (Navigator)
  • George Frederick Collier (Air Bomber)
  • Charles Hogg (Set Operator)
  • Albert James Wickersham (Wireless Operator)
  • Donald Arthur Alfred Swain (Air Gunner)
  • Roy Horace Wells (Air Gunner)
  • David Peter McDonald Thomson (Flight Engineer)

The route was as follows: Base, Selsey Bill, 49°20N 00°00E, 47°25N 01°00E, 43°18N 06°35E, Cannes, 43°40N 07°12E, 47°35N 01°20E, 49°20N  00°00E, Selsey Bill, Base

The squadron’s Operations Record Book has no details but the AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/A and was off charge until 14th January 1944


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Aircraft Crash Log (Compiled by Nicholas Roberts)

Aircraft belly landed after operations

AM Form 1180

  • AM Form 1180 to be obtained

Halifax W7923 (03/02/1943)

Halifax W7923 was one of fourteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of 3rd / 4th February 1943

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • James Copeland Thomas (Pilot)
  • Gordon Henry Francis Carter (Navigator)
  • Richard Martin (Air Bomber)
  • Edward Roland Turenne (Wireless Operator)
  • John Napoleon Barry (Air Gunner)
  • William Joseph Freeman (Air Gunner)
  • Daniel Christie Young (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “When approaching to land at base, the undercarriage could not be lowered and a belly landing was made without casualties”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

The Am Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows: Aircraft belly landed; pilot unable to lower undercarriage by normal or emergency systems.

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/A (but was subsequently struck off charge)

Aircraft Crash Log (Compiled by Nicholas Roberts)

Aircraft belly landed due to undercarriage failure


Halifax W7906 (28/02/1943)

Halifax W7906 was one of eight No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack St Nazaire on the night of the 28th February 1943.

Its six-man crew comprised:

  • Donald Frederick Edgar Charles Dean (Pilot)
  • Dudley Peter David Archer (Navigator)
  • Alfred Edward Ralph Bexton (Air Bomber)
  • Allan Roland Ball (Wireless Operator)
  • James Russell Griffin (Air Gunner)
  • Donald Harrington Craig (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “During the outward journey, when the aircraft was flying at 13,000 feet, the port outer engine coolant temperature rose dangerously and the propeller was feathered, the aircraft gradually losing height down to 9,000 feet. However, St Nazaire was attacked in good visibility. Just after setting  out for base, the starboard inner engine failed, flames shooting out of the air intakes, and the aircraft slowly lost height to 3,000  feet. All preparations were made for ditching and the return journey was made through cloud. The aircraft was “homed” by searchlights and after further difficulties reached the aerodrome at Harrowbeer, the flare  path of which was extremely feeble. The Captain landed the aircraft halfway along a runway, 1100 feet in length; the aircraft overshot, the undercarriage collapsed in rough ground where the aircraft came to rest, no casualties occurring.

Note: The Record Book shows the aircraft serial as W7877, but this is incorrect


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

DFEC Dean Citation

DFEC Dean was awarded the Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during this incident. The citation reads:

“One night in February 1943, this officer captained an aircraft, detailed to attack St. Nazaire. Whilst crossing the Channel, on the outward flight, one of the port engines failed. Nevertheless, Sqn. Ldr. Dean continued his mission. Whilst over the target area his aircraft was held in searchlights and subjected to heavy fire from the ground defences. Despite this, he pressed home a vigorous attack. Shortly after, the aircraft was headed for home, one of the starboard engines failed. Sqn. Ldr. Dean succeeded in maintaining height and eventually reached an airfield in this country where he effected a masterly landing in difficult circumstances”


Halifax DT519 (01/03/1943)

Halifax DT519 was one of thirteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 1st / 2nd March 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harry Malkin (Pilot)
  • Carl Edward Sorsdahl (Navigator)
  • AT Williams (Air Bomber)
  • Herbert Alfred William Jolly (Wireless Operator)
  • John Meredith Fryer (Air Gunner)
  • John Thomas Stanton (Air Gunner)
  • Edmund Ernest Stocker (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Over Munster, caught in cones of searchlights, was hit by heavy accurate flak, 2 members of the crew (W/OP [HAW Jolly] and M/UG [JM Fryer]) wounded. Landed at Stanton Morley.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

H Malkin (Citation)

H Malkin was awarded the Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts during this raid. His citation reads:

“One night in March, 1943, this officer captained an aircraft detailed to attack Berlin. Whilst over the city the bomber was held in searchlights and subjected to heavy anti-aircraft fire. The rudder controls were severed and one of the port engines was damaged causing it to fail. Despite this, Flt. Lt. Malkin skilfully controlled the damaged aircraft and executed a successful attack. Soon after leaving the target area, efforts to re-start the damaged engine proved successful, but further trouble was encountered. The bomber was again engaged by anti-aircraft fire, which rendered the port outer engine unserviceable. The mid-upper gunner was wounded, while all lights in the cockpit failed. With extreme difficulty, height was maintained and displaying superb airmanship, Flt. Lt. Malkin flew the damaged bomber to an airfield in this country.”

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC; it was repaired and returned to the squadron on 29th April 1943

HAW Jolly

HAW Jolly did not fly operationally with the squadron after this date.

JM Fryer

JM Fryer returned to operational service with the squadron by 5th March 1943

Halifax HR866 (03/11/1943)

Halifax HR866 was one of eight (No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Dusseldorf on the night of the 3rd / 4th November 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ernest Holmes (Pilot)
  • Joseph Victor Kent (Navigator)
  • Robert William Pape (Air Bomber)
  • Thomas Henry Warren (Wireless Operator)
  • James Mursell Colledge (Air Gunner)
  • John Arthur Van-Marle (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick Ronald Harmsworth-Smith (Flight Engineer)

The AM Form 1180 shows “Landing undercarriage collapsed. Investigation: Undercarriage must have been selected up after landing. More text which needs to be deciphered 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/B on 4th November 1943. It was allocated to Handley Page and subsequently classified as Cat E on 6th December 1943.

Aircraft Crash Log (Compiled by Nicholas Roberts)

Undercarriage collapsed on landing


Halifax W7907 (27/03/1943)

Halifax W7907 was one of seventeen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 27th / 28th March 1943.

It was part of the Main Force and was carrying 3 x 1000lb GP and 2 x 250lb.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harl J. Espy (Pilot)
  • George Charles Dynes (Navigator)
  • James Hubert Naylor (Air Bomber)
  • Reginald Charles Smith (Wireless Operator)
  • Charles Pattison (Air Gunner)
  • George Harold Yeates (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald Albert Henry Thomas (Flight Engineer)

The route was Cromer, North of Texel, Berlin, Mandø, Cromer.

W7907 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft failed to return. No message received”.

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 28th March 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 27th / 28th March 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. 234 (Flight 20/05/1943) reported HJ Espy, GC Dynes,  RC Smith, C Pattison, GH Yeates and RAH Thomas as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 362 (Flight 23/03/1944) reported HJ Espy, GC Dynes,  RC Smith, C Pattison, GH Yeates and RAH Thomas “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 363 (Flight 30/03/1944) reported JH Naylor “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:

  • 19/06/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that the following, missing on 27th / 28th March 1943, were killed – F/O Espy, Sgt Dynes, Sgt Pattison, P/O Naylor, Sgt Smith, Sgt Thomas

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 all the crew were located at Geestemunde Cemetery

w7907-concentration-report

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BECKLINGEN WAR CEMETERY on 5th November 1946 as follows:

  • DYNES, GEORGE CHARLES Sergeant ‘1501437’  Coll. grave 11. G. 1-6.
  • NAYLOR, JAMES HUBERT Flying Officer ‘NZ.413111’ Coll. grave 11. G. 1-6.
  • PATTISON, CHARLES Sergeant ‘632331’ Coll. grave 11. G. 1-6.
  • SMITH, REGINALD CHARLES Sergeant ‘1377817’ Coll. grave 11. G. 1-6.
  • THOMAS, RONALD ALBERT HENRY Sergeant ‘575820’ Coll. grave 11. G. 1-6.
  • YEATES, GEORGE HAROLD Sergeant ‘1390540’ Coll. grave 11. G. 1-6.

Espy’s remains were flown back to the USA and concentrated (reinterred) at ESPYVILLE CEMETERY as follows:

  • ESPY, HARL J. Flying Officer ‘118575’  Lot 86. Grave 1

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Hit by 1. & 4./schw. Flak Abt. 117,2./schw. Flak Abt. 531, 1. & 2./schw. Flak Abt. 615 and 3./schw. Flak Abt. Crashed to the north of Habighorst, near Vegesack / Bremen (Germany) at 21.45hrs.


Halifax W7887 (04/05/1943)

Halifax W7887 was one of six No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Dortmund on the night of the 4th / 5th May 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • John Jarvis Williams (Pilot)
  • Richard Charles Tucker (Navigator)
  • James Casey (Air Bomber)
  • Gordon James Hurley (Wireless Operator)
  • Eric Charles Brown (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas David Bishop (Air Gunner)
  • John Irvine Barrie (Flight Engineer)
JJ Williams Crew (see text for line up).jpg

Believed to be J Casey, EC Brown, JI Barrie, JJ Williams, TD Bishop, G Hurley, RC Tucker [Courtesy of Rhona Cameron]

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft crashed at Culverston (Believed to be Chelveston) through lack of petrol on return. All the crew baled out and returned to Graveley later”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “Aircraft short of fuel; crew abandoned aircraft [no technical failure]. An inquiry was held as it was suggested that “the pilot should have landed when ordered”

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/E and was struck off charge on 14th May 1943

WR Chorley (Bomber Command Losses of WWII)

On return to the base the crew were advised on considerable activity in the airfield circuit. Instructed to hold off and awaiting landing orders the pilot began circling well away to the north west of base. Whilst doing so, the Halifax ran out of petrol and was successfully abandoned. The crew parachuted unharmed and their bomber was later discovered in fields near Woodford, 6 miles e.s.e of Kettering, Northamptonshire

EC Brown’s Log Book Entry

W7887 Log Book Entry [Gordon Boocock]

[Courtesy of Gordon Boocock]

Halifax W7886 (17/01/1943)

Halifax W7886 was one of three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 17th / 18th January 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ian Morgan Rutherford Brownlie (Pilot)
  • Jack Kenneth Corke (Navigator)
  • Frederick Donald McColl (Air Bomber)
  • Frederick Arthur Braybrook (Wireless Operator)
  • Lawrence Rockliffe Adcock (Air Gunner)
  • William Austin McMullan (Air Gunner)
  • Albert Mark Taylor (Flight Engineer)

The route was Mano, Haderslev, Humble, Darsser Ort, Neuwarp, Muggelsee, Berlin, Humble, Haderslev, Mano

W7886 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “At 20.30 hours, when this aircraft was due to attack Berlin, an SOS was received with the message “Just maintaining height” and a fix was given at 5358N 0930E. A further fix was received at 5426N 0924E at 21.02 hours and the message “Three engines now working”. Nothing further was heard from this aircraft, which failed to return”

Note: W7886 was the only No 35 squadron aircraft to actually take-off on this raid

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 18th January 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 17th / 18th January 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. 213 (Flight 25/03/1943) reported FD McColl, FA Braybrook, LR Adcock and WA McMullan as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 282 (Flight 23/09/1943) reported FD McColl, FA Braybrook, LR Adcock and WA McMullan “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 18/02/1943: Information received that IMR Brownlie, JK Corke and AM Taylor, missing on 17th January 1943, are prisoners of war. The remainder of the crew LR Adcock, J McMullan, FA Braybrook and FD McColl were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

IMR Brownlie, JK Corke and AM Taylor 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:

  • AM Taylor
    • Captured: North Jutland 17/01/1943 (Injured)
    • Hospitalised: Viborg, Denmark Jan-43 to Mar-43
    • Hospitalised: Lazarette, Lamsdorf Mar-43 to Dec-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 344, Lamsdorf Dec-43 to Mar-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-B, Lamsdorf Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 383, Hohenfels Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • IMR Brownlie (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag XXI-B, Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • JK Corke (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag XXI-B, Stalag Luft III
    • 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 FD McColl, FA Braybrook, LR Adcock  and WA McMullan were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at ESBJERG (FOURFELT) CEMETERY as follows:

  • ADCOCK, LAWRENCE ROCKLIFFE Pilot Officer ‘131831’  Grave AIII. 8. 18.
  • BRAYBROOK, FREDERICK ARTHUR Pilot Officer ‘137669’ Grave AIII. 8. 20.
  • McCOLL, FREDERICK DONALD Flight Sergeant ‘1118712’ Grave AIII. 8. 19.
  • McMULLAN, WILLIAM AUSTIN Pilot Officer ‘139489’ Grave AIII. 8. 21.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Fw. Herbert Holz, 10./NJG3 Stenderup, 9km NE Kolding (Denmark) (Faun), 21.34. Note: Also claimed by 1.-4./schw. Flak Abt. 306 (o) (“Halifax nr. Stenderup ESE Kolding 21.32hrs”), Flak claim confirmed by OKL on 10.09.1944, no confirmation date of Fw. Holz’s claim known

Crew Information

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

Crew Memorial

Memorial Stone at Mørkholtvej [Source: airmen-dk]

More detailed Information

  1. flensted.eu.com

Halifax W7885 (13/02/1943)

Halifax W7885 was one of eight No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Lorient on the night of the 13th / 14th February 1943.

It was carrying 5 x 1000lb GP and various Target Indicators.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • James Copeland Thomas (Pilot)
  • Gordon Henry Francis Carter (Navigator)
  • Richard Martin (Air Bomber)
  • Edward Roland Turenne (Wireless Operator)
  • John Napoleon Barry (Air Gunner)
  • William Joseph Freeman (Air Gunner)
  • Daniel Christie Young (Flight Engineer)

The route was Ile de Groix, Lorient, Bridport

W7885 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft took off to attack Lorient after which nothing further was heard from it”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 14th February 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 13th / 14th February 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. 221 (Flight 15/04/1943) reported WJ Freeman as “missing”

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

  • 09/04/1943: Information received that F/O Carter, missing over Lorient on 13th / 14th February 1943 had returned to this country [Reported again on 08/05/1943]
  • 21/07/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that F/S Barry, missing on 13th / 14th February 1943, arrived in the UK on 14th July 1943
  • 31/12/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that F/O Thomas, missing on 13th / 14th February 1943, is safe in a neutral country

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

JC Thomas, R Martin, GHF Carter, ER Turenne and JN Barry survived the crash and evaded capture.

  • JC Thomas
    • Evasion Route: France / Switzerland
    • Repatriated: 1944?
  • R Martin
    • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar (Oaktree?)
    • Repatriated: Liverpool 24/07/1943
  • GHF Carter
    • Evasion Route: France
    • Repatriated: Coverack, Cornwall 09/04/1943
  • ER Turenne
    • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar (Oaktree?)
    • Repatriated: Liverpool 24/07/1943
  • JN Barry
    • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar (Oaktree?)
    • Repatriated: Whitchurch 14/07/1943

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

DC Young survived the crash and, after evading for a while, he was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • DC Young
    • Evaded: Feb-43 to Mar-43
    • Captured: 19 Avenue D’Orlean, Paris 03/03/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth May-43 to Oct-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VII, Bankau Oct-43 to May-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft IV, Gross Tychow Jun-44 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag XI-B, Fallingbostel Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-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 do not show where the remains of WJ Freeman were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at CARHAIX COMMUNAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • FREEMAN, WILLIAM JOSEPH Flying Officer ‘J/10162’

[Source: FindaGrave]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Theo has advised that there are no claim or flak details available for this raid

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • Hit by flak over target; crew baled out near Spezet in Brittany.
  • Hit by flak over target and port outer engine ….. and two large holes made in fuselage. Fire ….. and could not be extinguished. Crew baled out at Carhaix
  • Crew baled out …… Rear Gunner believed found dead by the crashed aircraft with parachute unopened

Evasion Report Numbers (National Archives)

  • Not Known JC Thomas
  • WO208/3314/1315 R Martin
  • WO208/3312/1155 GHF Carter
  • WO208/3314/1314 ER Turenne
  • WO208/3314/1299 JN Barry

Extract from GHF Carter’s MI.9 Report (Courtesy of Hugh Halliday)

I was navigator of an aircraft which took off from Graveley (Huntingdonshire) about 1830 hours on 13 February 1943 to bomb Lorient. Our aircraft was hit by flak over the target and we baled out about 20.45 hours. The other members of the crew were:- F/O Thomas (pilot) Sergeant Martin (bomb aimer) Flight Sergeant Turner (wireless operator) Sergeant Young (engineer), Flight Sergeant Barry (mid-upper gunner) and F/O Freeman (killed). All landed safely, except F/O Freeman, whose parachute stuck as he was leaving the aircraft. He struck the ground and died 20 minutes later. The rest of us came down within 500 yards of one another in the region of Spezet, about ten miles southwest of Carhaix (Brittany) Flight Sergeant Barry and I joined up almost immediately and the other survivors gathered in a separate group. I fell in a field, about 15 yards from a house (at Koerlescouat [Kerlescoat]) into which Flight Sergeant Barry was brought. Flight Sergeant Barry was given civilian clothes. I was already wearing civilian clothes under my battle dress with the idea (my own) of facilitating evasion. The people in the house kept our uniforms, parachutes and Mae Wests. Barry and I both speak fluent French, and we discussed our plans with our helpers. It was decided we could go through Gourin (southwest of Spezet) as there were no Germans there. We stayed at the farm until 0500 hours next day (14 February). We then walked on secondary roads through Gourin to a farm at Pont Rouge near Priziac. I had with me my own map of France, and we used this and the maps from our escape aids “purse”. We had also studied a map on the back of the telephone directory at the farm at [Kerlescoat] . We spent the night at the farm house at Pont Rouge. At 0700 hours next day (15 February) we started walking to Guemene-sur-Scorff (to the east of Priziac) whence we got a bus to Pontivy. The bus was crowded, but I told the conductor we were Canadians escaping, and he pushed us on. A man on the bus heard us talking to the conductor and at Pontivy he took us to a café, where we stayed a night and two days. Here we got in touch with an organisation, and eventually my journey to the United Kingdom was arranged for me

Crew Information

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

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 W7877 (01/03/1943)

Halifax W7877 was one of thirteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 1st / 2nd March 1943.

It was equipped with H2S and was carrying 2 x 1000lb, 4 x 250lb, 90 x 4lb and 8 flares

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Peter Campbell Elliott (Pilot)
  • George Christopher Harvey Chandler (Navigator)
  • Roy Victor Ledger (Air Bomber)
  • George Sarsfield Sloman (Wireless Operator)
  • Denis Kelly (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Neville Sankey (Air Gunner)
  • Stanley Langford Conway Watt (Flight Engineer)

The route was Cromer, Mando, 5432N 1115E, Berlin, Wunsdorf, Texel, Happisburgh.

W7877 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “At 00.15hrs message received at Pulham “starboard outer unserviceable”. No position given but bearing 093° from Pulham”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 2nd March 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 1st / 2nd March 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. 230 (Flight 13/05/1943) reported D Kelly, GS Sloman and SLC Watts as “missing believed killed in action”; also PC Elliott, RV Ledger and TN Sankey as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 320 (Flight 16/12/1943) reported D Kelly and SLC Watts “previously reported missing believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”; also  PC Elliott and RV Ledger “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 321 (Flight 16/12/1943) reported GS Sloman “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 02/04/1943: Information received that F/S Chandler is a prisoner of war and that F/S Sloman, Sgt Kelly and Sgt. Watt were killed.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

GCH Chandler survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre, RAF Cosford, in 1945, shows the following details:

  • GCH Chandler (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, 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 PC Elliott, GS Sloman, D Kelly, TN Sankey and SLC Watt were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at MARKELO GENERAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • ELLIOTT, PETER CAMPBELL Squadron Leader ‘42401’  Plot 4. Row A. Grave 5.
  • KELLY, DENIS Sergeant ‘1384311’ Plot 4. Row A. Grave 1.
  • SANKEY, THOMAS NEVILLE Flight Sergeant ‘612042’ Plot 4. Row A. Grave 3.
  • SLOMAN, GEORGE SARSFIELD Flight Sergeant ‘403036’ Plot 4. Row A. Grave 4.
  • WATT, STANLEY LANGFORD CONWAY Flight Sergeant ‘216038’ Plot 4. Row A. Grave 2.

The team were unable to locate the remains of RV Ledger (or he could not be formally identified); as such, his name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • LEDGER, ROY VICTOR Sergeant ‘1330439’ Panel 156.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

[Source: RAF Museum]

  • Shot down 02/03/1943, Place of burial not reported; Worth, Sloman and Kelly + 2 unknowns
  • Unknowns identified; names given by Chandler

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. August Gelger, 7./NJG1, 1km W Markelo, E Deventer (Holland) (4C), 4400m, 00.37

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

Aircraft crashed about 1.5km E.S.E. of Markelo, in the corner of the Stokkumerweg and Tichelweg, near the farm of the Kooymans family at Tichelweg 5

The aircraft completely disintegrated on impact, with one of the engines being found 500 metres away from the crash site

External Web Sites

  • memorialmarkelo.nl/planes-and-crews/halifax-crew/the-crash

Halifax W7876 (29/05/1943)

Halifax W7876 was one of twenty-one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Wuppertal on the night of the 29th / 30th May 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y (H2S)

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Allen Rex Sarjent (Pilot)
  • Ronald George Hands (Navigator)
  • William Dixon Gray (Air Bomber)
  • Jack Benjamin James Knowles (Wireless Operator)
  • Colin Henry Garner (Air Gunner)
  • Geoffrey Harvey Gardner (Air Gunner)
  • Daniel Robert Bown (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5134N 0330E, 5059N 0626E, Wuppertal, 5120N 0721E, 5033N 0723E, 5038N 0600E, 5122N 0320E

W7876 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing; No message was received”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 30th May 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 29th / 30th May 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. 267 (Flight 19/08/1943) reported WD Gray and CH Garner as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 335 (Flight 27/01/1944) reported WD Gray and CH Garner “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:

  • 21/07/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Sarjent (Sargent?), missing on 29th / 30th May 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 30/07/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Garner, missing on 29th / 30th May 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

AR Sarjent, RG Hands, JBJ Knowles, GH Gardner and DR Bown 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:

  • AR Sarjent (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed) 
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • RG Hands (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • JBJ Knowles (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • GH Gardner (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • DR Bown (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 show that the remains of WD Gray and CH Garner were located at Aachen Ehrenfriedhof.

w7876-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 17th April 1947 at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • GRAY, WILLIAM DIXON Flight Sergeant ‘1098526’  Grave 6. A. 14.
  • GARNER, COLIN HENRY Flight Sergeant ‘530348’ Grave 6. A. 15.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Maj. Walter Ehle, Stab II./NJG1, 200m E. Wahlheim, 9 km SE Aachen (Germany) (Gemse), 5600m, 00.37 Note: according to VI. Luftgau Intell Report dated 01.06.1943, “Halifax W7876 (Pathfinder), Kornelmunster, shot down by flak, destroyed in crash fire”

Halifax W7873 (16/04/1943)

Halifax W7873 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Pilsen on the night of the 16th / 17th April 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 4 x 250lb and 24 Flares

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Wyndham Rhydian Owen (Pilot)
  • John Reid Martyn (Navigator)
  • George Cruickshank (Air Bomber)
  • David Ronald Bradley (Wireless Operator)
  • Cyril Bourne (Air Gunner)
  • Joseph William Young (Air Gunner)
  • William George Allen (Flight Engineer)

The route was Cayeux, 4937N 0205E, 4920N 0700E, 4855N 1230E, Pilsen, 4950N 0550E, 4937N 0205E, 5010N 0130E

W7873 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows ” This aircraft is missing. No messages received.”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 17th April 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 16th / 17th April 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. 243 (Flight 17/06/1943) reported G Cruickshank,
    JR Martyn and C Bourne as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 324 (Flight 23/12/1943) reported JW Young “previously reported missing believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”; also G Cruickshank and C Bourne “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 328 (Flight 06/01/1944) reported JR Martyn “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:

  • 01/06/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/L Owen, missing on 16th / 17th April 1943 is a prisoner of war; also that Sgt Young was killed
  • 22/06/1943: F/S Bradley and F/S Allen, missing on 16th / 17th April 1943, returned to the UK
  • 23/07/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Cruickshank, Sgt Martyn and F/S Bourne, missing on 16th / 17th April 1943 were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

DR Bradley and WG Allen survived the crash and evaded captured.

Their Evasion Reports, which were completed on their return to the UK, show the following details:

  • DR Bradley
    • Baled Out / Landed: Nr Villiers Le Thour
    • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar
    • Repatriated: Hendon 22/06/1943
  • WG Allen
    • Baled Out / Landed: Nr Villiers Le Thour (Sprained Ankle)
    • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar
    • Repatriated: Hendon 22/06/1943

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

WR Owen survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • WR Owen (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • 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 G Cruickshank, JR Martyn, C Bourne and JW Young were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at LIESSE COMMUNAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • BOURNE, CYRIL Flight Sergeant ‘933423’  Mil. Plot. Row A. Coll. grave 3-6.
  • CRUICKSHANK, GEORGE Pilot Officer ‘136732’ Mil. Plot. Row A. Coll. grave 3-6.
  • MARTYN, JOHN REID Flight Sergeant ‘R/133280’ Mil. Plot. Row A. Coll. grave 3-6.
  • YOUNG, JOSEPH WILLIAM Sergeant ‘1216336’ Mil. Plot. Row A. Coll. grave 3-6

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Helmut Bergmann, Stab III./NJG4, Nr Sevigny 15km NW Rethel (France) (Krebs), 5800m, 23.03

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • Outward bound whilst flying straight and level at 16000ft in Champagne area, burst of flak under aircraft at 22.56. More text which needs deciphering

DR Bradley / WG Allen Evasion Report

About 22.55hrs, on our way to the target, we were hit by flak about 30km west of Reims. The aircraft was set on fire and went out of control. The captain gave the order to stand by to bale out, but we heard no further word from him afterwards. We baled out after G Cruickshank.

Evasion Report Numbers (National Archives)

  • WO228/3313/1252 DR Bradley
  • WO228/3313/1251 WG Allen

Halifax W7851 (08/03/1943)

Halifax W7851 was one of eleven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Nuremberg on the night of the 8th / 9th March 1943.

It was equipped with H2S and was carrying 4 x 250lb bombs and 24 Flares. Its designated Path Finder role was Groundmarker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • John Hilton Brown (Pilot)
  • Gomer Donald Waterer (Navigator)
  • Albert George Murray Coulam (Air Bomber)
  • David Aitken Sibbald (Wireless Operator)
  • Patrick Flynn (Air Gunner)
  • Stanley Seymour Vinicombe (Air Gunner)
  • Alan Tacey (Flight Engineer)
BROWN CREW
Brown, Tacey, Waterer, Flynn, Sibbald, Vinicombe, Coulam
[Courtesy of Colin Lindsey]

The route was Pevensey, Cayeux, 4917N 0826E, Nurnburg, 4910N 1100E, 4917N 0826E, Cayeux, Pevensey

The squadrons’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft failed to return”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 9th March 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 8th / 9th March 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. 226 (Flight 29/04/1943) reported JH Brown, P Flynn and SS Vinicombe as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 316 (Flight 09/12/1943) reported SS Vinicombe “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 318 (Flight 16/12/1943) reported P Flynn “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:

  • 06/04/1943: Information received that S/L Waterer, missing on 8th March 1943 is a prisoner of war
  • 09/04/1943: Information received that F/O Brown, F/S Flynn, F/S Vinicombe were killed. Sgt Tacey and F/S Coulam of the same crew, are prisoners of war.
  • 01/06/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Sibbald has arrived in the UK

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

DA Sibbald survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar (Comet Passage 43 [No. 96])
  • Repatriated: Hendon 25/05/1943

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

AGM Coulam, GD Waterer and A Tacey 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:

  • AGM Coulam
    • Captured: Near Arras 09/03/1943 (Injured)
    • Hospitalised: Luftwaffe Hospital, Arras Mar-43
    • Hospitalised: Hohemark, Frankfurt Mar-43 to Apr-43
    • Hospitalised: Obermasfeld Apr-43 to May-43
    • Hospitalised: Kloister Haina May-43 to Oct-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug Dec 43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft 357 Oerbke July-44 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • GD Waterer
    • Captured: Near Cambrai 09/03/1943
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Mar-43 to Apr-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Apr-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: ? Tarmstedt Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • A Tacey
    • Captured: North of Cambrai 10/03/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 344, Lamsdorf Mar-43 to Jan-45
    • Work Camp Brunswick Jan-45 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 JH Brown, SS Vinicombe and P Flynn were  concentrated (reinterred) at CAMBRAI (ROUTE DE SOLESMES) COMMUNAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • BROWN, JOHN HILTON Flying Officer ‘10928’  Plot 1. Row B. Grave 1.
  • FLYNN, PATRICK Flight Sergeant ‘1174414’ Plot 1. Row B. Grave 2.
  • VINICOMBE, STANLEY SEYMOUR Flight Sergeant ‘413286’ Plot 1. Row B. Grave 3.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Ludwig Meister, I./NJG4, Ors nr Le Cateau-Cambresis (France) (7 B), 3300m, 00.30

Information on activities at the time of the loss

A letter (dated 2nd September 1943) from the Air Secretary to the family of F/S Vinicombe shows the following information:

halifax-w7851-extract-from-letter

[Courtesy of Errol Martyn]

Evasion Report Numbers (National Archives)

  • WO208/3313/1214 DA Sibbald

Halifax W7825 (25/05/1943)

Halifax W7825 was one of twenty-one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Dusseldorf on the night of the 25th / 26th May 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was probably carrying 5 x 1000lb and 1 x 1000lb (LD). Its designated Path Finder role was Backer Up.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Robert Thomas Hall (Pilot)
  • Rundle Houston Oats (Navigator)
  • Edward Garner (Air Bomber)
  • Michael O’Donovan Fuller (Wireless Operator)
  • Jack Hogg (Air Gunner)
  • Llyn David Bryant (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Charles Eugene Simmons (Flight Engineer)

The route was Southwold, 5145N 0350E, 5055N 0630E, Dusseldorf, 5117N 0630E, Noordwijk, Southwold

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft did not return and nothing was heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 26th May 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 25th / 26th May 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. 264 (12/08/1943) reported E Garner , RH Oats, MO Fuller, LD Bryant, J Hogg and TCE Simmons as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 357 (16/03/1944) reported E Garner , RH Oats, MO Fuller, LD Bryant, J Hogg and TCE Simmons “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:

  • 17/08/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Hall, missing on 25th / 26th May 1943, was captured
  • 29/08/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Garner, Sgt Oats, F/S Fuller, Sgt Bryant and Sgt Simmons, missing on 25th / 26th May 1943, were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RT Hall survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • Captured: Zons 26/05/1943 (Injured*)
  • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jun-43 to Jul-44 (Evacuated)
  • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44 (Re-located)
  • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45 (Evacuated)
  • Repatriated: Apr-45

(*) Injuries included damaged arm, sprained ankle and slight loss of memory

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 E Garner, RH Oats, MO Fuller,  LD Bryant,  J Hogg and TCE Simmons were located at Dusseldorf North Cemetery (Nordfriedhof)

w7825-concentration
Simmons TCE Concentration.JPG
Bryant [Concentration].JPG

Their remains were exhumed, formally identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 4th October 1946 at REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BRYANT, LLYN DAVID Sergeant ‘1312458’  Grave 5. F. 14.
  • FULLER, MICHAEL O’DONOVAN Flight Sergeant ‘745940’ Grave 5. D. 17.
  • GARNER, EDWARD Sergeant ‘937568’ Grave 5. D. 14.
  • HOGG, JACK Sergeant ‘1390159’ Grave 5. D. 18.
  • OATS, RUNDLE HOUSTON Sergeant ‘1430645’ Grave 5. D. 16.]
  • SIMMONS, THOMAS CHARLES EUGENE Sergeant ‘980521’ Grave 5. E. 1.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Hit by 2./schw. Flak Abt. 133, 2./schw. Flak Abt. 151, 1 & 2./schw. Flak Abt. 404, 1.-5./schw. Flak Abt. 407 and 2./gem. Flak Abt. 475; crashed at Himmelgeist (Dussseldorf, Germany) at 01.40 hrs

Bomber Command Loss Card

The Bomber Command Loss Card suggests that 5 bodies were initially recovered and buried. The body of LD Bryant was recovered later and buried on 15th June 1943

Original German Burial Record

The following is an extract from the original burial records at Nordfriedhof.

The records support the information in the Bomber Command Loss Card that LD Bryant was buried at a later date, although the records show 8th June rather than 15th June.

[Courtesy of Matthias Hundt]

Halifax LW343 (03/12/1943)

Halifax LW343 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Leipzig on the night of the 3rd / 4th December 1943.

It was equipped with Fishpond, Monica, IFF, Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 10 x 500lb MC. Its designated Path Finder role was Supporter

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Bruce James Henry Cheal (Pilot)
  • Eric Austin Alliston (Navigator)
  • John Cecil Bonet (Air Bomber)
  • Peter Harold (Mornington) Smith (Wireless Operator)
  • Francis John Dimond (Air Gunner)
  • John Andrew Whitmore McKenzie (Air Gunner)
  • Kenneth Holt (Flight Engineer)

The route was as follows: Happisburgh, 5250N 0330E, 5235N 0435E, 5240N 0610E, 5237N 1220E, Target, 5236N 1350E, 5305N 1345E, 5240N 0610E, 5235N 0435E, 5250N 0330E, Happisburgh (Note: co-ordinates not particularly clear on Loss Card)

LW343 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 4th December 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 3rd / 4th December 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. 347 (Flight 24/02/1944) reported EA Alliston, K Holt and FJ Dimond as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 441 (Flight 09/11/1944) reported EA Alliston, K Holt and FJ Dimond “previously reported missing believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 465 (Flight 01/02/1945) reported JAW McKenzie “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 14/01/1944: Information received from the Air Ministry that F/O Cheal, P/O Bonet and Sgt Smith, missing on 3rd / 4th December 1943, are prisoners of war; also that P/O Alliston, Sgt McKenzie and Sgt Dimond were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

DJH Cheal, JC Bonet and PHM Smith 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:

  • DJH Cheal
    • Captured: Near Amsterdam 04/12/43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Dec-43 to May-45 (Liberated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • JC Bonet
    • Captured: Helder (Holland)  04/12/43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Dec-43 to May-45 (Liberated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • PHM Smith
    • Captured: Coast of Holland (04/12/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Amsterdam Prison Dec-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Dec-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Dec-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-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 Runnymede Memorial, which was unveiled in 1953.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) records show that the remains of EA Alliston, FJ Dimond, K Holt and JAW McKenzie were located at Den Helder (Huisduinen) Cemetery

lw343-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERGEN-OP-ZOOM WAR CEMETERY on 29th May 1947 as follows:

  • ALLISTON, ERIC AUSTIN Flying Officer ‘144047’ Coll. grave 10. A. 20-22.
  • DIMOND, FRANCIS JOHN Sergeant ‘1850638’ Grave 31. A. 1.
  • HOLT, KENNETH Sergeant ‘1279234’ Coll. grave 10. A. 20-22.
  • McKENZIE, JOHN ANDREW WHITMORE Warrant Officer Class II ‘R/116753’  Coll. grave 10. A. 20-22.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Heinz Rolland, 12./NJG1, Kleine Sluis (Salzhering) 01.09

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

Aircraft crashed on the land of Mr Kos, Kerkweg (Anna Paulowna), just south-east of Kleine Sluis, Holland. Some small parts of the aircraft were recovered by the Dutch Aircraft Recovery Group in January 2000

Bomber Command Loss Card

Sgt Smith stated “When abandoning the aircraft, EA Alliston pulled his ripcord as he was going through the escape hatch. In so doing the canopy fouled in the escape exit and was fatally damaged. Acknowledged the order to abandon aircraft which was given by the captain. He was still in the aircraft when I baled out, the aircraft being in great difficulty. After order to bale out was given, FJ Dimond spoke over the intercom stating that he was unable to abandon the aircraft. Gave no reason ……………………………

All three POW advised that the German authorities had stated that four bodies were found in the wreckage

Crew Memorial

[Courtesy of Chris Dijkshoorn]
Stichting Herdenkingspalen Hollands Kroon

Halifax LW326 (25/11/1943)

Halifax LW326 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt on the night of the 25th / 26th November 1943.

It was equipped with Monica, IFF, Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S) and Fishpond and was carrying 3 x 1000lbs MC and various flares and target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Desmond Ewart Abel Lander (Pilot)
  • Norman Sidney Francis Palmer (Navigator)
  • George Frederick Collier (Air Bomber)
  • Albert James Wickersham (Wireless Operator)
  • Donald Arthur Alfred Swain (Air Gunner)
  • James Gordon Steele (Air Gunner)
  • David Peter McDonald Thomson (Flight Engineer)

The route was 50°20’N 01°30’E, 50°15’N 08°00’E, Frankfurt, 50°00’N 09°00E, 49°45’N 09°00’E, 50°20’N 01°30’E, Beachy Head, Reading

LW326 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 26th November 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 25th / 26th November 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. 350 (Flight 02/03/1944) reported AJ Wickersham as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 468 (Flight 08/02/1945) reported AJ Wickersham “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 483 (Flight 22/03/1945) reported DAA Swain “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:

  • 18/03/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that AJ Wickersham, missing on 25th / 26th November 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

DEA Lander,  NSF Palmer, GF Collier, DPM Thomson and JG Steele 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:

  • DEA Lander
    • Captured: Malmedy 26/11/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Dec-43 to May-45 (Liberated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • NSF Palmer
    • Captured: Malmedy 26/11/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Dec-43 to May-45 (Liberated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • GF Collier
    • Captured: Malmedy 26/11/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Dec-43 to May-45 (Liberated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • JG Steele
    • Captured: Malmedy 26/11/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • DPM Thomson
    • Captured: Malmedy 26/11/1943
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Dec-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated)
    • 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 Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.

CWGC records show that DAA Swain’s remains were located at the Henri Chapelle US Cemetery. However, the MRES officer recorded that the remains had initially been buried in the Military Cemetery at Malmedy, before being exhumed and moved by US Army personnel.

lw326-concentration


His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at Hotton War Cemetery on 29th April 1947 as follows:

  • SWAIN, DONALD ARTHUR ALFRED Flight Sergeant ‘647531’ Grave IV. C. 3.

The MRES report relating to the loss suggests that AJ Wickersham’s remains were initially “found in a field at Born in December 1943” and buried at a churchyard in Born (Liege).

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has advised that its records confirm that his remains were located at Recht (Born) Communal Cemetery, Liege

His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at Hotton War Cemetery as follows:

  • WICKERSHAM, ALBERT JAMES Flight Sergeant ‘1332147’ Grave VI. G. 18.

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claims (both claims were confirmed):
1. Maj. Wilhelm Herget, Stab1./NJG4, 5km NW St Vith, 5800m, 03.35
2. Lt Wilhelm Henseler, 4./NJG1, Medell, 6km NE St Vith, 3800m, 03.46.

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • All baled out of aircraft except rear gunner who was killed
  • 2 Unknown with 5 POW ….. 26/11……
  • On 25/11, D Swain (rear gunner) was killed when the aircraft crashed. Confirmed by Germans and Swain deceased, buried Malmedy
  • Wickersham buried 27/12 in Born (…. with whole crew of 408 Squadron DS578 20/12)

Halifax JB787 (25/07/1943)

Halifax JB787 was one of twelve (reduced from twenty one) No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Essen on the night of the 25th / 26th July 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Douglas Milmine (Pilot)
  • Norman Alfred John Pearce (Navigator)
  • Reginald Ernest Bates (Air Bomber)
  • Thomas Price (Wireless Operator)
  • George Murray Galbraith (Air Gunner)
  • Stuart Henry Piper (Air Gunner)
  • Donald Eddie Killick (Flight Engineer)

The route was 53°00N 03°32E, Egmond, 51°53N 06°28E, Essen, Noordwijk, 52°40N 03°05E

JB787 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard of it from time of take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 26th July 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 25th / 26th July 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. 284 (Flight 23/09/1943) reported NAJ Pearce, T Price, GM Galbraith and DE Killick as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 369 (Flight 13/04/1944) reported NAJ Pearce, T Price, GM Galbraith and DE Killick “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:

  • 04/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Bates and Sgt Piper, missing on 25th / 26th July 1943, are prisoners of war
  • 20/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Milmine, missing on 25th / 26th July 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 27/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Pearce, Sgt Price, Sgt Galbraith and Sgt Killick, missing on 25th / 26th July 1943, were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

D Milmine. RE Bates and SH Piper 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:

  • D Milmine
    • Captured: Didams? (01/08/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Aug-43 to Jan-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RE Bates (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg
    • Repatriated:
  • SH Piper (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg
    • 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 show that the remains of NAJ Pearce, T Price, GM Galbraith and DE Killick were located at Dusseldorf North Cemetery (Nordfriedhof) (Graves 201 – 204)

jb787-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY on 10th October 1946 as follows:

  • KILLICK, DONALD EDDIE Sergeant ‘928731’ Grave 6. C. 6.
  • GALBRAITH, GEORGE MURRAY Sergeant ‘1574286’  Grave 6. C. 7.
  • PRICE, THOMAS Sergeant ‘1210898’ Grave 6. C. 8.
  • PEARCE, NORMAN ALFRED JOHN Sergeant ‘1237466’ Grave 6. C. 9.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachjagd Combat Archive)

Hit in the tail unit just after bombing by 3. & 5./schw. Flak Abt. 445 and 1.,3. & 4./schw. Flak Abt. 471; crashed west of Kirchhellen (Germany) at 00.45hrs. Note; there were 22 other flak battery claims for this aircraft 

Bomber Command Loss Card

The Bomber Command Loss Card suggests that the aircraft was hit by AA fire, with the crew baling out north of Essen.

Original Burial Records

The following is an extract from the original burial records:

JB787 Burial Record.JPG

[Courtesy of Matthias Hundt]

Halifax JB786 (23/08/1943)

Halifax JB786 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

It was equipped with IFF, Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 8 x 500lbs MC and various target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Backer Up

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Albert Ernest Arter (Pilot)
  • Roy Horsburgh (Navigator)
  • Duncan McIntyre Miller (Air Bomber)
  • Allan Roland Ball (Wireless Operator)
  • John Joseph Butler (Air Gunner)
  • Peter Golding Boyce (Air Gunner)
  • Edwin George Cooper (Flight Engineer)

The route was East Coast, 52°50N 03°30E, Egmond, 52°50N 09°30E, 52°05N 13°47E, Berlin, 52°50N 13°40E, Mano Island, 55°00N 07°00E, East Coast

JB786 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 24th August 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 23rd / 24th August 1943”.

horsburgh-extract

Extract from letter sent to the family of R Horsburgh

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. 301 (Flight 04/11/1943) reported AE Arter, JJ Butler and EG Cooper as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 449 (Flight 07/12/1944) reported AE Arter and JJ Butler “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 30/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Boyce and F/O Horsburgh, missing on operations 23rd / 24th August 1943, are prisoners of war and that F/S Arter, F/O AR Ball and Sgt Butler were killed [Note incorrect information regarding AR Ball]
  • 26/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O AR Ball, missing on operations 23rd / 24th August 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 02/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Miller, missing on operations 23rd / 24th August 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

AR Ball

AR Ball survived the crash and was captured and hospitalised with serious head injuries.

Information obtained to date shows the following:

  • Hospitalised: Various Lazarett Aug-43 to Nov-43
  • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Nov-43 to Sep-44
  • Repatriated: (Via Sweden) 17/09/1944
  • Hospitalised: RAF Hospital Weeton Sep-44 to Nov-44
  • Hospitalised: Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead Nov-44 until recovered (*)

[Courtesy of Juliet Stockford]

(*) Became a member of the Guinea Pig Club

DM Miller

It is understood that DM Miller suffered a broken leg and was hospitalised after his capture. It is believed that he was repatriated during 1944 (Further research required)

R Horsburgh and PG Boyce

R Horsburgh and PG Boyce 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:

  • R Horsburgh
    • Captured: South of Eberswalde 24/08/1943 (Slight facial wound)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Obereusel, Frankfurt Aug-43 to Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Sep-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-A, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • PG Boyce (*)
    • Captured: Berlin Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Sep-43 to Feb-45
    • Labour Camp: Rodewisch Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45

(*) Initial research suggests that at some point in time (date currently unknown) PG Boyce changed identities with an American soldier (Private Bernard Pizzo) and escaped from Stalag IV-B and ended up in Stalag Luft III, Sagan [It is presumed that this would have been at a time when American prisoners were being evacuated] Further research required

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 AE Arter,  JJ Butler and EG Cooper were located at Doeberitz Standortfriedhof.

jb786-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY on 29th October 1946 as follows:

  • BUTLER, JOHN JOSEPH Sergeant ‘1268653’ Grave 4. B. 20.
  • ARTER, ALBERT ERNEST Flight Sergeant ‘1256391’ Joint grave 4. B. 22-23.
  • COOPER, EDWIN GEORGE Sergeant ‘1219550’  Joint grave 4. B. 22-23.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim by Oblt. Lenz Finster, 2./NJG, nr. Schönerlinde (Germany), 5500m, 00.54hrs (Also, Flak Claims Halifax Schönerlinde 5300-4600m. 00.51-54 hrs) by 1.-5./schw. Flak.Abt. 605, 3./schw. Flak.Abt. 902 (Eisb.), 6./schw. Flak.Abt. 123, 1.-5./schw. Flak.Abt. 154, 3. & 4./schw. Flak.Abt. 662; claim by Oblt. Finster not listed in OKL/RLM 2./NJG1 Confirmed Abschussubersicht)

Air Historical Branch

The MRES report states that “no information is held re the exact location of JB786, but it must be assumed to be in the Berlin area. However, captured German documents show the crash site as Schonerlinde-Lindenhof (Map Reference N53 Z86)”

A report from R Horsburgh whilst a POW states: “On the night of the 23rd August, 1943 when operating over enemy territory, we encountered heavy opposition from the enemy defences. My aircraft was struck several times, wounding myself and the pilot and holed one of the tanks in the fuselage, filling the fuselage with fumes and smoke. We were then attacked and the starboard wing set on fire, and I think it was during this time that Sgt. BUTLER was killed as we got no reply from him on the intercom. I heard F/Lt. BALL who was down in the fuselage say that he thought Sgt. Butler was dead. I was next to the Captain, F/Sgt. ARTER, in the second pilot’s position assisting him in endeavouring to evade the enemy attacks. I think he must have been hit in the chest because he was crouched over his controls and did not answer me. He was, however, still quite conscious and capable of taking charge as he looked towards the wing which was on fire and motioned me to bale out. I gave him his chute and he gave an order over the intercom for the crew to bale out. The aircraft was at this time going down in a steep dive. As I could do nothing further I went down to the front escape hatch which I opened. I found Sgt. MILLER who was lying beside it with a broken leg. I went to assist him but he told me to get out first as he could manage easily by himself now that the hatch was open. I left and he followed me. Soon after I left the aircraft, I saw it apparently turn on its back and dive blazing into the ground. Later I heard Sgt. Miller was in hospital and should recover in the normal course of events. I know nothing of the fate of F/Sgt. Arter or Sgt. COOPER. I should be grateful if you could bring to the notice of our Squadron Commander the conduct of F/Sgt. Arter whose devotion to duty when probably severely wounded kept the aircraft in control, thus allowing the survivors of his crew to escape.”

DM Miller Letter

In a letter to R Horsburgh in 1984, DM Miller wrote “I got a canon splinter in my right leg which severed the nerves to my foot and, when the kite blew up, I think I must have been thrown or sucked through the escape hatch with my left hand clutching the D-ring of the chute.  In any event I came down by chute while unconscious and must have hit the deck very heavily as the fibula in the right leg was shattered and my left shoulder was also injured.”

Memorial Wreath

35Wreath_2.JPG

Memorial Wreath laid at RAF Graveley by Juliet Stockford (daughter of AR Ball) to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the loss of the aircraft (23th August 2018)

Halifax JB785 (20/04/1943)

Halifax JB785 was one of thirteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Stettin on the night of the 20th / 21st April 1943.

It was carrying 2 x 1000lb GP and 5 target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Walter Scott Sherk (Pilot)
  • Roy Gordon Morrison (Navigator)
  • Mathias Stanley Keon (Air Bomber)
  • George Glover McGladrey (Wireless Operator)
  • George Francis Denis Murray (Air Gunner)
  • Henry Thomas Woonton (Air Gunner)
  • Douglas Glenn Bebensee (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “At 01.08 aircraft was hit by incendiaries dropped by aircraft coned above. Incendiaries fell through pilot’s escape hatch, setting pilot’s seat on fire and exploding in engineer’s compartment. Aircraft was out of control and pilot gave order to abandon aircraft and crew proceeded to do this. Pilot then managed to bring aircraft under partial control and cancelled order to bale out but found that rear gunner and bomb aimer had already abandoned aircraft”

The aircraft landed back at Graveley at 06.33

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 21st April 1943 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that two of the crew (MS Keon and HT Woonton) were missing.

A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of MS Keon and HT Woonton advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 20th / 21st April 1943”.

Their 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:

  • 01/06/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Keon, missing on 20th / 21st April 1943 is a prisoner of war
  • 08/06/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Woonton, missing on 20th / 21st April 1943 is a prisoner of war

Crew members who were captured / imprisoned

MS Keon and HT Woonton 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:

  • MS Keon (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • HT Woonton (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/AC; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 16th May 1943

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “Aircraft struck by incendiary bomb, jamming the controls – two of the crew baled out”

Award Citations

WS Sherk was awarded the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross and RG Morrison, GG McGladrey and DG Bebensee the Distinguished Flying Medal for their actions during the incident.

The citation reads:

One night in April, 1943, P/O. Sherk, F/O’s McGladrey and Morrison, and Sgt. Bebensee were pilot, wireless operator, navigator and flight engineer respectively in an aircraft which attacked Stettin. Whilst over the target area the bomber was struck by falling incendiary bombs. One of them, which lodged behind the pilot’s seat, jammed the aileron and rudder controls. Flames and smoke rapidly filled the cockpit, and P/O Sherk’s clothing caught alight. The aircraft began to lose height, diving steeply. P/O Sherk endeavoured to regain control, whilst F/O McGladrey attempted to subdue the flames. Meanwhile Sgt. Bebensee struggled to free the locked controls. Just as the situation appeared hopeless the pilot regained control, and a course was set for home as F/O McGladrey extinguished the fire. Much of the navigational equipment had been lost, but F/O Morrison, displaying great skill, was able to plot accurate courses. Sgt. Bebensee, who worked untiringly for three-quarters of an hour, succeeded in freeing the controls. Eventually P/O Sherk flew the badly damaged bomber back to this country.

Halifax JB785 (11/06/1943)

Halifax JB785 was one of sixteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Munster on the night of the 11th / 12th June 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y; its designated Path Finder role was “Main Force”

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • George Racine Herbert (Pilot)
  • Ernest Cassingham (Navigator)
  • Robert Hubert Makin (Air Bomber)
  • Francis Joseph Greenwood (Wireless Operator)
  • Archibald Victor Wallace (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald Henry Boone (Air Gunner)
  • Frank Stewart (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5223N 0143E, 5123N 0500E, 5157N 0620E, Munster, turn right, 5150N 0520E 5240N 0330E

JB785 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 12th 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 11th / 12th 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. 266 (Flight 19/08/1943) reported GR Herbert, E Cassingham, FJ Greenwood, RH Boone  and F Stewart as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 354 (Flight 09/03/1944) reported GR Herbert, E Cassingham, FJ Greenwood, RH Boone  and F Stewart “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:

  • 25/07/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Makin, missing on 11th / 12th June 1943 is a prisoner of war; also that Sgt Stewart was killed
  • 06/08/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that F/O Wallace, missing on 11th / 12th June 1943, is a prisoner of war; also that P/O Herbert, Sgt Cassingham, F/S Greenwood and Sgt Boone were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RH Makin and AV Wallace 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:

  • RH Makin
    • Captured: Gorinchem, Holland 11/06/1943 (Injured)
    • Hospitalised: Amsterdam Jun-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jun-43 to Jul-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jul-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft IV, Gross Tychow Jul-44 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: ? Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • AV Wallace (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured: (19/06/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • 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 GR Herbert, E Cassingham, FJ Greenwood, RH Boone and F Stewart were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at ROTTERDAM (CROOSWIJK) GENERAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • BOONE, RONALD HENRY Sergeant ‘1331310’ Plot LL. Row 1. Joint grave 41-42.
  • GREENWOOD, FRANCIS JOSEPH Flight Sergeant ‘1059993’ Plot LL. Row 1. Joint grave 41-42.
  • CASSINGHAM, ERNEST Flight Sergeant ‘1335447’ Plot LL. Row 1. Grave 43.
  • STEWART, FRANK Flight Sergeant ‘566943’ Plot LL. Row 2. Grave 43.
  • HERBERT, GEORGE RACINE Pilot Officer ‘142149’ Plot LL. Row 2. Grave 44.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Werner Baake, 1./NJG1, Hoornaar 5km NW Gorinchem (Holland) (Himmelbett), 5000m, 02.43

Crew Memorial 

jb785-memorial-giessen
jb785-plaque

JB785 Plaque on Giessenburg Memorial
More information regarding the memorial and the loss can be found at:
http://stichting-vliegeniersmonument-giessenlanden-wo2.nl/

Halifax HX328 (20/12/1943)

Halifax HX328 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt on the night of the 20th / 21st December 1943.

It was carrying 6 x 1000lb GP TI. Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Douglas Julian Sale (Pilot)
  • Alan James Dowling (Navigator)
  • Gordon Henry Francis Carter (Navigator)
  • Marcus Rees (Wireless Operator)
  • Robert Lionel Lamb (Air Gunner)
  • George Carpenter (Air Gunner)
  • George Henry Cross (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 5130N 0440E, 5032N 0510E, 5015N 0730E, Target, 5005N 0902E, 5030N 0900E, 5032N 0510E, 5130N 0440E, Hornsea

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “While circling the airfield prior to landing, HX328, captained by J Sale, caught fire when a target indicator exploded. S/L Sale climbed to 2000ft, baled out five members of his crew, the mid-upper gunner (RL Lamb) unable to do so as his parachute was destroyed by the ensuing fire. S/L Sale calmly landed the burning aircraft, taxied off the runway. The aircraft exploded when he and the gunner were some two hundred yards away. The rear gunner (G Carpenter) was the only casualty, sustaining a fractured ankle after baling out.

Halifax HX328 [Source: Pathfinder Museum]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as FB / E (Salvage) and was struck off charge on 6th January 1944

DJ Sale Award

DJ Sale was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order for his actions. The citation reads:

One night in December 1943, this officer was the pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack a target in Germany. Although heavy cloud prevailed over the target, Sqn. Ldr. Sale displayed great persistence and made five runs over the area before releasing his bombs. The return flight was safely accomplished, but, whilst over base at a height of 1,500 feet, some stores exploded and flames burst out near the rear turret and the underside of one of the wings. The aircraft quickly became filled with smoke and fumes and the fire spread rapidly. The danger of the tanks exploding was soon apparent. Coolly, Sqn. Ldr. Sale turned away from the airfield, regained height and ordered his crew to leave by parachute. By this time, he could hardly see the instruments as the smoke in the cockpit was so dense. As he was just about to leave the aircraft himself, Sqn. Ldr. Sale saw, standing beside him, a member of the crew who had been unable to leave as his parachute was badly damaged and unusable. Sqn. Ldr Sale therefore decided to attempt to land the burning aircraft and succeeded in so doing. The floor of the fuselage, some equipment and some stores were blazing as he and his comrade got clear. When they were a bare 200 yards away, the aircraft exploded. In circumstances of great danger, Sqn Ldr. Sale displayed great courage and determination, setting an example of the highest order.


Halifax HX270 (20/12/1943)

Halifax HX270 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt on the night of the 20th / 21st December 1943.

It was equipped with H2S, Fishpond, Monica, GPI and API and carrying 6 x 1000lb TI. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • James Henry Wright (Pilot)
  • Sidney Colin Rive Mackie (Navigator)
  • Harold Matthews (Air Bomber)
  • William Robert John Dingle (Wireless Operator)
  • Thomas Andrew Robson (Air Gunner)
  • Winston Barrington (Air Gunner)
  • William McRae Sinclair (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 5130N 0440E, 5032N 0510E, 5015N 0730E, Target, 5005N 0902E, 5030N 0900E, 5032N 0510E, 5130N 0440E, Hornsea

HX270 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 21st December 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 20th / 21st December 1943”.

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. 348 (24/02/1944) reported JH Wright, SCR Mackie and TA Robson as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 433 (12/10/1944) reported SCR Mackie and TA Robson “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:

  • 02/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that F/L Wright and F/L Mackie, missing on 20th / 21st December 1943, were killed. Also that Sgt Barrington was captured
  • 18/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that WRJ Dingle, missing on 20th / 21st December 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 19/02/1944:  Information received from Air Ministry that WM Sinclair, missing on 20th / 21st December 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 26/10/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that H Matthews, missing on 20th / 21st December 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

H Matthews, WRJ Dingle, W Barrington and WM Sinclair 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:

  • H Matthews (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Evaded before being captured
    • Captured: (May 1944?)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth 
    • Repatriated
  • WRJ Dingle (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB (Mühlberg)
    • Repatriated
  • W Barrington (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB (Mühlberg)
    • Repatriated:
  • WM Sinclair (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Evaded before being captured
    • Captured: (January 1944?)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB (Mühlberg)
    • 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 show that the remains of JH Wright, TA Robson and SCR Mackie were located at Brusthem (St Trond) Cemetery

hx270-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 25th March 1947 as follows:

  • MACKIE, SIDNEY COLIN RIVE Flight Lieutenant ‘NZ.413713’ HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY Coll. grave 5. B. 20-22.
  • ROBSON, THOMAS ANDREW Pilot Officer ‘NZ.414893’ HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY Coll. grave 5. B. 20-22.
  • WRIGHT, JAMES HENRY Flight Lieutenant ‘NZ.414717’ HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY Coll. grave 5. B. 20-22.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

Believed to have crashed to the east of St Trond (Belgium)

Extract from an article entitled “BOB DINGLE – PATHFINDER AT WAR AND IN THE ANTARCTIC” by Herbert J.G. Dartnall

Halifax HX270 (M) took off at 1730 hours. Unfortunately, soon after take-off their airborne, ground scanning radar system (H2S) failed, so that they were unable to drop their target markers. Despite this they continued on and bombed the target with high explosives and incendiaries. Up until then the flight had been uneventful and no damage had been experienced from either the ground defences (flak) or night-fighters. However, on their way back home and shortly after crossing the German/Belgian border at an altitude of about 20 000 feet, one of the inner engines inexplicably caught fire. All attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful, and when the fire spread to the main fabric of the aeroplane close to where the marker flares were stored, the pilot had no option but to give the order to bail-out.

Bob vividly recalled the barks and growls of countless dogs thousands of feet below as he floated down, disturbed by the sound of hundreds of aeroplane engines passing overhead. He landed alone in a ploughed field and after burying his parachute he began to walk in a SW direction until 0500 hours next morning. He spent the day hidden in a haystack near Wellen, Belgium, and at dusk he began walking again in a SW direction. About half an hour later he spoke to a farmer who took him home. Three hours later a man arrived with a bicycle who took him to a small town where he spent the night with a family whose name was never known to him. On the morning of 22nd December he cycled to a farm where he met up with his flight engineer, Flight Sergeant William (Bill) Sinclair. Two members of this unnamed family then cycled with them to Neder Rechem some miles away, where they spent the night with the leader of the local underground. They had successfully linked up with the escape chain run by Walthère Dewé – a noted resistance leader during both world wars who was shot and killed some weeks later. Next day Bill and Bob caught a tram to Liège where they spent the next 13 days in hiding. On 5 January 1944 they were joined by Sgt H.L. Pike, an RAF Observer (navigator). The following day they were to be taken by train to Brussels but a random search of their train by the Gestapo revealed that although their identity cards passed scrutiny they did not have work permits. Taken prisoner, they were initially held in the civilian prison at Liège for six days in solitary confinement. Bob was sent to Stalag IVB (Mühlberg) where he spent the rest of the war as a POW.

Stalag IVB was liberated by the Russians on 23 April 1945 but it was several days before Bob and the rest of his fellow POWs were allowed to cross the River Elbe and make contact with other allied troops. Their return journey to the United Kingdom was in three stages – they marched/ walked most of the distance from Mühlberg to Halle; air transport from Halle to Brussels; then air transport from Brussels to an airfield near Harwell, Oxfordshire.

Published with kind permission of the author

W Barrington

Various sources record that Flight Sergeant Winston Barrington’s mother, (who lived in Germany with his German stepfather) regularly visited him at the prison, with the cooperation of the camp authorities. Eventually, she was smuggled into the camp and lived with the prisoners until it was liberated,

Halifax HX169 (18/11/1943)

Halifax HX169 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Mannheim on the night of the 18th / 19th November 1943.

It was carrying 3 x 1000lbs MC, 2 x 1000lbs GP and various flares and target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Daniel Bulmer Everett (Pilot)
  • Norman Sidney Raymond McMinn (Navigator)
  • Albert Walter Bennett (Air Bomber)
  • Frank Joseph Tudor (Wireless Operator)
  • Bernard James Healy (Air Gunner)
  • James Walter Warren (Air Gunner)
  • Gordon Ireland (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, Cayeux, 4948N 0825E, Mannheim, 4912N 0808E, 4850N 0500E, 5000N 0115E, Cayeux, Beachy Head

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “After this aircraft had landed, it was discovered that the rear gunner, F/S Healy, was dead in his turret, the cause later found to be lack of oxygen”

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

  • HEALY, BERNARD JAMES, Flight Sergeant ‘1335475’ CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY Grave 13519.

[Source: FindaGrave]

Halifax HX167 (02/12/1943)

Halifax HX167 was one of fifteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 2nd / 3rd December 1943.

It was equipped with API, Monica, IFF, Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S) and carrying 10 x 500lbs MC and various flares / target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Primary Blind Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Gunnar Høverstad (Pilot)
  • John Cameron McDougall (Navigator)
  • Stuart Vincent Brazier (Air Bomber)
  • Arthur George Briggs (Wireless Operator)
  • Phillip John Williams (Air Gunner)
  • Wilfred John Cooke (Air Gunner)
  • Arne Storm (Flight Engineer)

The route was Haisborough, 5250N 0330E, 5235N 0440E, 5238N 1004E, 5236N 1220E, Berlin, 5230N 1350E, 5255N 1350E, 5238N 1004E, 5235N 0440E, 5250N 0330E, Haisborough

HX167 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 3rd December 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 2nd / 3rd December 1943”.

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

  • 12/01/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Brazier, P/O McDougall, Sgt Briggs, Sgt Williams, Sgt Cooke and Sgt Storm, missing on 2nd / 3rd December 1943, are prisoners of war; also that Lt. Høverstad was killed.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

SV Brazier,  JC McDougall,  AC Briggs,  WJ Cooke,  PJ Williams and A Storm 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:

  • JC McDougall (*) Book suggests that he had an injured leg
    • Captured: Near Celle, Germany 03/12/1943
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Dec-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated 23/04/1945)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • PJ Williams
    • Captured: Near Celle 03/12/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated 23/04/1945)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • SV Brazier
    • Captured: Near Hanover 03/12/1943 (Slightly twisted left knee)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated 23/04/1945)
    • Repatriated May-45
  • AC Briggs
    • Captured: Near Celle 03/12/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated 23/04/1945)
    • Repatriated May-45
  • WJ Cooke
    • Captured: Near Celle 03/12/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated 23/04/1945)
    • Repatriated May-45
  • A Storm
    • Captured: 03/12/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Dec-43 to Apr-45 (Liberated 23/04/1945)
    • Repatriated May-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.

The situation was slightly different with non Commonwealth airmen, as the families were given the option of having the remains concentrated (reinterred) at one of the Commonwealth War Cemeteries in the country that they fell or repatriated.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has no record of a burial for Gunnar Høverstad and no records can be found for a grave in Europe or Norway. It is therefore assumed that his remains were not located or could not be formally identified (further research required).

His name is however commemorated on the memorial at Akerhus Festning, Oslo

All at Akershus festning 2 [disnorge.no]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Multiple Nighfighter and Flak Claims:

  • Hptm. Leopold Fellerer, 5./NJG5, Hannover (Wesendorf), 5500 m. 19.36
  • Hptm. Paul Szameitat, StabII./NJG3, 30 km. E. Celle, 5700 m. 19.45
  • Also claimed by Flak of R.A.D. Flakbatt. 6./801 and 1., 3., 4. & 5./schw. Flak Abt. 181 (o) (‘Lancaster nr. Ummern, 24 km. E. Celle 19.30 hrs, in co-operation with Nachtjagd’).
HX167 Map

Map showing place of capture

Bomber Command Loss Card

Briggs reported “G Høverstad was last seen in the aircraft just before I baled out”

(*) Flightpath to Stalag IVB

A book entitled “Flightpath to Stalag IVB” written by Audrey James tells the story of Arthur Briggs

Halifax HX148 (04/10/1943)

Halifax HX148 was one of twenty No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt on the night of the 4th / 5th October 1943

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Joseph Richard Wood (Pilot)
  • Victor Robert Hobbs (Navigator)
  • Alfred Edward Ralph Bexton (Air Bomber)
  • Paul Sidney Warren (Wireless Operator)
  • Leonard Jesse North (Air Gunner)
  • William Scott Minto Edmondston (Air Gunner)
  • Edward Herbert Barry (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Aircraft began a blind run in on navigation aid “Y” but was coned for 5 minutes on this run. Prepared to bomb and had already dropped two bundles of flares when the starboard inner received a direct hit from flak and had to be feathered. Navigation aid “Y” became unserviceable and oxygen failed. Bomb doors closed and aircraft came out of target area without being able to drop any more bombs. The aircraft crossed the English Coast on two engines and crash landed in a field near Biggin Hill and burst into flames. F/L Wood, F/S North and Sgt Barry were uninjured. F/L Bexton sustained a fracture of the right fibula and a small laceration to the forehead; the injuries were moderately severe. Sgt Hobbs was severely injured; he sustained second degree burns of face and hands, with complete degloving of the latter. F/L Warren had similar injuries. F/S Edmonston had slight second degree burns of the right cheek and nose. All the casualties were admitted to the Kent and Sussex Hospital shortly after the crash. The uninjured members of the crew returned to their unit on the following day.”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead

VHR Hobbs, PS Warren and WSM Edmondston were subsequently admitted to the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead and became members of the Guinea Pig Club.

Their records at the East Grinstead Museum show the following:

  • VHR Hobbs
    • Admitted to: Kent and Sussex Hospital, Tunbridge Wells.
    • Transferred to QVH: 05/10/1943
    • Injuries: Burns to face and hands.
    • No. of Operations at East Grinstead: 6
  • PS Warren
    • Admitted to: Kent and Sussex Hospital, Tunbridge Wells.
    • Transferred to QVH: 05/10/1943
    • Injuries: Burns to face and hands.
    • No. of Operations at East Grinstead: 4
  • WSM Edmonston
    • Admitted to: Kent and Sussex Hospital, Tunbridge Wells.
    • Transferred to QVH: 05/10/1943
    • Injuries: Burns to face.
    • No. of Operations at East Grinstead: –

Halifax HR986 (29/12/1943)

Halifax HR986 was one of twenty-one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 29th / 30th December 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S), Monica and Fishpond and was carrying 2 x 1000lb GP, 1 x 500lb GP and various Target Indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Secondary Blind Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ronald Charles Williams (Pilot)
  • Joseph Hooson (Navigator)
  • Eric John Stone (Air Bomber)
  • George Russell Davidson (Wireless Operator)
  • Frederick Charles Redman (Air Gunner)
  • Wallace Edward Charles Dillow (Air Gunner)
  • William Laverick (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5320N 0400E, 5230N 0820E, 5137N 1220E, Berlin, 5302N 1327E, 5300N 1145E, 5245N 0830E, 5320N 0400E

HR986 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 30th December 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 29th / 30th December 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. 359 (Flight 23/03/1944) reported RC Williams as “missing believed killed in action”; also J Hooson, EJ Stone, GR Davidson, WEC Dillow and W Laverick as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 489 (Flight 12/04/1945) reported J Hooson and EJ Stone “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 490 (Flight 19/04/1945) reported GR Davidson and W Laverick “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:

  • 08/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that RC Williams, missing on 29th / 30th December 1943, was killed and that FC Redman is a prisoner of war
  • 28/03/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that WEC Dillow, missing on 29th / 30th December 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

FC Redman survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • F Redman (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB (Mühlberg) / Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • 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 show that the remains of RC Williams, J Hooson, EJ Stone, GR Davidson, WEC Dillow and W Laverick were located at Friedhof Doberitz Elsgrund

hr986-concentration-2

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • DAVIDSON, GEORGE RUSSELL, Flying Officer ‘142844’  Coll. grave 4. D. 11-13.
  • DILLOW, WALLACE EDWARD CHARLES, Warrant Officer Class II ‘R/108786’ Grave 4. D. 14.
  • HOOSON, JOSEPH, Pilot Officer ‘158427’  Coll. grave 4. D. 11-13.
  • LAVERICK, WILLIAM, Sergeant ‘545207’  Coll. grave 4. D. 11-13.
  • STONE, ERIC JOHN, Flying Officer ‘146277’ Grave 4. D. 3.
  • WILLIAMS, RONALD CHARLES, Flying Officer ‘146333’ Grave 4. D. 16.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Two possible nightfighter claims:

  • Ofw Heinrich Säwert, 4./NJG5, Berlin, 5500m 20.14
  • Ofw. Otto Pritzel, 5./JG302, Berlin, 4500m, 20.22

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

Crashed near Doberitz

Halifax HR985 (11/11/1943)

Halifax HR985 was one of twenty four No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack the railway and marshalling yards at Cannes on the night of the 11th / 12th November 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S), Fishpond and Monica and was carrying 2 x 1000lbs GP and various target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Marker

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

  • Ronald William Daniel (Pilot)
  • John Muir Candlish (2nd Dickie)
  • John Wilfred Harrison (Navigator)
  • Leslie Dennis Hosking (Air Bomber)
  • Albert John Thomson (Wireless Operator)
  • Donald Wood (Air Gunner)
  • Frank George Bell (Air Gunner)
  • William Phipps (Flight Engineer)

The route was as follows: Base, Selsey Bill, 49°20N 00°00E, 47°25N 01°00E, 43°18N 06°35E, Cannes, 43°40N 07°12E, 47°35N 01°20E, 49°20N  00°00E, Selsey Bill, Base

HR985 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 12th November 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 11th / 12th November 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. 335 (Flight 27/01/1944) reported JM Candlish,  LD Hosking, JW Harrison, AJ Thomson, FG Bell, D Wood and W Phipps as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 449 (Flight 07/12/1944) reported LD Hosking “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 491 (Flight 19/04/1945) reported JM Candlish,   JW Harrison and FG Bell “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:

  • 19/01/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Wood and F/S Bell, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, were killed
  • 06/04/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Daniel, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, returned to the UK on 24th March 1944
  • 03/05/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that JW Harrison, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, was killed
  • 16/06/1944: Information received through German Official Totenliste from Air Ministry that F/L Candlish, P/O Harrison, F/S Thomson and Sgt. Phipps,  missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, were killed.

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

RW Daniel survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • Evasion Route: France  (Shelburn Line, Operation Bonaparte V)
  • Repatriated: Dartmouth 24/03/1944

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 has confirmed that its records show that the remains of JM Candlish, LD Hosking, JW Harrison, AJ Thomson, FG Bell, D Wood and W Phipps were located at Lisieux Civil Cemetery (Calvados).

Their remains were exhumed, formally identified and then concentrated (reinterred) at St Desir War Cemetery as follows:

  • WOOD, DONALD, Flying Officer ‘151327’ Grave VII. E. 1.
  • CANDLISH, JOHN MUIR, Flight Lieutenant ‘J/4894’ Grave VII. E. 2.
  • THOMSON, ALBERT JOHN, Flight Sergeant ‘1077841’ Grave VII. E. 3.
  • BELL, FRANK GEORGE, Warrant Officer Class II ‘R/62147’ Grave VII. E. 4.
  • HARRISON, JOHN WILFRED, Pilot Officer ‘J/18220’ Grave VII. E. 5.
  • PHIPPS,  W [William],  Sergeant ‘622605’ Grave VII. E. 6.
  • HOSKING, LESLIE DENNIS, Flight Lieutenant ‘136064’ Grave VII. E. 7.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Uffz. Herbert Treff, 2./JG2, Lisieux, 4500m, 00.58. (Claim not listed in OKL/RLM confirmed Abschussubersicht 2./JG2)

Bomber Command Loss Card

Wording on reverse of card

Homebound, straight and level at 15,000 feet, rear gunner reported “aircraft in flames flying astern of them” I dived to port and saw the aircraft on fire about 1 mile astern. Levelled out at 14,000 feet at 200 knots, attempted to reach aircraft a mile or two ahead at 14,000 feet. A few seconds later attacked by nightfighter. Rear Gunner did not observe approach, no indication from fishpond or monica fishpond xx xx xx. Pilot saw yellow tracers passing cockpit on starboard side without hitting Halifax. Turned to starboard and dived slightly. Attack apparently on starboard quarter below and astern bringing Halifax into line of fire. Cannon shell entered cockpit xx xx xx xx xx fire started. Cables apparently severed at base of control column but rudder undamaged. Pilot gave order to abandon aircraft. Pilot left through top hatch – descent occupied about ½ minute. Nightfighter seen to crash. Halifax crashed and exploded. Pilot landed near Gacé (48°47‘N 00°15‘E)

Halifax HR929 (11/11/1943)

Halifax HR929 was one of twenty four No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack the railway and marshalling yards at Cannes on the night of the 11th / 12th November 1943.

It was carrying 2 x 1000lbs GP and various target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • John Rushbrooke Petrie-Andrews (Pilot)
  • John Wright Armitage (Navigator)
  • Horace John Backhouse (Air Bomber)
  • Henry Randolph McMahon Stroud (Wireless Operator)
  • George Dale (Air Gunner)
  • Norman Wilken Barnett (Air Gunner)
  • John Henry Morgan (Flight Engineer)

The route was as follows: Base, Selsey Bill, 49°20N 00°00E, 47°25N 01°00E, 43°18N 06°35E, Cannes, 43°40N 07°12E, 47°35N 01°20E, 49°20N  00°00E, Selsey Bill, Base

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft sent message that one engine was unserviceable before the target was reached but proceeded to attack prior to heading for Sardinia. The aircraft finally ditched off the coast of Sardinia, the crew being rescued from their dinghy”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

Reached the target flying on three engines and after bombing continued on a southerly course to Sardinia. Ditched off the island and all were rescued.

Information extracted from articles written by Petrie-Andrews [BBC WWII People’s War] and JW Armitage

The crew were afloat for three days before landing near Capo Testa lighthouse on Sardinia. After a a period of time on the island, helped by the Italians, they were picked up by taxi and taken to a local port where they boarded a vessel which took them to Royal Navy Headquarters based at Maddelena. From there, they were taken by a RN minesweeper to Adjaccio, Corsica and then on to Maison Blanche Aerodrome (Algeria) in an American DC-3. The crew then spent some time at Froha (Algeria) trying to get an abandoned Halifax cleaned up and ready to fly. A short test flight demonstrated that this would not get them back to the UK, so that option was abandoned. The Station Commander at Blida then suggested that they utilise the 44 Squadron Lancaster that was on the airfield. With the aircraft fully loaded with Christmas presents and hampers for relatives of the personnel based at Blida and with a number of service personnel on board, the aircraft took off with Petrie-Andrews at the controls but it iced up and had to return to Blida. On 13th December, the aircraft took off again, initially landing at Rabat before setting off for St Mawgan. After a short stay at St Mawgan, the aircraft headed for RAF Graveley where Petrie-Andrews decided to do a very low pass across the airfield and upon landing, he was promptly arrested. (Two weeks later, the charge of low flying [court martial offence] was subsequently changed to careless flying and he was confined to camp for 14 days)

A cartoon entitled “Joe’s return from Sardinia” which appeared in Glimlamp (March 2000)

JW Armitage’s Goldfish Club Badge (awarded to those that ditched at sea) [Courtesy of Nick Place]

JW Armitage’s recollections of the ditching

At briefing that night, we were informed the target was to be at La Bocca, large railway marshalling yards via Cannes in the south of France. The yards were supplying the transports for German Middle Eastern troops
– read more –

Halifax HR928 (23/08/1943)

Halifax HR928 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harry Webster (Pilot)
  • Michael Charles Xavier Mack (Navigator)
  • William Philip MacDonald McIntosh (Air Bomber)
  • Robert William Nixon (Wireless Operator)
  • Osborne Lloyd Bliss (Air Gunner)
  • Walter David Craig (Air Gunner)
  • Dennis Burke (Flight Engineer)

BV Robinson (Station Commander, RAF Graveley) was also on board

The route was East Coast, 52°50N 03°30E, Egmond, 52°50N 09°30E, 52°05N 13°47E, Berlin, 52°50N 13°40E, Mano Island, 55°00N 07°00E, East Coast

HR928 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 24th August 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 23rd / 24th August 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. 302 (Flight 04/11/1943) reported H Webster, BV Robinson, MCX Mack, WPM McIntosh, RW Nixon, OL Bliss, WD Craig and D Burke as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 401 (Flight 13/07/1944) reported OL Bliss and WD Craig “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 411 (Flight 10/08/1944) reported MCX Mack “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 413 (Flight 14/08/1944) reported H Webster and BV Robinson,  “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 422 (Flight 14/09/1944) reported D Burke “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:

  • 22/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that WD Craig and OL Bliss, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, were killed
  • 01/03/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that MCX Mack, missing on 23rd / 24th August 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 show that the remains of all the crew members were located at Wensickendorf Cemetery

hr928-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY on 11th April 1947 as follows:

  • BLISS, OSBORNE LLOYD Warrant Officer Class II ‘R/88244’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15
  • BURKE, DENNIS Flight Sergeant ‘632396’, Grave 5. L. 8.
  • CRAIG, WALTER DAVID Pilot Officer ‘J/18448’, Grave 5. L. 9.
  • MACK, MICHAEL CHARLES XAVIER Squadron Leader ‘91224’, Grave 5. L. 10.
  • McINTOSH, WILLIAM PHILIP MACDONALD Pilot Officer ‘J/18231’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15.
  • NIXON, ROBERT WILLIAM Pilot Officer ‘J/17729’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15.
  • ROBINSON, BASIL VERNON Group Captain, Grave 5. L. 11.
  • WEBSTER, HARRY Flight Lieutenant ‘137191’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15.

[Source: Find-a-Grave]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

  • Nightfighter Claim: Uffz. Rudi Fischer, 1./JG300, Berlin 5,000m 00.53
  • Coned by 1.-3./flaksheinw. Abt. 370 and 1./flaksheinw. Abt. 339,
  • Also claimed by 1./flaksheinw. Abt. 528 (“Halifax Wensickendorf 00.54hrs); .

Claim by Uffz Fischer not listed in OKL/RLM, 1./JG300 Confirmed Abschussunersicht)

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

Shot down by a nightfighter and crashed at Wensickendorf.

MRES Report (Source: WPM McIntosh Service File)

This aircraft crashed in the near vicinity of Wensickendorf (N53 Z8176) as a result of enemy action during the night of 23/24th August, 1943. The plane exploded on impact and burned fiercely. In spite of the condition of the wreckage the aircraft was identified as a British bomber by a Luftwaffe detachment who removed every part of the wreck.

As a result of the tremendous impact and fierce fire only one complete body was retrieved from the remains of the aircraft. Local knowledge had it that all the crew of seven must have perished and that none escaped by parachute.

In the WENSICKENDORF District Cemetery were three graves, marked with a decent brown varnished wooden cross to the memory of “Three British Airmen Interred Here” – written in English

Crew Information

H Webster (and possibly the main members of his crew) was posted into the squadron from 22 OTU on 16th July 1942 – read more – .

Halifax HR926 (22/10/1943)

Halifax HR926 was one of twenty two No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Kassel on the night of the 22nd / 23rd October 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and Nav. Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 15 x 500lb MC. Its designated Path Finder role was Supporter.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Stanley Arthur Durrant (Pilot)
  • Arthur Robert Jordan (Navigator)
  • Christopher Fiveash Packham (Air Bomber)
  • Wilfred George Hart (Wireless Operator)
  • Aubrey Ronald Brace (Air Gunner)
  • Robert Stanley Kift (Air Gunner)
  • Walter George Kingham (Flight Engineer)

The route was Base, 5215N 0300E, 5140N 0351E, 5030N 0610E, 5033N 0715E, Kassel, 5236N 0829E, 5313N 0452E, 5320N 0350E, Base

HR926 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 23rd October 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 22nd / 23rd October 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. 330 (Flight 13/01/1944) reported AR Brace as “missing believed killed in action” also RS Kift as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 415 (Flight 17/08/1944) reported AR Brace “previously reported missing believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 427 (Flight 28/09/1944) reported RS Kift “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:

  • 02/12/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Jordan, P/O Durrant, Sgt Hart, Sgt Kingham, missing on operations on 22nd / 23rd October 1943, are prisoners of war; also that F/S Brace was killed
  • 05/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Kift, missing on operations on 22nd / 23rd October 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

SA Durrant, CP Packham, AR Jordan, WG Hart and WG Kingham 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:

  • WG Hart
    • Captured: Nr Kassell 23/10/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Nov-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • WG Kingham
    • Captured: Nr Kassell 23/10/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Nov-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • SA Durrant (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured: Hospitalised (Chest Wound)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IX-C, Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • CP Packham (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B
    • Repatriated:
  • AR Jordan (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B
    • 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 show that the remains of AR Brace and RS Kift were located at Welda Civilian Cemetery.

hr926-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at HANOVER WAR CEMETERY on 21st June 1947 as follows:

  • BRACE, AUBREY RONALD Flight Sergeant ‘964963’  Grave 11. F. 1.
  • KIFT, ROBERT STANLEY Flight Sergeant ‘410674’ Grave 11. F. 2.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Erhard Peters, 9./NJG3, Welda near Warburg, 4.500m, 21.25.

Note: coned by 2. & 4./Flakscheinw. Abt. 367, also claimed shot down by Flak of 3., 5. & 6./schw. Flak Abt. 393 and 5./schw. Flak Abt. 635 (‘Halifax Welda 2200 m 21.15 hrs’), and by Ofw. Löfgen 21.16 hrs, credited to Oblt. Peters on 21.7.1944

MRES report

The MRES report contains the following information: In company with the ex Burgermeister of Welda, Herr Fecker, I visited the scene of the crash in a meadow of the Henschell estate (Map Reference B 957183). Only a few small pieces of wreckage remained and part of an undercarriage. F/L Levant,  who had accompanied me to the scene of the crash identified the wreckage as that of a Halifax. Herr Fecker was able to tell me that the names of the two airmen who were killed were Kift and Brace and also that on instructions later received by the Luftwaffe he had registered the names as Pringle and Brace. According to his story, the aircraft had attacked Kassel and was then attacked by a nightfighter flown by the fighter ace Prinz Salmwittchenstein. (Sayn-Wittgenstein). Before it crashed in flames, five of the crew had landed by parachute near Welda, one of these men (the pilot he thought) having been seriously wounded during the fighter attack


Notes:

  1. RS Kift’s service file is digitised in the Australian Archives; it contains the full MRES report regarding the loss 

Halifax HR914 (27/08/1943)

Halifax HR914 was one of eighteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Nuremberg on the night of the 27th / 28th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Randall Vincent Jones (Pilot)
  • Victor Robert Hobbs (Navigator)
  • P Smith (Air Bomber)
  • Thomas Donald Henderson (Wireless Operator)
  • Gerald Carrell (Air Gunner)
  • Peter Ross Jung (Air Gunner)
  • Wilfred Arthur Jeffries (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, 5005N / 0125E, 4915N / 0825E, 4900N / 1100E, Target, 4940N / 1050E, 5005N / 1025E, Beachy Head

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Returned early from High Wycombe 22.14 hours, 3,000 feet because generator on port inner was not working and red light showed. Aircraft vibrating excessively; 9 x 500 MC jettisoned safe at position 5220N 0257E at 23.01 hours, 4,500 feet. 1 x 500 MC hung up and brought back. Under carriage collapsed as aircraft landed and it crashed on the runway. All crew safe and unhurt”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/E on 28th August 1943 and it was struck off charge on 10th September 1943

Halifax HR908 (09/08/1943)

Halifax HR908 was one of fourteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Mannheim on the night of the 9th / 10th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ernest Gordon Brown (Pilot)
  • Harold Luttrell Temple (Navigator)
  • Eric Charles Dobie (Air Bomber)
  • Arthur Patrick Bowker (Wireless Operator)
  • Allen Sunley (Air Gunner)
  • William Richard Pallister (Air Gunner)
  • James Ellis Jones (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, Le Touquet, Mannheim, 4920N 0820E, Le Touquet, Beachy Head

HR908 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 10th August 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 9th / 10th August 1943”.

Extract from letter sent to the pilot’s next of kin

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. 299 (Flight 28/10/1943) reported HL Temple, AP Bowker, A Sunley and WR Pallister as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 397 (Flight 29/06/1944) reported HL Temple, AP Bowker, A Sunley and WR Pallister “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:

  • 22/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Brown, P/O Dobie and F/S Jones, missing on 9th / 10th August 1943, are prisoners of war
  • 30/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Temple, Sgt Bowker, Sgt Sunley and Sgt Pallister, missing on 9th / 10th August 1943, were killed
  • 19/05/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that JE Jones, missing on 9th / 10th August 1943, died whilst a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

EG Brown, EC Dobie and JE Jones survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned.

JE Jones

It is understood that JE Jones was caught stealing coal briquettes in D North Compound at Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg and was shot in the abdomen by the German guards; he died of his wounds on 2nd April 1944

EG Brown and EC Dobie

EG Brown’s and EC Dobie’s 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 regarding their capture:

  • EG Brown
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Aug-43 to Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Nov-43 to Jun-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn / Fallingbostel Jun-44 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • EC Dobie (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • 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 show that the remains of JE Jones (who was shot whilst a prisoner of war) were located at Neuburxdorf (Ortsfriedhof)

jones-hr908-concentration

His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY on 5th June 1947 as follows:

  • JONES, JAMES ELLIS, Flight Sergeant ‘610981’  Grave 6. G. 10.

CWGC records show that the remains of HL Temple, AP Bowker, A Sunley and WR Pallister were located at Wachenheim Cemetery

hr809-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY on 9th April 1948 as follows:

  • BOWKER, ARTHUR PATRICK, Sergeant ‘1194726’ Grave 18. H. 13.
  • PALLISTER, WILLIAM RICHARD, Flight Sergeant ‘627672’ Grave 18. H. 11.
  • SUNLEY, ALLEN, Sergeant ‘1302029’ Grave 18. H. 12.
  • TEMPLE, HAROLD LUTTRELL, Flying Officer ‘127971’ Grave 18. H. 14.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

No nightfighter or flak claims recorded for this loss

Post War Statement by EG Brown

“Controls, instruments shot away by flak. Aircraft commenced to dive and after trying George (automatic pilot) and tail trim with no result, I ordered the crew to abandon aircraft. It was necessary to leave the aircraft as quickly as possible owing to the fact we were carrying marker flares set to explode at 10,000 feet. The aircraft was not on fire nor were any members of the crew injured. I did not see the aircraft crash as I came down through smoke from the target, but was told later that the aircraft exploded in the air”.


Notes:

  1. As original burials were at Wachenheim (Germany) it is assumed that the aircraft was lost in this location

Halifax HR907 (27/09/1943)

Halifax HR907 was one of twenty-one aircraft No. 35 Squadron detailed to attack Hanover on the night of 27th / 28th September 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S) and Monica and was carrying 3 x 1000lb GP and 6 x 500lb MC. Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Marker

Its seven man crew comprised:

  • Nicholas Joseph Matich (Pilot)
  • Cyril Arthur Hewlett (Navigator)
  • Ralph Wilbert Tully (Air Bomber)
  • Francis Robert Dolling (Wireless Operator)
  • Albert Thomas Tuck (Air Gunner)
  • Albert Victor Forsyth (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald McTavish Mather (Flight Engineer)

The route was 52°37N 03°30E, Egmond, 52°35N 08°00E, 52°34N 09°00E, Hanover, 52°10N 09°45E, 52°35N 08°00E, Egmond, 52°37N 03°30E

HR907 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 28th September 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 27th / 28th September 1943”.

hr907-telegram

Copy of telegram sent to the family of AT Tuck [Source: http://www.naa.gov.au]

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. 319 (Flight 16/12/1943) reported FR Dolling, AV Forsyth, CA Hewlett, RM Mather, AT Tuck and NJ Matich as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 447 (Flight 30/11/1944) reported AV Forsyth “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 472 (Flight 22/02/1945) reported AT Tuck “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”

Note: Presumption of Death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could be returned, and outstanding monies paid, to the next of kin 

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

  • 01/12/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Tully, F/O Hewlett and P/O Dolling, missing on 27th / 28th September 1943, are prisoners of war.
  • 22/01/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Matich, missing on 27th / 28th September 1943, returned to the UK on 14th January 1944

Crew member(s) who survived the crash and evaded capture

NJ Matich survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • Evasion Route: Germany / Holland / Belgium / France / Spain / Gibraltar (Comet Passage 87 [No. 254])
  • Repatriated: Whitchurch 14/01/1944

Crew member(s) who survived the crash and were captured

CA Hewlett, RW Tully, FR Dolling and RA Mather 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:

  • RW Tully
    • Captured Diepholz  28/09/43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Oct-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Oflag IIIA, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated   May-45
  • RM Mather
    • Captured: Hanover  27/09/43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Oct-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • CA Hewlett (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • FR Dolling (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:

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 Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.

CWGC records show that the remains of AV Forsyth and AT Tuck were located at PR (Preuβisch) Oldendorf Civilian Cemetery

hr907-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, formally identified and concentrated (reinterred) at Hanover War Cemetery on 31st October 1947 as follows:

  • Forsyth, Albert Victor ‘1382045’ Joint grave 16. A. 16-17
  • Tuck, Albert Thomas, ‘411060’ Joint grave 16. A. 16-17


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim:  Lt. Hans-Heinz Augenstein, 9./NJG1, Schröttinghausen W Lübbecke (GS 7), 6200m, 23.00

Map showing crash / original burial locations

HR907 Map

NJ Matich’s Evasion Report

In his evasion report, Matich recalled: “We reached our target and bombed our objective and on the homeward journey at about 09.30hrs we were attacked by a fighter. The throttles were shot away, making the corresponding engines useless. A few minutes after this the third engine was damaged and I had to give the order to bale out”

MRES Report

The MRES report shows: The aircraft approached Schrottinghausen from the south east; it made a half circuit and then after a shallow dive crashed into the farmhouse of Herr Maschmeier  (L53 496143) and both the aircraft and the farmhouse were practically burnt out. The time of the crash was approximately 2300hrs.


Notes:

  1. AT Tuck’s service file is digitised at the Australian Archives; it contains a copy of the full MRES report relating to the loss

Halifax HR906 (29/07/1943)

Halifax HR906 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of the 29th / 30th July 1943.

It was equipped with Nav. Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 12 x 500lbs MC. Its designated Path Finder role was Main Force.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Robert Spooner (Pilot)
  • William Lacey Breckell (Navigator)
  • David James Anderson (Air Bomber)
  • William John Spence (Wireless Operator)
  • Rex Gordon Perrett (Air Gunner)
  • Roy Webb (Air Gunner)
  • Eric Charles Fox (Flight Engineer)

The route was 54°30N 07°00E, 54°30N 09°44E, Hamburg, 53°23N 09°38E, 54°20N 07°00E

HR906 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 30th July 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 29th / 30th July 1943”.

perrett-telegram-1

Copy of telegram sent to the family of RG Perrett  [Source: recordsearch.naa.gov.au]

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. 296 (Flight 21/10/1943) reported R Spooner, DJ Anderson, WJ Spence, R Webb and EC Fox as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 391 (Flight 08/06/1944) reported R Spooner, DJ Anderson, WJ Spence, R Webb and EC Fox “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 546 (Flight 01/11/1945) reported RG Perrett” 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:

  • 13/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Spooner, F/O Anderson, Sgt Spence, Sgt Webb and Sgt Fox, missing on 29th / 30th July 1943, were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

WL Breckell survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • WL Breckell
    • Captured: Hamburg Area 29/07/1943
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Aug-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IIIA, Luckenwalde Jan-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-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 R Spooner, DJ Anderson, WJ Spence, RG Perrett, R Webb and EC Fox were located at Stade Community Cemetery

hr906-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BECKLINGEN WAR CEMETERY on 24th September 1946 as follows:

  • ANDERSON, DAVID JAMES Flying Officer ‘129172’  Grave 14. E. 2.
  • WEBB, ROY Sergeant ‘1430274’ Grave 14. E. 3.
  • PERRETT, REX GORDON Warrant Officer ‘404983’ Grave 14. E. 4.
  • FOX, ERIC CHARLES Sergeant ‘1455705’ Grave 14. E. 5.
  • SPENCE, WILLIAM JOHN Sergeant ‘1123753’ Grave 14. E. 6.
  • SPOONER, ROBERT Pilot Officer ‘156601’ Grave 12. G. 6.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Probable Nightfighter Claim: Uffz. Walter Kauderer, II./JG Herrmann, SW Hamburg, 4-5000m, 00.50. (Note: coned by 1. & 2./Flaksheinw. Abt. 530 (o) and 1. & 4./Flaksheinw. Abt. 508, also by claimed by flak of 4./schw. Flak Abt. 418 (Eisb.), 2./schw. Flak Abt. 535 (Eisb.), 2. & 3./schw. Flak Abt. 336 and 5./schw. Flak Abt. 601 (o) (Grossbattr. Neugrabbin), I. & 4./schw. Flak Abt. 336 (v) (Grossbattr. Billwarder insel) (“Halifax nr. Beckdorf 01.00hrs)

Bomber Command Loss Card

Information supplied by WL Breckell; The fuselage was in flames and there was an explosion. The aircraft went out of control and went down in a spin when the pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft. I forced the hatch open and went out. The air bomber had come from the aiming position in the nose and was kneeling by the navigator’s table. I heard no more of the crew until I was told at Dulag Luft that six were found dead in the aircraft

Extract from WL Breckell’s POW Document

[Courtesy of Roger Breckell]


Notes:

  1. PG Perrett’s service file is digitised in the Australian Archives and contains a photograph of his original wooden grave marker


Halifax HR880 (16/08/1943)

Halifax HR880  was one of twenty two No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Turin on the night of the 16th / 17th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, Navigational Aid Y [H2S], Monica and Window.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Patrick Archibald Haggarty (Pilot)
  • Ronald Denis Ferguson (Navigator)
  • Morris John Alfred White (Air Bomber)
  • Ronald Leonard Hooper (Wireless Operator)
  • Alan Henry John Sumner (Air Gunner)
  • Robert William Griffiths (Air Gunner)
  • George Connelly Mutch (Flight Engineer)

The route was Selsey Bill, 4822N 0020E, North end of Lac du Bourget, Target, South end of Lac du Bourget, 4750N 0000E, 4916N 0040W, Selsey Bill

HR880 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 17th August 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 16th / 17th August 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. 293 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported PA Haggarty, MJA White, RW Griffiths, AHJ Sumner and GC Mutch as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 293 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported MJA White, RW Griffiths, AHJ Sumner and GC Mutch “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:

  • 08/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that RD Ferguson, missing on 16th / 17th August 1943, is safe in a neutral country
  • 27/10/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that RD Ferguson, missing on 16th / 17th August 1943, arrived in the UK on 6th October 1944

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RD Ferguson survived the crash and was captured / hospitalised. It is understood that he escaped from Turin Hospital on 8th November 1943.

His evasion report, which was completed on his return to the UK, shows the following details:

  • RD Ferguson (Report yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Turin (Escaped from hospital 08/11/1943 and evaded; no details available)
    • Repatriated: Oct-44

RL Hooper survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • RL Hooper (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: 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 suggest that the remains of PA Haggarty, MJA White, RW Griffiths, AHJ Sumner and GC Mutch were located at Torino

hr880-1-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at MILAN WAR CEMETERY in October 1945 as follows:

  • GRIFFITHS, ROBERT WILLIAMS, Flying Officer ‘116501’  Joint grave I. C. 1-2.
  • HAGGARTY, PATRICK ARCHIBALD, Squadron Leader ‘42500’ Grave I. B. 10.
  • MUTCH, GEORGE CONNELLY, Sergeant ‘575761’ Grave I. B. 8.
  • SUMNER, ALAN HENRY JOHN Flight Lieutenant ‘126845’ Joint grave I. C. 1-2.
  • WHITE, MORRIS JOHN ALFRED, Flight Lieutenant ‘120889’  Grave I. B. 12.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Cause / Location of Loss

The aircraft crashed at Front Canavese, shot down by Lieutenant Pilot Cesare Balli, 232 Squadron (59th Interceptor Group). Balli took off from Venegono at 00:48 in Reggiane Re. 2001 (CN Version) Serial No. MM90756.

A newspaper article from the time (17th / 18th August 1943) shows the wreckage of the Halifax, along with a photograph showing some of the damage caused during the attacks on Turin. It should be borne in mind that this was a wartime publication and therefore deeply critical of the allied bombing raids.

Information and newspaper cutting courtesy of Luca Gabriele Merli and Katia Ottone

Halifax HR878 (31/08/1943)

Halifax HR878 was one of eighteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 31st August / 1st September 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, H2S and Monica and was probably carrying 2  x TI red LB, 2 x TI red, 2 x 1000lb GP and 2 x 500 MC. Its designated Pathfinder role was as a Blind Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Wilfred Surtees (Pilot)
  • George Newsham (Navigator)
  • Henry George Wilfred Wooley (Air Bomber)
  • Herbert Arthur Penny (Wireless Operator)
  • James Russell Griffin (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Henry Sutton (Air Gunner)
  • Edward James Brown (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5315N 0400E, North Texel, 5147N 1108E, Berlin, 5100N 2930E, 5030N 0720E, Cayeux, Beachy Head.

HR878 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 1st September 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 31st August / 1st September 1943”.

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. 307 (Flight 18/11/1943) reported G Newsham, JR Griffin, TH Sutton and EJ Brown as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 416 (Flight 24/08/1944) reported G Newsham, JR Griffin, TH Sutton and EJ Brown “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:

  • 10/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Wooley, missing on 31st August / 1st September 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 16/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that S/L Surtees, missing on 31st August / 1st September 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 23/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Penny, missing on 31st August / 1st September 1943, returned safely to the UK on 11th November 1943

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

HA Penny survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • Evasion Route: Holland / Belgium / France / Spain / Gibraltar (Comet Passage 66 [No. 175]
  • Repatriated: Whitchurch 11/11/1943

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

W Surtees and  HGW Wooley 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:

  • W Surtees (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  •  HGW Wooley (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • 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 G Newsham, JR Griffin, TH Sutton and EJ Brown were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at KUINRE GENERAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • BROWN, EDWARD JAMES Pilot Officer ‘52566’  Row 22. Grave 40D.
  • GRIFFIN, JAMES RUSSELL Flight Sergeant ‘848343’ Row 22. Grave 40E.
  • NEWSHAM, GEORGE Flight Lieutenant ‘79755’ Row 22. Grave 40C.
  • SUTTON, THOMAS HENRY Sergeant ‘1033490’ Row 22. Grave 40B.

[Source: TracesofWar]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, 12./NJG1, 700m N. Kuinre NW Meppel (Holland), 4500m, 22.41

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

  • Outbound, hit by flak, causing damage to the starboard wing; finally shot down by Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer
  • Crashed about 1.5km east of Kuinre
  • Some small parts recovered by Royal Netherlands Air Force in 1964)

HR878 [Source http://www.airwar4045.nl]

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • Lengthy text which needs to be deciphered
  • Shot down by nightfighter from below, over Zuiderzee at 16000ft. Target not bombed, aircraft destroyed

London Gazette (08/06/1944)

HA Penny was Mentioned in Despatches as a result of his actions. The citation reads:

On 31st August 1943, Flying Officer Penny was the wireless operator (air) of a Halifax aircraft detailed to attack Berlin.  Shortly after crossing the Dutch coast the Halifax caught fire and the pilot lost control.  Flying Officer Penny, who escaped by parachute, alighted safely in a defence zone and immediately set out to avoid capture.  He overcame innumerable obstacles and, showing great determination, walked alone by day and night over very rough country.  His efforts to evade capture were rewarded and he succeeded in returning to this country on 10th November 1943.


Halifax HR876 (02/12/1943)

Halifax HR876 was one of fifteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 2nd / 3rd December 1943.

It was equipped with Fishpond, IFF, Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 10 x 500lbs MC and various target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Backer Up

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harley Vernon Stinson (Pilot)
  • Desmond Albert Richardson (Navigator)
  • Michael John Day (Air Bomber)
  • Gerald Walter Allso (Wireless Operator)
  • Francis Cole McCubbin (Air Gunner)
  • Roy Horace Wells (Air Gunner)
  • George Merrill (Flight Engineer)

The route was Haisborough, 5250N 0330E, 5235N 0440E, 5238N 1004E, 5236N 1220E, Berlin, 5230N 1350E, 5255N 1350E, 5238N 1004E, 5235N 0440E, 5250N 0330E, Haisborough

HR876 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 3rd December 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 2nd / 3rd December 1943”.

stinson letter

Extract from the letter sent to the family of HV Stinson [Source: Canadian Archives]

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. 347 (Flight 24/02/1944) reported , MJ Day, DA Richardson, GW Allso, G Merrill and RH Wells as “missing”; also HV Stinson and FC McCubbin as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 438 (Flight 02/11/1944) reported , MJ Day, DA Richardson, GW Allso, G Merrill and RH Wells “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 444 (Flight 23/11/1944) reported HV Stinson and FC McCubbin “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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.

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 all the crew members were located at Dusseldorf North Cemetery (Nordfriedhof)

hr876-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY on 16th October 1946 as follows:

  • ALLSO, GERALD WALTER, Flight Sergeant ‘1151764’  Grave 7. A. 4.
  • DAY, MICHAEL JOHN, Sergeant ‘1319108’ Grave 7. A. 5.
  • MERRILL, GEORGE, Sergeant ‘1005888’ Grave 7. A. 3.
  • McCUBBIN, FRANCIS COLE, Warrant Officer Class II ‘R/100257’ Grave 7. A. 7.
  • RICHARDSON, DESMOND ALBERT, Pilot Officer ‘169470’ Grave 7. A. 8.
  • STINSON, HARLEY VERNON, Pilot Officer ‘J/19157’ Grave 7. A. 6.
  • WELLS, ROY HORACE, Sergeant ‘1318974’ Grave 7. A. 9.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Flak Claim: Hit by 2. & 5./schw. Flak Abt. 389 and 5. & 5./schw. Flak Abt. 137, impacted at Gut Benninghoven, Mettmann at 22.04

German Research

German research, which is documented in the book “Abgestürzt”, shows that the aircraft crashed near a disabled centre (Benninghof) to the south-east of Mettmann, Germany.

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

Crashed near Dusseldorf

Original Burial Records

The following is an extract from the original burial records

[Courtesy of Matthias Hundt]

Crew Information

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

HV Stinson

McCubbin Lake

In December 2017, the Ontario Geographic Names Board (at the request of Marcel Lesaar) agreed to name a lake in memory of FC McCubbin

[Courtesy of Marcel Lesaar]

Halifax HR865 (23/08/1943)

Halifax HR865 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and H2s

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Lawrence Edward Nicklin Lahey (Pilot)
  • David Farrant Bland (Navigator)
  • John William Annetts (Air Bomber)
  • Daniel David Cleary (Wireless Operator)
  • Leonard Alan Such (Air Gunner)
  • Robert Scott Hogg (Air Gunner)
  • Wilfred Ernest Sutton (Flight Engineer)

The route for the bomber stream was as follows: East Coast, 52°50N 03°30E, Egmond, 52°50N 09°30E, 52°05N 13°47E, Berlin, 52°50N 13°40E, Mano Island, 55°00N 07°00E, East Coast

HR865 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 24th August 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 23rd / 24th August 1943”.

lahey-telegram2

Copy of telegram sent to LEN Lahey’s family

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:

  • 13/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Lahey and crew, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, are all prisoners of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

All members of the crew 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:

  • LEN Lahey
    • Captured: 20 miles from Brandenburg Aug-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43 to Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Sep-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Marlag und Milag Nord, Westertimke (Tarmstedt) Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • DD Cleary
    • Captured: Outside Genthin (South of Magdeburg) Aug-43
      Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43
      Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Sep-43 to Apr-45
      Repatriated: May-45
  •  RS Hogg
    • Captured: Berlin 23/08/1943
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43 to Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Sep-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  •  WE Sutton
    • Captured: Genthin (nr Berlin) (23/08/1943)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Sep-43 Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • JW Annetts (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • DF Bland (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • LA Such (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg
    • Repatriated:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim; Hptm. H Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Stab II./NJG3, nr Dorst, NNW Neuhaldensleben (Germany), 5500m, 00.18 (Note: claim not listed in OKL/RLM; Stab II./NJG3 Confirmed Abschussubersicht)

Extract from LEN Lahey’s Repatriation Report [Source: Australian Archive]

Hit by JU88 at 17000ft causing breakdown in hydraulics and fire in starboard wing and starboard inner motor. After applying fire extinguishers to starboard inner without avail, the order to bale out was given and acknowledged by each member of the crew who jumped in turn. The mid-upper gunner was slightly wounded in the legs and pilot had slight wound in the head. Aircraft crashed about 20 miles from Brandenburg

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • All crew baled out; shot down nr Magdeburg (Dirglitz)
  • Text on reverse of card is difficult to read and needs to be deciphered

Halifax HR863 (02/08/1943)

Halifax HR863 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of the 2nd / 3rd August 1943.

It was equipped with H2S and Monica.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Edmund Solomon (Pilot)
  • Alfred Arthur Charles Bedward (Navigator)
  • Donald William McGlashan Archer (Air Bomber)
  • Stanislaus Cyril McKiernan (Wireless Operator)
  • Alexander Stephen (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald Cecil Davies (Air Gunner)
  • Herbert Pickup (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 54°20N 07°00E, 53°45N 08°32E, 53°00N 10°00E, Hamburg, 54°00N 10°00E, 54°30N 07°00E

HR863 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing further being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 3rd August 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 2nd / 3rd August 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. 292 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported E Solomon, AAC Bedward, DWM Archer, SC McKiernan, RC Davies, A Stephen and H Pickup as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 398 (Flight 06/07/1944) reported E Solomon, AAC Bedward, DWM Archer, SC McKiernan, RC Davies and H Pickup “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:

  • 20/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Solomon, Sgt Archer, Sgt McKiernan, Sgt Davies and Sgt Pickup, missing on 2nd / 3rd August 1943, were killed
  • 31/01/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Bedward, missing on 2nd / 3rd August 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

A Stephen survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • A Stephen (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Dulag Luft / Not Known
    • 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 show that the remains of E Solomon, AAC Bedward, DWM Archer, SC McKiernan, RC Davies and H Pickup were located at Stade Communal Cemetery

hr863-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 24th September 1946 at BECKLINGEN WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • ARCHER, DONALD WILLIAM MCGLASHAN, Sergeant ‘658103’  Grave 14. E. 14.
  • BEDWARD, ALFRED ARTHUR CHARLES, Flight Sergeant ‘1338439’ Joint grave 12. F. 9-10.
  • DAVIES, RONALD CECIL, Sergeant ‘1600566’ Joint grave 12. F. 9-10.
  • McKIERNAN, STANISLAUS CYRIL (STAN), Sergeant ‘1295318’ Grave 12. F. 13.
  • PICKUP, HERBERT, Sergeant ‘527356’ Grave 12. F. 12.
  • SOLOMON, EDMUND, Pilot Officer ‘155021’ Grave 12. F. 11.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

[Source: RAF Museum]

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Hit by 1./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o) and Pers. Battr. (Grossbattr. Hahnofersand) 3. & 4./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o) (Grossbattr. Rubke), 2./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o), 4./schw.Flak Abt. 418 (Eisb), 3./schw.Flak Abt. 336 (v), and 5./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o) (Grossbattr. Neugraben), crashed at Ruschwedel near Harsefeld at 02.24 hrs

Note: The crash location in the published archive entry shows “near Blockstele 12, between Daerstorf and Buxtehude (Germany) at 02.24hrs”. This has subsequently been corrected by Theo Boiten in conjunction with Dieter Pintatis

WR Chorley (RAF Bomber Command Losses)

Crashed after encountering very severe icing and electrical storms

Halifax HR861 (10/08/1943)

Halifax HR861 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Nuremberg on the night of the 10th / 11th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Elliss Trevor Ware (Pilot)
  • Charles Bowmer Russell (Navigator)
  • Gordon Davidson Hogg (Air Bomber)
  • Glenburne George Galvin (Wireless Operator)
  • Reginald Hamblin (Air Gunner)
  • William George Jackett (Air Gunner)
  • Jack Fiddler (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, Le Touquet, 4935N 1040E, Nuremberg, 4910N 1100E, 4917N 0826E, Le Touquet, Beachy Head

HR861 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 11th August 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 10th / 11th August 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. 293 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported R Hamblin, WG Jackett and J Fiddler as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 380 (Flight 04/05/1944) reported R Hamblin, WG Jackett and J Fiddler “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 03/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Galvin, missing on 10th / 11th August 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 07/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Ware, P/O Hogg and F/O Russell, missing on 10th / 11th August 1943, are prisoners of war and that F/S Hamblin, F/S Jackett and Sgt. Fiddler were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

ET Ware, CB Russell, GD Hogg and GG Galvin 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:

  • CB Russell
    • Captured: Mainz 11/08/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Aug-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III-A, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: ? Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • GD Hogg
    • Captured: Frammersheim 11/08/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Aug-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III-A, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • ET Ware (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • GG Galvin (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • 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 show that the remains of R Hamblin, WG Jackett and J Fiddler were located at Framersheim Cemetery, Alzey District, Land Hessen.

hr861-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 7th May 1948 at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • FIDDLER, JACK, Sergeant ‘633093’  Grave 17. C. 21.
  • HAMBLIN, REGINALD, Flight Sergeant ‘1575323’ Grave 17. C. 23.
  • JACKETT, WILLIAM GEORGE, Flight Sergeant ‘1075889’ Grave 17. C. 22.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Heinrich Wohlers, Stab 1./NG6, nr Schafhausen, 1 km. NE Alzey (Germany)

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • GG Galvin: Fire in fuselage rendered communication impossible
  • GP Hogg: I gave Fiddler his chute; he was in a dazed condition. Explosion after I left so probable that he was injured
  • Attacked by nightfighter north of Worms (49°35N 08°22E), caught fire and exploded; 3 bodies found in wreckage, believed to be Jackett, Hamblin and Fiddler.
  • More text which needs to be deciphered 

Map showing original burial location

Halifax HR862 (17/08/1943)

Halifax HR862 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Peenemunde on the night of the 17th / 18th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S)

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Peter Roland Raggett (Pilot)
  • Albert Joseph Perkins (Navigator)
  • Stanley Alfred Baldwin (Air Bomber)
  • Frederick Roberts (Wireless Operator)
  • Douglas Stewart Wood (Air Gunner)
  • Peter Henry Palmer (Air Gunner)
  • Vincent Webster (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 5510N 0700E, 5525N 0827E, Peenemunde, Mano, 5510N 0700E

HR862 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 18th August 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 17th / 18th August 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. 299 (Flight 28/10/1943) reported PR Raggett, AJ Perkins, SA Baldwin, DS Wood and V Webster as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 380 (Flight 04/05/1944) reported AJ Perkins, DS Wood and V Webster “previously reported missing believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 442 (Flight 16/11/1944) reported SA Baldwin and PR Raggett “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 22/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Roberts and Sgt Palmer, missing on 17th / 18th August 1943, are prisoners of war and that F/S Raggett, F/O Baldwin, P/O Perkins, Sgt Wood and Sgt Webster were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

F Roberts and PH Palmer 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:

  • PH Palmer
    • Captured: Near Peenemunde Aug-43 (Injured)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Sep-43 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • F Roberts (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg
    • 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  PR Raggett, AJ Perkins, SA Baldwin, DS Wood and V Webster were located at Greifswald Cemetery, Pommern

hr862-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 30th July 1948 at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BALDWIN, STANLEY ALFRED, Flying Officer ‘124761’  Joint grave 2. J. 16-17.
  • PERKINS, ALBERT JOSEPH, Flying Officer ‘128669’ Grave 2. J. 15.
  • RAGGETT, PETER ROLAND, Pilot Officer ‘149324’ Joint grave 2. J. 16-17.
  • WEBSTER, VINCENT, Sergeant ‘814232’ Grave 2. J. 18.
  • WOOD, DOUGLAS STEWART, Flight Sergeant ‘1351620’ Coll. grave 2. F. 1-16.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling, 10./NJG1, Near Greifswald (Germany), 2800m, 01.28

Map 

Halifax HR851 (29/07/1943)

Halifax HR851 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of the 29th / 30th July 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harold Cass Pexton (Pilot)
  • Francis Fenton (Navigator)
  • Cyril Duggan Hughes (Air Bomber)
  • Colin John Weldon (Wireless Operator)
  • Charles Frederick Andrew (Air Gunner)
  • William David Ronald Walters (Air Gunner)
  • Ernest Frederick John Willis (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5430N 0700E, 5430N 0944E, Hamburg, 5323N 0938E, 5420N 0700E

HR851 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 30th July 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 29th / 30th July 1943”.

Letter Cropped [Courtesy of Kevin Gummer]

Extract from letter sent to the family of EFJ Willis [Courtesy of Kevin Gummer]

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. 294 (Flight 21/10/1943) reported HC Pexton, CD Hughes, CF Andrew, WDR Walters and EFJ Willis as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 397 (Flight 29/06/1944) reported HC Pexton, WDR Walters and EFJ Willis “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 398 (Flight 06/07/1944) reported CF Andrew and CD Hughes “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:

  • 05/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Weldon and F/S Fenton, missing on 29th / 30th July 1943, are prisoners of war.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

F Fenton and CJ Weldon 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:

  • F Fenton
    • Captured Hamburg Area  29-07-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Aug-43 to Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Nov-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft IV, Keifheide Jul-44 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag XI-B, Fallingbostel Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated   May-45
  • CJ Weldon
    • Captured: 20 km south of Hamburg 30/07/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Aug-43 to Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Nov-43 to Jun-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft IV, Keifheide Jun-44 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-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 CD Hughes, CF Andrew, WDR Walters and EFJ Willis were located at Lueneburg Central Cemetery, Germany

hr851-1-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 18th April 1947 at HAMBURG CEMETERY as follows:

  • HUGHES, CYRIL DUGGAN, Flight Sergeant ‘1036179’ Grave 10A. J. 11
  • ANDREW, CHARLES FREDERICK, Squadron Leader ‘115930’  Grave 10A. J. 12..
  • WALTERS, WILLIAM DAVID RONALD, Sergeant ‘1261582’ Grave 10A. J. 13.
  • WILLIS, ERNEST FREDERICK JOHN, Sergeant ‘573470’ Grave 10A. J. 10.

[Photographs courtesy of Colin Ainsworth]

The remains of HC Pexton were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, his name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • PEXTON, HAROLD CASS, Flight Lieutenant ‘81650’ Panel 120.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Flak Claim: Coned by Flaksheinw. Abt. 530, hit by 2./schw. Flak Abt. 418 (Eis), 1., 2., 3., & 5./schw. Flak Abt. 607, 1., 3. & 4./schw. Flak Abt. 603 and crashed at Podendorf nr Moisburg at 01.10hrs

“Joe” Weldon’s recollection of the events [Courtesy of Colin Ainsworth]

This personal story was given by my Father in law, “Joe” Weldon in an interview with war historian Martin Middlebrook, and gives his account of the attack on Hamburg, Germany on the night of 29 / 30 July 1943

“I stood beside the pilot as we approached the target. The bomb aimer and navigator were working hard, to get our position right, because we were Blind Markers. While we were running up, straight and level, we were coned. I’d been in searchlights before but never as bad as this. It felt as though every searchlight in Hamburg was on to us and every gun in Hamburg was firing at us. The pilot started to jink, to avoid the Flak, but with the idea of keeping us on to the release point.

We dropped our bombs and markers – as far as I know at the right place – and turned on to our new course, continuing our evasive action all the time. Then, only a few seconds later, I heard a ‘clang’ as the aircraft was hit, not a heavy hit, just one lump of shrapnel but it hit the navigator. Someone, probably the pilot, asked him if he was alright. The nav said ‘Carry on, lads.’ It was about then I got my parachute and the pilot’s parachute and put them on; chest-type packs they were. We didn’t hear anything more from the navigator and he was either very badly wounded or dead soon after. We seemed to be getting away – the Flak was getting less – but the searchlights still followed us, we were being passed on by one batch after another.

I think we were over the countryside when the mid-upper shouted, ‘Fighter’, and he opened up. But we never heard a word from the rear gunner; I am certain that he was unconscious from oxygen failure. He had complained earlier in the flight about oxygen trouble. We were hit by cannon fire straight away. Fortunately for me, when I had come up, earlier, from my own position to stand by the pilot, I had closed the armour – plating door between where I was standing and the rear of the aircraft – something I had rarely done before. The flight engineer would normally have been standing there but, with that recent introduction of Window, he was further back, throwing Window out. I heard the cannon shells exploding against this armour plating.  I think they were coming along the body of the aircraft. I remember being very thankful that I had shut that door. We never heard another sound from the men in the rear of the aircraft after the cannon shells.

It didn’t seem long before we were being hit again and, this time, he got the starboard – outer engine which was set on fire. Ben pressed the fire extinguisher but nothing happened. Then the fighter made another run and the pilot told us to bale out. ‘Better go, lads.’ Then, almost immediately,, I think he was hit because he flopped forward.

All hell broke loose after that. The aircraft went over and must have gone into a spin. I was thrown into a heap and, when I was able to get to my feet, I found the open escape hatch above my head; it was normally in the floor. I can remember what I thought then. ‘Bloody hell! The wife’s going to get a telegram in the morning, saying I was missing.’ But I didn’t’ think I was going to be killed; that was the last thought in my mind. ‘There was someone else in there but I don’t know whether it was the bomb aimer or navigator. I went for that hatch; I didn’t hang about, I can assure you.

The crew member behind Weldon was Flight Sergeant Frank Fenton, the bomb aimer, he had already pushed the dead or dying navigator out with his parachute release pulled and who, now, gave Weldon a push. The Halifax crashed near Moisburg, sixteen miles from the centre of Hamburg. The pilot Ben Pexton has no known grave. The navigator Sergeant Cyril Duggan Hughes along with Middle upper gunner Sergeant William David Ronald Walters, Squadron Leader Sergeant Charles Frederick Andrew and Sergeant Ernest Frederick John Willis are buried alongside each other in the commonwealth war grave in Hamburg. Grave 10a J10, 11, 12, 13.

The bomb aimer pushed out of the stricken aircraft survived the parachute escape but died in the POW Camp later.

The extract is included in the book “The Battle of Hamburg” by Martin Middlebrook

Crew Memorial

The stained glass window in St. Mary’s Church, Watton, East Yorkshire, commemorating HC Pexton and his crew.

Pexton Crew [Tony Hibberd, FB].jpg

[Courtesy of IBCC Memorial Database Project]

Halifax HR850 (28/06/1943)

Halifax HR850 was one of six No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Cologne on the night of the 28th / 29th June 1943.

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

  • Nelson Alexander Cobb (Pilot)
  • Leonard Whiteley (2nd Dickie)
  • David Archibald Codd (Navigator)
  • Walter Palfrey Trask (Air Bomber)
  • Charles Henry Bulloch (Wireless Operator)
  • Jack Edward Stuart Matthews (Air Gunner)
  • Mark Anthony Sachs (Air Gunner)
  • Roland Hurlston Baldwin (Flight Engineer)

The route was Base, 5122N 0320E, 5028N 0632E, Target,  5135N 0340E, Orfordness, Base

HR850 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing. No message received”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 29th 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 28th / 29th 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. 281 (Flight 16/09/1943) reported NA Cobb as “missing, believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 363 (Flight 30/03/1944) reported NA Cobb “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” 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:

  • 11/08/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that F/O Cobb, missing on 28th / 29th June 1943, was killed; also that the following were captured: F/O Whitely, F/S Trask, P/O Bulloch, F/O Sachs, F/S Matthews and Sgt Baldwin
  • 14/08/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that F/O Codd, missing on 28th / 29th June 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

L Whiteley,  WP Trask, DA Codd, CH Bulloch, JES Matthews, MA Sachs and RH Baldwin 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:

  • L Whiteley (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • WP Trask (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI / Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • DA Codd (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • CH Bulloch (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • JES Matthews (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI / Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • MA Sachs (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • RH Baldwin (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI / Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • 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 show that the remains of NA Cobb were located at Ulpenich Village Cemetery

cobb-concentration

His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 5th May 1947 at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • COBB, NELSON ALEXANDER, Flight Lieutenant  ‘J/16276’   Grave 11. B. 11.

[Source: FindaGrave]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive) 

Nightfighter Claim; Ofw. Fritz Shellwat, 5./NJG1, 600m S  Ulpenich 8km W Euskirchen (Germany) (6C), 6200m, 02.10 (Note: also claimed by Flak of 3./schw.Flak Abt. 477, 1.-3./schw.Flak Abt. 331 and 6./schw.Flak Abt. 245 ‘Halifax Euskirchen 01.54hrs’. Victory  Ofw. Shellwat confirmed on 20/12/1944)

Map showing original burial / loss location

Bomber Command Loss Card

Body of NA Cobb said to have been found amongst the wreckage of the aircraft

Letter to the family of NA Cobb from DA Codd (1943)

Letter [Cobb Service File].JPG

[Source: NA Cobb’s Service File]

Notes:

  1. More information can be found in the book Blue Job – Brown Job by David Codd DFC

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 HR846 (23/08/1943)

Halifax HR846 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • John Jarvis Williams (Pilot)
  • James Casey (Navigator)
  • Richard Charles Tucker (Air Bomber)
  • Gordon James Hurley (Wireless Operator)
  • John Elwell (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas David Bishop (Air Gunner)
  • John Colgan (Flight Engineer)

The route was East Coast, 5250N 0330E, Egmond, 5250N 0930E, 5205N 1347E, Berlin, 5250N 1340E, Mano Island, 5500N 0700E, East Coast

HR846 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Halifax HR846 [Photograph by Ron Gayner (Courtesy of Dick Gayner)]

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 24th August 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 23rd / 24th August 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. 382 (Flight 11/05/1944) reported TD Bishop and RC Tucker “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:

  • 02/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Williams, Sgt Casey and F/S Hurley, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, are prisoners of war.
  • 30/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Colgan and Sgt Elwell, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, are prisoners of war.
  • 24/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Bishop, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

JJ Williams, J Casey, GJ Hurley, J Colgan and J Elwell 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:

  • JJ Williams
    • Evaded: 23/08/1943 to 27/08/1943
    • Captured: Frankfurt (27/08/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Sep-43 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • J Colgan
    • Evaded: 23/08/1943 to 31/08/1943
    • Captured: North of Nuremberg? (31/08/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg Sep-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg Sep-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  •  J Casey (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg / Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • GJ Hurley (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg
    • Repatriated:
  • J Elwell (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg
    • 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 show that the remains of RC Tucker and TD Bishop were located at Doeberitz Standortfriedhof.

hr846-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 28th October 1946 at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BISHOP, THOMAS DAVID, Flight Sergeant ‘1252904’ Grave 1. J. 10.
  • TUCKER, RICHARD CHARLES, Pilot Officer ‘155165’ Grave 1. J. 9.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

First Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Lenz Finster, 2./NJG1, W Trebnitz (Germany), 5000m, 01.12hrs (Note: coned by 1./Flakshceinw. Abt. 339, 5./Flakshceinw. Abt. 448 and 4./Flakshceinw. Abt. 180 ‘Halifax Trebnitz 5500m 01.12hrs’)

Second Nightfighter Claim: Lt Peter Spoden, 5./NJG5, over target, Berlin (Germany), 4500m, 01.13hrs (Note; also claimed by Flak of 1. & 4./schw. Flak Abt. 362 and 2./schw. Flak Abt. 662 ‘4-mot Buckow 01.13hrs’; claim Lt. Spoden not listed in OKL/RLM, 5./NJG5  confirmed Abschussubersicht)

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

Shot down by a nightfighter and crashed in the target area

Halifax HR833 (29/05/1943)

Halifax HR833 was one of twenty-one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Wuppertal on the night of the 29th / 30th May 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • James Livingstone Lee (Pilot)
  • George Arthur Jones (Navigator)
  • William Abbotson Tetley (Air Bomber)
  • Herbert John Ross (Wireless Operator)
  • Frank Morley Traynor (Air Gunner)
  • Victor Stanley Platt (Air Gunner)
  • John Charles Goodson (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5134N 0330E, 5059N 0626E, Wuppertal, 5120N 0721E, 5033N 0723E, 5038N 0600E, 5122N 0320E

HR833 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing; No message was received”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 30th May 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 29th / 30th May 1943″

Extract from the letter sent to the family of HJ Ross

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. 267 (Flight 19/08/1943) reported JL Lee, WA Tetley, HJ Ross, VS Platt and FM Traynor  as “missing, believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 333 (Flight 20/01/1944) reported WA Tetley, VS Platt and FM Traynor  “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” 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:

  • 14/07/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Ross, missing on 29th / 30th May 1943, was killed
  • 30/07/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that W/O Lee, F/L Tetley, Sgt Platt, and Sgt Traynor,  missing on 29th / 30th May 1943, were killed; also that P/O Goodson is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

JC Goodson survived the crash (wounded) and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

GA Jones evaded until 3rd September 1943; following his capture he was 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:

  • JC Goodson
    • Captured: Antwerp 30/05/1943 (Wounded)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Jun-43 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag XIII-D, Nürnberg  Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Apr-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated May-45
  • GA Jones (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Evaded:
    • Captured: Brussels (03/09/43?)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg
    • 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 JL Lee, WA Tetley, HJ Ross, VS Platt, FM Traynor were located; however, the MRES report shows that they were buried at Schoonselhof, Antwerp as follows: JL Lee (Row G Grave 1). WA Tetley (Row F Grave 12), HJ Ross (Row F Grave 13), VS Platt (Row G Grave 3) and FM Traynor (Row G Grave 2).

CWGC Records show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at Schoonselhof Cemetery as follows:

  • Lee, James Livingston, Warrant Officer ‘R/68499’ Grave II. F. 18.
  • Tetley, William Abbotson, Flight Lieutenant ‘81378’ Grave II. G. 3.
  • Ross, Herbert John, Flight Sergeant ‘405233’ Grave II.G.2
  • Platt, Victor Stanley, Sergeant ‘1384338’ Grave II. F. 20.
  • Traynor, Frank Morley, Sergeant ‘1055872’ Grave II. F. 19


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Attacked by nightfighter near Antwerp and exploded.

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

Shot down by a nightfighter and exploded, crashing at Hoogstraten, near Antwerp, Belgium

Footprints in the Sands of Time

Suggests that the aircraft was blown up when its bombs exploded

MRES Report [Australian Archives]

Halifax HR812 (28/06/1943)

Halifax HR812 was one of six No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Cologne on the night of the 28th / 29th June 1943.

It was carrying 1 x 2000lb HC, 1064 x 4lb incendiaries and  76 x “4x” incendiaries. Its designated Path Finder role was Main Force

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Graham Thomas Beveridge (Pilot)
  • Stanley Kiran Gordon-Powell (Navigator)
  • Henry Charles Billett (Air Bomber)
  • Roger James Taylor (Wireless Operator)
  • Francis Cyril Compton (Air Gunner)
  • William Hughes (Air Gunner)
  • Leslie Ernest Carey (Flight Engineer)

The route was Base, 5122N 0320E, 5028N 0632E, Target, 5135N 0340E, Orfordness, Base

HR812 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing. No message received”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 29th 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 28th / 29th 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. 281 (Flight 16/09/1943) reported GT Beveridge, FC Compton, W Hughes and LE Carey as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 373 (Flight 20/04/1944) reported GT Beveridge, FC Compton and W Hughes “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 502 (Flight 10/05/1945) reported LE Carey “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:

  • 04/09/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Beveridge, missing on 28th / 29th June 1943, was killed
  • 05/10/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Gordon-Powell, missing on 28th / 29th June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 25/11/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Billett, missing on 28th / 29th June 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

SK Gordon-Powell, HC Billett and RJ Taylor 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:

  • HC Billett
    • Evaded: Jun-43 to Jul-43 (Betrayed)
    • Captured: Bordeaux 24/07/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Oct-43 to Jul-44 (Evacuated)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44 (Relocated)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45 (Evacuated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • SK Gordon-Powell
    • Evaded: Jun-43 to Jul-43 (Betrayed)
    • Captured: Paris 15/07/1943
    • Held: Fresnes Jul-43 to Aug-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB Sep-43 to Dec-43 (Escaped / Recaptured)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVD Dec-43 to Aug-44 (Escaped / Recaptured)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB Aug-44 to Mar-45 (Escaped)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RJ Taylor
    • Captured: Near Liege 02/07/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jul-43 to Jul-44 (Evacuated)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44 (Relocated)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45 (Evacuated)
    • Repatriated: May-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 GT Beveridge, FC Compton, W Hughes and LE Carey were located at Brusthem (St Trond) Cemetery

hr812-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY on 19th March 1947 as follows:

  • BEVERIDGE, GRAHAM THOMAS Pilot Officer ‘146337’  Grave 9. F. 7.
  • CAREY, LESLIE ERNEST Sergeant ‘R/125005’ Coll. grave 6. D. 1-20.
  • COMPTON, FRANCIS CYRIL Sergeant ‘1322681’ Coll. grave 6. D. 1-20.
  • HUGHES, WILLIAM Sergeant ‘1494700’ Coll. grave 6. D. 1-20.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim; Lt. Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer, Stab II./NJG1, Near Wandre, 7km NE Liege (Belgium) (Lurch), 5300m, 01.45

Wim Govaerts

The following extracts are from documents kindly sent to me by Wim Govaerts:

hr812-schnaufer-extract Extract from Schnaufer’s Log Book

Claim.JPG

In his report, Schnaufer recorded: “I took off at 00.52am on 29.6.1943 for a night-time patrol in the Lurch Raum. At 01.38, I was directed onto an enemy aircraft on a bearing of 100°, at an altitude of 5,300m, which I identified above and to my left from a distance of about 200m as a Halifax at 01.40am. After a short time I made my first attack from behind and below, which set the right outside engine on fire, whereupon the Halifax fell away. I followed the burning aircraft until impact, which occurred at 01.45am near Wandre, 7km north-north east of Liege”

Note: The MRES report confirms that the aircraft crashed on an embankment of the River Meuse at Souverain (Wandre)

german-doc-9photo

Wreckage of Halifax HR812 [Courtesy of Wim Govaerts]

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • 162/134 Beveridge G 1334486 shot down 29.6.43 Buried 1.7.43 St Trond
  • 169/415 2 unknown belonging 162/134 recovered later and buried 3.7.43 St Trond
  • 284A We got shot down and I had to jump as plane was on fire. Landed safely and spent a month in the country before I was caught.
  • Billett says “Carey alive and uninjured following attack and until I left aircraft at 15,000 feet. Aircraft on fire in port wing. Beveridge alive and uninjured following attack and at controls when I jumped. I know nothing of Hughes or Compton.
  • Taylor says: “On capture I was given to understand that Beveridge was dead. No news of Hughes or Carey”

SK Gordon-Powell Escape Attempts

SK Gordon-Powell made 6 escape attempts. On his sixth attempt, he escaped from a fatigue party with a South African soldier (AM Kuhn). He reached Flensburg via Berlin and crossed into Denmark where he was put aboard a Danish trawler which took him to Helsingborg, Sweden (arriving on 17th April 1945).

London Gazette (08/03/1946)

SK Gordon-Powell was awarded the Military Cross for his efforts. The citation reads:

On the night of the 28th June 1943, Warrant Officer Gordon-Powell was the navigator of a bomber aircraft that was shot down over Liege.  He at once took steps to evade capture and joined up with some members of an underground movement who attempted to take him to Bordeaux.  Whilst passing through Paris, the party was ambushed and Warrant Officer Gordon-Powell was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Stalag IVB.  During his captivity, covering a period of nearly two years, he made several attempts to escape.  On four occasions he managed to travel some miles from the camp and only by experiencing bad luck was he recaptured.  His fifth effort was made in company with another prisoner in January 1945.  Both managed to reach Berlin, having secured civilian clothing and, posing as French workers, they ultimately reached the Danish frontier where, owing to a dense blizzard, they inadvertently walked into a German customs guard who arrested them.  Warrant Officer Gordon-Powell was sent back to Stalag IVB where he was told that if he attempted to escape again he would be shot.  In spite of this threat he made a sixth effort on 21st March 1945.  With the same companion who accompanied him on the previous attempt he again reached Berlin.  Here the two escapers made contact with a Dutch doctor who fed and hid them for two days.  Both subsequently travelled by train to the Danish frontier which they crossed by wading through a swamp which almost enveloped them.  After walking some miles into Denmark they sought refuge with a resistance movement the members of which facilitated their passage to Sweden.  Both reached Helsingborg where they were met by the Danish Vice-Consul who arranged for their journey to Stockholm in April 1945.

Halifax HR803 (24/07/1943)

Halifax HR803 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of the 24th / 25th July 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Nicholas Joseph Matich (Pilot)
  • Cyril Arthur Hewlett (Navigator)
  • Ralph Wilbert Tully (Air Bomber)
  • Francis Robert Dolling (Wireless Operator)
  • Albert Thomas Tuck (Air Gunner)
  • Albert Victor Forsyth (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald McTavish Mather (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “When taking off, both outer engines failed at a height of 2 feet and the aircraft crash landed in a field beyond the aerodrome. There were no casualties”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 shows: Engine Failure on take-off;  port outer and starboard outer. Pilot retracted undercarriage. Shortage of fuel port outer due collapsed …….. pipe.

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB on 24th July 1943; it was sent to Handley Page on 14th August 1943 and struck off charge on 23rd August 1943.

CA Hewlett Letter

In a letter, CA Hewlett recalled “At the point of take-off we lost an engine; the engine restarted, we had a quick consultation and I confirmed that we could reach our target on time by taking a direct route. We went round again, again the engine failed at the same point and we now had no brakes, so the undercarriage was selected up and we belly flopped into a field. No casualties and no after effects”.

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 HR798 (11/11/1943)

Halifax HR798 was one of twenty four No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack the railway and marshalling yards at Cannes on the night of the 11th / 12th November 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S), Fishpond and Monica and was carrying 3 x 1000lbs GP and various target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Illuminator.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • William Cooke Dallin (Pilot)
  • Stanley Francis Jefferson (Navigator)
  • Henry Brian Hall (Air Bomber)
  • John Richard Vass (Wireless Operator)
  • Denis George Button (Air Gunner)
  • Trevor Wynne Roberts (Air Gunner)
  • Denis William Clayton Wade (Flight Engineer)

The route was Base, Selsey Bill, 4920N 0000E, 4725N 0100E, 4318N 0635E, Cannes, 4340N 0712E, 4735N 0120E, 4920N  0000E, Selsey Bill, Base

Halifax HR798 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 12th November 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 11th / 12th November 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. 336 (Flight 27/01/1944) reported DG Button as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 463 (Flight 25/01/1945) reported DG Button, “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:

  • 01/01/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that TW Roberts and DWC Wade, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, are prisoners of war; also that DG Button was killed
  • 10/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that HB Hall, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, returned to the UK on 6th February 1944
  • 20/04/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that JR Vass, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, returned to the UK on 11th April 1944
  • 17/06/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that SF Jefferson, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 03/08/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that WC Dallin, missing on 11th / 12th November 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

HB Hall and JR Vass survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • HB Hall
    • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar
    • Repatriated: Whitchurch 06/02/1944
  • JR Vass
    • Evasion Route: France / Spain / Gibraltar
    • Repatriated: Whitchurch Apr-44

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

WC Dallin, SF Jefferson, TW Roberts and DWC Wade 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:

  • WC Dallin
    • Evaded: Nov-43 to Feb-44
    • Captured: Paris Feb-44
    • Interrogated: Fresne, Paris Feb-44 to Mar-44
    • Imprisoned: Wiesbaden, Germany Apr-44
    • Imprisoned: Mainz, Germany Apr-44
    • Imprisoned: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Apr-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Apr-44 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • SF Jefferson
    • Evaded: Nov-43 to Dec-43
    • Captured: Paris (28/12/1943)
    • Imprisoned: ? Dec-43 to Feb-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Feb-44 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Marlag und Milag Nord, Westertimke (Tarmstedt) Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • TW Roberts
    • Captured: Lissieux, France (13/11/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg Nov-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • DWC Wade
    • Captured: Lissieux, France (12/11/1943)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg Nov-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-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.

The CWGC has confirmed the information on the Bomber Command Loss Card which shows that initial burial was at Lisieux Civil Cemetery (Calvados).

The remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at ST. DESIR WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BUTTON, DENIS GEORGE, Sergeant ‘1516920’  Grave VIII. C. 9.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Uffz. Werner Edelmann, 2./JG2, N.Ste. Marguerite-des-Loges, 3600m, 01.12

WR Chorley’s RAF Bomber Command Losses

Homebound; shot down by nightfighter and crashed at 1.30 near Lisieux (Calvados)

Evasion Report Number (National Archives)

  • WO208/3318/1747 HB Hall
  • WO208/3319/1877 JR Vass

Halifax HR795 (27/05/1943)

Halifax HR795 was one of seven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Essen on the night of the 27th / 28th May 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Richard Joseph Ayres (Pilot)
  • Arthur Haydn Porter (Navigator)
  • Frank Charles Cleaver (Air Bomber)
  • Leslie James Miles (Wireless Operator)
  • Edward Cavill (Air Gunner)
  • Leonard Marshall (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald Hageman (Flight Engineer)

The route was Egmond, 5200N 0705E, Essen, 5210N 0725E, 5323N 0517E

HR795 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft failed to return. No message received.

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 28th May 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 27th / 28th May 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. 264 (Flight 12/08/1943) reported RJ Ayres, FC Cleaver, LJ Miles, E Cavill, L Marshall and R Hageman as “missing, believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 337 (Flight 27/01/1944) reported RJ Ayres, FC Cleaver, LJ Miles, E Cavill, L Marshall and R Hageman “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” 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.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

AH Porter survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

Details available are as follows:

  • AH Porter
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Killed: 19th May 1945 (Gresse Incident)

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.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) records show that the remains of RJ Ayres, FC Cleaver, LJ Miles, E Cavill, L Marshall and R Hageman were located at Nienborg Local Cemetery.

hr795-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 19th March 1947 at REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • AYRES, RICHARD JOSEPH, Flight Sergeant, ‘1333632’, Grave 23. D. 4.
  • CAVILL, EDWARD, Sergeant, ‘654206’, Grave 23. D. 8.
  • CLEAVER, FRANK CHARLES, Sergeant, ‘1338423’, Grave 23. D. 5.
  • HAGEMAN, RONALD, Flight Sergeant, ‘569504’, Grave  23. D. 9.
  • MARSHALL, LEONARD, Sergeant, ‘983679,’ Grave 23. D. 7.
  • MILES, LESLIE JAMES, Sergeant, ‘1129300’, Grave 23. D. 6.

CWGC records show that the remains of AH Porter (who was a POW killed in the Gresse Incident) were never found (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, his name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • PORTER, ARTHUR HAYDN, Warrant Officer ‘1318075’ Panel 269.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Hans-Heinz Augenstein, 7./NJG1, 5km NE Nienborg (Germany) [4c], 5500m 01.05hrs

MRES Report on Gresse Incident [Source: RAFCommands]

“As a result of the Russian drive towards the West of Germany in the spring of 1945, large columns of British P.O.W.s were on the move in the area between the Russian and Allied Armies. One of these columns reached the little village of Gresse M54/T 0142 on the 19th April, 1945 and was seen by Allied aircraft. They were moving in a Westerly direction and the pilot(s) must have taken them for German reinforcements moving towards the front lines and they were attacked”.

Note: Whilst some of the remains of those killed were identified and buried at Gresse, no records exist relating to the burial of AH Porter

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 HR819 (13/07/1943)

Halifax HR819 was one of eighteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Aachen on the night of the 13th / 14th July 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was part of the Main Force

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Edward Wright Saywell (Pilot)
  • Ernest Raymond Moore (Navigator)
  • Frank William Whittaker (Air Bomber)
  • Ronald William Wisson (Wireless Operator)
  • Frank Frederick Ward (Air Gunner)
  • Stuart Fred Hughes (Air Gunner)
  • Joseph Marsh (Flight Engineer)

The route was Noordwick, 5100N 0616E, Aachen 5020N 0542E, Cayeux

HR819 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 14th July 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 13th / 14th July 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. 288 (Flight 07/10/1943) reported EW Saywell as “missing” and FW Whittaker, ER Moore, SF Hughes, FF Ward and J Marsh “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 389 (Flight 01/06/1944) reported EW Saywell “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 391 (Flight 08/06/1944) reported ER Moore “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 393 (Flight 15/06/1944) reported SF Hughes “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”

Note: It is believed that No. 288 should have read “missing” for all crew members as it was far too soon after the loss for presumption of death

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

  • 03/09/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Wisson, missing on 13th / 14th July 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RW Wisson survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • W Wisson (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 show that the remains of EW Saywell, FW Whittaker, ER Moore, SF Hughes, FF Ward and J Marsh were not located (or formally identified) and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • HUGHES, STUART FRED, Sergeant ‘1021591’ Panel 154.
  • MARSH, JOSEPH, Sergeant ‘1080667’ Panel 158.
  • MOORE, ERNEST RAYMOND, Sergeant ‘1379660’ Panel 159.
  • SAYWELL, EDWARD WRIGHT, Flight Sergeant ‘415372’ Panel 199.
  • WARD, FRANK FREDERICK, Sergeant ‘1321748’ Panel 168.
  • WHITTAKER, FRANK WILLIAM, Flight Sergeant ‘1231515’ Panel 139.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Hans-Dieter Frank, Stab I./NJG1, N Leuth (Germany) (5B), 5400m, 01.39

External Link

http://www.102ceylonsquadron.co.uk/AachenRaid/index.html

Halifax HR798 (11/06/1943)

Halifax HR798 was one of three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Dusseldorf on the night of the 11th / 12th June 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Nelson Alexander Cobb (Pilot)
  • David Archibald Codd (Navigator)
  • Walter Palfrey Trask (Air Bomber)
  • Charles Henry Bulloch (Wireless Operator)
  • Norman Francis Williams (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Richard Desmond Smith (Air Gunner)
  • Roland Hurlston Baldwin (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 5145N 0350E, 5055N 0630E, Dusseldorf, turn wide left, 5117N 0630E, Noordwijk

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Two aircraft attacked the target, but the third (HR798) was forced to jettison when attacked by two fighters before reaching the objective. Both fighters were shot down by the rear gunner F/S Williams, who with the other gunner, F/S Smith was wounded and afterwards admitted to hospital.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

NF Williams / TRD Smith Injuries

NF Williams was wounded in the leg and abdomen. He was admitted to Ely Hospital and returned to the squadron on 5th August 1943.

TRD Smith was grazed on the head, was concussed and his optic nerve was damaged. He was unable to fly again due to impaired vision

Injury Report sent to family of NF Williams [Courtesy of Geoff Swallow]

CGM Citation for NF Williams

One night in June 1943, this airman was the rear gunner of an aircraft detailed  to attack Dusseldorf. During the operation, the bomber was intercepted by 2 enemy fighters. In the first encounter, Flight Sergeant Williams’ turret was rendered unserviceable, while he sustained several bullet wounds in the legs and body. Nevertheless, when the second fighter attacked, Flight Sergeant Williams skilfully gave his captain directions which enabled the fighter to be evaded. Flight Sergeant Williams then delivered an accurate burst of fire which caused the enemy aircraft to explode in the air. The first fighter resumed the attack but, although in considerable pain, with both legs partially paralysed, Flight Sergeant Williams with a well placed burst of fire from close range, shot the enemy  aircraft down. Making light of his injuries he remained in his damaged turret until a landing was effected when his turret had to be cut away before he could be extricated. By his great skill, courage and determination, this airman contributed in a large measure to the safe return of the bomber and its crew.

Combat Reports

Combat Reports available at TNA:

  • AIR 50/185/130
  • AIR 50/185/131
  • AIR 50/185/132
  • AIR 50/185/133
  • AIR 50/185/134
  • AIR 50/185/135
  • AIR 50/185/136

Crew Photographs

Cobb (Left hand picture), Smith, Trask and Williams (Right hand Picture)
[Source: Blue Job, Brown Job by David Codd DFC]

Notes:

  1.  More information can be found in the book Blue Job – Brown Job by David Codd DFC

Halifax HR793 (29/05/1943)

Halifax HR793 was one of twenty-one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Wuppertal on the night of the 29th / 30th May 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 1 x 2000lb and various incendiaries.

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

  • Peter Johnston (Pilot)
  • Ernest Alfred Roede (2nd Dickie)
  • Reginald Gordon Houston (Navigator)
  • Roy Wood (Air Bomber)
  • Benjamin Thomas Royall (Wireless Operator)
  • Andrew Walt Cowan (Air Gunner)
  • Michael Thomas Byrne (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick James Jarvis (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5134N 0330E, 5059N 0626E, Wuppertal, 5120N 0721E, 5033N 0723E, 5038N 0600E, 5122N 0320E

HR793 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing; No message was received”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 30th May 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 29th / 30th May 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. 263 (Flight 12/08/1943) recorded FJ Jarvis and P Johnston as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 371 (Flight 13/04/1944) recorded P Johnston “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 373 (Flight 20/04/1944) recorded FJ Jarvis “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:

  • 15/07/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Royall, missing on 29th / 20th May 1943, is a prisoner of war, but seriously wounded
  • 30/07/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Wood, F/O Houston, Sgt Cowan and Sgt Byrne, missing on 29th / 20th May 1943. are prisoners of war
  • 02/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Roede, missing on 29th / 20th May 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

EA Roede, RG Houston,  R Wood, BT Royall, MT Byrne and AW Cowan 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:

  • EA Roede
    • Evaded: May-43 to Jul-43
    • Captured: Brussels (01/07/1943)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jul-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jul-43 to Jun-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jun-44 to Aug-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RG Houston
    • Captured: Near Sittard 30/05/1943
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III Jun-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Marlag und Milag Nord, Westertimke (Tarmstedt) Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • R Wood
    • Captured: Near Sittard 30/05/1943 (Fractured Ankle)
    • Hospitalised: Amsterdam Jun-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III Jun-43 to Jan-44
    • Imprisoned: Belaria (Stalag Luft III overflow camp) Jan-44 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-A, Luckenwalde Jan-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • BT Royall
    • Captured: Sittard, Holland 30/05/1943 (Injured)
    • Hospitalised: Civilian Hospital, Sittard May-43 to Jun-43
    • Hospitalised: Maastricht Jun-43 to Jul-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jul-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Aug-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • MT Byrne
    • Captured: 04/06/1943 Wuppertal
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Hydekrug Jun-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • AW Cowan
    • Captured: Sittard, Holland May-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Hydekrug 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

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 P Johnston and  FJ Jarvis were not located (or could not be formally identified) and as such their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • JARVIS, FREDERICK JAMES, Sergeant ‘567590’ Panel 154.
  • JOHNSTON, PETER, Squadron Leader ‘68139’ Panel 118.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • Unknown, with Wood, Houston, Byrne and Cowan (POW)
  • Shot down 30/05/1943; burials not reported
  • Attacked by nightfighter near Masstricht; it was on fire, but pilot held it under control while the crew baled out. Germans stated that pilot was killed [unreadable section]. Bomb Aimer’s foot injured (hospitalised in Amsterdam). Wireless Operator had compound fracture of the leg (hospitalised in Maastricht)
  • Pilot was alive when Bomb Aimer left, having difficulty keeping aircraft steady. Bomb Aimer saw aircraft crash to earth as he descended by parachute. Navigator left 2nd, Flight Engineer then in aircraft (should have gone [unreadable section]). Aircraft above 6000ft when crew started to bale out. Should have been [unreadable section] unless aircraft went out of control after the Navigator left. It exploded on hitting the ground and according to the Germans, only one body (Johnston’s) was identified

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Wilhelm Beier, 3/NJG1, Limbricht NNE Maastricht (Holland) (5C), 5000m, 00.27

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

  • Shot down by nightfighter at Limbricht (Holland). 
  • Some body parts were found at the crash site, which could not be formally identified; they were buried as such at Venlo and then reinterred in a grave marked “Unknown Airmen” at Jonkerbos War Cemetery after the war
  • Some aircraft parts recovered by the Royal Netherlands Air Force in 1979

Eyewitness Statement (Courtesy of Peter Royall)

An eyewitness account (from a diary in the Sittard-Geleen city archives) recalled that: “the aircraft was on fire and at first it seemed as if it was going to crash into the village of Limbricht. It finally crashed though just outside the village near the road to the city of Sittard. That morning (Sunday) a lot of people went to the crash site to have a look but they couldn’t get near the plane as the Germans sealed off the area. Talk was at that time that the crew had bailed out of the aircraft and landed near Einighausen village (just southeast of Limbricht)”.

Halifax HR777 (15/07/1943)

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was “repaired on site” on 15th July 1943 and returned to the squadron on 20th July 1943.

There are no details in the squadron’s Operations Record Book suggesting that it was damaged on this date; further research required.

AM Form 1880

  • AM Form 1180 to be obtained 

Halifax HR777 (08/10/1943)

Halifax HR777 was one of eighteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Bremen on the night of the 8th / 9th October 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Melville Max Victor Lewis Muller (Pilot)
  • Norman George Emery (Navigator)
  • Derrick Ernest Coleman (Air Bomber)
  • Harold Thomas Maskell (Wireless Operator)
  • Ross Albert Whitfield (Air Gunner)
  • Walter Allan Hooper (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Ellwood (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Turned back from 5255N 0800E, 00.56, 5 hours, 18500 ft after being attacked by a nightfighter. Bombs jettisoned to maintain height and aircraft crash landed in Coltishall area all crew being safe. Aircraft a complete write off”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Two engines said to have been rendered unserviceable following combat with enemy fighter over hostile territory. Crash landed in a field near Coltishall. F/O Maskell, F/S Emery, Sgt Hooper, Sgt Coleman, and Sergeant Bent were uninjured. F/O Muller was slightly concussed. This was not discovered until he returned to his unit that evening. He was transferred to RAF Hospital, Littleport, Cambridgeshire the following day and returned to full flying duties after three weeks. Sgt Elwood sustained slight bruises of his right eyebrow and his right knee and was returned to duty on 10th October 1943″

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat. E (Burnt) and it was struck off charge on 23rd October 1943

Halifax HR678 (14/04/1943)

Halifax HR678 was one of seventeen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Stuttgart on the night of the 14th / 15th April 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y (H2S) and carrying 2 x 1000lb, 4 250lb (incl. TI) and 24 flares. Its designated Path Finder role was Backer Up

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ronald Edward Wilkes (Pilot)
  • Terence Gordon O’Shaughnessy (Navigator)
  • Ronald Wheatley (Air Bomber)
  • Frederick Hay (Wireless Operator)
  • Frank Walter Vincent (Air Gunner)
  • Michael Albert Edward Bradford (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Laurie Brown (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5000N 0115E, 4909N 0920E, Target, 4840N 0908E, 4858N 0420E, 5000N 0115E

HR678 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft failed to return; no messages received”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 15th April 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 14th / 15th April 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. 245 (Flight 24/06/1943) reported RE Wilkes and F Hay as “missing, believed killed in action”; also R Wheatley and  MAE Bradford as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 562 (Flight 24/01/1946) reported MAE Bradford “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:

  • 09/06/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that F/S O’Shaughnessy, F/S Vincent and Sgt Brown are prisoners of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

TG O’Shaughnessy, FW Vincent and TL Brown 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:

  • TG O’Shaughnessy (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • FW Vincent (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • TL Brown (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, 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 show that the remains of RE Wilkes, R Wheatley, F Hay and MAE Bradford were located at Niederlustadt Cemetery, Germersheim District, Königreich Bayern

hr678-concentration-report

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY on 14th May 1948 as follows:

  • BRADFORD, MICHAEL ALBERT EDWARD, Flight Sergeant ‘411478’  Coll. grave 8. C. 12-15.
  • WHEATLEY, RONALD, Flying Officer ‘412053’ Coll. grave 8. C. 12-15.
  • HAY, FREDERICK, Flight Sergeant ‘1002505’ Coll. grave 8. C. 12-15.
  • WILKES, RONALD EDWARD, Pilot Officer ‘141103’ Coll. grave 8. C. 12-15.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Heinrich Wohlers, Stab IV./NJG4, Niederlustadt (Bergziege), 5000m, 00.23

Map showing locations

Map showing loss area and original burial location

Halifax HR676 (18/11/1943)

Halifax HR676 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Mannheim on the night of the 18th / 19th November 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, Navigational Aid Y (H2S), Monica and Fishpond and was carrying 6 x 1000lbs GP. Its designated Path Finder role was Supporter.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ernest Thomas Baker (Pilot)
  • John Coates Riley (Navigator)
  • Cyril George Stepney (Air Bomber)
  • Ralph Henry Wright (Wireless Operator)
  • Alfred Penfold (Air Gunner)
  • Arthur Layton Smith (Air Gunner)
  • John Smith (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, Cayeux, 4948N 0825E, Mannheim, 4912N 0808E, 4850N 0500E, 5000N 0115E, Cayeux, Beachy Head

HR676 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from time of take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 19th November 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 18th / 19th November 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. 336 (Flight 27/01/1944) reported ET Baker, JC Riley, CG Stepney, RH Wright, A Penfold, AL Smith and J Smith as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 446 (Flight 30/11/1944) reported ET Baker, JC Riley, CG Stepney, RH Wright, A Penfold, AL Smith and J Smith “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:

  • 19/01/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that F/L Baker, F/O Stepney, F/S Riley, Sgt Wright, Sgt Smith, Sgt Penfold and Sgt Smith, missing on 18th / 19th November 1943, were all 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.

Original Burials

CWGC records show that the remains of all the crew members were located at Mertloch Cemetery, Mayen District, Rheinprovinz, Germany.

hr676-concentration

Post War Concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 15th February 1948 at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BAKER, ERNEST THOMAS, Flight Lieutenant ‘100585’  Coll. grave 9. H. 7-12.
  • PENFOLD, ALFRED, Sergeant ‘1806842’ Coll. grave 9. H. 7-12.
  • RILEY, JOHN COATES, Flight Sergeant ‘1389192’  Coll. grave 9. H. 7-12.
  • SMITH, ARTHUR LAYTON, Sergeant ‘1430417’ Coll. grave 9. H. 7-12.
  • SMITH, JOHN, Sergeant ‘1699158’ Grave 9. H. 13.
  • STEPNEY, CYRIL GEORGE, Flying Officer ‘127278’ Coll. grave 9. H. 7-12.
  • WRIGHT, RALPH HENRY, Sergeant ‘1274019’ Coll. grave 9. H. 7-12.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Heinz-Martin Hadeball, 3./NJG6, Polch I. Mayen-Mertloch (Himmelbett), 19.59

Map showing loss area and original burial location

Halifax HR673 (03/07/1943)

Halifax HR673 was one of seven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Cologne on the night of the 3rd / 4th July 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: Orfordness, 5122N 0320E, 5058N 0632E, Target, Turn Right, 5047N 0723E, 5012N 0644E, 5020N 0132E, Dungeness.

HR673 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 4th July 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 3rd / 4th July 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. 282 (Flight 23/09/1943) reported DH Milne, AG Cox, PR Lissner, J Jolly, RAH Bowring, K Wolstencroft and TRM Smith as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 367 (Flight 06/04/1944) reported DH Milne, AG Cox, PR Lissner, J Jolly, RAH Bowring, K Wolstencroft and TRM Smith “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:

  • 06/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Milne and crew, missing on 3rd / 4th July 1943, were all 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 show that the remains of all the crew members were located at St Trond (Brusthem) Cemetery

hr673-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY on 21st March 1947 as follows:

  • MILNE, DONALD HAROLD, Flight Sergeant ‘416596’ Grave 5. A. 1.
  • WOLSTENCROFT, KENNETH, Sergeant ‘1117841’ Grave 5. A. 2.
  • BOWRING, ROBERT ABNER HUGH, Sergeant ‘1333462’  Grave 5. A. 3.
  • SMITH, THOMAS REGINALD MAXWELL, Sergeant ‘1045872’ Grave 5. A. 4.
  • COX, ANTHONY GRAHAM, Sergeant ‘1384312’ Coll. grave 6. D. 1-20.
  • JOLLY, JOHN, Sergeant ‘1129588’ Coll. grave 6. D. 1-20.
  • LISSNER, PETER RICHARD, Sergeant ‘1385054’ Coll. grave 6. D. 1-20.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Siegfried Wandam, I./NJG5 [det. II./NJG1],  1km NE Riemst ENE Tongeren (Belgium) (6B), 5300m, 01.29

Halifax DT806 (10/04/1943)

Halifax DT806 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt on the night of the 10th / 11th April 1943.

It was equipped with H2S and was carrying 1 x 1000lb HE, 4 x TI (Red) and various flares. Its designated Path Finder role was Ground Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • George Frank Lambert (Pilot)
  • John Richard Jones (Navigator)
  • Vernon Reginald Matthews (Air Bomber)
  • Ronald Arnold Kempsell (Wireless Operator)
  • Reginald Albert Nason (Air Gunner)
  • Samuel James Knight (Air Gunner)
  • Anthony Claude Beddoe (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5000N 0132E, Oppenheim, Frankfurt, 5015N 0840E, 5000N 0132E.

DT806 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft failed to return and was not heard of after leaving base”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 11th April 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 10th / 11th April 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. 241 (Flight 17/06/1943) reported VR Matthews and AC Beddoe as “missing, believed killed in action”; also SJ Knight and RA Nason as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 348 (Flight 24/02/1944) reported VR Matthews and AC Beddoe “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”; also SJ Knight and RA Nason “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:

  • 03/06/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Jones, missing on 10th / 11th April 1943, is a prisoner of war; also that Sgt Nason and Sgt Knight of the same crew were killed
  • 16/12/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Lambert, missing on 10th / 11th April 1943, is safe in a neutral country

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

GF Lambert survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • Evasion Route: France / Switzerland / France / Spain / Gibraltar
  • Repatriated: Whitchurch (24/02/1944)

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

JR Jones and RA Kempsell 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:

  • JR Jones
    • Captured: Heziers, France (12/04/1943)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Apr-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Apr-43 to Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Nov-43 to Jun-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft IV, Gross Tychow Jun-44 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IIB, Fallingbostel Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RA Kempsell (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft IV
    • 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 VR Matthews, SJ Knight, RA Nason and AC Beddoe were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at FLEIGNEUX COMMUNAL CEMETERY as follows:

  •  BEDDOE, ANTHONY CLAUDE (TONY) Sergeant ‘904734’  Coll. grave.
  • KNIGHT, SAMUEL JAMES Sergeant ‘1311941’ Coll. grave.
  • MATTHEWS, VERNON REGINALD Flying Officer ‘122220’ Coll. grave.
  • NASON, REGINALD ALBERT Sergeant ‘1397903’ Coll. grave.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Helmut Bergmann, Stab III./NJG4, Near Fleigneux 5 km N Sedan (France) (8A), 3600m, 01.40

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

Outbound at 16,000ft, shot down by a nightfighter and crashed at Fleigneux

Evasion Report Numbers (National Archives)

  • WO228/3318/1785 GF Lambert

Halifax DT805 (11/06/1943)

Halifax DT805 was one of sixteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Munster on the night of the 11th / 12th June 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y (H2S); its designated Path Finder role was Blind Illuminator.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Stanley George Howe (Pilot)
  • Wilfred Henry  Burgess (Observer)
  • George Peter Watts (Air Bomber)
  • Hector Alfred Jamieson (Wireless Operator)
  • Frederick William Barry (Air Gunner)
  • George Buchan (Air Gunner)
  • Alan Henry Mundy (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5223N 0143E, 5123N 0500E, 5157N 0620E, Munster, turn right, 5150N 0520E 5240N 0330E

DT805 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 12th 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 11th / 12th 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. 271 (Flight 02/09/1943) reported SG Howe 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 F/L Howe, missing on 11th / 12th June 1943, was killed. Also that F/L Watts, F/L Burgess, P/O Jamieson, F/S Barry, F/S Buchan and P/O Mundy were captured

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

WH Burgess, GP Watts, HA Jamieson, FW Barry, GM Buchan and AH Mundy 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:

  • WH Burgess (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured: (Sprained knee on landing)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • GP Watts (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • HA Jamieson (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • FW Barry (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured: (Slightly injured in air)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Stalag Luft III, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  •  GM Buchan (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured: (Slightly injured in air)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • AH Mundy (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft III
    • 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 SG Howe were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at ZELHEM GENERAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • HOWE, STANLEY GEORGE, Flight Lieutenant ‘132816’  Plot E. Row 2. Grave 1.

[Source: TracesofWar]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Manfred Meurer, 3./NJG1, Zelhem 5km NE Doetinchem (Holland) [HN98, Himmelbett], 5300m, 01.40

oudzelhem.nl/oorlog/1943/omschrijving_historie.htm

The burning wreckage ended up in an open field near Heidenhoek. The body of SG Howe was found at Halseweg [He was buried, with full military honours at Zelhem early on 16th June 1943].

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • Howe: Baled out; chute opened but found dead on the ground

Missing above the Achterhoek (By Wim and Peter Rhebergen)

Details of the loss of the aircraft and the capture of the airmen is contained in the book “Vermist boven de Achterhoek (Missing above the Achterhoek)” by Wim and Peter Rhebergen

Halifax DT804 (29/05/1943)

Halifax DT804 was one of twenty-one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Wuppertal on the night of the 29th / 30th May 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ronald Hoos (Pilot)
  • John Gerard Kennedy (Navigator)
  • Ronald William Hodge (Air Bomber)
  • John Davidson (Wireless Operator)
  • Alexander Munro Taylor (Air Gunner)
  • Alexander Tannock (Air Gunner)
  • Ernest Bell (Flight Engineer)

The route to and from the target was as follows: 5134N 0330E, 5059N 0626E, Wuppertal, 5120N 0721E, 5033N 0723E, 5038N 0600E, 5122N 0320E

DT804 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing; No message was received”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 30th May 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 29th / 30th May 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. 332 (Flight 13/01/1944) reported R Hoos, JG Kennedy, RW Hodge, A Tannock, AM Taylor and E Bell “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:

  • 19/08/1943: Information received from the Air Ministry that Sgt Davidson, missing on 29th / 30th May 1943, is a prisoner of war; also that the remainder of the crew, consisting of the following, were killed: P/O Hoos, Sgt Hodge, Sgt Kennedy, Sgt Tannock, Sgt Taylor and Sgt Bell

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

J Davidson survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • J Davidson
    • Captured: 3.5 miles NNW of St Trond 30/05/1943 (Injured)
    • Hospitalised: Brussels May-43 Jun-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jun-43
    • Hospitalised: Frankfurt Jun-43 Jul-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jul-43 Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 Aug-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-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 R Hoos, JG Kennedy, RW Hodge, A Tannock, AM Taylor and E Bell were located at Brusthem St Trond Cemetery.

dt804-concentration
st-trond-cemetery

St Trond Cemetery

Their remains were exhumed, formally identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 11th March 1947 at HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • HOOS, RONALD, Flying Officer ‘49586’  Grave 4. C. 5.
  • BELL, ERNEST, Sergeant ‘548837’ Grave 4. C. 6.
  • TAYLOR, ALEXANDER MUNRO, Sergeant ‘1561460’ Grave 4. C. 7.
  • TANNOCK, ALEXANDER, Sergeant ‘1361367’ Grave 4. C. 8.
  • KENNEDY, JOHN GERARD, Sergeant ‘1083975’ Joint grave 4. C. 9-10.
  • HODGE, RONALD WILLIAM, Sergeant ‘1097285’ Joint grave 4. C. 9-10.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, Stab.II./NJG1, 1.2 km E Budingen, 7km NW St Trond (Belgium) (Lurch), 6500m, 01.43

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

Shot down by nightfighter crashing at 01.43 at Duras (Belgium).

Halifax DT804 (16/04/1943)

Halifax DT804 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Pilsen on the night of 16th / 17th April 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Peter Johnston (Pilot)
  • Peter Geoffrey Powell (Navigator)
  • Roy Wood (Air Bomber)
  • Benjamin Thomas Royall (Wireless Operator)
  • Harold John Rogers (WOP / AG)
  • Andrew Walt Cowan (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick James Jarvis (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “At 00.30, 14,000 feet, 8 miles SSE of Crailshan, engaged by twin engined enemy fighter, believed to be JU88. Results of combat unobserved but Halifax sustained a burst tyre and some bullet holes.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB AC; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 16th May 1943

Halifax DT801 (12/05/1943)

Halifax DT801 was one of twenty No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Duisburg on the night of the 12th / 13th May 1943.

It was equipped with Nav Aid Y and was carrying 5 x 1000lb GP and various Target Indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Backer Up

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Douglas Julian Sale (Pilot)
  • Geoffrey Edward  Heard (Navigator)
  • Rupert Claude Sawyer (Air Bomber)
  • Samuel Angus Moores (Wireless Operator)
  • David John Richards (Air Gunner)
  • Ross Oliver Elford (Air Gunner)
  • Clarence Washington Rowley (Flight Engineer)

The route was Egmond, 5200N 0643E, Duisburg, Noordwijk

DT801 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft failed to return, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 13th May 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 12th / 13th May 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. 256 (Flight 22/07/1943) reported RC Sawyer and DJ Richards as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 321 (Flight 16/12/1943) reported RC Sawyer and DJ Richards “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:

  • 17/08/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/L Sale, missing on 12th / 13th May 1943, arrived in the UK on 11th August 1943

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

DJ Sale survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • Landed: Near Oldenzaal
  • Evasion Route: Holland / Belgium / France / Andorra / Spain / Gibraltar
  • Repatriated: Liverpool 11/08/1943

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

GE Heard, SA Moores,  RO Elford and CW Rowley survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned.

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:

  • CW Rowley (POW No. 42788)(*)
    • Captured: Crouna (Gronau) Westphalia 13/05/1943 (Injured)
    • Hospitalised: Crouna (Gronau) May-43 to Jun-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jun-43
    • Hospitalised: Obermaβfeld Jun-43 to Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IX-C, Bad Sulza Aug-43 to Sep-43 (Evacuated)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Oct-43 to Jul-44 (Evacuated)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft IV, Gross Tychow Jul-44 to Feb-45 (Evacuated)
    • “Black March to Stalag 357”: Feb-45 to Apr-45 (Liberated)
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • GE Heard (POW No. 1407) (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • SA Moores (POW No. 1261) (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft IV
    • Repatriated:
  • RO Elford (POW No. 1239) (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft IV
    • Repatriated:

(*) Research suggests that “Crouna” (as shown on the POW Liberation Questionnaire) should read “Gronau”. In addition, Rowley’s POW Questionnaire shows imprisonment at “Stalag Luft III, Heydekrug” from October 1943; it is unclear which is correct as Stalag III was not at Heydekrug; the sequence recorded above ties in with evacuation dates of Stalag Luft VI (which was at Heydekrug); further research is required

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 RC Sawyer and DJ Richards were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at HAAKSBERGEN GENERAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • RICHARDS, DAVID JOHN, Sergeant ‘1418379’  Plot 4. Row 2. Grave 9.
  • SAWYER, RUPERT CLAUDE, Flight Lieutenant ‘125574’ Plot 4. Row 2. Grave 8.

[Source: Find-a-Grave]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. August Geiger, 7./NJG1, Buurse near Haaksbergen (4C), 5200m, 02.20

Evasion Report Numbers (National Archives)

  • WO228/3314/1352 DJ Sale

Extract from CJ Rowley’s POW Log

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

  • Aircraft crashed in a pasture at the Bramerveldweg about 2km E.N.E. of Buurse, behind the house of farmer AJ Ten Harkel. 
  • Fuselage and engine parts were recovered in 1976.

Haaksbergen Memorial Plaque

[Source: TracesofWar]

Halifax DT489 (04/05/1943)

Halifax DT489 was one of six No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Dortmund on the night of the 4th / 5th May 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Joseph Albert George Cobb (Pilot)
  • Samuel Albert Coles (Navigator)
  • Stanton Eric Arthur Russell (Air Bomber)
  • John Desmond Collinge (Wireless Operator)
  • Charles Harold Fisher (Air Gunner)
  • James Howden Robertson (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick Ronald Beech (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Aircraft crashed on landing at Graveley aerodrome. All except rear gunner killed; no report to hand”

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show that the crew were buried as follows:

  • BEECH, FREDERICK RONALD, Sergeant ‘1144928’ WREXHAM CEMETERY Sec. D. Grave 8653.
  • COBB, JOSEPH ALBERT GEORGE, Pilot Officer ‘145671’ RINGWOOD CEMETERY Plot Z. Grave 284.
  • COLES, SAMUEL ALBERT, Flying Officer ‘124952’ TALBOT VILLAGE (ST. MARK) CHURCHYARD Grave 988.
  • COLLINGE, JOHN DESMOND, Sergeant ‘1026403’ CASTLETON MOOR (ST. MARTIN) CHURCHYARD Grave 150.
  • FISHER, CHARLES HAROLD, Sergeant ‘1055777’ HOUGHTON AND WYTON BURIAL GROUND Grave 352.
  • RUSSELL, STANTON ERIC ARTHUR, Sergeant ‘1183357’ DORKING CEMETERY Plot 1 Grave 5277.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

Crashed on return to base, coming down to the west of Portland Gelling crossroads in Huntingdonshire.

JH Robertson

JH Robertson (the only survivor) did not fly operationally with No 35 Squadron after this date

Halifax DT488 (23/05/1943)

Halifax DT488 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Dortmund on the night of the 23rd / 24th May 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Alain Morison Harvey (Pilot)
  • Douglas Arthur Norman Evans (Navigator)
  • Stanley Groom (Air Bomber)
  • Jack Raymond Johnson (Wireless Operator)
  • Robert George Pritchard (Air Gunner)
  • William Richard Fairey (Air Gunner)
  • Charles Robert Shields (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5248N 0440E, 5240N 0620E, 5205N 0725E, Dortmund, 5150N 0710E, Egmont

DT488 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft did not return and nothing was heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 24th May 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 23rd / 24th May 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. 259 (Flight 29/07/1943) reported AM Harvey, DAN Evans, S Groom, JR Johnson, WR Fairey, RG Pritchard and CR Shields as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 308 (Flight 18/11/1943) reported S Groom and WR Fairey “previously reported missing” as “now reported prisoner of war” [Note: Incorrect information regarding S Groom]
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 357 (Flight 16/03/1944) reported DAN Evans, JR Johnson, RG Pritchard and CR Shields “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 358 (Flight 16/03/1944) reported AM Harvey “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:

  • 21/08/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that WR Fairey and S Groom, missing on 23rd / 24th May 1943, are prisoners of war; also that AM Harvey, DAN Evans, JR Johnson, RG Pritchard and CR Shields were killed [Note incorrect information regarding Sgt Groom]
  • 03/06/1944:  Information received from Air Ministry that S Groom, missing on 23rd / 24th May 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

WR Fairey survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • WR Fairey (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 show that the remains of AM Harvey, DAN Evans, S Groom,  JR Johnston, RG Pritchard and CR Shields were located at  Wanne-Eickel Forest Cemetery (Waldfriedhof).

dt488-concentration-report

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 16th June 1947 at REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • EVANS, DOUGLAS ARTHUR NORMAN, Flying Officer ‘130699’  Grave 25. C. 17.
  • GROOM, STANLEY, Sergeant ‘568210’ Grave 25. D. 6.
  • JOHNSON, JACK RAYMOND, Sergeant ‘1087702’ Grave 25. D. 7.
  • PRITCHARD, ROBERT GEORGE, Sergeant ‘1511162’ Grave  25. D. 10.
  • SHIELDS, CHARLES ROBERT, Sergeant ‘570643’ Grave 25. D. 8.
  • HARVEY, ALAIN MORISON, Flying Officer ‘416571’ Grave 25. D. 9.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Shot down by 3./schw Flak Abt. 524(o); crashed at Werne Evankamp at 01.32hrs

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

Crashed near Wanne Eickel, Germany

WR Fairey Statement (1944)

“Aircraft crashed believed with crew on board; myself trapped in the aircraft was only just able to free myself and was then caught by the Germans”

AM Harvey’s original burial cross [Australian Archives]

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

Halifax W7875 (12/05/1943)

Halifax W7875 was one of twelve No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Duisburg on the night of 12th / 13th May 1943.

Its seven man crew comprised:

  • James Livingstone Lee (Pilot)
  • George Arthur Jones (Navigator)
  • Stanley Alfred Baldwin (Air Bomber)
  • James Noel Underwood (Wireless Operator)
  • Frank Morley Traynor (Air Gunner)
  • Victor Stanley Platt (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald McTavish Mather (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Returned early from Amsterdam, 12,500ft where aircraft was engaged and hit by flak. 3 of the crew were wounded. Starboard inner caught fire and became u/s after being feathered. Incendiaries jettisoned.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat. FB AC; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 15th June 1943

AM Form 1880

To be obtained from the RAF Museum


Notes:

  1. JN Underwood did not fly with the crew after this date, so it is assumed that he was one of the wounded. All others immediately returned to operational flying

Halifax W7875 (19/02/1943)

Halifax W7875 was one of twelve No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Wilhelmshaven on the night of 19th / 20th February 1943.

Its seven man crew comprised:

  • Harry Burns MacDonald (Pilot)
  • John Baker (Navigator)
  • Kenneth Drew Rome (Air Bomber)
  • Edward Whitter (WOP / AG)
  • Jack Reginald Ely (Air Gunner)
  • George Carpenter (Air Gunner)
  • James Ellis Jones (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows: As the aircraft left the target area it was attacked off the Frisian Islands by an unidentified twin-engined enemy fighter. Damage was sustained to the main plane, port aileron and rear turret, the rear gunner receiving a bullet splinter in the knee. The aircraft landed safely at base without further incident.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was categorised as Cat. FB AC; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 15th March 1943.

AM Form 1180

To be obtained from RAF Museum


Notes:

  1. The rear gunner immediately returned to operational flying

Halifax W7875 (31/01/1943)

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “Sgt. Fitter (H Wasley) taxying aircraft to dispersal in the dark without assistance collided with tail of W7875 standing on perimeter track”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat. FA/AC on 31st January 1943; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 8th February 1943


Halifax W7874 (24/05/1943)

The movement card shows that Halifax W7874 was classified as FB AC (Repair is beyond the unit capacity, but can be repaired on site by another unit or a contractor) on 24th May 1943.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The Movement Card (AM Form 78) shows that the aircraft was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 15th June 1943

AM Form 1180

To be obtained from RAF Museum


Notes:

  1. W7874 was operational on the night 23rd / 24th May 1943 but there is nothing in the squadron’s record book to say that it was attacked / damaged (further research required)

Bomb Explosion at RAF Graveley (25/11/1943)

A bomb exploded at RAF Graveley on 25th November 1943, killing three airmen (RC Boak, C Crane and M Shaw) and injuring two others (E Webster and  AC Muller)

CWGC records show the following burial details:

  • BOAK, RODERICK CAWTHORN Sergeant ‘936333’ CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY Grave 13745.
  • CRANE, CHARLES Leading Aircraftman ‘1265082’ CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY Grave 13545.
  • SHAW, MICHAEL Aircraftman 2nd Class ‘1628459’ CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY Grave 13945.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Eye Witness Account

Jack Brewe was working within 50 yards of the fuzing point sheds and recalled the events in an article in Glimlamp

The second explosion at RAF Graveley (the first being on 25th July 1943) was again a Long Delay 1000 lb bomb and again in the fusing shed. Cpl Brewe recalls he had just left the fusing shed and walked into the dump about 50 yards away when the explosion took place. He dropped down beside a blast wall by one of the bomb standings. On getting up, there were cross girders from the fusing shed roof and a bomb trolley not three feet from him. Detonators were exploding all round like fire crackers.


Notes:

  1. Flight Sergeant James Stuart (A.413274) was also buried at CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY on 25th November 1943 but he was not involved in the incident. He was injured in the crash of No.460 (RAAF) Sqn Lancaster III JB647 on 24 November 1943, and died of his injuries, in Louth Hospital, Lincolnshire, on 25 November 1943

Bomb Explosion at RAF Graveley (25/07/1943)

On 25th July 1943 a 1,000lb GP bomb exploded during the fusing operation in a Fuzing Shed at RAF Graveley.

The RAF Graveley Operations Record Book shows that seven station personnel were killed, A McAllan, RM Williams, JW McKenzie, W Mitchell, RW Castell, ES Mulcahy and LA Saunders.

The bomb dump was declared unsafe, with five 1,000lb fuzed bombs still lying in the area.

On 26th July 1943, armament staff from the Air Ministry, together with armament officers from HQ No. 8 (Path Finder Force) Group and RAF Station Wyton, visited the bomb  dump and rendered the fuzed bombs safe.

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

  • CASTELL, RONALD WILLIAM, ‘1152895’, CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY Grave 14531.
  • MITCHELL, WILLIAM, ‘952826,’ ARBROATH WESTERN CEMETERY Compt. D. Grave 502.
  • MULCAHY, EDWARD STEPHEN, ‘1468681’ PLUMSTEAD CEMETERY Sec. Q. Grave 1515.
  • McALLAN, ALEXANDER, ‘525353’ CLUNY CHURCHYARD EXTENSION Grave 264.
  • McKENZIE, JOHN WILLIAMSON, ‘950891’ SUNDERLAND (MERE KNOLLS) CEMETERY Ward 28.B. Grave 5260.
  • SAUNDERS, LESLIE ALBERT, ‘1627455’ CAMBERWELL NEW CEMETERY Square 91. Col. grave 7840. Screen wall. Panel 11.
  • WILLIAMS, RONALD MAYHEW, ‘541394’ CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY Grave 14332.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

GLIMLAMP ARTICLE

Jack Brewe was working within 50 yards of the fuzing point sheds and recalled the events in an article in Glimlamp

The drama of the first bomb dump explosion at Graveley began on the evening of the 24th July 1943. All squadron aircraft were fully bombed up and fuelled, and queuing for take off.  When it came to S Sugar something went wrong half way down the runway. The pilot tried to abort take off, was unsuccessful, the undercarriage gave way and there was an almighty pile-up at the Offord end of the airfield boundary.

All aircraft that night were carrying a Long Delay 1000 lb bomb fused with a No. 37 pistol. This one had a 12 hr delay. Armourers were quickly on the scene and, knowing exactly the position of the bomb, they were soon at work, hacking their way into the bomb bay, keeping their fingers crossed that all being well they were OK until 9.00 hrs the following morning. With the use of ropes and levers they finally got the bomb clear of the a/c and onto a trailer which Sammy Marshall, the bomb dump tractor driver, took to a remote spot at the far end of the drome where it was left to await the course of events.

The following day, just as the bomb dump armourers were preparing to go to dinner, a lorry load of 500 lb bombs arrived and had to be unloaded straightaway. Cpl Jack Brewe was in charge of “A” fusing team and Cpl Mitchell in charge of “B” team. One team had to stop and unload so the coin was tossed. Cpl. Mitchell won and elected to take his team to dinner, the “A” team going to a late dinner. When they returned, Cpl Mitchell and his team were in the fusing shed, so the “A” team went to the dump to send the bombs up to be fused. During the afternoon there was a large explosion and Jack Brewe remembers thinking to himself that it was the Long Delay 1000 lb bomb from the previous day finally going up. Then corrugated sheeting etc. started raining down. He dived under the Coles crane he was standing beside until the commotion had subsided. On standing up he realised it was the main fusing shed. He and two others dashed over to a scene of complete carnage. There were no survivors from the fusing shed.

The group armament officer was on camp at the time over the previous night’s crash and after the already prepared bomb loads had been moved on to the perimeter track, he sealed off the bomb dump for 48 hrs, in case of sympathetic explosions; it wasn’t known if amongst the rubble there were more delays that were not marked with the code letter for the delay time. Sammy Marshall and Jack Brewe drove a tractor apiece and got all the loads for that night out to the aircraft concerned for a Maximum Effort.

Seven armourers were killed and four injured. Jack Brewe was the only NCO to survive.