Friesland wartime history     by Willem de Jong    <   page 14b  > 

More notes on  Ameland, the burials at Holwerd, and some aircraft history from 166 Squadron.

Texel & Den Helder




Leeuwarden Airfield


Harlingen & Harderwijk

Occupied Harlingen

German Radar

Ameland Graves



St. Jacobparochie

Rottum Island

     Sink the Scharnhorst!
     12 Squadron Losses
     Runnymede Memorial 


Deanweb - the Forest of Dean Directo 

L7380 EM-W was one of four Manchesters from 207 Squadron taking part in a raid on Berlin by 197 aircraft. It took off from Waddington on the evening of 7th September 1941.

The crew were

Pilot F/Lt W J (Mike) Lewis

Co-pilot Sgt C S F (Sam) Powell

Navigator Sgt R B McLeod (RCAF)

Wireless Op/AG Sgt D Kingston

Wireless Op/AG Sgt Charles F Hall

Airgunner F/Sgt Erle S Miller (RCAF)


It was damaged on the way to the target by a night fighter when over the North Sea. The Manchester managed to reach Wilhelmshaven and the bombs were jettisoned before they turned for home. Subsequently the aircraft force landed north of Ballum on the Dutch island of Ameland. All were captured and interned as prisoners of war. 

The pilot, Mike Lewis later related - ' There was silence and then the rear-gunner shouted "Fighter! ". There were tremendous bursts of cannon fire into the port engine.

My reaction was to slam the stick hard forward to drop the nose and pick up speed, and the second burst came just over the top of our heads with the gunners all firing I broke left and he broke left and the only sound was a momentary one of the aeroplane going back off into the darkness. That was the last we saw of him. The battle was over in about 10 seconds.

The only evidence of anger was a lot of holes in the engine cowling and the wing and a great stream of gasoline coming out of the main port gas tank. None of the crew was damaged, no shot actually entered the fuselage. Probably one bullet went through the radiator and shortly thereafter the engine temperature suddenly started to go and bang! It ceased and that was it. We feathered the engine and I started back home, but we were just slowly losing height. I crash-landed the aircraft on the beach of the Dutch Friesian island of Ameland about 1.00 am. I was fortunate. The whole crew survived. No injuries other than a broken bone in one hand of the tail gunner and one who hit the windshield and had concussion. Very short, nothing dramatic except for that 10 seconds and it's all over. That was being shot down.'

Going ashore, the six crew-men hiked across the narrow island to the south shore and spotted the large Ameland lifeboat on the beach. It did however prove to be far too big for them to move. They crawled into the boat to spend the night, but the next morning a German sentry discovered and arrested them.

Their German captors ferried Lewis and his crew to the Luftwaffe base at Leeuwarden and then on to the prison in Amsterdam. The airmen spent two days there before being transported to Dulag Luft.

The photos above show two of the crew shortly after capture.




Before leaving the bomber, Mike Lewis and his crew had used their fire axes to destroy most of the sensitive equipment on board. The pictures above show the Germans who inspected the aircraft as it slowly sank into the sand.


 Mike Lewis earlier in the war when with 44 Squadron

Sitting ducks by Wilfred John 'Mike' Lewis

'After the war broke out we were placed on standby to attack German naval units if they ventured out into the North Sea and that's as far as we could go. We could not drop bombs on land. Most times we didn't find anything at all.

It heated up in the Norwegian campaign, which resulted in a disastrous attack on a cruiser and destroyers in Kristiansund in April 1940.

No. 44 Squadron went out with 12 aircraft to attack the cruiser and the Richthofen squadron was sitting right alongside. Out of the 12 that went out only seven came back. It was an error in the Group operational headquarters in not transmitting Bomber Command's operational directive that we should not approach within 50 miles of the Norwegian coast unless we had cloud cover.

We went in under an absolutely cloudless sky. We were literally over the harbour when the next thing people started reporting that fighters were climbing up. The German pilots had obviously been briefed on the ability of the Hampden to defend itself because we couldn't traverse our guns to reach them. They turned in and just sat blasting away at us and blowing us out of the sky until eventually they ran out of gas and had to go home themselves. If there had been more gasoline I think none of us would have reached our home. We were sitting ducks. It was terrifying.' Wilfred John 'Mike' Lewis,



About Bomber Harris - Commander in Chief RAF Bomber Command

Slowly we came to know him and to like him. I admired his attitude, the whole business of trying to do everything for us that would improve our operating capability. He did that, certainly while he was our AOC, and I think he did that as long as he was C-in-C, Bomber Command. He was an airman's airman. Fortunately I was able to get to know him a little better. Through some kindness on his part, he invited me to his home for Christmas 1939, and I spent Christmas with him and Mrs Harris as their guest. Harris had a bit of a brusque manner but this didn't detract from his personality. You liked the person, there was warmth there. When he left in September 1940 there was certainly a drop in that personal contact with the new AOC, and it was a noticeable drop.'   Mike Lewis


'Mike' Lewis, twenty-three, had been the pilot of an Avro Manchester, the twin-engine precursor of the four-engined Lancaster bomber, one of the war's most famous aircraft. He had an interesting but typical story.

He had just completed his rare second full tour of duty' and was about to go away on a week's leave. In his 207 Squadron Mess at RAP Waddington, his squadron's commanding officer informed him that he was missing a pilot for that night's operation. Would Lewis mind doing just one more, to help out?

Lewis had flown his first tour of thirty-six operations in Hampdens with 44 Squadron, and he enjoyed handling the aircraft, despite its odd shape and undeservedly bad reputation. He later said that, of all the thirty or so planes he flew during his long career in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Hampden was his favourite. His second tour, with 207 Squadron, had been a nightmare. The Manchester had arrived unproven and suffered from a long list of teething troubles. Rather than working these out in the prototype stage, Bomber Command had rushed the aircraft into production and had forced it on the unlucky 207 Squadron.

The Manchester's new Rolls-Royce Vulture engines (the odd mating of two Peregrine V-12 motors into one large X-24) were underpowered, unproven, and unreliable." Their motors' poor performance made them almost unflyable (the fully loaded aircraft was just too heavy for the available power), and many airmen soon died as a result.

On the night of 7/8 September 1941, 'Mike' Lewis and his Manchester crew had taken off for Berlin, and a German night fighter had attacked them inbound over the Frisian Islands, near the northern Dutch coast. Lewis was able to lose the German but later realised that the enemy had hit his port fuel tank Fortunately, there was no fire, and the self-sealing fuel tank had worked as it should. For thirty minutes everything seemed fine, but then the port engine's temperature went off the gauge, and Lewis realised that a bullet must have also pierced his port radiator.

Since the two-engine Manchester had way too little power, Lewis knew that flying on one engine was impossible. He had to ditch his badly damaged plane.

Going ashore, the six crew-men hiked across the narrow island to the south shore and spotted the large Ameland lifeboat on the beach. It did however prove to be far too big for them to move. They crawled into the boat to spend the night, but the next morning a German sentry discovered and arrested them.

Their German captors ferried Lewis and his crew to the Luftwaffe base at Leeuwarden and then on to the prison in Amsterdam. The airmen spent two days there before being transported to Dulag Luft.

It is at that time Mike Lewis came to know Peter Stevens...


Marc H Stevens has written a fascinating account of his father's wartime exploits called 'Escape, Evasion and Revenge'.

Mike Lewis wrote the foreword for Marc's book.

In this book you are going to read about a man who was not protected by the Geneva Convention. He lived for more than three years and eight months under the threat that, if the Germans discovered his true identity, they would march him out of the prison camp and shoot him. That man was Peter Stevens.

I first met Peter at Dulag Luft (the German interrogation camp for new prisoners of war). He had been shot down the same night that I was (7/8 September 1941) and after some tentative give and take we knew that we were each valid comrades. Soon we were shipped (along with others) to a POW camp at Liibeck (Oflag X C). While we were there, we determined to escape whenever the opportunity arose. That opportunity came when the whole camp was moved to a new compound at Warburg (Oflag VI B); some thirty-five kilometres northwest of Kassel.

We were loaded onto railway freight cars; fortunately only about twenty-five to a car plus two German guards; each armed with a rifle. Peter and I found that there was a small door up on the side of the car and it was large enough for a man to squeeze through. We warned our fellow POWs of our intent and asked them to co-operate when the time came.

Just before dusk the train slowed at a signal well out in the country between Hamburg and Hanover.

We had removed the wire that had tied the little door shut. We asked our fellow POWs to stand up and hold out their blankets so as to block the view of the guards; presumably before settling down for the night. When they did so, Peter and I went out through the little door; Peter first. Just as he was dropping to the ground and I was through the door, the train suddenly shuddered to a halt! When this sudden halt occurred, every guard looked out to see what had caused the halt and there was Peter just reaching the ground and myself dropping. There was no stopping! We knew that, even if we stopped, we would surely be shot, so we just kept going. There was a small wood nearby, so we ran for it.

Bullets came whizzing by our ears like little bees buzzing around our heads. Every guard on the train was having target practice! But we made it into the woods and after a short search, the train pulled away. Unfortunately the short search had discovered our small cache of food that we had tossed out ahead of us. So there we were, having escaped but in our captors' land with no food.

We had not determined our ultimate goal - across the Baltic or Switzerland. We now had to make that decision and Peter said that he wanted to go south. So we set out walking south on the railway tracks. At dawn the next morning we came upon a small wooden shack, a shelter probably erected for railway workers caught out in inclement weather. We decided to stay the day there and start off again at dusk. As we sat there during those dark hours, Peter told me his personal history, the story that you are going to read in this book. To tell that story would pre-empt this book. But, to say the least, we travelled south by foot and hitch-hiking on freight trains to Hanover. We visited houses in the dark of night, we visited the Hanover Jewish ghetto in daylight and, given money, we travelled by train (in a passenger train in a compartment together with two German soldiers going on vacation) to Frankfurt. But we were recaptured in Frankfurt.

I alone shared Peter's story for about a year. But I felt that someone further up in the hierarchy should be aware of his danger, so I persuaded Peter to tell his story to the Senior British Officer (SBO), the famed Wing Commander Harry 'Wings' Day. We shared that secret until the end of the war in Europe.

What a brave man Peter was, putting his life' on the line' in more ways than one! But his son Marc is going to tell you his whole life history and you can judge for yourself. I still look back on our companionship with great pleasure and revel in our joint escapades!

Mike Lewis, who was living in Toronto, passed away in July 2009 aged 92.


 Peter Stevens (1919-1979)

 Peter Stevens was born Georg Franz Hein, on 15 February 1919 in Hanover, Germany part of a wealthy German-Jewish family. In 1934 his widowed mother sent him to school in England. He remained in England after finishing school, but ran up gambling debts and was jailed for fraud. He was released just days before Britain declared war on Germany, and should have reported to a police station for internment as an enemy alien. Instead he assumed the identity of a dead schoolfriend, Peter Stevens, and joined the RAF.

He trained as a bomber pilot for 18 months, all the while the subject of a manhunt by British police. Having reached the rank of leading aircraftman, he was commissioned as a pilot officer on probation in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 2 November 1940. As a native German, Stevens provided invaluable aid to many other escapees, including behind-the-scenes intelligence and scrounging work for the "Wooden Horse" escape and the "Great Escape",both at Stalag Luft 3.

After liberation in 1945, Stevens was one of the few members of the RAF to be awarded Britain's Military Cross for his numerous escape activities. He is mentioned in at least 10 books about World War II escapes. His MC was announced in the London Gazette on 17 May 1946, along with those for several other RAF escapers.

On September 7th 1941 Hampden AD936 of 144 Squadron flown by Flight Lt. Peter Stevens took off from RAF Luffenham on a mission to bomb Berlin. It was hit by flak over the target and a fuel leak ensued. The two Air Gunners baled out. Sgt H Thompson was taken prisoner and Sgt Ivor Roderick Fraser was killed. His body was never located and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The navigator, Sergeant A W Payne, and the skipper, Peter Stevens, remained in the aircraft and were able to make it as far as Amsterdam before running out of fuel. They made a forced landing in a farmer's field. Stevens and Payne destroyed all secret equipment and papers, then set fire to the aircraft before leaving the area.

Both walked across country for an hour, and then hid in a hut on a football field. They were later found by German Feldgendarmerie and taken to a Military prison, and remained there for two days. They were then sent to the Dulag Luft at Oberursel. Flying Officer Stevens was moved to Lübeck on 20th September, 1941.

On 6th October, 1941, he was entrained for Warburg, and during the journey he made his escape, accompanied by another officer, Mike Lewis, by crawling through a ventilator and dropping to the ground while the train was in motion. Shots were fired and the train was stopped but he and his companion managed to reach a wood where they hid until the departure of the train. Shortly afterwards they jumped on a goods train and reached Hannover on 8 October. Here Peter Stevens made contact with some pre-war acquaintances who provided him with food, money and civilian clothes. He, with his companion, then entrained for Frankfurt. There they were challenged by Railway Police and arrested.  being subsequently sent to Oflag VI.B. at Warburg.

On 1 December 1941, Flight Lieutenant Stevens made a further attempt to escape by disguising himself as a German Unter-Offizier. He led a party of 10 officers disguised as orderlies, and two officers disguised as guards with dummy rifles, and all marched through the gates of the camp. They had to return however as the sentry was not satisfied that the gate pass was correct. Flight Lieutenant Stevens marched his party back to the compound and the sentry was then quite unaware that the party was not genuine. A similar plan of escape was therefore adopted a week later, but on this occasion the sentry was immediately suspicious and demanded of the party their paybooks. The party then had to disperse hurriedly but two of its members were arrested.

In September, 1942, Flight Lieutenant Stevens was moved to Oflag XXIB at Schubin. Here he made a fourth attempt to escape and managed to get away by means of a tunnel, carrying forged identity papers, wearing a civilian suit and carrying a converted great-coat. He took a train to Berlin, arriving there on the evening of 5 March 1943. He bought a railway ticket to Cologne and, when on the journey to that town, he was asked for his identity card by a Gestapo official. The latter discovered that it was forged, and Flight Lieutenant Stevens was then arrested and returned to the Oflag XXIB, receiving as a punishment 14 days in the cells. Flight Lieutenant Stevens made a further attempt on 21 April 1943, but it was unsuccessful and he served a sentence of seven days in the cells. He was ultimately liberated by the Russian forces whilst at Stalag IIIA on 21 April 1945.     Wikipedia

Between 1945 to 1947, he served as a Squadron Leader with the RAF occupation troops in Germany.

He was awarded the Military Cross for his escape activities, and from 1947 to 1952, was an MI6 (British Foreign Intelligence) operative in Germany.

He emigrated to Canada in 1952 and married Claire Lalonde. The couple had two sons.

From 1953 to 1979, he worked as an executive in industry in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.


* Note - in the aircraft crash information we have refered to him as Flight Lt Stevens. Records show his rank as Pilot Officer at that time and it is not clear exactly when he was promoted.





 Ballum is a village on the western half of the island of Ameland and the smallest of the total of four villages on the island, one of the West Frisian Islands and part of the Netherlands. It has a population of around 370; this includes about 60 inhabitants of the countryside surrounding the village.  The small Ameland Airport is located northwest of Ballum.

It was an important village in the 16th century, thanks to the ‘Gentlemen of Ameland’, the Camminghas, who had their castle where the town hall now stands. Ameland was independent and rights were judged according to their own laws in the Castle. Due to a lack of maintenance, the castle was so dilapidated that it was knocked down in 1829. The rubble was sold to the neighbouring island of Terschelling to enforce their sea dike.

This is also the site of the municipal hall of Ameland. This building was built on the location where the castle of the Cammingha's once stood. This old and large castle, formerly the home of the lords of the island, was demolished in 1829.



Ballum Cemetery






 St. Barbara Protestant church with church tower apart  and General cemetery and former morgue. (2010)






View of Allied war graves in the General Cemetery - Ao. 1945 (all reburied elsewhere)






-The graves of some French (Dunkirke) war victims in the Hollum church yard (Ao. 1945)





 A military funeral of a German at Hollum Churchyard







 One of the four positions of 10,5 cm. FLAK in the dunes near Hollum village





Nes is the second largest village on the island of Ameland. It constitutes as the main village of the eastern, Roman Catholic part of Ameland. In the past, the Catholic Amelanders ran into many conflicts with the western, Protestant Amelanders living in Hollum and Ballum.

Nes has since become a popular tourist destination, as the place where the ferry from the mainland arrives. The village has many small shops and restaurants and even a micro-distillery.





A Memorial to an American Liberator crew at Ballum

Captain Sam Webster's Liberator crew from 445 Bomb Group - 702 Squadron at Tibenham airbase, Norfolk, UK, had flown 21 missions and was shot down on the way to Hanover Germany for their 22nd mission on September 12th 1944.

B24-H 42-95247 'Dixie Flyer' was hit by flak in the left wing, knocking out its 1 and 2 engines. Sam tried to get back to England but he couldn’t hold his altitude and gasoline was pouring out of his plane. He tried to get to Holland, but was still losing too much altitude. He saw an island and said it looked like the “ Garden of Eden”. It was Ameland, one of the East Frisian Islands off the coast of Holland.

The surviving crew bailed out at about 500 feet and were receiving ground fire from the low altitude. When Sam's chute opened, he saw his plane the “Dixie Flyer” crash and burn. He then floated over a fence and landed in a marshy field. It was a very short parachute jump.

The Germans were there immediately and told them “For you the war the is over". He remained a prisoner at Stalag Luft I until the end of May 1945.

Four men of his crew were killed. Three were buried on Ameland and one was sent back to America. We know that Thomas Cleary and Julius Angelo were among those killed and believed to have been originally buried at Ameland They were both reburied in the American War Cemetery at Margraten after the war. At present we do not have the names of the other two casualties.




Memorial at Ballum to the Dixie Flyer from USA 445 Bomb Group - 702 Squadron piloted by Kenneth E "Sam" Webster. He survived the crash

 Standing left to right : Lt. Samuel Smith, Lt Henry Van Abnan, Capt. Kenneth E (Sam) Webster, Lt Jack Sherman                                Kneeling : S/Sgt Wendall Knapp, T/Sgt Robert Brennan, * S/Sgt Edward Kowlaski, T/Sgt Haskel Shaver, S/Sgt Thomas H Cleary, S/Sgt Julius Angelo.      (Ed Kowlaski was not on their last raid)

Sam Webster's Crew 

Lt. Samuel Smith


Chelsea, MA

Lt. Henry Van Abnan


Long Island, NY

Capt. Kenneth E. (Sam) Webster

First Pilot

Springfield, OH

Lt. Jack Sherman


Bronx, NY

S/Sgt. Wendall Knapp

Asst. Radio Operator and Upper Turret Gunner

Washington, MO

T/Sgt. Robert Brennan

Radio Operator and Waist Gunner

Eureka, CA

S/Sgt. Edward Kowlaski

Armor and Tail Gunner * not on this mission

Brooklyn, NY

T/Sgt. Haskel Shaver

First Engineer and Waist Gunner

White Pine, TN

S/Sgt. Thomas Cleary

Asst. Armor gunner and nose gunner

Bayonne, NJ

S/Sgt. Julius Angelo

Ball Gunner and Asst. Engineer

Hartford County, CT






Capt. Kenneth "Sam" Webster – United States pilot of Liberator B-24 42-95247  "Dixie Flyer" from 445 Bomb Group - 702 Bombardment Squadron.

On September 12 1944 this B24 Liberator from Tibenham airbase, Norfolk, UK, was on a bombing mission to Misburg, Germany,when it was hit by Flak over Helgoland and crashed at Ballum on Ameland (West Frisian Islands) . Four crew members died in the crash and 5 others were taken Prisoner of War.

Engines one and two were knocked out, half the crew was dead and an attempt to make it to Holland failed when the Flyer came within a thousand feet of the ground.

Webster and surviving crew then bailed out - without any prior parachute training. "When I pulled the rip chord, I thought I broke the chute," he bellowed.

On the ground, it didn't take long for the Nazis to gather up the surviving crew. "I got womped on the head when I first got captured," he said. Webster still carries what he firmly believes is rifle butt-inflicted bump on his head. With both legs wounded from flak, he had to be carried by comrades.

Before they were imprisoned however, the captured crew were paraded through Stuttgart. The enemy soldiers, he remembered, had to protect them from angry civilians.

"I was a scared kid," said Webster. "One old guy had a cane and the only word he knew was son of a bitch."  At the prison camp Stalag Luft I, Webster said hunger was horrible - much more than any SS guard, who Webster said were "bad asses."

Dinner with the Mayor of Ameland November 12th 2001 and Sam visits the Memorial plaque

Sam and Ruth Webster visit Europe in November 2001

We felt so very honored in England. The City of Norwich granting the honorary “Freedom of the City Medallion", for the first time to a foreign military entity underscores the depth of our truly unique relationship with the City of Norwich and the County of Norfolk. We were proud of the medallion and wore it everywhere we went. People came up to us on the street to shake our hands and say thank you for what you did for us. It was very moving. One night we got back to the Hotel late and were tired so we decided to sit in the lobby for awhile. Others joined us. One young man must have shook all our hands 5 times and said if it had not been for you good people I wouldn’t have been here.

When we left England after all the honors they bestowed on us we flew to Amsterdam Holland. We were met by two young men, Rene Metz and Gerlof Molenaar from the Historical Society from Ameland. They drove over 80 miles to pick us up.  Then we took the ferry to Ameland. We stayed in the beautiful Hotel the DeJong. The first day there we were honored at a breakfast with the 2nd Burgemeester (mayor) . Sam was given a tie with the city crest and other gifts from the city. After we had eaten they took us out to where Sam’s plane had crashed and had an unveiling of a plaque the city had put up to honor the crash site. They had Sam unveil it. They had also planted a tree in his memory, and had a bench placed there for all that come to see the plaque to rest on.

One of the most amazing things we saw was a bride dress and a flower girl dress that were a beautiful white with hand sewn flowers on the dresses.  We learned that they were made from Sam’s parachute!   Ruth A Webster.

Sam passed away June 16, 2005


The 75 Squadron RNZAF crew of Wellington X3539 buried at Holwerd

Wellington of X3539 of 75 Squadron RAF, took off from RAF Feltwell around 23.50 on the 29th June 1942 one of 17 of the squadron's aircraft taking part in a bombing raid over the city of Bremen in Germany. Those aircraft were part of a formation of 253 bombers consisting of 108 Wellington's, 64 Lancasters, 47 Stirlings and 34 Halifaxes.

On the outward journey 75 Squadron's Wellington BJ837 piloted by Sgt Hockaday came into contact with a German Ju88 and his gunner managed to shoot it down.

Wellington X3539 was attacked and shot down by the German night fighter Oberleutnant Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld of 5./NJG 2 and crashed into the Waddenzee off Holwerd in Friesland, 20 km NNE of Leeuwarden. All five RNZAF crew members died in the crash.

Four of them are buried in Holwerd cemetery but the body of the pilot, 24 year old P/O Walter Jack Monk, was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

His crewmates were: Sgt Douglas Haig Randle, aged 24, Sgt Ernest Francis Sydney Moncrief, 25, Sgt John Gordon George Hegan, aged 23 and Sgt Murdoch Gordon McGregor, aged 23.

Sgt Ernest Francis Sydney Moncrief, 25, the wireless operator/gunner, was the son of Ernest & Amy Moncrief, of Morrinsville ‘Cream of the Country’, in Auckland, New Zealand. His name is on the Auckland War Memorial Museum database. (buried Holwerd - row 43, grave 10)

Air Gunner, 23 year old Sgt Murdoch Gordon McGregor was the son of Evan & Flora Duff Wallace McGregor, of Turakina Valley, Wellington, New Zealand. (buried Holwerd - row 43, grave 11)

The aircraft's observer, 24 year old Sgt Douglas Haig Randle was the son of John & Elizabeth Cossar Randle, of Dunedin, Otago. His 48 year old father had died on 29 Dec. 1929, when Doug was only 11. His mother passed away on 5 April 1946 (aged 61 years) and both are buried in the Northern Cemetery of Dunedin.  Doug's name is on the Dunedin Roll Of Honour, which is in the (Toitu) Otago Settlers Museum, in Queens Gardens, Dunedin (N.Z.) together with so many others, killed in WW1 and WW2. (buried Holwerd row 43, grave 12)

Sgt. John Gordon George Hegan, – a wireless operator/gunner, was the 23 year old son of Joseph and Martha Hegan of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. (buried Holwerd - Row 43, Grave 13).





Murdock McGregor from Turakina Valley, Wellington, New Zealand



Holwerd Church   Wikimedia



The crew and groundcrew of 75 Squadron's Wellington BJ837 who claimed the shooting down of a German Ju 88 on this mission.  While on their 7th operation on the outward trip to Bremen, and piloted by Sgt N J N Hockaday, a Ju 88 was observed slightly ahead of them. The pilot immediately manoeuvered the Wellington into a favourable position for his rear gunner to open fire, with devastating effect. Our photo shows Neville Hockaday (top centre) with his crewmates, and some of the aircraft's ground crew (bottom row). Sgt Hockaday went on to complete his tour of ops with 75 Squadron and received his DFM in December 1942. (from a 1942 news item)
A bit of a mystery here. - During the night raid on Bremen 29/30 June 1942 Sgt Bruce Phillip RNZAF the air-gunner in Wellington BJ 837 of 75 Squadron claimed shooting down a Ju88. This was confirmed by another crew to have had its port engine on fire and seen to crash. The date has been verified by viewing two flying log books. There appears to be no official record of a Ju88 loss that night. The only German fatality recorded was Bf 110 F-4 2669 flown by Lt Günther Löwa of 5/NJG-2 who is believed to have collided with a 7 Squadron Stirling (N3706) which was also on the Bremen raid, and crashed into the North Sea 35 km NW of Vieland. See the bottom of our page 20.         Does anyone have any further information? Tom

                  Bremen's defences on an RAF night raid and a  1941 aerial photograph of the Focke-Wulf works & airfield at Bremen.

The construction yard of A.G. 'Weser' (Deschimag) in Bremen. 162 U-boats were built there in WW2. The first U-boat launched was the U-25 on 14 Feb 1936, and the last was the U-3044 on 1 Mar 1945.



Bremen Shipyards after an Allied raid



The first 1,000 bomber raid by the RAF was codenamed Operation Millennium. Cologne was chosen as the target and the raid took place on the night of 30/31 May 1942. The Thousand bomber raid was launched for several reasons: It was expected that the devastation from such raids might be enough to knock Germany out of the war or at least severely damage German morale.

The RAF was really showing it’s growing power during that moment in the air-war with these large scale operations, while taking advantage of the moonlight and better weather conditions.

Bomber Command followed through with a second raid two nights later, fielding 956 bombers against the industrial town of Essen but on that occasion for various reasons relatively little damage was done.

 On 25/26th June, 1942, again  using every available aircraft in RAF Bomber Command and some of other commands, a thousand bomber raid was mounted against Bremen. 1,067 aircraft (472 Wellingtons, 124 Halifaxes, 96 Lancasters, 69 Stirlings, 51 Blenheims, 50 Hampdens, 50 Whitleys, 24 Bostons, 20 Manchesters and 4 Mosquitos), 102 Hudsons and Wellingtons of RAF Coastal Command, and 5 RAF Army Cooperation Command.

The Weser riverside, Bremen’s town, docks and industries, came under a ‘carpet of bombs’ not experienced before, damaging the Atlas Werke A.G. (also shipbuilders), the Bremer Vulkan shipyard, the Focke-Wulf factory together with it’s own airfield, the Nord-deutsche Hütte (steel production ovens), the DeSchiMag shipyard and the Korff refinery. At the Focke-Wulf factory, an assembly shop was completely flattened, 6 buildings were seriously damaged and 11 buildings slightly.  Two large dockside warehouses were also damaged.

Cloud cover over the area or not, the leading target- marking aircraft in that raid, equipped with the rather new and secret GEE navigation system, had proved again they could ‘pin-point’ a target successfully.

On the night of 29-30 June, to finish the job, the RAF was targeting the Bremen U-boat construction site, yard No. 5 of the A.G. ‘Weser’ works situated at the side of the Weser river, and also the Focke-Wulf complex further on, with it’s own runways etc..

Wellington X3539 from 75 Squadron was also involved, but tragically never made it back to its home station. As we now know; it was intercepted and shot down by Oblt. Egmont "Egi" Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld + crew, of unit IV./NJG.1, while he was operating within the range of radar-station ‘Schlei’/Schiermonnikoog. It was his 30th claim/victory.

This was not the only RAF loss over Northern Holland that night. At least 3 more RAF bombers were hit by enemy fire and downed, crashing or ditching in flames and smoke.


Wellington HE 346 and the crash site at Holwerd


Wellington HE346 AS-M of 166 Squadron RAF took off from RAF Kirmington in Lincolnshire, at 2338 hours on the night of 25/26th June 1943, one of ten aircraft detailed to attack Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Crews reported visibility good with much fighter, ack-ack and searchlight opposition.

Its crew were W/O Charles Alfred Mattress RAAF Pilot, Sgt Jack Peter Priestley RAF Bomb Aimer, Sgt Alfred Mortimer RAF Navigator, Sgt Norman Ronald Parry RAF Wop/Ag, and Sgt Thomas Ball RAF Air Gunner.

Nothing was heard from HE346 after take off and it did not return to base. Following post war investigations and enquiries, it was recorded in 1950 that the missing crew had no known grave.

Their names were commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing, Runnymede, Surrey, UK.  It was one of two 166 Squadron bombers lost that night. (The second was HF589 AS-W piloted by F/Sgt M J Arthur, - another Australian, which crashed near Utrecht in Holland with the loss of three of its crew.)

After successfully bombing the target, HE346 was returning home, when it was intercepted and attacked by an enemy night-fighter, believed to be that of Hptm. Rudolf Sigmund & crew, of unit 10./NJG.1 (at location DL91g - altitude 4800 mtr.)

Whatever had happened to it.. the bomber was now already in flames when it reached the coastline near Holwerd from the southeast. Flying lower and lower, and its engines running irregularly with a loud ‘screaming noise, it caused a number of local people to wake up in fear and witness that yellow and red flashing light moving over their landscape flying towards the Wadden Sea.

The plane then turned in a last controlled manoeuvre, and fell from the sky, diving straight into the summer meadows and slurryfields just in front of the sea dike. There was no inferno or large explosion during impact…. just complete darkness and intense silence, almost unbelievable, as if nothing had happened!

The local people realized later on, that the dike was like a thick wall. Its ‘massive body of earth’ had shielded the villagers of Holwerd, and the neighbouring farmers in the fields behind the dike, from that most extreme and dramatic last scene!

The German military were soon on the spot, but like those already there, including the Dutch police, people of Holwerd village, and men from the ‘Waterschap’ (district water board & sea dike protection), they had to wait for first light before anyone could have a better view of the crash site.

In fact, it was then revealed that there was now only a deep crater, filled with water, slurry and mud! There was not much to see, no aircraft at all and certainly no sign of any human remains. All that was revealed were a few small pieces of aluminium - tiny fragments of the aircraft's ‘skin’, most likely ripped from its wings and rudders and also, the sea-side slope of the dike was now plastered with mud!

Soon after the crash a local resident secretly passed  an RAF airman's leather glove, which was found near the crater, to the burgemeester (mayor) of the Gemeente Westdongeradeel, Mr. Arend Egbert Hoving. Inside was written the crewman's name, 'Sgt Priestly'



Carl Field's excellent and atmospheric painting shows the last minutes of the flight of 166 Squadron's Wellington HE346. As the plane turns over the Wadden Sea and back in the direction of the mainland, and shortly before that dramatic crash in front of the sea dike near Holwerd village, we see the burning RAF bomber, soon after being hit, still shadowed by the attacking Luftwaffe night-fighter. To the right, on the horizon, is the nearby village of Holwerd (its church tower etc.), and left, those isolated farmhouses in the fields, while left and below, the sea dike and waters of the Wadden Sea.(Our acknowledgements and gratitude to Carl)




After the war the mayor wrote a letter about the find to the Dutch Air Force (KLu), at an address in Apeldoorn. Unfortunately no answer came back from either the KLu or the RAF. The RAF experts were to believe for many years, that HE346 had crashed into the IJsselmeer, off Makkum village.

My only question is: where is that glove now in 2014?  Perhaps it was given back to the family in the UK, like Jack Priestley's gold signet ring which was found by an American researcher from Hindeloopen, in April 1991,while searching near the dike with a metal detector.

The remains of this aircraft had been found after construction works on the Holwerd dyke wall unearthed the crash site.

The site itself was not officially recognised as that of Wellington HE346 until 1991 following the discovery of that gold signet ring with the initials 'J P'. That was the year when Mr Ball, a cousin of the lost airman, and his wife, visited the crash area. They were shown a photograph of the ring. This was sent to the Ministry of Defence in London and also to Jack Priestley's widow who instantly recognised it.

Members of the crew's families were there when in June 1992 the monument to the five crew members killed was unveiled and the widow of Jack Priestley finally got her late husband's signet ring back.

Willem's sketch of the crash and burial site
We met each other via the army in 1973. Douwe Sicco Drijver and I were working together as voluntary history researchers for a period of about 6 years, under the name of  ' Verenigde Verzamelaars van Vliegtuighistorie 1939 - 1945 ' (VVV '39-'45), meaning ' Cooperating Collectors of Aircraft history 1939-1945 ' (In fact an older name already, because I had used it before, while working with Jan Visser etc. who later alas died in a horrible car accident in Italy). A third young man who joined our club was Marcel N. Huizenga (not pictured here), also a Leeuwarden friend for a period, until he moved elsewhere and joined the MP service, and Theo Veenstra, a half ' Frisian - American ', originally a school mate of Douwe.
In 1977 we received a phone call from a local young man, living in Holwerd village, with the message that during reconstruction works to the sea dike, north of the village, they uncovered some wreckage parts of an unknown Wellington bomber, which had crashed  in front of the dike (possibly in 1943?)
So we traveled in my first ' Opel Cadett ' to Holwerd, to visit the guy there and the former crash site. He had collected a lot of 'relics' in a potato box, recovered  during the works there.
Alas, at that time we did not succeed in finding the planes' ID / number...... but neither did the KLu  ( Mr. Zwanenburg).   Willem.


Theo Veenstra (left) & Douwe S. Drijver in 1977 with some small wreckage parts found at the site and Theo Veenstra with remains of a rubber oxygen mask in his hand, found by a local young man.



1. = body of old / lower sea dike, also in 1943 (sea side with basalt stone blocks etc.)

2. = body of new/higher sea dike, on ‘Delta - Level’, after reconstruction in 1977

3. = new seaside asphalt-concrete protection layer (and inspection road)

4. = protected inland farmland and living areas (divided into so called polders)

5. = inland drain/ditch (most for rainwater/sweet water, which can be pumped out to sea)

6. = seaside drain/ditch (for rain- and/or seawater, thus sometimes brackish water)

7. = reclaimed land/unprotected seaside land, so called ‘opgebild(t) land’ (new ‘built up’ land; for that reason  the neighbouring ‘gemeente’ of the municipality of Dongeradeel is named ‘Het Bildt’)

8. = crater from the impact of the plane crash (it soon filled up with water and clay slurry)

9. = remains of Wellington HE346 and it’s crew (depth about 7-10 meters)

10. = extreme seawater level, most in wintertime, during stormy weather

NAP = ‘Nieuw Amsterdam Peil’ = regular sealevel (in Amsterdam)

N(oord) = Northwards - seaside direction

Z(uid) = Southwards - inland direction

bh = body height/level of the new ‘Delta Dike’ (7 - 8 meters above NAP)


Is there a Wellington bomber expert out there who can help identify these pieces recovered from HE346?

From the wreckage 1977 - remains of rubber and canvas strips.
Most are in 3 layers, and a small piece of thin aluminium plate

More thin aluminium and an unidentified section with camouflage on rear side

Two views of another remnant, with remains of plywood (triplex) and rubber

'Woolly' material, with remains of green skin outside. Possibly insulation material, or seat filling?

Standing on top of the (old) sea dike, looking over the former crash site

The unveiling of the166 Squadron Memorial Stone at the Holwerd sea dike, 24 June 1992.  

Remembering the crew of Wellington HE346, killed in action 26 June 1943.

At 02.00 pm all the guests, including a delegation of representatives from the village of Holwerd, were received at the town hall in Dokkum city with a warm welcome (till 1 January 1984, the moment of the merge with 2 other ‘gemeentes’ in N.E. Friesland, ‘Westdongeradeel’ - in Frisian named ‘West-Dongera- -diel’ - was a smaller municipality apart, with its own town hall in Ternaard village, while neighbouring Holwerd was also part of that ‘gemeente’; and in 1943, at the moment of the crash of Wellington HE346, Mr. Arend Egbert Hoving was the burgemeester / mayor of it). After the opening speech given by the todays mayor of (Greater) Dongeradeel, Mr. Haye Sybesma, the guests were all brought by coach to the spot at the sea dike near Holwerd. There, Squadron Leader Jim W. Wright unveiled the memorial stone, which was paid too with the financial support of an RAF ex crew foundation. Then clergyman Ds. P. Beintema was giving a memorial speech etc., followed by the well known trumpet signal 'Last Post'.

The whole ceremony was an impressive happening, in particular for the visiting family members, from the UK etc., thus of some of the killed crew still in their field grave overthere, and it was all under rather good weather conditions (there’s not any shelter on that exposed sea dike).

After returning to Dokkum, and the old town hall, there were more speeches and words of thanks from representatives of the RAAF and the RAF etc. By the end of this memorial afternoon the guests could talk freely or in private with everyone in the meeting, as far as they did like to do and as far as possible because of the languages. Without giving some names in particular, the whole ceremony was well organized; and it was thankful work to do, for all !

At end one last comment: the pupils of both primary schools in Holwerd village have adopted the unveiled memorial stone now, thus will be caring for it in the future, with financial support from the ‘gemeente’.

(translated from the review in the ‘Dorpsbelang Holwerd’- paper, of Oct. 1992 ; Willem de Jong)



Sgt. Thomas Ball - commemorated Runnymede - panel 141. ‘Fieldgrave’  on the crash site - under new sea dike foot - Air Gunner (Rear) - son of Thomas & Edith Ball, of Prestwich, Lancashire (UK); age 21

Sgt. Alfred Mortimer - commemorated Runnymede - panel 159. ‘Fieldgrave’ (Alfred) on the crash site - under new sea dike foot and on the  War Memorial at Thurnscoe Park near Rotherham - Navigator - son of Herbert & Lily Mortimer and husband of Clara May Mortimer, of Thurnscoe, in Yorkshire (UK); age 31 (oldest aboard).

Sgt. Norman Ronald Parry - commemorated Runnymede - panel 161. ‘Fieldgrave’ on the crash site - under new sea dike foot. - Wireless Op. / A.G. - age unknown and no additional information given via the CWGC.

Sgt. Jack Peter Priestley - commemorated Runnymede - panel 162. ‘Fieldgrave’ on the crash site - under new sea dike foot - Air Bomber. No age or family info given by the CWGC; his name is on the Roll Of Honour, in the annex to the local Carillon & War Memorial / Museum in Loughborough, Queens Park, Leicestershire. His name is also on the Loughborough Grammar School War Memorial (in the right hand side list of names of former pupils KIA). Before joining the RAF, he was employed by Hathernware Ltd., the local blue bricks & terra cotta company, for around 2 years. He was a prominent cricketer and a fine bowler (with Brush Works); aged 22. Jack was only married a couple of weeks before his death.

F/Sgt. Charles Alfred Mattress commemorated Runnymede - panel 191. ‘Fieldgrave’ on the crash site - under new sea dike foot. - Pilot - son of Frederick Henry & Louisa Evelyn Mattress, of ‘Big Prawn Town’ Ballina (80 Norton Street), in New South Wales, Australia; age 25. He joined 166 Sqdn. on the 5th of June just before (…..!!) and flew in his short service period as a 2nd pilot first, for more experience, in a Gardening Operation - laying sea mines to start - together with W/C. Barclay (who was skipper). His 1st bomb raid as a captain, and in Wellington HE346, was only 2 nights earlier, taking part in the Wuppertal air attack.  This was only his 2nd flight as 1st pilot. His ‘death notice’ was in the ‘Lismore Northern Star’, 30 June 1943; his name is now located also on panel 127, in the ‘Commemorative Area’ (right of the main- entrance), at the Australian National War Memorial, in Canberra. His name is also on the local War Deaths List Of Honour, related to the Ballina Cenotaph, which is located near the Ballina R.S.L. Club.  At least one brother was also in the RAAF. His fathers’ funeral was on the 28th of July, 1972 - buried in the Macquarie Park Cemetery, in Southport, Gold Coast.


Airman Rowed Lifeboat in Heavy Swell for 31 hours

When the ship in which he was travelling to England was torpedoed, an Australian airman rowed a lifeboat for thirty-one hours.

Sgt. Pilot C. A. Mattress tells the story of the ship's sinking and the rescue in a letter to his family in Ballina, N.S.W.

"A few days ago I lost all my kit, only saving three photos and the pen you gave me for my 21st birthday present. I am none the worse for my experience, although I did have a damaged nose for some days.

We sailed from Capetown and at 11.30 next day we were hit by two torpedoes, one in the nose and one in the stern. We were in our cabin and all went on deck. I returned to the cabin and put on my jersey and overcoat, also put in my pocket my fountain pen and a small photo each of Fred, Ron, and Fred's two youngsters. Everything else I had to leave behind.

We then went to boat stations and got all the women and children into boats. Twenty-four boats got away quite safely, though there was a heavy sea running at the time.

The next two boats turned over and we lost a lot of soldiers and merchant navy men.

We were the second last boat to get away, all being Air Force, 32 in all, including officers and one English W.A.A.F.

Just before we left the sub put another tin fish into the ship's nose, sending the water all over us. We, being one of the last boats away, were handicapped by the other boats' davit ropes and blocks. I slid down with our boat to stop the blocks from knocking our heads off. As I was watching the blocks I did not see a heavy rope which came up behind me, struck me on the back of the head, and knocked me head down into the boat, nearly breaking my nose. Just then a big wave half-filled the boat, picked me up and dropped me on the ship again.

But we all got away safely. As we floated away the submarine's periscope passed close to our lifeboat.

We were sighted by a Polish freighter, and were the first boat picked up. By Sunday morning 28 lifeboats were picked up, then we all set off for Capetown.

We lost about seventy, but saved about twelve hundred. The Polish ship was great. Later a couple of destroyers came out and met us, one English and one Australian, and were they a welcome sight!

Most of those in our boat were seasick, but I was O.K. When my nose stopped bleeding I took up rowing, and rowed for 31 hours.

A few in the boat cracked up, but the WAAF was grand. She showed up some of the others for guts. She wouldn't go with the other women, but stuck to the R.A.F., and we admire her for it."

The Australian Women's Weekly Saturday 27 March 1943

      Jack Priestley is remembered on the Loughborough War Memorial Museum Roll of Honour and at Loughborough Grammar School

Sergeant Alfred Mortimer is remembered on the War Memorial at Thurnscoe Park near Rotherham

The grave of an unknown airman at Groesbeek War cemetery. Later identified and inscribed as a crew member of Wellington HE346.
Plaque at todays Humberside Airport Terminal - Kirmington re-opened as Humberside Airport in March 1974.

The Battle of the Ruhr - March - July 1943

The Battle of the Ruhr, beginning in March 1943, was a 5-month long campaign of strategic bombing during the Second World War against the Nazi Germany Ruhr Area, which had coke plants, steelworks, and 10 synthetic oil plants. The Allies bombed twenty-six major targets. 

It ended on the 30th July 1943 with the last raid on Essen, when 600 aircraft dropping their bombs on the city in the space of one hour finally stopping production of steel at the Krupp armament factories.

That raid was successful, with particular damage being recorded in Essen's industrial areas in the eastern half of the city. The Krupps works suffered what was probably its most damaging raid of the war. The next morning, Doktor Gustav Krupp had a stroke from which he never recovered. This saved him from being charged with war crimes after the war.

The battle was successful in that the production of sub-components, aircraft and locomotives was seriously curtailed and Germany struggled to manufacture the arms and equipment it needed to wage total war. The cost to the Allies during the Battle of the Ruhr was the loss of 138 bombers and more than 5,000 young airmen.

                                      Gelsenkirchen - The damaged 'Kraftwerk' (power plant) of Gelsenberg-Benzin


The targets during that period targets included the Krupp armament works at Essen, and the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant  at Gelsenkirchen where the Allies wanted to disable the oil supply, particularly the coal liquefaction plants necessary to German fuel production.

The first of six severe attacks was on the night of the 6th March 1943 when about 650 high explosive and 235,000 incendiary bombs caused 470 deaths and caused enormous damage to buildings. Just a week later, the next major attack with 76 mines, 400 high explosive bombs, incendiary bombs and 44,500 8.500 phosphorus canister, caused more severe damage and 196 people were killed.

On 25/26th June 1943, the night when Wellington HE346 was lost, a raid by 473 RAF bombers on the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant at Gelsenkirchen was mainly unsuccessful, due to some cloud, and "unserviceable" equipment on 5 of the 12 Oboe-equipped Pathfinder Mosquitoes.

The Galesburg Lager subcamp of KZ Buchenwald was established there in 1944 to provide forced labour from about 2000 Hungarian women and girls employed at Gelsenberg-Benzin-AG (photo above). About 150 died during the later bombing raids of September 1944 when shelters and protection trenches were forbidden to them.


166 Squadron's association with the Wellington bomber ended in September 1943 when they acquired their Lancasters from 100 Squadron. On the 22nd September RAF Kirmington had a two flight unit and on November 7th a third flight was added.
This classic photograph shows Lancaster ED731 AS-T2 (later AS-Q)  ' Dante's Daughter' of 166 Squadron getting a '65th raid completed' symbol from ground crew member LAC E.Turner.  It went on to complete more than 70 sorties before being lost on the Berlin raid of 24/25 March 1944. This Kirmington-based Lancaster first started its operational service with 103 Squadron in March 1943 and was passed to 166 in September that year.
The 'Scoreboard' acknowledges a DFC awarded to the pilot. The ice-cream symbols are for raids on Italian targets. In its one year of duty, 'Dante’s Daughter' flew 576 hours. On March 24th 1944 its skipper was 21 year old Canadian Flying Officer Thomas Teasdale, who was lost with five of his crew on the Berlin raid. He is buried at Reichswald War Cemetery in Germany. His Canadian crewmate Flying Officer J B Auld was the only survivor and he was taken prisoner.
Thomas's twin brother, Warrant Officer Harry Teasdale, who served with 11 Squadron, was killed in action on February 19, 1945, at the age of 22.  They were the  sons of James and Maude Teasdale of Edmonton, Canada.

Wellington Mk.X HF596 AS-A  of 166 Squadron

Wellington Mk.X HF596 AS-A  of 166 Squadron took off from RAF Kirmingtonon on a mining operation in the Nectarine region of the Frisian Islands at 8.49pm on August 15th, 1943. It At 00.36 hrs it was shot down by Lt.Heinz Grimm of 1V Gruppe NJGI, flying in Aircraft Bf11OG-4 5346 G9 +CE. The combat took place at a very low altitude of 80 metres resulting in the Wellington crashing into the North Sea 45 kilometres north north west of Terschelling.

The entire crew were lost and all are commemorated on the Runnymede memorial near Windsor.


Albert Bates Robert Swallow Ronald Carlon Arthur Bromby Gordon Dean


F/Sgt Albert Bates  Pilot.    The 22 year old son of Albert and Gertrude Bates, of Blackpool, Lancashire.

F/O Robert Swallow RCAF  Navigator. The 23 year old son of Herbert and Mary Ann Swallow, of Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. He had British born parents. His father migrated from Yorkshire in 1904.  

Sgt Ronald Carlon  Bomb Aimer. 23 year old son of Thomas & Catherine Carlon of Northwich, Cheshire, UK

Sgt Arthur Bromby  W/Op/AG.  21 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Bromby, of Wawne, Yorkshire.

Sgt Gordon Dean  Rear Gunner. 20 year old son of William and Dorothy Dean from Four Marks, Hampshire.




ML = the ' Mussels Lane ' target area (real name Vliestroom etc.)

TX = Texel island

VL = Vlieland island

AM = Ameland island

HA = Harlingen city / habour

VH = Vlieland habour (Oost-Vlieland village)

R = Richel shallow (more like a small island now)

G = Griend isle

TH = Terschelling harbour (West-Terschelling village)

TS = Terschelling island

T = German radarpost (in 1943 etc.) ' Tiger '

Wellington HF596 was intercepted and downed approximately 45 km. (± 28 miles) NNW of ' Tiger '/Terschelling (that's more or less North of Vlieland island, and it sank in deep water, possibly 10-15 meters or more?    map  from ' Rijkswaterstaat ' (District Noord - Nederland) :


F/Sgt Albert Peter Bates was the second eldest of seven children of Albert Peter and Gertrude Bates of Blackpool, Lancashire.

An accomplished pianist, he also excelled at languages and prior to volunteering for the RAF at the start of WWII, served in the Grenadier Guards. However, he had a strong desire to become a pilot and his parents had to reimburse the Guards quite a sum of money in order for him to be released to join the RAF.

Albert known as "Bert", earned his wings in Southern Rhodesia. While returning home to the UK, both of the transport boats were torpedoed and he was fortunate to be rescued from the sea.

He declined a commission in the RAF for financial reasons as he thought that he would be more able to make an allotment home as enlisted due to the extra expense of being an officer. He was promoted to W/O but had not put on the rank at the time of his death.

His death had a devastating impact on his parents and family. They lived in hope that he would return home but his elder brother Walter, an Air Gunner in 630 squadron, visited the base at Kirmington, where returning crews confirmed that they had seen the Wellington go down in flames, a fact that he kept to himself rather than cause his parents more pain. Albert would have celebrated his 23rd birthday in November 1943. by Margaret Simpson -his sister.


RAF aircrew training in Southern Rhodesia.

From the 1-May-1940 until the 31-Mar-1954 the Royal Air Force had a presence in Southern Rhodesia (today's Zimbabwe) in the form of the Rhodesian Air Training Group.

RATG trained a large number of aircrew for the RAF, from many different countries, as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme.

By January 1940, with Britain at war with Germany, Royal Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris had been desperate for trained aircrew and turned for help to Southern Rhodesia (where Harris himself had enlisted in 1914). He had been frustrated by delays launching the Commonwealth Air Training Plan stations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Rhodesia was the last of the Commonwealth countries to enter the Empire Air Training Scheme and the first to turn out fully qualified pilots.The Rhodesian Air Training Group operated from 1940 until 1954. It consisted of Elementary Flying Training Schools which undertook basic flying training of the pilots, four Service Flying Training Schools where trainee pilots were brought up to wings standard, and a Combined Air Observers School in which navigators and air gunners were trained. The provision of instructors for these units was undertaken by a Flying Instructors School and service and maintenance of the aircraft was in the hands of two Aircraft Repair Depots.

The Group's stations were situated at Cranbourne (Salisbury), Norton, Gwelo and Heany (near Bulawayo).

The trainees mainly came from Great Britain but a large number hailed from Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Yugoslavia, Greece, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Fiji and Malta.

The aircraft used in this scheme were similar trainer types to those most common in the wartime flying schools around the British Isles, the Tiger Moth, Harvard, Oxford and Anson.

Over 7,600 pilots and 2,300 navigators were trained by the RATG during the war.

Our photo shows Harvard aircraft of No. 20 Service Flying Training School based at Cranbourne, Southern Rhodesia, during a training flight. (IWM)



Wellington HF596 was intercepted at 00.36am and shot down by Lt. Heinz Grimm + crew, of 12./NJG.1, flying in a radar equipped night-
fighter Me.Bf.-110G-4 coded G9 # CE. This was his 2nd kill / claim that night. The enemy bomber attack was extremely low, about 80 meters above sea level, at the position ‘BK-23r’. Lt. Grimm couldn’t use his ‘Schräge Musik’ tactics (upwards firing weapons); nevertheless the Wellington was badly hit right away, ditching into the sea on fire.
Another returning RAF crew confirmed the loss, having seen HF596 going down in flames and even burning for a while on the sea waters.
23 year old Lt. Grimm himself was killed in October 1943 when he was shot down by German flak over Bremen. He had successfully parachuted out of the burning
Bf110G-4 but died of his burns a few days later. Heinz Grimm was awarded the Knight's Cross after his death.
During his service career he had claimed 29 aircraft downed with 27 of those confirmed. He is buried at  Lutherstadt Eisleben in Saxony.


On the left is the Wawne Memorial Cross where Arthur Bromby is remembered. Centre - the Northwich War Memorial with Ronald Carlon's name wrongly spelt (Carlton) and right, the Ingersoll Honor Roll where Robert Swallow is among those commemorated.


Wellington HE464 from 166 Squadron and Operation Gomorrah

Wellington  HE464 AS-"W" Mk. X from 166 Bulldog’ Squadron RAF-station Kirmington, NE of Brigg, in Lincolnshire, today's Humberside Airport, took off at 23.47hrs 2nd August 1943. The important target for that night was again Hamburg, the last air raid of ‘Operation Gomorrah’, and the tremendous Hamburg Firestorm.  After their successful contribution to that raid, and while flying homewards, their plane came into the target area of Luftwaffe radarstation ‘Schlei’ on occupied Schiermonnikoog island, where its leading radar operator then guided one of the waiting night-fighters towards the returning HF464, then south of Ameland island.

The aircraft was intercepted and shot down by Oblt. Georg-Hermann Greiner & crew, (RR-operator Fw. Kissing), from unit 11./NJG.1.

Their position was ‘CM-38h’ - at an altitude of approximately 500 meters. It was Greiner's 9th ‘claim/victory’, a well aimed and direct hit, apparently killing the Wellington’s rear gunner straight away and setting fire to the bomber.

The plane quickly plummeted down with a long curtain of fire behind its wings. This was observed and confirmed later by other RAF crew returning to base. None of the crew survived. Three of their blackened bodies were recovered from the wreckage during the first low tide of the day when a recovery group had been sent out via the shallows. The tail gunner, Sgt John Cowan, was not burned. His body was found intact, still in the MG-turret and dressed in his yellow crewman’s outfit. After removal from his ‘plexiglass cabin’, head wounds were found to be the cause of his death. The body of the bomb-aimer, 25 year old Sgt Vincent Fernando, was never found.

The crew were ..

Sgt.  Harold Nash,  Pilot,  aged 29, son of Harry & Alice Nash and husband of Joy Nash, of St. Albans, Hertfordshire (UK) Ternaard (Dongeradeel) churchyard in row 1A, grave 8.

Sgt. John Cowan,  Air Gunner - age 21; son of Mr. & Mrs. Hugh J. Cowan. Buried  in Ternaard (Dongeradeel) churchyard row 1A, grave 5. 

F/O. Gerald William Fitzgerald  RCAF, Navigator- age 22; son of M.Alexander & Cora May Fitzgerald, of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada; Ternaard (Dongeradeel) churchyard row 1A, grave 6. His name is recorded in the Memorial Book at Peace Tower in Ottawa.

Sgt. Ronald James Perrin, Wireless Operator, buried Ternaard (Dongeradeel) churchyard in row 1A, grave 7.  No family info. recorded by the CWGC.

Sgt. Vincent Francis Fernando, Bomb Aimer, age 25, son of Pelis John & Agnes Georgia Fernando born in Ceylon (todays Sri Lanka); as far as known His Sinhalese family werer living in Yakkalamulla, on the South side of the island, where his father was a trader. The Colombo ‘Cenotaph War Memorial’, rebuilt after WW2 in the Viharamahadevi Park (formerly Victoria Park) stands to remember him, and all the other ‘Lanka people’ killed in WW1 and WW2, while serving in the Commonwealth forces. In the UK he is commemorated on the  Runnymede Memorial - panel 149.

This was not Ronald Perrin's first crash. On the 10th April 1943 while on a training course at 30 OTU, and before being posted to 166 Squadron, his aircraft, Wellington Mk.III DF611, crashed while apparently attempting to force land near the village of Newhaven on the Buxton to Ashborne road. The aircraft was on a training flight at the time of the crash.

The crew of DF611 had taken off from RAF Seighford in Staffordshire for an infrared bombing exercise at 4:50am. After an hour into the flight the aircraft's engines lost power. The pilot, Sergeant Ronald Jones, attempted to land in a field alongside the Buxton to Ashbourne road but touched down too far into the field. The aircraft travelled on its wheels until striking the wall at the edge of the field, crossed the main road and ploughed through the wall into the field beyond where it caught fire killing three of the crew. The pilot, Sgt Ronald Albert Jones, Navigator Sgt John Scott Spencer, and bomb aimer Sgt Gilbert Kenneth Parsons, were all killed. Air Gunner F/Sgt J Douglas, and the Wireless Operator, Sgt R J Perrin, were both Injured.


The graves of four of the crew of HE464 at Ternaard churchyard. Ternaard is a village in the municipality Dongeradeel located in the northeast of the province of Friesland between Dokkum and the Wadden Sea. The 5th, on the extreme left, is of an unknown airman.

The war memorials at Peterborough, Ontario, (Gerald Fitzgerald), North Mymms, Hertfordshire, (Harold Nash), and the Cenotaph War Memorial in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Vincent Fernando).


The fierce Allied raids on Hamburg during July and early August 1943, named Operation Gomorrah, were a part of Britain's response to Goebbels' 'Total War' speech. See Youtube film.  
The Sportpalast speech was delivered by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large but carefully selected audience on 18 February 1943 calling for a total war.
It was the first public admission by the Nazi leadership that Germany faced serious dangers. Goebbels exhorted the German people to continue the war even though it would be long and difficult because, he asserted, both Germany's survival and the survival of a non-Bolshevist Europe were at stake.
On 2 February the Battle of Stalingrad had ended with the surrender of Field Marshal Paulus and the German 6th Army to the Soviets.

At the Casablanca Conference, held at the Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, French Morocco from January 14 to 24, 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill demanded Germany's unconditional surrender, and the Soviets, spurred by their victory, were beginning to retake territory, including Kursk (8 February), Rostov (14 February), and Kharkiv (16 February).

In North Africa, the Afrika Korps under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was close to defeat after German supply ships sailing to Tripoli were sunk by the Allies during January.
The Western Desert Campaign had ended with British victory at El Alamein and the Axis were in Tunisia between two Allied forces—one advancing from Algeria and one from Libya.
Operation Gomorrah killed 42,600 people, left 37,000 wounded and caused some one million German civilians to flee the city. The city's labour force was reduced permanently by ten percent.
Approximately 3,000 aircraft were deployed, 9,000 tons of bombs were dropped and over 250,000 homes and houses were destroyed.

Hamburg July 1944

No subsequent city raid shook Germany as did that on Hamburg; documents show that German officials were thoroughly alarmed and there is some indication from later Allied interrogations of Nazi officials that Hitler stated that further raids of similar weight would force Germany out of the war.
The industrial losses were severe, Hamburg never recovered to full production, only doing so in essential armaments industries (in which maximum effort was made).
Figures given by German sources indicate that 183 large factories were destroyed out of 524 in the city and 4,118 smaller factories out of 9,068 were destroyed. Other losses included damage to or destruction of 580 industrial concerns and armaments works, 299 of which were important enough to be listed by name. Local transport systems were completely disrupted and did not return to normal for some time.
Dwellings destroyed amounted to 214,350 out of 414,500.
Hamburg was hit by air raids another 69 times before the end of World War II. 


Wellington X3965 AS-L of 166 Squadron and the Bochum Raid.

Wellington X3965 AS-L of 166 Squadron took off at 19:43 on 29 March 1943.

It was one 18 aircraft from from RAF Kirmington and part of a bomber force of 149 Wellingtons. Twelve were lost that night, two from 166 Squadron.

On X3965's home journey it was intercepted just before crossing the Dutch coast and brought down by a German nightfighter piloted by Ofw. Heinz Vinke (11. / NJG.1)

It crashed into the North Sea, 20 km W of Zandvoort, Holland. All the crew, whose average age was 23, were lost and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The other lost 166 Squadron Wellington was HE545 AS-H piloted by Sgt J R A Hodgson which was brought down 7 km NNW of Arnhem. A third aircraft from the squadron was also attacked by a Bf 109 and damaged but managed to limp home.

The crew of X3965 were -

(RNZAF) Sgt. Owen Eastwood Collins (Pilot) aged 23. Son of Harold Eastwood Collins and Alice Evelyn Collins, of Tongaporutu, Taranaki, New Zealand.

(RAFVR) F/O. Leslie Young (Navigator) aged 21. Son of Michael and Eveline Young; and husband of Jean Dorothy Young, of Cleadon, Co. Durham.

(RAFVR) Sgt. John Gordon Hubbard (Bomb Aimer) aged 21. Son of Albert Edward and Rhoda Hubbard, of Eltham, London.

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Jack Bernard Bayliss (W.Op./A.G.) aged 27. Son of Frank Granville Bayliss and Lily Mary Bayliss, of Concord, New South Wales, Australia.


(RAAF) F/Sgt. Stanley Noel Curtis (Rear gunner) aged 24, was the son of Edwin William and Lucy Florence Curtis and husband of Lindsey Curtis, of Rushworth, Victoria, Australia. He enlisted in the RAAF at Melbourne on 28th March 1941 and married 20 year old telephonist Lindsey Pocknee at East Malvern, Victoria on 10th May 1941.


Noel received his initial aircrew training at the Wireless and Gunnery School, in Ballarat, Victoria and the Bomb and Gunnery School, at Port Pirie, South Australia and then embarked for the UK in 12th May 1942.

On arrival he was posted to the Air Gunnery School, Castle Kennedy, about five miles east of Stranraer, Scotland.

From 04/08/1942 he was at 27 Operational Training Unit, Lichfield for three months being trained as Wellington bomber aircrew. On 09/11/1942 Noel was posted to 150 Squadron and was serving there at RAF Snaith in Yorkshire when his daughter Jennifer was born in late 1942.

Shortly after being posted to 166 Squadron at Kirmington in March 1943 he became the rear gunner on Wellington X3965.

Our photos show Noel & Lindsey at their wedding in May 1941 and on his embarkation leave in May 1942.

Wellington X3965 crash site - 20 km west of Zandvoort


Kirmington village and church during World War 2 and a corner of the RAF station

Images from St. Helena Church at Kirmington

With full acknowledgements to the extensive research of David Swallow and for his 166 Squadron web-site, Margaret Simpson the sister of the pilot F/Sgt Albert Bates, and Jim Wright of 166 Squadron Association, author of  'On Wings Of War'.


Flying  Officer Donald Pleasence from 166 Squadron.


The British actor Donald Pleasence (1919-1995), well known for playing a Bond villain, a prisoner of war in 'the Great Escape', and for many other films and stage performances, flew with 166 Squadron. He was the wireless operator on Lancaster NE112 AS:M, piloted by RAAF Flying Officer E B Tutty, which took off from RAF Kirmington at 1320 hrs on 31st August 1944. Its target was  the V-2 depot at Agenville.

The Lancaster was brought down 9 km ENE of Abbeville on the main road to Doullens. The gunners, Sgt W C Alderson and Sgt L Letten, were both killed and are buried in the British cemetery at St-Riquier. F/Lt Wallis broke his pelvis and spent most of his captivity in hospital at Mulhausen.The two crewmen who evaded capture were Sgt R D Butcher and the pilot, Flying Officer E B Tutty. Flying Officer D Pleasance and F/Sgt Kirby were captured and became prisoners of war. Donald was sent to Stalag-Luft 1, also named Barth/Vogelsang, in the very north of Germany.

Another Lancaster from 166 Squadron was also brought down in France on this raid. It was NE170 ES-I piloted by RCAF Flying Officer F E Elliott. He and four of his crew evaded capture, but the remaining three were killed and are buried in Fillievres British Cemetery.


Overview of No. 166 Sqdn. crashes in the Netherlands  in or near the Dutch coastal waters


last update 08 May 2014 (in red) (written in blue = photos etc. stored in own archive) - Willem


01. 29 March 1943 (23.15 h.) - Schaarsbergen, Landgoed Zonheuvel, Gem. Arnhem / Prov. of Gelderland

Wellington Mk.X - HE545 (AS-H) - target Bochum (Germany)

downed by Maj. Werner Streib + crew (Stab I / NJG.1)

(RAFVR) P/O. J.R.A. Hodgson - KIA - buried Arnhem-Moscowa (Pilot)

(RAFVR) P/O. S.R. Farley - KIA - buried Arnhem-Moscowa (Navigator)

(RCAF) P/O. F.L.E. Dupré - KIA - reburied Groesbeek (Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) Sgt. D. Keenan - KIA - buried Arnhem-Moscowa (W.O. / A.G.)

(RCAF) P/O. R.A. Weese - KIA - reburied Groesbeek (A.G. - Rear)

02. 30 March 1943 (00.20 h.) - North Sea, ± 20 km. W. of Zandvoort, Prov. of Noord-Holland

Wellington Mk.III - X3965 (AS-L) - target Bochum (Germany)

downed by Ofw. Heinz Vinke + crew (11. / NJG.1)

(RNZAF) Sgt. O.E. Collins - MIA (Pilot)

(RAFVR) F/O. L. Young - MIA (Navigator)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J.G. Hubbard - MIA (Bomb Aimer)

(RAAF) F/Sgt. J.B. Bayliss - MIA (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAAF) F/Sgt. S.N. Curtis - MIA (A.G. - Rear)

03. 03 May 1943 (01.55 h.) - Boertange, Gemeente Vlagtwedde, Prov. of Groningen (near the Ger-

man borderline)

Wellington Mk.X - HE923 (AS-R) - target Dortmund (Germany)

the a/c. FTR for unknown reasons (maybe damaged by FLAK ?)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. A.P. Uditsky - KIA - buried Vlagtwedde (Pilot / from USA)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. J.T. Macksimchuk - KIA - buried Vlagtwedde (Navigator)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. E.N. Moore - KIA - buried Vlagtwedde (Bomb Aimer)

(RAFVR) Sgt. T.A.S. Buchanan - KIA - buried Vlagtwedde (W.O. / A.G. /

from N.- Ireland)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. G.E. Armstrong - KIA - buried Vlagtwedde (A.G. - Rear)

04. 14 May 1943 (04.06 h.) - IJsselmeer (former Zuiderzee), ± 15 km. E. of Wieringen island and

S. of the Afsluitdijk, between Prov. of Friesland and Noord-Holland

Wellington Mk.X - HZ280 (AS-Q) - target Bochum (Germany)

damaged by FLAK first; downed by Uffz. ..?.. Scherer + crew (10. / NJG.1)

- pilot was more or less successful in ‘rescue ditching’ into the waters -

(RCAF) P/O. W. Wahl - KIA - buried Amsterdam-Watergraafsmeer (Pilot)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. W.N. Partridge - KIA - buried Stavoren (Frl.) (W.O. / A.G.)

(RCAF) Sgt. S.A.H. Davis - POW (nr. 1238) - Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug (Lith.)

(RCAF) P/O. H.W. Newby - POW (nr. 1319) - Stalag Luft III Sagan (Poland)

(…..?.....) Sgt. J.A. Wright - POW first (wounded) - repatriated to the UK later

05. 24 May 1943 (01.08 h.) - Rutbeek hamlet, between Haaksbergen and Enschede, a/d. Leppepaalweg,

Gemeente Enschede, Landstreek Twenthe, Province of Overijssel

Wellington Mk.X - HE290 - (AS-J) - target Dortmund (Germany)

downed by Hptm. Wolfgang Thimmig + crew (Stab III. / NJG.1)

parts of the fuselage + the bomb load recovered, near Rutbeek-Buurse, Oct.

1976, by the Recovery Unit of the KLu / NL Air Force (dossier No. LMT-23)

(RAFVR) Sgt. E.S. Morris - KIA - buried Haaksbergen (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. H.B. Thompson - KIA - buried Haaksbergen (Nav. + Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) Sgt. F.V.G. Alloway - KIA - buried Haaksbergen (Nav. + Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) Sgt. R.F. Williamson - KIA - buried Haaksbergen (W.O. / A.G.)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. J.R. Stewart - KIA - buried Haaksbergen (A.G. - Rear)


06. 24 May 1943 (01.55 h.) - Oirschot, NW off Eindhoven, Gem. Oirschot, Prov. of Noord-Brabant

Wellington Mk.X - HE655 (AS-D) - target Dortmund (Germany)

downed by Oblt. Manfred Meurer + crew (3. / NJG.1)

(RAFVR) Sgt. C.W.H. Westwood - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. A. Benson - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (Navigator)

(RAF) Sgt. H.W. Fields - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (Bomb Aimer)

(RAFVR) Sgt. W.P. Baxter - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. T.W. Shadgett - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (A.G. - Rear)

07. 24 May 1943 (02.43 h.) - North Sea ± 7 km. W. of Katwijk village (Province of Noord-Holland)

Wellington Mk.X - HF486 (AS-L) - target Dortmund (Germany)

it’s not known why they were lost, but there was a lot of Luftwaffe night-

fighter activity in that night, over Holland and the coastal waters too

(RAFVR) F/O. A.E. Steward - KIA - buried A’-dam-Watergraafsmeer (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J.H. Griffiths - KIA - buried A’-dam-Watergraafsmeer (Nav.)

(RAFVR) F/Lt. J.G. Eldridge - KIA - buried A’-dam-Watergraafsmeer (Nav. + Air B.)

(DFC + Bar)

(RAFVR) P/O. S.B. Jobes - KIA - buried A’-dam-Watergraafsmeer (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) P/O. J.F. Sanders - KIA - buried A’-dam-Watergraafsmeer (A.G. - Rear)

- all buried in the Nieuwe Ooster Begraafplaats (New Eastern Cemetery) -


08. 26 May 1943 (02.36 h.) - Nederweert, a/d. Proosdijk, S.E. of Eindhoven city, in the Prov. of Limburg

Wellington Mk.X - HE699 (AS-M) - target Düsseldorf (Germany)

downed by Maj. Walter Ehle + crew (Stab II. / NJG.1) - position ‘ 52.6.8 ‘

(RAFVR) Sgt. R. Lowe - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. G.J. Mitchener - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (Navigator)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J.G. Watkins - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) Sgt. S.F. Barrow - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. L.M. Chisnall - KIA - buried Eindhoven-Woensel (A.G. - Rear)


09. 28 May 1943 (00.56 h.) - Oele hamlet, a/d. Nijhuisbinnenweg, W. of Hengelo city, Gem. Hengelo,

Landstreek Twenthe, Province of Overijssel

Wellington Mk.X - HE752 (AS-W) - target Essen (Germany)

downed by Oblt. Hans-Heinz Augenstein + crew (7. / NJG.1) - pos.‘Hengelo’

engine parts recovered at crash location, 30.04.1977 (dossier No. LMT-30)

(RAF) F/Lt. D.T. Tonkinson - KIA - buried Hengelo (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. P. Guest - KIA - buried Hengelo (Navigator)

(RAFVR) F/O. T.D. Brown - KIA - buried Hengelo (Air Bomber + Nav.)

(RAFVR) P/O. A.D. Johnson - KIA - buried Hengelo (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. N.P. Rayner - KIA - buried Hengelo (A.G. - Rear)


10. 22 June 1943 (02.49 h.) - Neerkant village, S.E. of Eindhoven city, Gemeente Deurne, Province of

Noord-Brabant (near the Limburg borderline)

Wellington Mk.X - HE924 (AS-C) - target Krefeld (Germany)

downed by Hptm. Rudolf Sigmund + crew (10. / NJG.1) - some sources are

saying by Hptm. Siegfried Wandam (of NJG.5), but the interception time

and also the No. of the night-fighter unit is not correct, in my opinion -

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. A. Burgess - KIA - buried Nijmegen-Jonkerbosch (Pilot)

(RAFVR) P/O. G.R. Wright - KIA - buried Nijmegen-Jonkerbosch (Navigator)

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. W.F. Payne - MIA (Bomb Aimer)

(RAAF) P/O. J.K. Somers - KIA - buried Nijmegen-Jonkerbosch (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. E. Jeffs - KIA - buried Nijmegen-Jonkerbosch (A.G. - Rear)

11. 26 June 1943 (02.37 h.) - Hekendorp village, E. of Gouda city, Gem. Oudewater, Prov. of Utrecht

Wellington Mk.X - HF589 (AS-W) - target Gelsenkirchen (Germany)

downed by Hptm. Hans-Dieter Frank + crew (2. / NJG.1) - pos. ‘ Gouda ‘

(RAAF) F/Sgt. M.J. Arthur - POW (Pilot)

(…..?.....) Sgt. L.A. Butterworth - POW (Navigator)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J. Bailey - KIA - buried Utrecht-Soestbergen (Bomb Aimer)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J. Orr - KIA - buried Utrecht-Soestbergen (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. S. Gaskin - KIA - buried Utrecht-Soestbergen (A.G. - Rear)

12. 26 June 1943 (02.41 h.) - near Holwerd, in front of the sea dike, in the outside summer meadows area,

Gemeente (West-)Dongeradeel, Province of Friesland

Wellington Mk.X - HE346 (AS-M) - target Gelsenkirchen (Germany)

downed by Luftwaffe night-fighter, most likely by Hptm. Rudolf Sigmund +

crew (10. / NJG.1)

(RAAF) F/Sgt. C.A. Mattress - KIA - fieldgrave / crash site (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. A. Mortimer - KIA - fieldgrave / crash site (Navigator)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J.P. Priestley - KIA - fieldgrave / crash site (Bomb Aimer)

(RAFVR) Sgt. N.R. Parry - KIA - fieldgrave / crash site (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. T. Ball (Jr.) - KIA - fieldgrave / crash site (A.G. - Rear)

* there is a War Memorial on the local sea dike, since 24 June 1992; and there is an ‘Unknown

Airman Grave’, in which some remains of the crew, in the Canadian War Cemetery in

Groesbeek, near Nijmegen city, in the Prov. of Gelderland, since 1977 (reburial of bones)

13. 03 Aug. 1943 (03.48 h.) - Wadden Sea, ± 3.5 km. N.W. off Ternaard village, in the Gemeente (West-)

Dongeradeel, in Friesland (South of Ameland island)

Wellington Mk.X - HE464 (AS-W) - target Hamburg (Germany)

downed by Oblt. Hermann Greiner + crew (11. / NJG.1) - pos. ‘ CM-38h ‘

(RAFVR) Sgt. H. Nash - KIA - buried Ternaard (Pilot)

(RCAF) F/O. G.W. Fitzgerald - KIA - buried Ternaard (Navigator)

(RAFVR) Sgt. V.F. Fernando - MIA (Bomb Aimer / from Ceylon)

(RAFVR) Sgt. R.J. Perrin - KIA - buried Ternaard (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J. Cowan - KIA - buried Ternaard (A.G. - Rear)

14. 16 Aug. 1943 (00.36 h.) - North Sea, ± 45 km. N.N.W. of Terschelling and N. of Vlieland island

Wellington Mk.X - HF596 (AS-A) - target the ‘Mussels Lane’ (Nectarines

area I) laying sea mines in between the Frisian isles (the Netherlands)

downed by Lt. Heinz Grimm + crew (12. / NJG.1) - position ‘ BK-23r ‘

(RAFVR) W/O. A.P. Bates (Jr.) - MIA (Pilot)

(RCAF) F/O. R.P. Swallow - MIA (Navigator)

(RAFVR) Sgt. R. Carlon - MIA (Bomb Aimer)

(RAFVR) Sgt. A. Bromby - MIA (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. G.W.D. Dean - MIA (A.G. - Rear)




15. 20 Dec. 1943 (19.30 h.) - Middelharnis, a/d. Pottersweg, Gem. (and island too) Goeree-Overflakkee,

S.W. of Rotterdam and near the Haringvliet waters, Prov. of Zuid-Holland

Lancaster Mk.I - R5552 (AS-P2) - target Frankfurt am Main (Germany)

crashed for unknown reasons, after circling around many times over the area

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. K.B. Renelt - KIA - buried Middelharnis (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. E.C. Toms - KIA - buried Middelharnis (Fl. Engineer)

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. J.W. Thompson - KIA - buried Middelharnis (Navigator)

(RNZAF) F/Sgt. A.B. Sheddan - KIA - buried Middelharnis (Air Bomber)

(RAAF) F/Sgt. J.F. Moore - KIA - buried Middelharnis (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. L.A. Henson - KIA - buried Middelharnis (Air Gunner)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. D. Bernard - KIA - buried Middelharnis (Air Gunner)

16. 12 May 1944 (01.14 h.) - Elkerzee hamlet, ± 2 km. S. of Scharendijke, Gemeente (and island also)

Schouwen-Duiveland, nearby todays Grevelingenmeer, Prov. of Zeeland

Lancaster Mk.I - ME779 (AS-S) - target Hasselt (Belgium)

downed by Oblt. Godfried Hanneck + crew (II./NJG.1)

(RAFVR) P/O. G.J.R. Clark - KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. R.J. Bond - KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (Wir. Op.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. H.S.D. Tulett - KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (A.G. - Top)

(RAFVR) Sgt. L.G. Smith - KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (A.G. - Rear)

(RAF) Sgt. K. Slater - POW (nr.3835) - Stalag 357 Kopernikus (Fl. Eng.)

(RAF) F/Sgt. P.R.A. Pool - POW (nr.3836) - Stalag 357 Kopernikus (Navigator)

(RAF) F/Sgt. M.B. Brackley - POW (nr.3834) - Stalag 357 Kopernikus (B. Aimer)

* the 4 crew KIA were buried first in a temporary grave in Haamstede (Zld.); reburied in 1946

17. 22 May 1944 (01.12 h. - near Goudriaan village, in the ‘Polder Zuidzijde’ (Southside Polder), Gem.

or 01.37 h.) Giessenlanden, E. of Rotterdam, in the Prov. of Zuid-Holland

Lancaster Mk.III - ND956 (AS-I) - target Duisburg, Ruhrgebiet (Germany)

downed by Oblt. Wilhelm Henseler + crew (1. / NJG.1) - pos. 10 km. N.E.

of Dordrecht (alt. 6000 mtrs.)

(RAF) F/Sgt. T.G. Franklin - KIA - buried Goudriaan (Pilot)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. S.D. Spencer - KIA - buried Goudriaan (Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J. Kiltie - KIA - buried Goudriaan (Wireless Operator)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. A.A. Anderson - KIA - buried Goudriaan (A.G. - Top)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J. Moffatt - KIA - buried Goudriaan (A.G. - Rear)

(…..?.....) Sgt. J.F. Tomney - POW (nr.63) - Stalag Luft VII Bankau (Fl. Eng.)

(…..?.....) Sgt. B.F. Bird - POW (nr.7 ?) - Stalag Luft XVIII-A Wolfsberg, in

Austria + Stalag Luft VII Bankau, in todays Poland


* the human remains of the crew KIA are buried in one collective grave in the Gen. Cemetery;

there is erected a commemorative stone in between the 4 grave markers of the CWGC


18. 22 May 1944 (02.12 h.) - North Sea, into the area of todays ‘Maasvlakte’, the newest reclaimed land /

habour sector of Rotterdam-Seaside, named ‘Yangtzehaven’ (near Hook of

Holland), in the Prov. of Zuid-Holland; some remains of the plane were re-

covered / ‘dredged away’ from the new habour basin under construction, in

June 1971, by the Recovery Unit of the Royal Dutch Air Force (dossier No.

RNLAF-69); the rest is still at the location, under meters of sand of the

fuel tanker terminal, or into the bottom of the habour basin (Yangtze Habour)

Lancaster Mk.III - ND579 (AS-M) - target Duisburg, Ruhrgebiet (Germany)

downed by Maj. Hans Karlowski + crew (2. / NJG.1) - position ‘ JJ-1 ‘ (over

sea off Hoek van Holland / Hook of Holland); by the way, he was claiming

another type of 4-engined RAF bomber… a Halifax; it’s a mistake I think (!);

some sources are saying the a/c. was downed by Hptm. Martin Drewes + crew

(Stab III. / NJG.1) at 02.04 hrs., but that ‘claim’ was over ‘Raum’ Breda city

(Noord-Brabant), thus too far in S.E. direction, over land !; not right, I think

(…..?.....) P/O. J.W. Reilly - POW (injured) - brought to hospital first (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. D. Dickson - KIA - buried Brielle (Fl. Eng.)

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. L.C. Clutterbuck - KIA - buried Hoek van Holland (Nav.)

(RCAF) F/O. P. Pochaillo - MIA or Evaded ???? (Bomb Aimer)

(RAFVR) Sgt. T.J. Meehan - KIA - buried Hoek van Holland (Wireless Op.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. W.B. Rankin - KIA - buried Den Haag-Westduin (A.G. - Top)

(RAFVR) Sgt. A. Patmore - KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (A.G. - Rear)


19. 13 June 1944 (01.34 h.) - Tongeren estate and hamlet, appr. 4 km. W. of Epe, thus N. of Apeldoorn, in

Gemeente Epe, Province of Gelderland

Lancaster Mk.III - LM581 (AS-X) - target Gelsenkirchen (Germany)

downed by Luftwaffe night-fighter, most likely by Fw. Karl Pfeiffer + crew

(11. / NJG.1) - position ‘ Raum ‘ Raalte

(RNZAF) P/O. T.W. Boyce - KIA - buried Epe (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J.B. Carter - KIA - buried Epe (Fl. Engineer)

(RAFVR) F/O. A.B. Leonard - KIA - buried Epe (Navigator)

(RAFVR) F/O. M.A. Monks - KIA - buried Epe (Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) Sgt. S. Alldis - KIA - buried Epe (Wireless Op.)

(RAFVR) Sgt. H. Rothwell - KIA - buried Epe (A.G. - Top)

(RAFVR) Sgt. I.M. Ross - KIA - buried Epe (A.G. - Rear / from Canada)

20. 13 June 1944 (01.23 h.) - Zelhem-Wassinkbrink, East of Arnhem city, Gem. Bronckhorst, Landstreek

Achterhoek, Province of Gelderland (near the German borderline)

Lancaster Mk.I - ME777 (AS-K2) - target Gelsenkirchen (Germany)

reason of the crash...... German night-fighter I think (do not know whose claim)

several smaller wreckage parts of the a/c. recovered in 1990, after earlier investigations in 1987 (dossier ARGA-1)

(RAFVR) F/O. W.G. Grant (BEM) - KIA - buried Zelhem (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J.E. Bawtree - KIA - buried Zelhem (Fl. Engineer)

(RAAF) F/O. J.H. Stopp - KIA - buried Zelhem (Pilot + Nav.)

(RAAF) F/O. H.W. Davies - KIA - buried Zelhem (Air Bomber)

(RAAF) F/Sgt. L.T. Hunt - KIA - buried Zelhem (Wireless Op.)

(RAAF) F/O. H.A.B. Brown - KIA - buried Zelhem (A.G. - Top)

(RAAF) F/O. K.J. Moses - KIA - buried Zelhem (A.G. - Rear)

21. 13 June 1944 (02.30 h.) - Ugchelen-Willemsbos, direct W. of Apeldoorn town, also Gem. Apeldoorn,

Landstreek Veluwe, Province of Gelderland

Lancaster Mk.III - ND399 (AS-R) - target Gelsenkirchen (Germany)

downed by Luftwaffe night-fighter, but not known which ‘claim’ till yet

(RAFVR) P/O. J.S. Kirton - KIA - buried Ugchelen-Heidehof (Pilot)

(RAFVR) Sgt. J.P. Coogan - KIA - buried Ugchelen-Heidehof (Fl. Eng. / of Ireland)

(RNZAF) F/O. J.L. Lochhead - KIA - buried Ugchelen-Heidehof (Navigator)

(RAFVR) F/O. P.L. Andrewes - KIA - buried Ugchelen-Heidehof (Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) Sgt. A.J. Brazier - KIA - buried Ugchelen-Heidehof (Wireless Op.)

(RAF) Sgt. C. McClean - KIA - buried Ugchelen-Heidehof (A.G. - Top)

(RAFVR) Sgt. F.I. Spencer - KIA - buried Ugchelen-Heidehof (A.G. - Rear)

* all the crew were interred in the same (military ?) funeral service, 17 June 1944


22. 31 Dec. 1944 (19.30 h.) - Eygelshoven, aside of the Rimburgerweg, nearby Heerlen town, just inside

Dutch territory and in the already liberated Prov. of Zuid-Limburg (since

appr. halfway September 1944, since Operation ‘Market Garden’ etc.)

Lancaster Mk.I - ME647 (AS-J) - target Osterfeld, near Leipzig (Germany)

reason of the crash is not known, but most likely German night-fighter acti-

vity again, but… we have to realize in this case, the ‘Reichsverteidigung’ over

the Netherlands, the Luftwaffe ‘home defence’ over Holland was already re-

duced in a dramatic way for them (‘Fliegerhorst’ Deelen out of use, Airfield

Gilze-Rijen lost, ‘Fliegerhorst’ Leeuwarden almost empty, etc. etc., and the

‘Luftwaffe Central Command Structure’ near Arnhem city even blown up !)

(RCAF) F/L. J.A. Sherry - KIA - reburied Nederweert (Pilot)

(RAFVR) P/O. A. Martin - KIA - reburied Nederweert (Fl. Engineer)

(RCAF) F/O. M. Bernyk - KIA - reburied Nederweert (Navigator)

(RCAF) F/O. D.H. Bennett - KIA - reburied Nederweert (Air Bomber)

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. K. Surman - KIA - reburied Nederweert (W.O. / A.G.)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. C. Young - KIA - reburied Nederweert (A.G. - Top)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. J.C. Daze - KIA - reburied Nederweert (A.G. - Rear)

* all crew were buried first in the US war cemetery (under construction) in nearby Margraten

village in Zuid-Limburg; after the war (already in 1945 ?) reburied in CWGC war graves at

Nederweert, thus more Northwards, in Midden-Limburg, between Roermond and Eindhoven

Conclusions at the end, while overlooking this entire listing:

A. rather high losses in a short period of time, ± 22 months, from March 1943 - Dec. 1944 (and this over-

view is about the Netherlands only !)

B. most operations were flown against the enemy directly (targets in N.W. Germany self)

C. the remains of most airman KIA could now be found, recovered and buried in a proper way - (so ‘lucky’ for

their families later on)

D. the ratio of airmen MIA is extreme low (mostly higher in other squadrons)

E. and the ratio of airmen who survived, who were made POW, is also very low

F. most of the crashed bombers were Wellingtons, and downed by Luftwaffe night-fighters many times

Last remark: by the end of the war, in the days just before VE-day (Victory in Europe, 8th of May, 1945)

many crews of No. 166 Squadron too were flying their most wonderful and happy operations

over Holland, without enemy fire at all, while dropping food in the Western ‘Randstad’ areas

of the Netherlands, because in the cities the people there were almost dying of starvation….

that bloody air war came to an end indeed via Operation ‘Manna’, although, alas even then

some more crew were lost (in other squadrons ?), and never would come home again!



Ameland's Military Graves






Willem's Introduction


Ameland in war-time


Texel  & Den Helder 


Friesland War-time Crashes


Ameland,166 & 75sqdn




Friesland Cemeteries


Ameland Graves




Leeuwarden area




Scharnhorst! 2


Wirdum Remembers


Terschelling 2


 Scharnhorst! 3




Sage War Cemetery


12 Squadron


Schiermonnikoog  part 2


424 Squadron






Vlieland Cemetery


Vuren at war


Kallenkote Cemetery




Makkum Cemetery


Wartime Occupied Harlingen


Hampden AE 428,


A Fatal collision?


RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron


 WW2 photographs


Hudsons & Venturas


Zwolle's ' De Groene ' group


Shipdham & USAF 44th


101 Squadron


408 Squadron's Leipzig raid


68th Squadron's losses


Local Radar


Rottum Island


Lancasters DS776  & JA921


Bergen  Cemetery








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