advanced

    Friesland wartime history       <   page 17    > 

Vlieland      by Willem de Jong

Texel & Den Helder

 

 

D

Leeuwarden Airfield

Schiermonikoog

Harlingen & Harderwijk

Occupied Harlingen

German Radar

Ameland

Vlieland

Terschelling

St. Jacobparochie

Rottum Island

 Hindeloopen
     Sink the Scharnhorst!
     12 Squadron Losses
     Runnymede Memorial 

 

Deanweb - the Forest of Dean Direct

 Some Vlieland History by Willem de Jong

 

 

Vlieland or ‘t Flielandt - Flylân in the Frisian language - was named the “Insula Fle“, the island situated near the mouth of the river Fle(vo), Flie or Vlie. And that same river was growing to a complete inland sea later on, by the powers of nature and with the “help” of thecanal digging monks of Ludinga (monastery near Harlingen).

Named Lacus Flevo or Mare Flevo and also Aelmere, it became the important seaway to Amsterdam, Kampen, Enkhuizen en Stavoren, etc., and was renamed in Suydersee or Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) at the end, till the Closing Dam (Afsluitdijk) was constructed (finished Ao. 1932).

For many centuries Vlieland, and also West-Terschelling - on the other side of the shipping lane - was a very strategic point for the world wide going merchant and war fleets of Holland.

Of course, that was the reason why not only the local fishing and farming population was living there, but military and water-pilots too. They controlled the traffic on the route and they brought in and out, via the safest ways to the North Sea, navigating in between the isles, the shallows and the sandbanks - the sailing cargo ships, which were giving work and prosperity to so many inhabitants.

Our most famous admirals and sailors were sometimes living there, when they were not on any ship’s deck, Michiel de Ruyter, Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, his son Cornelis Tromp too, and Witte Corneliszoon de With.

In the “Gemeene Landhuys” in the Dorpsstraat (mainstreet) of Oost-Vlieland, they held important meetings of the national admiralty.

 

 

 In the 16th and 17th centuries Vlieland Island was wealthy and powerful. And our “neighbourhood rivals”, the English, with their own undertaking fleets, knew about it (!). In Augustus of the year 1666 they were “visiting” the roadstead of Vlie, during what was named in Holland, the 2nd English War; they destroyed about 150 vessels of the Dutch merchant fleet, moored and anchored in front of Vlieland’s coast, and they followed the retreating Dutch ships to the island of Terschelling. In the afternoon of that horrible day - because Vlieland was maybe better defended - they even landed on “Skylge”. The whole village and harbour of West-Terschelling was plundered and burnt to the ground, in what was known later on “Holmes’s Bonfire”, so named after the British Admiral Holmes.

While Terschelling isle was losing her Western town in a war - rebuilt as soon as possible later - Vlieland was losing her Western village (West-Vlieland) by another enemy: the always hungry waves of the mighty North Sea.

After 1630, the more agricultural village of “Westeynde - Flielandt” was part by part swallowed up, till only 2 houses were left in the year 1736! Today on that spot is streaming 15 fathoms (± 27 m.) of water….

The people were all moved and resettled in the East, with their cattle, their tools and instruments, their furniture and even all the building materials they could recover. Their chapel was rebuilt in the other, and from that time only village, Oost-Vlieland.

 

Vlieland is one of the Wadden Islands, which form an archipelago off the north coast of the Netherlands, it is some 5 kilometres from the mainland and is located in the municipality of Vlieland, which is in the province of Friesland. The island can be reached from Harlingen on the mainland by ferry. Harlingen is approx 12 kilometres south west of Franeker and approx 30 kilometres west of Leeuwarden. 

 

 

 

   

 

 

The cemetery is located in the village of Oost Vlieland, where the ferry docks. Walk down the main street (Dorpsstraat), and turn right at the Noordwester centre and the library. The 1641-built church stands on the far side of the Kerkplein square, with the gate to the cemetery to its right. The Commonwealth War Graves are located in the centre of the graveyard

The cemetery address is:- Middenweg, Oost-Vlieland,Vlieland 

 

 

 

Aerial view of Oost-Vlieland village (winter 2011-2012)

 

 

Near the middle of this picture – a bit to the right - near the dark colored woods and the dunes, and further some more to the top right-hand road on the photo - you can clearly see the St. Nicolaas-church and churchyard with the tombstones, and also the Cross of Sacrifice.

Enlargement from centre of aerial photograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symbols and names of numbers of German FLAK-units and unknown German servicemen in 1941 on the island (maybe West-Battery)

 

 

Unknown Marine-Flak-Abteilung unit in the West-Batterie (1941) unknown German artilleryman (maybe West-Battery 1941)

 

 

 

One of the German living-barracks under camouflage and remains of bunkers etc. in Stellung 12H

 

 

 

 

M.S. Vlieland (TSM) - old ferry boat to Vlieland - 1938 and in WW2

9 Squadron's Wellington III X3280 crashed in the North Sea off Vlieland on 9th of November 1941

 

Take-off was from RAF Honington at 5.30pm on the 9th of November 1941. The target was he German city of Hamburg. Last heard of when at 21:00 hours it sent a distress signal. The aircraft crashed in Waddenzee near Vlieland, Holland with the loss of all onboard. 

The Pilot P/O Hugh V. Wilgar-Robinson was washed ashore in Dutch territory and rests in Vlieland General Cemetery. The body of Wop/Air Gnr. Sgt George H. Dartnall drifted ashore near Søndervig, Denmark. On the 11th of December it was found by the local Receiver of Wrecks, Ole Enevoldsen, at Søgård Forstrand, and brought to his home. On the same evening at 22:30 it was collected by three Luftwaffe Unteroffiziers in a truck who took it to Rom airfield. On the 13th of December 1941 Flight Sergeant Dartnall was laid to rest in Lemvig cemetery. The other four crew-members have no known graves and are commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial a few miles from Windsor Castle.

 

The crew -

Pilot - P/O Hugh V. Wilgar-Robinson. Age 30. Younger son of Hugh and Annie Wilgar-Robinson, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.  

Co-pilot - Sgt Robert Bamber Fielding. Age 27. Son of John Robert and Mary Jane Fielding, of Blackpool, Lancashire.

Wop/Air Gnr - F/Sgt George H. Dartnall. Age 22. Son of George Herbert Dartnell of Poplar, Middlesex.

Wop/Air Gnr -  Sgt William Smithson. Age 24. Son of Albert and Ellen Smithson, of Batley Carr, Dewsbury, Yorkshire.

Air Gnr -  Sgt Kenneth Quick. Age 21.  Son of Arnold and Ethel Quick, of Velindre, Port Talbot, Glamorgan.

Observer -  Sgt Reginald Burchell How. Age 25. Son of James William and Emily Ada How and husband of Mary Una How, of Ipswich, Suffolk

 

 

 

 

The Vlieland grave of Hugh Wilgar-Robinson & that of George Dartnall in Denmark

 

 

 

Wellington X3724 KO-T from 115 Squadron

Willem has drawn our attention to the on-going story of Wellington crash-site debris currently being recovered. Records show that 38 Wellingtons were lost in the Wadden Sea area. 

Wellington X3724 KO-T from 115 Squadron, because of its reported crash location, is being mentioned by local researchers as the possible source of wreckage recently recovered.

It was piloted by 25 year old Canadian F/Sgt Jack Hutchison and was one of the aircraft dispatched from RAF Marham at 23.28 hours on the 3rd of June to bomb the Port of Bremen.

In the early hours of the 4th of June 1942 his aircraft was intercepted by a German night-fighter. The Wellington crashed south-east of Vlieland and all five crew were killed.

The pilot, Jack Hutchison, and wireless operator, Terence McGrath, are buried at Texel, but their three colleagues have no known graves. Jack Hutchison was at 25 years old the eldest in the crew. Of his four crewmates, three were aged 20 and Eric Harding only 18.

The crew were - Sgt Jack Leon Hutchison (25) pilot from Niagara, Ontario, Canada, Sgt Terence Allen McGrath (20) the front gunner from Hull, Sgt John Turner Plant (20) the navigator, from Oncham, Isle of Man, Sgt Thomas Edward Rowan (20) the wireless operator, from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and Sgt Eric Roland Harding (18) the rear gunner, from Gravesend, Kent.

Recovered wreckage. Parts of the main-frame and the tail-wheel.

 

Sergeant Jack Leon (Rip) Hutchison, the pilot, was the 25 year old son of Lawrence Hutchison, who kept a general store at Virgil, Niagara, Canada, & his wife Florence Hutchison (nee Prendergast). The couple had two sons, James Headley was born in 1916, and Jack Leon in 1917. Their father Lawrence died in 1921 aged only 34.

Rip attended the local public school, and High School, was a member of the school cadets, and worked on neighbouring farms during vacations. When he enlisted in the RCAF in December 1940, he gave his occupation as farm-hand, and carried a letter of recommendation from the last employer, his uncle H L Craise, who ran Denbrae Fruit Farm at St. Catherines. The farmer wrote in praise of his nephew, who had worked for him for two years, relating that because he did not have a son of his own, it was his understanding that Rip, and his own two daughters, would eventually run the farm.

Jack Leon Hutchison passed out in Canada as a pilot on September 1st 1941. He was then given 11 days embarkation leave before being posted to the UK on 18th September.

He arrived at the RAF reception camp, 3 PRC, based in Bournemouth on the Dorset coast, on September 28th, and was posted to 20 Operational Training Unit at Lossiemoth, Scotland, on 6th October.

After six months of aircrew training, he was posted as a pilot on Wellington bombers, and now skipper of his own crew, to 115 Squadron on March 25th.

He took off on his last flight, from RAF Marham in Norfolk, on the evening of June 3rd, to bomb the port of Bremen.

His aircraft was intercepted by a German night-fighter and crashed south-east of Vlieland. All five crew were killed.

His body was recovered from the sea dike area, between Oude- and Nieuweschild on Texel, and interred on 13th June 1942.   Den Burg/Texel, General Cemetery  - plot K, row 6, grave 124. The family's text on the bottom of his grave stone at Texel island says: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’

Rip's mother Florence, visited the gravesite in the 1960s, and his brother, James (Jim) Headley Hutchison, some years later.

 

Rip's hometown friend, and Niagara high school-mate, farmer's son, Albert Digby Cooper, also enlisted in December 1940. He was born at Niagara in May 1919, the son of John Digby Cooper.

Digby passed out as a pilot on 20th August 1941 and arrived at RAF Bournemouth, in the UK, on the 7th October, the day after Rip had been posted to 20 OTU. Digby was then also posted to the same training depot, arriving on November 4th.

After aircrew training he was posted to 15 OTU at RAF Harwell for further bomber experience and then overseas to Egypt. He took off from Harwell airfield on 18th April 1942 in Wellington DV571 en route to Cairo.  Flying via Port Reath, Gibralter, and Malta, he landed in Cairo on 23rd April 1942.

On 24th June, he and his crew began flying with 108 Squadron, a night bomber squadron based at RAF Kabrit. Its Wellingtons were bombing ports on the Libyan coast and in Greece. By 10th September 1942 he wrote home stating that he had flown 29 operational flights.

Five days before his friend Rip's plane was shot down by a German fighter, Digby Cooper wrote home to his parents. "Has Mrs. Hutchison heard from Rip lately?" Cooper asked in a letter dated May 30, 1942. "How is he getting on? I suppose he will soon be finished as he (had) quite a bit of time in before I left England."

In a later letter home he wrote -

"I received the letter with the news in about Rip, and it sure did take the wind out of my sails," "You didn't say if he was still alive or not, but I take it that he isn't. I have asked about him in every airgraph that I sent and was sure that he would be getting home one of these days.

"It certainly doesn't seem fair that such a swell fellow as Rip (could) get cheated out of so much life. I suppose it is terrible for Mrs. Hutchison and all his people. The next letter let me know about it if you can. I will write an airgraph to Mrs. Hutchison."

News report November 3, 1942 - "Canadians in one of the busiest R.A.F. bomber squadrons in Egypt find smashing up Rommel's retreating columns a more exciting job than flying the nightly "milk route" to Tobruk. The squadron has almost lost count of tons of high explosives dropped in the past few weeks.

Canadians have been in the the battle from all angles, including the view a crew in the Wellington captained by Sergeant Pilot Albert Digby Cooper got, when it skimmed homeward only a few feet above an artillery barrage.

Cooper, whose crew includes two other R.C.A.F. men, Sergeants J.K. Lawson, Thorold, and P.J. Hom, was returning from a raid on Fuka when an engine cut out. He lost height so rapidly he couldn't reach his base, and pointed the nose groundward. Skimming over the artillery barrage, he set the bomber down just inside the British front line. "One minute less flying time and we would have landed smack in the middle of No-Man's-Land." Advance British troops picked up the crew and headed them for the rear. "Toughest part was the long walk back," said Hom. "We couldn't get a transport as every darn thing was moving the other way." Since the push against Rommel began, night squadrons have taken over where day bombers left off. The usual routine for No. 108 Squadron is two trips nightly on alternate nights.

In January 1943 Digby was back in the UK and in March was posted as an instructor to 22 Operational Training Unit based at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, 6 miles East of Stratford Upon Avon.

At 10.20hrs on 16th June 1944, an eight man Canadian crew, in Wellington HZ715, and piloted by Digby Cooper, took off from the Stratford upon Avon airfield for a dual control and cross-country training flight. He was also carrying out pilot instructional training with a student navigator.

At 13.35hrs, while flying in cloud and over the Lake District, the aircraft failed to clear the high point of Red Pike, Buttermere, and struck the rock face killing all on board instantly.

At that time Digby had 43 operational flights to his credit.

He and his crew are buried in Blacon Cemetery at Chester.

 

Sergeant Terence Allen (Tam) McGrath, the front gunner, was 20 years old, and the only surviving child of George H S McGrath and Lena Susannah Allen, who were married at Sullcoates, a suburb of Hull, Yorkshire, in 1917.

The family were living at 69 Plane Street, Kingston on Hull, when his father, George, died in November 1925, and at 36 Moorhouse Road, Kingston on Hull, in 1943.

Tam's body was recovered south of Texel island, near the Oudeschild village habour, on the following morning,

Thursday 4th of June, at around 6.30am.

He was buried 2-3 days later at Den Burg/Texel island, General Cemetery - plot K, row 3, grave 69. The heartbreaking text from his beloved mum is written, at the bottom of his Texel grave stone: ‘Into the mosaic of victory is placed this precious jewel, my son’

 

Sergeant Thomas Edward Rowan, the wireless operator, was the 20 year old son of Thomas Edward Rowan (1885) & Ellen Irwin, of Patrick Place, Ballymena Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, who were married at Ballymena in 1911.

 

The Cenotaph in Ballymena Memorial Park

 

 Two families had lived together at the house in Patrick Place from before the beginning of the 20th century. Thomas Edward Rowan senior's mother, Jane (bn 1854), was a widow with a family, when she married shoemaker William J Currie (bn 1844), who also had children, sometime before 1901.

 

Patrick Place, Ballymena, and the Chonk-Kai War cemetery

One of Thomas E. Rowan senior's step-brothers, Samuel Currie (bn 1894), joined the 18th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles in July 1915. He died from battle wounds in November 1917.

Thomas and Ellen were to lose two sons in World War 2. Twenty year old Thomas, who was the wireless operator on Wellington  X3724, has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial and on the Cenotaph in Ballymena Memorial Park.

His older brother, 23 year old William Erwin Rowan, also joined the RAF. He was serving with the RAF at Singapore when the Japanese invaded in 1942. The fighting in Singapore lasted from 8 to 15 February 1942.

After the Japanese successfully conquered the Malay Peninsula, the Allies began to transfer personnel in December 1941 to Sumatra, and AC1 Rowan is believed to have to have been one of them. The large majority of the POWs who fell into Japanese hands in North and Central Sumatra were concentrated in the Uniekampong in Belawan harbour.

 

Allied prisoners working on the Burma -Siam railway.

 

As early as May 1942 a large group of about 2,000 POWs were transported from there to Burma, and many were put to work on the Burma-Siam railway. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war, including British, Dutch and Australian servicemen, died and were buried along the railway. William Erwin Rowan died on 5th of August 1943 and is one of 1,379 casualties commemorated in the Chonk-Kai War cemetery which was built on the same spot as the notorious POW camp.

The text on his burial plaque at the River Kwai's Chunkai War cemetery, reads - 'Heavy the blow, quickly it fell. Tender ties broken without a farewell.'

A

(RAFVR) Sergeant John Turner Plant, the navigator, was the 20 year old son of William Turner Plant and Sarah Ann Skelly, who were married in the Blackpool, Lancashire area in 1920.

John was born at Blackpool in 1922. His grandparents were the owners of a brush factory based in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, and his father a partner there until he broke away in 1934.

William Turner Plant was listed as a painter and decorator at Bispham, Blackpool, when he filed for bankruptcy in September 1934.

It is not clear when he and his family moved to the Isle of Man, but their home was at Onchan when Sgt John Turner Plant lost his life in 1942.

He is commemorated on the Onchan Parish War Memorial, and because he has no known grave, on the Runnymede Memorial near Windsor.

In September 2012 the Isle of Man News reported - Raymond Wells, of Onchan, is now helping a Dutch research group’s attempts to find out more about them as Mr Plant, who was 20 at the time of his death, was from the Isle of Man.

Businessman Mr Wells first encountered the work of the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation when they helped his own family.

‘I was looking at my daughter-in-law’s family and I came across a Sunday Express article looking for the family of RAF man Frank Walker,’ explained Mr Wells.

His interest was peaked as his daughter-in-law was Mr Walker’s great niece.

‘I contacted them at the Express and they put me in touch with these people in Holland,’ explained Mr Wells.

‘I corresponded with them for two years up to the 70th anniversary of the crash that killed Walker and his fellow crewmates and on July 25 we went across to Leeuwarden in Holland and we met these wonderful people.’

Mr Wells was accompanied at the ceremony in Leeuwarden by his grandson Michael, the direct link to Mr Walker. They joined the family of the other airmen to see a plaque unveiled on the site of the crash.

‘While we were over there for the five days, because they knew we lived in the Isle of Man, they told us about the next project that they were on,’ said Mr Wells.

‘This was a Lancaster Bomber that had come down and they said that one of the crew members’ parents were from the Isle of Man. They wondered if I could trace them and find out if there was any living relatives because they’d like to do for them what they’d done for us.’

 

(RAFVR) Sergeant Eric Roland Harding, the rear gunner, was the 18 year old son of Ernest John Harding, and Louisa Jane Tucker who were married at Lillington, Warwickshire in July 1905.

The couple settled in Grimsby, Lincolnshire and appear to have had only two sons, Leslie John (born 1922) and Eric Roland (born 1924). Tragically, both boys were killed within 10 weeks of each other in 1942.

At that time the family were living at Windsor Road, Gravesend in Kent, where their father, Ernest, was the manager of a draper's store.

Both brothers joined the RAF in World War 2, Eric trained as an air-gunner on aircrew, and Leslie, as a barrage balloon handler.

Eric joined Rip Hutchison's crew at  20 Operational Training Unit at Lossiemoth, Scotland, before being posted to 115 Squadron.

He lost his life with the crew of Wellington X2734 and, because he had no known grave, is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial near Windsor, UK.

It appears that his 20 year old brother, Corporal Leslie John Harding, was part of 12 Balloon Squadron based at RAF Gosport in Hampshire. They were trained in two-man teams to operate barrage balloons carried on ships and landing craft as an anti-aircraft umbrella.

In August 1942 the Allies launched Operation Jubilee, now known as the Dieppe Raid. It took place on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 a.m. and by 10:50 a.m. the Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat.

Over 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, were supported by The Calgary Regiment of the 1st Canadian Tank Brigade and a strong force of Royal Navy and smaller Royal Air Force landing contingents. It involved 5,000 Canadians, 1,000 British troops, and 50 United States Army Rangers.

12 Balloon Squadron was ordered to supply twenty men.

This raid, which the Germans were expecting, and had prepared for, was not a success, and resulted in the loss of many lives.

The barrage balloons from RAF Gosport were apparently not used during the voyage or landings, though Leopold Wenger, an Fw190 pilot on his third sortie of the day, who had followed and attacked the fleeing fleet near the Brighton, UK coast, reported the presence of balloons on the ships there.

Out of the 6,000 men who had taken part in the landings, 4,384 were killed, wounded or missing. All the equipment landed on shore was abandoned, and the Royal Navy lost 550 men and 34 ships.

The RAF, in what was the largest single-day air battle of the war, flew 2,617 sorties and lost 106 planes, while the Luftwaffe lost only 48.

The raid used tank landing craft for the first time, but these were another disaster. Only 10 of the 24 LTC vessels landed any tanks, and every one of the 27 tanks which drove onto the beaches was destroyed. Every tank that landed was lost, and over 65% of the 5,000 Canadians involved were either captured or killed.

Of the 20 RAF balloon personnel who left RAF Gosport, one airman AC1 Joseph McKinney, was killed, and 9 were 'missing in action'.

There is no record available about what happened to cause the death of RAF Corporal Leslie John Harding. His body was washed ashore four weeks later on the beach at Nieuwpoort - Bad, (in that time still belonging to Oostduinkerke), on September 16th, 1942, at around 9.00am, and he is buried, with three of his squadron mates, Cpl Leonard Norton Prior, (653713) RAF - age 22, LAC Hugh McKinnon, (997459) RAFVR - age 32, and LAC Walter Ramsey McKinnon (1052068) RAFVR - age 35, at Koksijde Communal Cemetery.

From those 20 balloon men out of RAF Gosport, 19 year old AC2 Cyril Kenneth Allen was also killed, and he is buried at Ostend cemetery, and 23 year old AC1 Albert George Windle at Brookwood military cemetery in the UK.

Sgt E.G. Rawlinson, LAC R.A. Birtle, and AC1 E.H. Kite, were all captured and made prisoners of war.

 

Koksijde Communal Cemetery.

 

Elsie Armstrong's trip to Holland

It happened on Friday the thirteenth.… but there came a lucky Saturday the fourteenth afterwards! How Elsie Armstrong was visiting her father's grave on Vlieland Island, for the first time.   by Willem de Jong

In the 1960’s, the 70’s and the 80’s, and later too, as long as these people could travel by train, ferry, bus and car, and depending on their age and health, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) was organizing “Poppy-tours” to local cemeteries in Holland, for veterans and next of kin of those who were killed in action over there, during W.W. 2. 

In this manner such a tour was planned again for October 1978, when 38 persons would travel from the U.K. to Groesbeek village, in the Nijmegen region (South of Arnhem) with the help of the Dutch “sister organization” of the CWGC, the “Oorlogsgravenstichting”. 

One of these British visitors would be Miss Elsie Armstrong of Gravesend, Kent. But her destination was much more to the North of Holland…… Vlieland Island, in Friesland. There some consuls of the Dutch war graves commission would take her by car to Harlingen city, to the ferry terminal, etc., so she could visit the island and the local cemetery in Oost-Vlieland for a couple of hours, where, 36 years before, her father was buried. She never had seen his last resting place over there.  But…. in the evening of the same day she had to return, going back to Groesbeek, into the companionship of the total group of 38 visitors.

For Elsie this memory tour to Vlieland should be the voyage of her life, because she was not a “globetrotter” at all, she never had left England before!

Therefore she was looking forward with mixed feelings and in the first days of October she was quite nervous, and didn’t sleep very well. Finally the great day was starting and, it happened on Friday the thirteenth….. on the road to the ferry, there was a car accident. Lucky for her, she was not involved herself, but, the road was blocked for a long time, and although she had left home in the early morning, she missed her boat to Rotterdam / Holland.

No mobile phones or twitter etc. in these days, so she could not call for help easily, could not try to contact the organizers in a simple and speedy way. 

What to do now? Employees in the ferry terminal later on, felt sorry for her and tried to make contact with “Holland”. And before she was broken down totally, they were giving her advice to take the next boat, the night ferry to Rotterdam; in the meanwhile they were trying and trying again…..

That night, while Elsie was trying to find some rest, and in the early morning of Saturday the fourteenth, a lot of telephone calls were made in Holland, even to the HQ of the KLu (the Dutch Royal Air Force) in The Hague. And when she arrived at the European mainland, a taxi was there, taking her at the highest speed to Groesbeek.

A consul / guide of the Oorlogsgraven-comité, Mr. L.J. van Kampen (of St. Annaparochie / Friesland), and his wife too, were waiting there for her. These dedicated volunteers were bringing her to Leeuwarden / Friesland, to the NATO airfield by car, in about 2.5 hours. And she had never flown in her life ! An Alouette-chopper of the Search And Rescue squadron was “warming-up” already. 

This helicopter, flown by Adj. A. Keizer and Serg.-Maj. W.F. Horsmeier (pilot and engineer), was flying her, and also her guide Mr. Van Kampen, to the heliport of Vlieland Island (East of the habour and the village). And at last, a car was driving her to the churchyard, in the middle of the village (she could not walk for a long time). Mr. Van Kampen was guiding her the last meters to the grave, no. 52… her fathers’ grave… !!! 

We only can try to understand what was going on in her mind…..

After it all, back in Groesbeek, (car-helicopter-car), she was very tired, emotional too, but, she was a very grateful person, thanking all the people who were helping her on this special day, Lucky Saturday the fourteenth!

 

Information about crew, plane and crash etc.:

Short Stirling Mk.I, W7500, MG-“B”  - No. 7 Sqdn. “Per diem, per noctem” ( “ By day and by night”) - RAF-Oakington - airborne 23.50 hrs. (02-06-1942).

Mission to Essen, Ruhrgebiet / Germany - shot down by Luftwaffe night-fighter, piloted by Maj. Günther “Fips” Radusch of II./NJG.2 - ditching in the North Sea off Hollands’ Northcoast, about 03.10 hrs. (03-06-1942). 

First Pilot - Pilot Officer George Frederick Sanderson - RCAF - J/5790 - age 22 - of Avonlea, Saskatchewan, Canada - Son of Herbert & Mary Sanderson - MIA - Runnymede Memorial - panel 101 (in Canada / Saskatchewan, there is a “Lake Sanderson”, named after him)  

Second Pilot - Pilot Officer Leslie James Harcus - RAF(VR) -111259 - age 29 (born in Leith, Edinburgh, Dec. 5, 1912) - of Orkney Island, U.K. (farmer there)husband of Minnie Harcus and father of Ronald & Dorothy (and he had a brother at least) - MIA -Runnymede Memorial - panel 69

Flight Engineer - Sgt. Sydney Walstead Precious - RAF - 569914 - age 21 - of Glengarnock, Ayrshire, U.K. - Son of William Clarence & Lilian Turner Precious - MIA - Runnymede Memorial - panel 91

 

Navigator - Sgt. Wilfred Frank Morgan - RAF(VR) -  age 24 - of Cricklewood, Middlesex, U.K. - son of Percy O. & Marie E.W. Morgan - MIA - Runnymede Memorial -panel 90

 

Wireless Operator - Sgt. Ronald Albert Archer - RAF(VR) - 91 70 21 - age 24 - of Harrow, Middlesex, U.K. - son of Frederick Albert & Maud Archer, of Harrow too; husband of Dorothy C. Archer - KIA -buried in Amsterdam (Noord-Holland / the Netherlands), Nieuwe Ooster Be-graafplaats (New Eastern Cemetery), Plot 69, Row E, Grave 4

 

Air Gunner - Sgt. Richard Armstrong - Elsie's father - RAF(VR) - 1 37 88 39 - age 27 (born 1915) - of Burradon, Northumberland, U.K. - husband of Elsie Armstrong (his wife had the same name as his daughter) - KIA - buried Vlieland Island, Oost-Vlieland village (Friesland / the Netherlands), Grave 52

 

Air Gunner - Sgt. Basil Sydney Brown - RAF(VR) - 1 10 89 65 - age 20 - of Boston, Lincolnshire, U.K. - son of Sidney & Alice Brown, of Boston too; husband of Freda Brown - MIA - Runnymede Memorial- panel 79

 

Air Gunner - F/Sgt. Sydney Victor Harding - RAF - 56 68 66 - age 24 - of Lewisham, London, U.K. - son of Albert Samuel & Bertha Grace Harding - MIA - Runnymede Memorial - panel 74

 

 

*  *  *

 

Pilot Officer John Sarginson and 51 Squadron

51 Squadron's Halifax HR934 with P/O Smyth and his crew took off from RAF Snaith at 22.26 on 25th of July 1943 on a bomber raid to Essen. It is not known what happened but it was lost without a trace. They crashed into the North Sea near the coast of Holland. On the previous evening the squadron had participated in the raid on Hamburg and Flying Officer Cole's crew had a narrow escape after being picked up by searchlights over Cuxhaven on the Lower Saxony coast. They were attacked by a Messerschmitt Me109 but were able to dive away without being hit.

The crew were -

F/O John Stuart Cole - Pilot, Sgt Leslie Alfred Taylor - Flight Engineer, P/O John Stanley Smyth - Navigator, P/O Charles Edwin Parkin -  Bomb Aimer, Sgt Frederick Arthur James Edwards - Wireless Operator, P/O John Sarginson  - Air Gunner, Sgt George Clark Thompson  - Air Gunner.

The bodies of the crew were eventually washed ashore on various Dutch beaches. P/O John Smyth's body was found near Castricum and he was interred there. Sgt George Thompson and P/O Charles Parkin are also buried at Castricum, F/O John S Cole and Sgt Leslie Taylor at Bergen, PO John Sarginson is buried at Vlieland and Sgt Frederick Edwards at Bergen op Zoom.

The pilot, 23 year old John Stuart Cole, was the son of James Ernest George Cole, and Dorothy Lilian Cole, of Wembley, Middlesex.

John Stanley Smyth was born in 1914, son of John and Sarah Smyth and husband of Olive Maude McKay Smyth, of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He was a member of the Pharmaceutical Society.

George Clark Thompson was born in 1911, the son of George and Margaret Thompson, of West Hampstead, London.

32 year old Leslie Alfred Taylor was the son of Frederick and Emily Taylor and husband of Katherine Taylor, of Cardiff.

The wireless operator, 29 year old Sgt Frederick Edwards, was the son of Levi James Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards and husband of Phyllis Selina Edwards, of Watchet, Somerset.

John Sarginson aged 23 was the son of Horace William and Helena Lucy Sarginson, of Marske, Yorkshire.

The bomb-aimer, Charles Edwin Parkin, aged 28, was the son of James and Annie Parkin from Belper, Derbyshire, and husband of Joyce Emily Mary Parkin.

The Officer of the Watch in the Watch Office at Snaith, Yorkshire, guiding Handley Page Halifaxes of 51 Squadron RAF back to base after a night raid on Nuremberg. The Station Commander of Snaith, Group Captain N H Fresson, can be seen waiting outside on the balcony of the Control Tower. (IWM photo)

 

Halifax W1104 of 76 Squadron 4th June 1942

 

To the right are the graves of Sgt. J. Battersby and American air-gunner, Pilot Officer R.S. Mulhauser at Sage War Cemetery. P/O Mulhauser was first buried at Borkum in July 1942.

Their plane, Handley Page Halifax W1104, MP-"F", of No. 76 Sqdn., went into the North Sea, S.E. of Vlieland Island (Holland), on the 4th of June 1942, during a raid on (Hansestadt) Bremen / N.W. Germany.

Both Pilot Officer Philp and Sgt Willie Watson have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in the UK.

The observer, Sgt Frank Edwin Ormerod, and Co. Antrim born air-gunner Sgt James Henry Harte, are both buried at Vlieland.

 

Crew - 

Pilot -  P/O. John Adams Philp - 105196 - RAF(VR) - age 21 - son of Leslie Alexander Philp & Violet Evelyn Philp, of Clifton, Bristol - MIA / Runnymede Memorial - panel 71  

Sgt. Frank Edwin Ormerod - 1057349 - RAF(VR) - age 30 - son of Joseph Wingate Ormerod & Lilian Ormerod; husband of Edith Mary Ormerod, of Prestwich, Lancs (UK) - KIA - (Oost-)Vlieland - grave 41  

P/O. Robert Samuel Mulhauser - J/15671 - RCAF - age 24 - son of Maj. Samuel Alfred Mulhauser & Helen Baerd Mulhauser, of Huntington Woods, Michigan (USA) - Sage War Cemetery -grave 7.E.8       previously buried Borkum July 23rd 1942

Sgt. James Henry Harte - 1358088 - RAF(VR) - age 20 - son of Lotty Harte; grandson of Mrs. L. Harte, of Portrush, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland - KIA - (Oost-)Vlieland - grave 42  

Sgt. John Battersby - 971129 - RAF(VR) - age 29 - son of Samuel & Helena Battersby; husband of Alice Battersby, of Thornton, Braford, Yorkshire (UK) - KIA - Sage War Cemetery -grave 5.D.3  

Sgt. Willie Watson - 1078071 - RAF(VR) - age 21 - son of Joseph & Lily Watson, of Dewsbury, Yorkshire - MIA / Runnymede Memorial - panel 96

 

 

Above  is an oil painting in the Air Force Museum by the war-time artist William Little of an Unknown Officer. The subject is believed to be John Adams Philp.

 

 

Notes about Frank Ormerod and Halifax W1104

 

76 Squadron was a Halifax heavy bomber squadron in No. 4 Group. Only the second squadron to fly the Halifax, it began operations on the night of 12-13 June 1941, and maintained its offensive until the end of the European war was in sight.

At the time of Frank's death 76 Squadron were flying out of Middleton St George.

The Operations Record Book for the Squadron notes that on 3 June 1942 "Operations were ordered for an attack on Bremen. Ten crews were detailed, and all took off. One aircraft returned early and two are reported missing (Captains P.O. Philp and F/S. Stell).  The remaining aircraft landed safely at base on return ...

Weather. Fine. Small amounts of cloud. Excellent visibility. Wind light SW'ly, but increasing to 10-15 mph, temporarily during mid afternoon."

Frank Ormerod was flying in the Halifax II, W.1104 "F", piloted by P.O. Philp. The other members of the crew were Sergeants Mulhauser, Harte, Battersby and Watson.

The squadron records note that "this aircraft was airborne at Middleton St George at 23.14 hours since when nothing further has been heard. It has therefore been reported missing."

Frank's body was later recovered from the North Sea, on 28 June 1942, and is buried in Vlieland General Cemetery, The Netherlands (Grave 41).

The following information was provided to an Ormerod family history researcher by Dirk Bruin, who has been researching the Commonwealth casualties buried in Vlieland General Cemetery.

The police report into the finding of Frank's body  mentions that he was found on 28 June, some 24 days after the crash. It reports that the body was in an advanced state of decomposition, and that it was identified by the name Ormerod on the uniform.

The report, made by the Dutch Police, also mentions that he was dressed in his flying uniform and wearing his flying boots - and that the boots were confiscated by the Germans. The body of Frank Ormerod was than buried with military honours.

The German document provides a list of items that were forwarded to the Red Cross. It again mentions the boots (2 Filzstiefel), so it would appear that they were not taken by the Germans

 

*  *  *

 

The Crash of 161 Squadron's Short Stirling Bomber LK209 in 1945 while on a Dutch Resistance 'Drop'.

 

Short Stirling Mk. IV, LK209, MA-T  of No.161 SD-Squadron "Liberate" (Liberation), from RAF Tempsford, took off at 23.00hrs. Hit by FLAK-fire from Vlieland's Ost-Batterie (of the Germans) while the aircraft tried to cross the coast-line between Vlieland and Terschelling; 25 containers aboard (in the bomb-bay) for a Dutch resistance drop-zone at Meindenpolder, near Breukelen (Holland's inland). It tried to make an emergency-landing West of Oost-Vlieland villages, in the direction of the Vliehorst, but crashed in the dunes and caught fire, 23 March 1945, about 02.00 hrs. (local time). 

The skipper, F/Lt Alan Henderson Aitken was a Scot from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, as were two of his crew P/O William Shaw from Greenhill, Lanarkshire, and F/Sgt Alexander Paton of Drumoyne, Glasgow.

The route they were due to follow was across the North Sea, towards the Vliehors dam, and then to Meindenpolder watching out for a signal light from the ground.

For reasons that will probably never be cleared up, the aircraft took a different course, not on the Vliehors but along the east side of Vlieland.

The low-flying Stirling came in over the area covered by the Eastern Battery on Vlieland and received the full brunt of the German flak guns.

The damaged aircraft turned west along the longitudinal axis of the island and pilot Alan Aitken immediately realised that he would not make it back to England.

He diligently searched for a place to crash-land the big bomber but was faced with the daunting prospect of a landscape of sand dunes. It is not known whether he attempted an emergency landing or simply lost control but the aircraft hit the ground at more than 200 km per hour. The Stirling violently hit a sand dune and almost immediately caught fire around the cockpit and wings.

 

 

F/Lt. - 1st Pilot - Alan Henderson Aitken - RAF(VR) - 175821 -youngest son of John Aitken, Fruitfield House, Airdrie. Died on the way to hospital at Harlingen - Buried at Harlingen.

Flight Engineer - Sgt William Horrocks - RAF(VR) - 2210899 - from Poynton, Cheshire - KIA - buried (Oost-)Vlieland - grave 78

Navigator- P/O Ronald Arthur Caston - RAF(VR) - 187018 - age 23 - son of Mr. and Mrs. Caston, of Ilford, Essex (UK) - KIA - buried  (Oost-)Vlieland - grave 77

Wireless Operator. - P/O Reginald Arthur Swift - RAF(VR) - 196053 - age 22 - son of Jon Ernest & Nellie Swift, of Battersea, London - KIA - buried (Oost-)Vlieland - grave 75

Air Bomber - P/O William Lawson Shaw - RAF(VR) - 196054 - age 22 - son of James & Mary Shaw, of Greenhill, Lanarkshire (UK) - KIA - buried (Oost-)Vlieland - grave 74

Air Gunner - F/Sgt Alexander Robert Paton - RAF(VR) - 1573936 - age 24 - son of John & Mabel Paton, of Drumoyne, Glasgow - KIA - buried (Oost-)Vlieland - grave 76  

Air Gunner (rear) - Sgt Joseph T. White - age 25 - of Bedford, the only survivor / POW - Vlieland etc. - Landed by half open parachute in the trees of Het Bomenland = the land of trees / wood; he was light wounded in his face (by the trees ?) but very lucky, because his flying mates were in a "hell of fire"......!  

An account by a Dutch local relates -

"We heard the plane coming. Often we heard planes approaching, but this time it was different. He was clearly too low. The aircraft came from the east. It was about 2 o'clock in the night when it crashed.

I then immediately ran to the scene. I had taken a shovel to fight some fires. January Cupid, Klaas Annema and Piet de Jong came after me. They also had a shovels.

It was not difficult to find the plane because it was burning like a torch and the exploding ammunition was clear to hear and see. When we arrived at the wreck, there was not a German present. The wreck lay partly in a pit and burned terribly. The tail was broken and was slightly east. We were four of us on the edge of the pit and then we heard someone shouting. A person whose clothes were on fire, lay against one of the engines.

We put out the fire to his clothes and moved the man from there. We carried him to two scoops of the wreck away. He was almost impossible to lift. He was a big guy and all those aviator clothes made him even heavier. He was in a bad way and had severe injuries to his head. (The data shows that this is was F/Lt. Alan Aitken, the pilot of the aircraft).

The Germans by that time had arrived, but they dared not go near the wreck. The four men took the pilot on their improvised stretcher to a vehicle that was parked on the road. From there he was taken to the village. Siep Shelter , Jan Cupid, Klaas Annema and Piet de Jong were then sent away by the now-arrived commander of the Western Battery.

 

There was only one survivor. It was the tail gunner Joseph T. White.

Just before the plane had crashed, he was blown out. The aircraft was much too low for him to make use of the parachute. He came down with it half opened amongst the young pine trees. Fortunately his fall was broken by those trees, but on reaching the ground he discovered that he had lost one boot. He observed the Germans around the wreck and stayed in the wooded area.

Later, after some wandering, with only one boot and a head wound, he eventually reached Posthuis .  He was received there by the whole community. The children were all awake. He was given a couple of glasses of their milk. There was little talk, because nobody spoke English. Siep Shelter motioned to him that he wanted to see his passport. The passport showed that he was 25 year old Joseph T. White  from Bedford.

 

Fearing German reprisals they thought it better to notify the authorities that the English aviator was with them. The Germans already suspected that there was a survivor, because a red flare was observed at some distance from the crashed plane. They assumed that he would surrender. Shortly thereafter he was picked up by two Germans from the West Battery and transported to the village.

The two airmen were that same morning transported on the eight-hour boat to Harlingen. Unfortunately the badly injured pilot, F/Lt Aitken, died before reaching the hospital.

 

This crew is also commemorated on the Special Forces Roll of Honour

 

 

 

 The memorial in the wood and part of the wreckage of LK209

 

 

The five graves at Vlieland Cemetery and number 6 - the pilot's at Harlingen

 

 

 

 

 

*  *  *

 

 

Wing Commander Leslie Sidney Ford - pilot of 402 Squadron's Spitfire AA980

 

 

 

Leslie Sidney Ford was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 30th December 1919  the son of Dr. Theodore Rupert Ford & Margaret Irene Ford, of Shelburne, Nova Scotia.  He attended Acadia University for three years.

Sid Ford enlisted in the RCAF at Halifax 21 January 1940 and was awarded his wings on 28th January 1941.

Sid Ford (right) with his Nova Scotia mate Flight Lieutenant Patrick O'Leary who was shot down by Fw190s off Dunkirk on 27th February 1943

 

He returned to 403 Squadron as "B" Flight Commander, 19 July 1942; and became Commanding Officer on 13 August 1942.

On 19 April 1943 Sid was posted to RAF Digby as the Wing Commander of 402 City of Winnipeg Squadron.

News report - April 29th 1943.  Leslie Ford, of Liverpool, N.S., has been promoted from the rank of squadron leader to that of wing commander, becoming the first graduate of the combined (air) training organization to attain that rank, it was announced Wednesday. The flyer already has won the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar for exploits which includes the sinking of an enemy destroyer and the destruction of six enemy aircraft.

The 23 year old was killed in action on 4 June 1943 with four other pilots of 402 Squadron while flying Spitfire - AA 980. After attacking three E-boats off the Dutch coast he was shot down into the sea and is buried at Vlieland Cemetery.

403 Squadron (RCAF) Wolf Squadron - Squadron Code KH-Z

The squadron served in RAF Fighter Command and Second Tactical Air Force for over four years. By May 1945, the squadron had a record of 123 enemy aircraft destroyed, with a share in seven more, 10 probably destroyed and 72 damaged with a share in one more.

An equally impressive number of ground targets had been destroyed or damaged including 30 tanks, 50 locomotives and nearly 100 other vehicles. Sixteen Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC), four DFC with Bar and one Military Medal were awarded to members of the Squadron, in addition to a number of Mentions in Despatch. It was the top-scoring fighter squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force. During 1943 it out-topped all other Spitfire squadrons in Fighter Command with the exception of one Norwegian unit.

Like many other units, the price the "Wolf" Squadron was to pay in lives and aircraft was high. Eighty-five aircraft were destroyed and a total of 76 pilots were reported missing. Of these, four were killed, 39 presumed dead, 21 captured, nine successfully evaded capture.

*  *  *

Sgt O'Sullivan and Wellington X9812 from 1481 Flt

Wellington X9812  took off from RAF Station Binbrook, at 2310 hours on the night of 25/26thJune 1942, to attack Bremen, Germany. The aircraft participated in the third “Thousand Bomber” raid in 1942. To boost the total to over 1000 aircraft, Bomber Command had added a large number to the active squadrons from OTU's, Conversion Units and training flights. 1481 Flt appears to be one of those. Of the 50 aircraft lost on the Bremen raid 32 were from the mainly inexperienced crews of OTUs and Conversion Units.

Nothing was heard from X9812 after take off and it did not return to base. According to the Theo Boiten book on the Nightfighter war diaries it matches a claim by Major Kurt Holler of StabIII./NJG4 for his 2nd victory of the war at 3.27am on the the 26th June 1942.  His first was for a Whitley bomber downed over North Vlieland earlier the same morning at 2.54. (that may have been  Whitley BD201-RK-L from 10 OTU RAF Abingdon which crashed at 02.56am  6km from Medemblik.) He later went on to shoot down a total of 18 aircraft before he was killed by return fire from a bomber on the night of 21/22 June 1943.

RAAF Sergeant O'Sullivan's body was washed ashore on the 8th July and is buried in Vlieland General Cemetery and RAAF Sergeant McIntosh washed ashore on the 7th July and is buried in Tenschelling General Cemetery. The remainder of the crew have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial near Windsor.

The crew were: Squadron Leader M R Atkinson, (Pilot), RAAF Sgt J.G.O’Sullivan, Observer, RAAF Sgt D.H.McIntosh, Bomb Aimer, RAAF Sgt A.N.Blackley, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (103 Sqdn) and RAF Sgt W Waller, Air Gunner.

The pilot, 26 year old Matthew Richard Atkinson, of Gosforth, Northumberland, joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his elementary flying training as a pupil pilot in November 1936. He was posted to 11 FTS, Wittering on 6th February 1937 and after completing his training he joined 52 Squadron at Upwood, Huntingdonshire on 4th September 1937. He then volunteered for Fighter Command and on 20th September 1940 he joined 43 Squadron at Usworth. He married 21 year old Winifred Molteni in early 1942.

*  *  *

407 RCAF AM731 Hudson MkIII -  15th December 1941

 

 

Hudson light bomber AM731 left RAF North Coates at 1605 hours on 15th December 1941 on an anti shipping mission to the Terschellingalong area and in particular against VP and E-boats of the Kriegsmarine. Because 'radio silence' was imposed nothing was heard from this aircraft and it is believed to have been shot down into the Wadden Sea east of Vlieland.

 

 

The RCAF 407 Squadron crew were Pilot Officer L W Almquist, Pilot Officer P G  Ford, Pilot Officer J A Bitcon, and Sergeant W Turley.

The bodies of two of the crew were recovered. Pilot Officer Percy G Ford, the son of William Walter and Mary Ford, of Castor, Alberta, was washed ashore at Vlieland on the 27th of June 1942 and he is buried in Grave 38 at the Vlieland War Cemetery. The wireless operator Sergeant Wilfred Turley's body was also recovered and he is buried in Usquert General Cemetery at Groningen.

Wilfred Turley's grave at Usquert General Cemetery

Their crewmates were never found and the pilot, American born Pilot Officer Leonard Almquist, and 22 year old Pilot Officer James Bitcon from Vancouver are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

 

 

Aircrew and ground staff of 407 Squadron enjoying a tea break on 2nd of November 1941

 

407 Coastal Strike Squadron was formed at Thorney Island, England on the 8 May 1941, first training on the Bristol Blenheim. It was one of seven Article XV RCAF units to serve with RAF Coastal Command.

The squadron's wartime history can be divided into two periods. From September 1941 to January 1943, the squadron operated as a "strike" squadron attacking enemy shipping with the Lockheed Hudson. It was as a strike squadron that it won its reputation and earned its 'Demon Squadron' nickname from its fearless low-level attacks on enemy shipping in the North Sea, achieving the highest numbers of ships sunk or seriously damaged in a single month.

*  *  *

Flight Sergeant James Kelso from 102 (Ceylon) Squadron

 

MZ292 DY-C  from 102 (Ceylon) Squadron had taken off from RAF Pocklington at 10:52 pm as part of a 451 aircraft force, 23 coming from 102 Squadron, dispatched to bomb the synthetic oil plants in the Rhur Valley, namely the Fischer Tropsch, Rhur Chemie Holten and Rhur Benzinag plants. Unfortunately the route to the target lay over a German night fighter beacon at Bocholt only thirty miles from the target, which was being used as a holding point. This resulted in considerable night fighter activity from the target to the coast and also considerable ground fire. Nothing is known as to what MZ292 encountered, but they crashed into the sea off the Dutch Frisian Islands, one of five 102 Squadron aircraft lost on this raid.

The crew were pilot - F/Sgt. James G W Kelso (23) from Port Rush, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland, navigator - Sgt. John Cowan Gibson (21) from Ayr in Scotland, bomb aimer - Sgt. Thomas Ernest Hill (23) from Brockley, London, flight engineer - Sgt. Alexander Smith (20)  from Scotstoun, Scotland, wireless operator - Sgt. Ronald Bartram (22) from Pontefract, Yorkshire, air gunner - Sgt. Norman Howarth,  air gunner - Sgt. David Wilfred Jennings (34) from Redfield, Gloucestershire.

F/Sgt  J G W Kelso was found 26 days later on the 12th of July 1944 and lies in the General Cemetery at Vlieland. Sgt R. Batram was washed ashore on 17th of August 1944 and buried in Westerschelling General Cemetery on Terschelling. Sgt D.W. Jennings was found on 29/8/44 and now rests in the War Cemetery at Bergen Op Zoom. Unfortunately none of the others were found, and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial

 

 

 

 

Wellington W5458 from 12 Squadron

 

12 Squadron's Wellington B.II W5458 left RAF Binbrook at 22.40 hrs on 19 May 1942 on a bombing mission to Mannheim, Germany. At some stage in the flight, the Wellington crashed into the North Sea. All crew members perished.
 

The crew were pilot - RNZAF Pilot Officer William John Fulton of Paeroa, Auckland, New Zealand., navigator - 25 year old RNZAF Sergeant William Alan Baird from Port Ahurire, Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand., wireless operator 26 year old RAF Sergeant Harry Edgar Wreyford Ansell from Tottenham, Middlesex, air gunner - 32 year old RAF Sergeant Carodoc Roberts of Flint, North Wales, 20 year old RAF  Sergeant James Ernest Hughes of Evington, Leicestershire, and 29 year old RAF Sergeant Clifford Allan Bell from Langley Park, Co. Durham.

Only two bodies were recovered when washed onto the beach of Vlieland. They were Sgt Harry Edgar Wreyford Ansell and Sgt Carodoc Roberts. They are buried in Vlieland Cemetery. The remainder of the crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The skipper, Pilot Officer William John Fulton, was the 26 year old son of Thomas and Mary Ann Fulton, of Paeroa, Auckland, New Zealand. He was a former pupil of the Paeroa District High School

Sgt Carodoc Roberts was the son of Robert & Katherine Roberts from Flint, North Wales.

 

                                  War Memorials at their home towns

(1) Hawke's Bay, North Island, N.Z. (William Baird))   (2) Langley Park, County Durham, UK. (Clifford Bell)   (3) Paeroa, Auckland, N.Z. War Memorial at Primrose Hill. (William Fulton).

 

Flint WW2 Memorial (Carodoc Roberts), North Evington Memorial, Leicestershire, UK (J E Hughes) & Tottenham Memorial (Harry Ansell)

 

 

49 Squadron's Hampden AD971 lost on the Duisberg Raid  28/29 August 1941

 

The eight aircraft sent from RAF Scampton on the Duisberg raid by 49 Squadron encountered haze and flak at the target and two of the squadron's aircraft failed to return.

P/O Thomas Pratt and his crew fell to the cannons of a night fighter piloted by Oblt Helmut Lent from IV/NJG.1 at Leeuwarden. It was his 21st victory. Their burning aircraft crashed into the Wadden Sea and there were no survivors.  Some sources say “South of Ameland isle” - but in my opinion “South of  Texel isle” Willem   

  

49 Squadron ground crew 'loading up'

The crew were pilot - 25 year old Pilot Officer Thomas Pinckney Pratt, navigator - 29 year old Pilot Officer Harry Clifford Tonge, and Wireless Operator/Air Gunners - 29 year old Sergeant Charles Hodkinson and 22 year old Sergeant Arthur Charles Willis.

I found the above picture of Arthur Willis at the War Grave next to his, on the last resting place of the Unknown Polish Airman (grave E.1.16), brought there by the wind I guess. It was stuck in the flowers and the mud, but after cleaning, I found the remains of a text written below the picture, starting with ' Dear uncle Arthur ' (thus absolutely no Polish words). Besides, it was a young Airman pictured in RAF uniform - not any Polish ' signs ' on it, and..... why a photo of a ' known man ' on the grave of an ' Unknown ' ? Therefore the grave annex, of Sgt A.C. Willis, Arthur was the correct one, no doubt about it. And thus I was taking my own pictures then, and in the right way (checking all about it at home later on). However one important thing: the remainder of the  text was gone, by sunlight and rainwater...... alas.            Willem July 2015

Sgt Arthur Charles Willis was born at Dunmow in Essex and was the first son of works policeman, Arthur Herbert Willis and his wife Ida Hearn who were then living at 5 Misborne Road, Hillingdon in Middlesex.

The body of Sergeant Willis was found at the Afsluitdijk (Zuiderzee Enclosure Dam) near KM - marker 20.9, on 10th September 1941, at around 10.45am.

During a visit to the Harlingen city archives, Willem discovered a copy of the German paperwork which listed the possessions found on the body. One item in his wallet was a receipt for a second-hand Norton motorcycle Arthur had recently purchased.

It reads 'Norton BGO 974, (that was its London number-plate registration), sold to W.A.C Willis of 5 Misbourne Road, Hillingdon by R. Robertson of 56 Woodcroft Crescent, Hillingdon. £22.00'

Paid with thanks. R.R

 

The body of Sgt Charles Hodkinson came ashore near the Richel sandbank on the 8th September and he was buried at Vlieland - Grave 34. On September 9th the following day the body of 25 years old P/O Pratt was found on Texel's East Coast. He is buried at Den Burg Cemetery, Texel - Grave 49. Sgt Arthur Willis was recovered from the sea on the 10 September and is buried at Harlingen - Grave 17. On 12th of September P/O Harry Tonge was found near the Vliehorst and is buried in Grave 35 at Vlieland churchyard. 

Pilot Officer Pratt (then a Sergeant) was returning from a raid on Germany in 49 Squadron’s Hampden L4045 on May 16th 1940 when he lost his bearings and finished up landing at Curragh in Kildare in the Republic of Ireland. He was refuelled and allowed to depart.

The grave of Pilot Officer Pratt at Texel and Sergeant Willis at Harlingen

 

 

Overview of Allied Aircrew war graves in the Oost-Vlieland churchyard (St. Nicolaas church)

 

Name

Age

Home

Force

Squadron

 Aircraft Rank etc Died

Found

Grave

Ansell. Harry E.W

26

Tottenham, UK

RAFVR

12

W5458

Sgt (W/Op/AG)

20.05.1942

 

39

Armstrong. Richard

27

Burradon, Northumberland, UK

RAFVR

7

W7500

Sgt (AG)

03.06.1942

 

52

Caston. Ronald A

23

Ilford, Essex. UK

RAFVR

161

LK209

P/O (Navigator)

23.03.1945

 

77

Drew. William A.

 

 

RAFVR

28 OTU

R1324

Sgt (W/Op/AG)

12.06.1943

 

64

Fitchett. Edward A.

20

Bexleyheath, Kent UK

RAFVR

83

R5837

Sgt (Observer)

08.04.1942

 

40

Ford. Leslie S

22

Nova Scotia, Canada

RCAF

402

AA980

Wing Com. (Pilot) DFC + Bar

04.06.1943

 

63

Ford. Percy G.

26

Alberta, Canada

RCAF

407

AM731

P/O (W/Op/AG)

15.12.1941

 

38

Grainger. James G.

26

Toronto, Canada

RCAF

102

JB918

Sgt (W/Op)

27.04.1943

 

60

Harte. James H. 

20

Port Rush, Co.Antrim, N. Ireland

RAFVR

76

W1104

Sgt (AG)

04.06.1942

 

42

Hodkinson. Charles

29

Birstall, Leicestershire UK

RAFVR

49

AD971

Sgt (W/Op/AG)

29.08.1941

08.09.1941

34

Holder. James C.

22

Drumbo, Ontario, Canada

RCAF

137

MN126

F/O (Pilot)

04.08.1944

 

73

Horrocks. William

 

Poynton, Cheshire UK

RAFVR

161

LK209

Sgt (Flight Engineer)

23.03.1945

 

78

Kelso. James G.W

23

Port Rush, Co.Antrim, N. Ireland

RAFVR

102

MZ292

F/Sgt (Pilot)

17.06.1944

 

71

Kirkland. Kenneth

26

Bellingen, NSW, Australia

RAAF

106

ND336

P/O (Pilot)

30.01.1944

 

69

Lauder. John A.

21

Musselburg, Midlothian, Scotland

RAFVR

77

NA545

Sgt (AG)

17.06.1944

 

72

O’Sullivan. John G.

30

Singleton, NSW, Australia

RAAF

1481

X9812

Sgt

26.06.1942

 

48

Oliver. Arthur G. Jr

26

New Cross, London UK

RAF

40

N2843

Sgt (AG)

07.07.1941

 

28

Ormerod. Frank E.

30

Prestwich, Lancashire, UK

RAFVR

76

W1104

Sgt (Observer)

04.06.1942

 

41

Paton. Alexander R.

24

Drumoyne, Glasgow, UK

RAFVR

161

LK209

F/Sgt (AG)

23.03.1945

 

76

Reu. Robert G. 

20

St. Peters, South Australia

RAAF

467

W4946

F/Sgt

28.07.1943

 

67

Roberts, Caradoc

32

Flint, Wales, UK

RAFVR

12

W5458

Sgt (AG)

20.05.1942

 

47

Sarginson. John

23

Marske, Yorkshire, UK

RAFVR

51

HR934

P/O (AG)

26.07.1943

 

66

Scott. Allan R. 

19

 

RAF

214

N3761

Sgt (Flight Engineer)

07.06.1942

 

51

Shaw. William L.

22

Greenhill, Lanarkshire, Scotland

RAFVR

161

LK209

P/O

23.03.1945

 

74

Stewart. Herbert W. 

19

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

RCAF

466

HE152

F/Sgt

14.01.1943

 

56

Sutton. Philip S.

21

Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, UK

RAFVR

20 OTU

T2722

Sgt (Pilot)

27.11.1942

 

55

Swift. Reginald A.

22

Battersea, London, UK

RAFVR

161

LK209

P/O (W/Op/AG)

23.03.1945

 

75

Tonge. Harry C. 

29

Gillingham, Dorset, UK

RAFVR

49

AD971

P/O (Navigator)

29.08.1941

12.09.1941

35

Treppass. Leonard

29

Erdington, Birmingham, UK

RAFVR

214

N3761

P/O (Observer)

07.06.1942

 

50

Wilgar-Robinson. Hugh V

30

Belfast, N.Ireland

RAFVR

9

X3280

P/O (Pilot)

09.11.1941

 

37

Wright. Robert G.

19

Pontlliw, Glamorganshire, Wales

RAF

76

DT563

P/O (AG)

30.03.1943

 

58

 

     

 

         

 

 

 

 

Graves at Vlieland

 

 

 

Sergeant R Armstrong Sergeant H E W Ansell

 

 

 

 

 Sergeant W A Drew  Sergeant E A Fitchett

 

 

 

 

Wing Commander L S Ford DFC Pilot Officer P G Ford

 

 

 

 

Warrant Officer J G Grainger  Sergeant J H Harte

 

 

 

 

 Sergeant C Hodkinson Flying Officer J C Holder

 

 

 

 

Flight Sergeant J G W Kelso Pilot Officer K H W Kirkland

 

 

 

 

Sergeant J A Lauder Sergeant A G Oliver

 

 

 

 

Sergeant F E Ormerod Sergeant J G O'Sullivan

 

 

 

 

Flight Sergeant R G Reu Pilot Officer L Sarginson

 

 

 

 

Sergeant C Roberts Pilot Officer H C Tonge

 

 

 

 

 

Unidentified RAF Airmen at Vlieland - 'Known Unto God'

 

 

 

August 1941 5th July 1942

 

 

 

 

11th October 1942 30th July 1943

 

 

 

 

11th November 1943 6th August 1942

 

 

 

 

3rd April 1943 7th June 1943

 

 

 

 

4th June 1943

 

 

 

*  *  *

 

 

137 Squadron’s Typhoon MN126 – Flying Officer J C Holder

Four 137 Squadron Typhoon’s from RAF Manston in Kent (two fighters and two RP’s) (MN627 - Pilot Officer E. Ashworth, MN995 -Pilot Officer J. Gates, JP663 - Flying Officer H.T. Nicholls and MN126 - Flying Officer J.C.Holder were airborne on armed shipping reconnaissance  to Colijnsplaat on 4th of August 1944 and also with orders to investigate a damaged 2.000 tonner attacked by the Squadron earlier in day. Two coasters of approximately 400/500 tons and one small M/V stationery just off shore west of Colijnsplaat were attacked.

Flying Officer James Holder - and his grave pictured in 1945.

137 Squadron Typhoons in 1944. The second photo shows the 60lb wing-mounted rockets.

 

Pilot Officer Nicholls undershot with RP (rocket) salvo and Flying Officer Holder scored a near-miss with RP whereas Pilot Officer Ashworth and Pilot Officer Gates observed cannon strikes on both coasters. Flying Officer Holder turned and went in for a second attack but crashed in the sea between the ships and the coast after apparently having been hit by Flak. The aircraft returned to base after searching while under fire for Flying Officer Holder, whilst Pilot Officer Nicholls had some difficulty having been hit by debris and Flak. Flying Officer Holder's body was finally recovered 5 weeks later when washed ashore on the Vliehorst beach at West Vlieland and was buried at Vlieland Cemetery on 11th September 1944.

22 year old RCAF Flying Officer James Caulfield Holder was the son of John and Gladys Holder from Drumbo, Ontario.

Canadian John Colton who was a pilot with 137 Squadron spoke about his war experience.  "I was posted to 137 Squadron at Manston in Kent, down on the south coast of England. Our main job there was to go out every morning around 4:00 and look for the German torpedo boats [Schnellboot or E-boats] that had been out all night attacking our convoys in the English Channel as by 4:00, 4:30, they were going back home. We were out there to wait for them going back home- so they did have quite a few sunken torpedo boats there!"

*  *  *

 

John Lancaster Mckee and his research about Lancaster ED529 from 467 Squadron

I have recently been doing some research into my fathers death when in service with the RAF in early 1943. He was based at RAF Bottesford which from November 1942 became an RAAF base for 467 squadron.

On the night of the 19th February 1943 five Lancasters took off from RAF Bottesford to carry out a raid on the seaport of Wilhelmshaven. Two of the five aircraft did not return, one of these being my father's aircraft.

The two aircraft were recorded as missing without trace and as such we have only the Combined Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede England to commemorate theirs and many thousands more for their ultimate sacrifice.However, during my research I have discovered via Luftwaffe records that on the night of the 19th February 1943 claims by Oberleutnant PAUL GILDNER of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1:Gildner flew a Messerschmitt 110 from Holland and claimed that he shot down two Halifax Bombers 20km north of Vlieland and 15km north of Vlieland at 21:05 and 21:16 respectively. There was also a claim that a B24 Liberator north oh Helgoland. The Luftwaffe made no claims for Lancasters on that night of the 19/20th February 1943.

This was strange because no Liberators were operating that night and although Halifaxe’s formed part of the raid on Wilhelmshaven none were lost that night. It is very likely that all three claims relate to Lancasters because the one thing these three types had in common was their twin tailplanes which could be easy to mistake types in night combats.

The two Lancasters from RAF Bottesford (OR Halifax) as Paul Gildner claimed as his 40th and 41st victories were flying at 1100 metres and 1000 metres respectively which is fairly low but could possibly be avoiding the flak curtain before climbing for the assault on Wilhelmshaven.

 Perhaps at this point I should give you some insight into my reasons for writing to you. My mother after receiving the telegram from the War Department informing her that her husband was missing without tracecould never accept this and always believed that he was a prisoner of war somewhere and would be re-patriated at the end of the war. She firmly believed this and never re-married,as she was pregnant with me at the time of his death/went missing she fulfilled his wishes when I was born and named me after the aircraft, I was christened John Lancaster Mckee, my father told her that the Lancaster would win us the war.

 I note that the Vlieland Cemetery has a plot for Commonwealth war Graves and that there are eight airmen who were not identified. I maybe clutching at straws here but could it be possible that some of these airmen flew the Lancasters on the night of the 19/20th February 1943. My mother never found a conclusion perhaps I can, whatever the outcome I will make a concerted effort this summer to visit the cemetery in Vlieland, it will be very emotional for me but will give conclusion. Finally I hope that some of the facts may be of interest to you and perhaps if you have any further information you could let me know via e mail  which is  mckee406@btinternet.com. Yours Sincerely   John Lancaster McKee

 

 Why was Paul Gildner there on that night?  by Willem

On the night before, 18/19th February 1943, RAF Bomber Command was sending 2 Mosquitos to the Oberhausen area in W.- Germany (to Bochum and Hamborn / in the Ruhr Valley), and 12 Stirlings to the Southern Biscay region, to lay mines in the "Elderberry" gardening sector.Thus, no extensive air operations against Germany in that night; an almost empty sky. The only air-crash in Holland was at about 23.00 hrs when Beaufighter Mk. VI F, number V8325, of No.68 Squadron, piloted by Squadron Leader W.D. Winward, went down over the Amstelmeer, near the former island of Wieringen and in the Wadden Sea, S.E. of Den Helder. The pilot was injured and made a POW and his observer Flying Officer C.K. Wood was killed.

Although there was little air activity by the RAF, Oblt. Paul Gildner with his crewmate, Heinz Huhn- radar-operator etc., sitting behind him in the cockpit - were starting on a  "Flieger-alarm" (scramble) from airbase Gilze-Rijen in occupied South Holland (West-Brabant, near Tilburg). They were ordered to fly into the new radar sector "Raum Gorilla", which since January 1943 was operating near Gorichem village, E. of Dordrecht and Rotterdam (10./Luftnachrichten-Regiment 211 - radarstellung of the 2nd class).

They were in a hurry of course, and therefore it happened that Heinz forgot the newest radio instructions list ! Without this new map he could not make contact easily with the control stations on the ground. They were already in the air and climbing up to operating height, before he realized.

 He felt ashamed and asked his skipper, Paul, therefore to turn the Messerschmitt and to make a landing on their home base again. But, that wasn’t easy at all because the weather conditions were bad already from start, but it was getting more and more miserable every minute, and in particular over the airbase at ground level there was dense mist !

Paul and Heinz asked for the runway lights - but these were switched off soon after their start, so no enemy pilot could see them for a long time - and also for flares.  But…it did not work in that way. Paul Gildner tried six times to make a decent and safe landing, but it was simply too dangerous, and those flares didn’t help, they were just blinding the pilot!

Oblt. Gildner, who had been transferred shortly before from "Fliegerhorst" Leeuwarden to airbase Gilze-Rijen, was the new Staffelkapitän of unit 3 since the death of Hptm. Knacke on 3/4 February. He decided to go back to Leeuwarden now as from higher altitudes they had seen already the better visibility in the North over Holland. Besides, it would be a nice excuse to see his old comrades again, and…. "ground control"  had given permission.If they had operated in the "Gorilla" sector before, is not known by me, but they landed safely in Friesland, at Leeuwarden.

And it felt like home sweet home for them…. and that was the reason why Gildner and Huhn were "Einsatzbereit" (ready for operations) over Northern Holland on the following night, because his home-base Flgh. Gilze-Rijen was closed for the next 24 hours (still mist).

Paul Gildner with his trophies

And, there was more going on at Leeuwarden, giving them good reasons to start operations from that airfield. The German air defence system, as it often did in the afternoon, picked up the regular signals telling them a new RAF raid was coming. On airfields in Britain ground crews were preparing and loading and testing……. testing also the wireless equipment on their planes! The Jerry’s received these signals, loud and clear, together with other "waves of activity"; and some aircraft were making test flights over the UK and the outlines of the islands, giving in the same time nice radar echo patterns. All this information and warnings were sent to the nearest Luftwaffe airfields, including Leeuwarden. And, as their own meteorologists reported, the weather should be good enough for a large scale RAF operation.That evening the greatest "Nachtjagd Experte" of the home base, Helmut Lent, since January promoted to Major, was on winter leave. Therefore Oblt. Hans-Joachim Jabs, as the oldest Staffelkapitän, was the best alternative for the moment, and Paul Gildner could assist him in a good way. They, and the other night-fighters of the unit, could have a "nice exercise", combined with some military "show and drill", because General Von Döring, commander of the 1st Jagddivision and operating in Deelen (near Arnhem), was in the "Gefechtsstand" of Leeuwarden airbase that night, on an inspection tour.

Story based on details from the (Dutch) book "Wespennest Leeuwarden" - part II (on pages 83 – 86), by researcher / writer Ab A. Jansen.

Continued

19 February 1943: heavy combat over the North Sea and the nearby “ Frisian Chain ”

How after the Wilhelmhaven air raid 6 RAF bombers were shot down, one of them Lancaster ED529 of No. 467 Sqdn., in which were the “ Vine Crew ”

As known via the earlier intro, nightfighter pilot Oblt. Paul Gildner, together with his radar-operator Uffz. Heinz Huhn, was back on his old station, “Fliegerhorst” Leeuwarden. They were waiting in the “Gefechtsstand” of the airfield that evening, Friday the 19th of February 1943, like the other Luftwaffe personnel and staff. They were also in the presence of General Kurt-Ber-tram von Döring, who was on inspection tour in Friesland. They were all waiting for the next step of RAF Bomber Command that night (!).

The German air defence was expecting already a new large scale air operation on Germany, but like often under these circumstances, the target was not known in the beginning. But then, as soon as was clear they were bombing Wilhelmshaven again, and the first messages came in from the German coastlines about the flight pattern of most of the returning aircraft - the main stream was going to enter “Stellung Schlei”- Schiermonnikoog soon and even the “Tiger-stel-lung” on the isle of Terschelling. Later on - the nightfighters on Leeuwarden were made ready for take-off. When the RAF aircraft continued their course to home it was indeed, “Fliegeralarm”!

While Oblt. Jabs was starting for sector “Schlei”, Oblt. Gildner was sent to “Tiger”. But not in his regular plane, the aircraft in which he arrived the day before from Gilze-Rijen. Why this decision was made, and by whom, I don’t know; maybe Hptm. Heinrich Ruppel, the “Raumführer” (NJRF) of Leeuwarden, ordered so?
Gildner and Huhn were taking off in an (old) Dornier nightfighter, and they needed therefore a 3rd crewmember, Uffz. Poppelmeyer.
But most important of all, the 3 fighters - Lt. Kuthe was also starting - were launched against the roles in fact (“Startverbot”), because of the mist(!). Like as in Gilze-Rijen before, the visibility was reduced dramatically.
Would they impress the general, on inspection tour from Deelen? Was that the reason? But how could they ever come back to the same airbase, if the weather wasn’t changing later? And by the way, was the meteorological service on the field well acquainted with the better conditions on higher altitudes ? (above 300 - 500 m. / about 1000 ft. or some more, clear moonlight skies).

In which sector Wolfgang Kuthe was operating with his crew, is unknown to me, however, he was successful too.
At 22.55 hrs. he claimed a Stirling, downed somewhere North of Vlieland ? (in “Raum” 44/4 8A6).
But was he really shooting down such a type of bomber, and not perhaps a Lancaster ? It was his only “kill” for that night, in the same time the last and 5th “victory” for all, who started from Leeuwarden. Paul Gildner intercepted 2 with success and Jabs was bringing down 3….. in about 2 hours, 6 bombers were knocked from the sky!
A horrible result again, with most of these planes crashing into the cold waters of the sea. Not much chance for the brave RAF crews to survive, miles offshore.

This drama was started about 21.00 hrs., when Jabs as well as Gildner were attacking the first victims. Paul Gildner claimed a Halifax, on position “44/6 3I2”, flying into the West on ± 1100 m. (about 3600 ft.) and Hans-Joachim Jabs was hitting a Stirling, also running Westward, in “Raum 54/4 8Z6” on about 1000 m. height (± 3300 ft.).


Jabs’ claim was correct, it was a Stirling indeed: Stirling Mk. III, BF457, LS-“B” (for Beer), from No. 15 Sqdn. - RAF Bourn (in Cambridgeshire), piloted by 20 year old F/O. David Joseph Hopson. The plane crashed East of Buren village on Ameland, and came down burning heavily and totally destroyed at a spot named the “Nijlandsrijt”. *  see Ameland page 14

All the crew were killed (8 men), including skipper Hopson, and it wasn’t given to him to make an emergency landing or any other life saving exploit before. The casualties of this inferno were:

·        F/O. David Joseph Hopson - Pilot  - age 20 - from Borden, Kent, UK
F/O. Lawrence Bartlett Carson (RCAF) - Air Bomber - age 29 - of Oshawa, Ontario
F/O. John Williams - Air Gunner - age 31 - of Bournemouth, Dorset, UK
F/O. Edward Lloyd George Ratcliffe - Nav. - 30 - of Treorchy, Glamorgan, UK
Sgt. Ronald Frank Fowler - W.O. / A.G. - age 30 - from Morden, Surrey, UK
Sgt. Ronald George Weaver - Air Gunner - age 21 - from London, UK
Sgt. Clifford William James - Flight Engr. - unkn. - of Lostock, Lancashire, UK
Sgt. Alfred James Ellis - Air Gunner - no further info via the CWGC

Next day the Germans as well as the local (Dutch) police were searching on the crash site for human remains, between the “small parts left” of this heavy bomber; a horrible scene ! Identification of the airman wasn’t easy to do, as written down in the police report, “Proces Verbaal No. 5” (still in the local archive of the Ameland community). The bodies of the air-men were “almost unrecognizable”, as constable Johannes Monderman was writing in it……
After some days they were all buried in the Nes General Cemetery, plot D, row 13, in graves 15A, 16, 16A, 17, 17A and 18. Thus, all next to each other, the whole crew complete.

But how about that claim of “Heinzi” ? After many years of research, done also by many people, in Holland and abroad. The conclusion at the end is, it wasn’t a Halifax at all. It can’t be, because on that date, time and position, never a Halifax was missing. Therefore this crash must be matching with another RAF bomber.

Two possibilities were left only, and both coming from RAF Bottesford, 467 Squadron: Lancaster Mk.I, serial no. ED525, and Lancaster Mk. I, no. ED529.
Nothing was heard again after departure. Both war machines failed to return (FTR).
In the (Dutch) “Verlieslijst 1943”, of the “Studie Groep Lucht Oorlog” (SGLO) is one a/c. listed: ED525. And its location and time of crash are mentioned “North Sea - 20 km. North of Vlieland”, and ”21.05 hrs.”.
Alas, Lancaster ED529 isn’t in this crash list….. so, it is suggesting more or less that Oblt. Gildner’s victory is about ED525, not about the other Lancaster of 467 Sqdn. (?).

Whatever, all the crew of both Lancasters were MIA - and they still are in fact - that’s for sure. 14 airmen in total, no one was ever found or recovered and buried after ID-check under his own name anywhere in a cemetery on the coastlines of Holland, Germany or Denmark.
Maybe as an unknown airman, in the category “Known unto God” ? Their names etc. are:

Lancaster Mk. I - ED525 (No. 467 RAAF Sqdn. - RAF Bottesford)

RAFVR - F/Lt. James Barnett Michie - Pilot / Skipper - age 31 - home town unknown, UK
RAFVR - Sgt. Ronald Bailey - Fl. Engr. - age 26 - from Crosspool, Yorkshire, UK
RAFVR - Sgt. Reginald Alfred John King - Air Gunn. - 20 - of Hendon, Middlesex, UK
RAFVR - Sgt. George McLoughlin - W.O. / A.G. - age 22 - of Bootle, Lancashire, UK
RAFVR - Sgt. Jack Sidney Turner - Bomb Aimer - age 23 - of Finchley, Middlesex, UK
RCAF - F/O. William Kadison Komaiko - Nav. - age ? - from Chicago, Illinois, USA
RCAF - Sgt. Harry Lyle Brown - Air Gunner - age 20 - from Kemptville, Ontario, Can.

Lancaster Mk. I - ED529 (No. 467 RAAF Sqdn. - RAF Bottesford)

RAFVR - Sgt. Henry Bookless Vine - Pilot - age 21 - from Newcastle -upon-Tyne, UK - he should be promoted to F/Sgt. after completing his 1st tour. He was also pre-selected for the elite 617 Squadron, the “Dam Busters”.

RAF -     Sgt. Robert Sinden - Fl. Engr. - age 18 (!) - from Brighton, Sussex (South-coast), UK
RAFVR - Sgt. Ronald Haslam - Air Gunner - age ? - no further family info via the CWGC
RAFVR - Sgt. Derek Arnold Booth - W.O. / A.G. - age 17 (!) - of Hale, former Cheshire, UK
RAFVR - Sgt. John McKee (Sr.) - Bomb Aimer - age 27 - from Hindley, Lancashire, UK
RAFVR - Sgt. Kenneth Westthorp - Nav. - age 20 - from Consett, Co. of Durham, UK
RAFVR - Sgt. Clifford Wignall - Air Gunner - age ? - no further family info via the CWGC

Although the newer RAF bombers, like this Lancasters, were operating under higher speed, the German fighters, especially the upgraded types, had still power enough for hunting them in an easy way (max. speed ± 560 km/h. = about 370 mph., and climbing up ± 11 mtr./sec. = ± 8 min. to 20.000 ft.). But flying in this old Dornier, Gildner and Huhn and their extra crew had “some troubles” to catch the enemy now.
Operating in a clear and frosty and moonlighted night, over a “perfect white carpet” of sea mist below - they saw many silhouettes of West-ward flying bombers, while the smoke plume of their first “kill” was hanging for a long time in the cold air - Paul had to pull the throttles in the final position for ever reaching the next victim. “Pulle rein !” (= give full speed). And therefore they became self an easy target now, because long flames and dark smoky fumes came out of the uncovered outlets of this craft (!). Their faces were colored in red and orange, the whole cockpit was lighted; watching the instruments, in particular looking to the screen of the radar operator, it was “crazy to do so” ! And the “Revi” (sight) was out of use since the attack before, and only one cannon in the nose was still shooting !!! (I think, they were speaking some nice German words…….).

Nevertheless, the next “Kurier” was falling down in flames already about 10 minutes later, without any return fire whatsoever. Recorded as a second “Halifax”; but it should be as the (Dutch) “Verlieslijst 1943” of the SGLO is describing:

Lancaster Mk. III - ED485 (156 RAF Sqdn. / Pathfinder Force - RAF Warboys)
P/O. Thomas Edward Case (RCAF) - Pilot - age 20 - of Kelvington, Saskatchewan, Canada
son of Thomas Howard Case (father), Q.C. (?) - 1892-24th July 1970 and of Sybil
Maude Case (mother) 1889-1974; graduated - Kelvington High School (about years
1940-1941) - joining the RCAF since….?.... - he had flown already 40 pathfinder
missions, but was never decorated for this effort - in Saskatchewan’s Wildcat Hill
Provincial Park, near Smoky Burn and into the direction of the Manitoba border-line, there is a lake named after him (Geo Memorial Project Saskatchewan)

P/O. Harry William Welch (RCAF) - Navigator 1 - age ? - no family info via the CWGC

P/O. Pierre Yves Camille Tremblay (RCAF)- Air Gunner (rear) - age 29 - no further info via the CWGC - Canada, Quebec (Fr. Québec) most likely (until recently recorded as A.Y.C. Tremblay on the Runnymede Memorial - panel 178; the authorities know about yet - correction is following, as soon as possible)

P/O. Hugh Alexander McLennan (DFM) RAAF - W.O./A.G. - age 26 - from Albury, New South Wales, Australia.

P/O. Elias Cuthbert (RNZAF) - Air Bomber / Air Gunner (front) also Nav. 2 - age 30 from Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Sgt. Edward Percy George Bayliss - Air Gunner (mid-up) - age 20 - from Moseley, Birmingham, UK

Sgt. John William Denby - Fl. Engr. - age 29 - of West Wickham, NW- Kent, UK

As a former Wellington crew, Case, Welch, Tremblay, McLennan and Cuthbert formed the experienced “backbone” of the crew. They had survived already one serious air crash, on the 5th of October 1942, while coming back from a mission to Aachen city in Germany, under extreme icing conditions. They all bailed out successfully in the last minutes, but their a/c., Wellington Mk.III, X3811, crashed out of control into the village of Somersham, Cambridgeshire, killing 10 people living there, including 3 generations of 1 family, and destroying several houses / cottages in High Street (Carpenters Court). There is a memorial on a wall near the former crashsite, telling about this tragedy and remembering those civilians, like 1 year old Pauline Cattenack.

The village from a newspaper of the time

 

The first photo shows General(leutnant) Kurt-Bertram von Döring (left) and Helmut Lent (right), taken in Leeuwarden, on the Noorder Begraafplaats, a/h. Schapendijkje (the Northern General Cemetery there, not far from the airfield). It's taken in May 1943, after the funeral ceremony of  Oblt. Lothar Linke (died 14-05-1943).

On that night of 19 / 20 Febr.'43 he was on an inspection tour in Leeuwarden, visiting the "Gefechtsstand" (control room) etc., and watching  how they were operating that night. By the way, those German war graves in Leeuwarden, not only for Luftwaffe pilots,  were  situated in a special plot "Ehrenfriedhof", and were "moved" as soon as possible after the war. Most of them reburied in IJsselstein, in the Province of  Zuid-Limburg near the German border.

Photo 2 is of the "Jagdtrapeze" (map on a glass wall) in the "Gefechtsstand" (control room) of  the Luftwaffe airfield in Leeuwarden. From this map General Von Döring and all the others, could follow the RAF movements on the night of 19/20 February. (Info was coming in from the island radar posts, at "Schlei" - Schiermonnikoog and "Tiger" - Terschelling, and from the coastal FLAK-batteries, etc.)

 

By the way (and so lucky to all these brave RAF crews, returning from Wilhelmshaven) : if Paul and Heinz had flown that night in their own Messerschmitt Bf-110 nightfighter, and not in that old Dornier (with a lot of  troubles / you read about later), maybe they had been shooting down more RAF bombers in that case, more than only 2 of  them........  (they were perhaps excellent airmen, good at nightfighting, but, flying in combat on the wrong side of  the line of course !).

Some days later they were crashing near Gilze-Rijen.....it was Paul's end and nobody in Holland was crying for him (Heinz Huhn bailed out and survived).       Willem

Lancaster ED529

At 17.55 on the night of the 19th February 1943 ED529 was one of five Lancasters that took off from RAF Bottesford to carry out a raid on the German seaport of Wilhelmshaven. Two of the five aircraft did not return.

The crew of ED529 were 21 year old SGT HENRY B VINE (PILOT) from Newcastle upon Tyne, 18 year old SGT ROBERT SINDEN from Brighton (FLIGHT ENGINEER), 20 year old SGT KENNETH WESTTHORP from Consett, Co. Durham (NAVIGATOR), SGT JOHN McKEE from Hindley, Lancashire, (BOMB AIMER), 17 year old SGT DEREK A BOOTH from Hale in Cheshire (WIRELESS OPERATOR/AIR GUNNER), SGT RONALD HASLAM (MID UPPER GUNNER) and SGT CLIFFORD WIGNALL, (REAR GUNNER)

Two versions of the same raid.

In "Der Luftkrieg über Deutschland" (The Airbattle over Germany") by author Franz Kurowski, on page 232, there is only one passage, saying  "The heaviest air raid of the month was against Wilhelmshaven; in the night from 19 to 20 February. 484 enemy bombers were reached the target and dropped 1379 tons of bombs".

But the Bomber Command War Diaries 19/20 February 1943 recorded –

338 aircraft - 120 Wellingtons, 110 Halifaxes, 56 Stirlings, 52 Lancasters in a further attack on the port of Wilhelmshaven. 12 aircraft - 5 Stirlings, 4 Lancasters, 3 Wellingtons - lost, 3.6 per cent of the force. This raid was another failure, with the Pathfinder marking causing the Main Force bombing to fall north of Wilhelmshaven. After this raid it was found that the Pathfinders had been issued with out-of-date maps which did not show recent town developments. A general updating of maps now took place.

 You will see from this photograph my father on his own (I don't know the officer) also below is the photograph of the seven aircrew maybe from ED 529. There is also a photograph of a group of 22 airmen in total do you or Tom recognise any of them?  John Lancaster Mckee

 

A bit of a puzzle this one John. It does not look like a crew as there is no-one with pilot's wings. They may be his classmates on the bomb-aimer's course.  Which one is your father?       Tom

 
However, your request as to the identity of my father on the photograph, looking at the picture he is the handsome guy seated on the left with the customary RAF moustache. Also second left seated on the large group photograph.
I have today been to see his only surviving brother Philip who was only seven years old when john went MIA. My father was the oldest of five brothers who all served in the various armed forces in the war. One of his brothers Robert served in the Royal Navy and was torpedoed in the North Sea he survived after some considerable time in an open boat before being rescued he had been given up as lost at sea. One of the ships he sailed was the HOOD which you know was sunk by the Bismark,he however had been transferred to another ship by the time HMS HOOD went to Davy Jones Locker. The other two brothers also served with the army and survived. Philip the only brother alive today later went on to serve in the RAF in Germany.  John Lancaster McKee   30th January 2013.

 

 

Yes - some of the same faces! My guess is that all three photos are from the completion of his bomb-aimer training course.

 

An unknown crew from 467 Squadron

 

From a 467 Squadron discussion group.

from                 http:/sas.raf38group.org/ forum/viewtopic.php

Wilhelmshaven Kriegsmarine ammo depot - before February 1943

 

 

 

  and after February 1943 and 4 bombing raids

 

 

 

Wilhelmshaven in 2010 - white arrow is former Kriegsmarine depot (today Bordumer Busch)

 

 

 

 

 

Wilhelmshaven - former Kriegsmarine ammo depot (store) Ao. 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burials at Vlieland

 

Vlieland in 1945

 

 

 

Most of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth graves are in one prominently sited plot. The total number of burials is 48, and comprises 3 sailors, 2 soldiers, 31 airmen and 3 Merchant Navy seamen from the United Kingdom, 6 Canadian airmen and 3 Australian airmen. 

Of these one sailor, eight airmen and one member of the Merchant Navy from the United Kingdom, and one airman from Canada are not identified. The total includes one special memorial, bearing the inscription "Believed to be."

 

 

ANSELL, HARRY EDGAR WREYFORD      Sergeant   1283858  20/05/1942     26                   

RAFVR         United Kingdom       Grave 39. 

        

ARMSTRONG, RICHARD    Sergeant     1378839    03/06/1942      27                                 

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 52.   

        

BAILEY, ARTHUR     Third Officer   09/02/1943        23                                                       

Merchant Navy     United Kingdom              Grave 85.     

    

BENSON, JOHN LONGNER      Able Seaman       09/02/1943        39                                   

Merchant Navy United Kingdom              Grave 45.  

       

BUTLER, WILLIAM EDWARD       Private  5247661   17/06/1940        32                                  Worcestershire Regiment    United Kingdom. "D". Grave 31.

        

CASTON, RONALD ARTHUR         Pilot Officer       187018 23/03/1945        23                   

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 77.  

          

CLARK, FRANCIS HALL    Coder   C/JX.211359       10/06/1941        35                              

 Royal Navy              United Kingdom              Grave 36.

          

DREW, WILLIAM ALBERT   Sergeant  1316195      12/06/1943                                            

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 64. 

           

FITCHETT, EDWARD AUGUSTINE  Sergeant   926804 08/04/1942        20                          

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 40.

           

FORD, LESLIE SIDNEY     Wing Commander    J/3712  04/06/1943        22                          

Royal Canadian Air Force            Grave 63.          

FORD, PERCY GEORGE   Pilot Officer       J/6849  15/12/1941        26                                  

Royal Canadian Air Force                 Grave 38.  

       

GRAINGER, JAMES GEORGE   Warrant Officer  R/78456  27/04/1943        26                       

Royal Canadian Air Force            Canadian              Grave 60.

         

HARTE, JAMES HENRY   Sergeant   1358088    04/06/1942        20                                     

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 42.

          

HODKINSON, CHARLES  Sergeant 746845 29/08/1941        29                                            

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve             United Kingdom              Grave 34.   

     

HOLDER, JAMES CAULFIELD    Flying Officer     J/25779    04/08/1944   22                          

Royal Canadian Air Force            Canadian            Grave 73. 

        

HORROCKS, WILLIAM    Sergeant   2210899    23/03/1945                                                 

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 78.  

          

HUNTER, ALWYN  Lance Corporal 13006398   28/05/1940        31                                       

Pioneer Corps   United Kingdom              Grave 10.   

     

KELSO, JAMES GUTHRIE WALLACE    Flight Sergeant  1795060    17/06/1944     23               

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve United Kingdom        Grave 71.  

      

KIRKLAND, KENNETH HERBERT WILLIAM   Pilot Officer  412972    30/01/1944     26            

Royal Australian Air Force           Australian          Grave 69.

       

LAUDER, JOHN ADAM    Sergeant      1570546    17/06/1944        21                                   

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 72.

            

O'SULLIVAN, JOHN GREGORY     Sergeant      403432 26/06/1942        30                           

Royal Australian Air Force           Australian          Grave 48. 

        

OLIVER, ARTHUR GEORGE   Sergeant     517536 07/07/1941        26                                   

Royal Air Force  United Kingdom              Grave 28.    

     

ORMEROD, FRANK EDWIN   Sergeant      1057349     04/06/1942        30                             

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve       United Kingdom              Grave 41.    

       

PATON, ALEXANDER ROBERT     Flight Sergeant  1573936  23/03/1945        24                     

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 76.   

        

REU, ROBERT GARTH     Flight Sergeant  417416 28/07/1943        20                                    

Royal Australian Air Force       Australian          Grave 67.     

   

ROBERTS, CARADOC      Sergeant    1379247       20/05/1942        32                                  

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 47.

           

SARGINSON, JOHN         Pilot Officer       142055 26/07/1943        23                                  

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve             United Kingdom              Grave 66.   

      

SCOTT, ALLAN RANDALL     Sergeant     573717 07/06/1942        19                                     

Royal Air Force  United Kingdom              Grave 51.   

      

SHAW, WILLIAM LAWSON     Pilot Officer       196054 23/03/1945        22                              

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 74.

           

SMYTH, FREDERICK ARTHUR      Lieut-Commander      20/03/1945        39                             

Royal Naval Reserve United Kingdom              Grave 79.

         

STEWART, HERBERT WILLIAM    Flight Sergeant  R/105711   14/01/1943    19                        

Royal Canadian Air Force            Canadian            Grave 56.

         

SUTTON, PHILIP STANLEY   Sergeant   1098817   27/11/1942        21                                    

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve      United Kingdom              Grave 55.

           

SWIFT, REGINALD ARTHUR    Pilot Officer       196053 23/03/1945        22                             

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 75.

          

TONGE, HARRY CLIFFORD     Pilot Officer       89606   29/08/1941        29                              

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 35.

          

TREPPASS, LEONARD      Pilot Officer       108005 07/06/1942        29                                   

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve             United Kingdom              Grave 50. 

       

WILGAR-ROBINSON, HUGH VINCENT    Pilot Officer    63492   09/11/1941    30                    

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve          United Kingdom              Grave 37. 

         

WRIGHT, ROBERT GRAHAM       Pilot Officer       142491 30/03/1943        19                          

Royal Air Force  United Kingdom              Grave 58.          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willem & Angeline's Visit to Vlieland in November 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loodshotel Golfzang was built as a home and office for a "loods" and his family. A  loods is a ship’s pilot, assisting the regular crew of a vessel by bringing in and out ship, crew and cargo in a safe way to the sea or harbour. And golfzang means "the sound / rhythm of the waves".

That small Vliehorst rescue house "standing on legs" was the same "hut" were the pilot and the observer of Hampden P4324 / QR-"P" (for Peter) discovered that they were landed in occupied Holland, and not in the (safe) UK or in Ireland ! (see on the Leeuwarden page - I should make a translation ever..... because I found photos and more details recently, in particular about that "tricky Irish observer"). And further, nowadays it is no rescue house anymore, but more something like "the smallest museum / collection of curiosities in the world", situated in between North Sea, Eijerlandse Gat and Wadden Sea, in a sort of sandy dessert landscape..... and couples can be married there (bride and groom, best mates etc., family or friends,) the Gemeente Vlieland authority and a possible priest, etc., are all traveling by Vlieland Express to the location, but not everyone can be inside together with the rest !

The Wreck of HMS Lutine

 

 

HMS Lutine was originally a French naval ship, launched at Toulon in 1779, with 32 guns.

This was ten years before the French Revolution.

On 18th December 1793 she became one of sixteen ships handed over to a British fleet under Vice Admiral Lord Hood at Toulon by French royalists.
In 1795, she was rebuilt as a (fifth-rate) frigate with 38 guns. She served thereafter in the North Sea, blockading Amsterdam.

On the evening of 9th October 1799, during a heavy north-westerly gale, the ship under Captain Lancelot Skynner, having made unexpected leeway, was drawn by the tidal stream flowing into the Waddenzee, on to a sandbank between Terrschelling and Vlieland. There, she became a total loss.

All 270 passengers and crew members perished, except for one survivor who was found clinging to a part of the upper gun deck.  The ship was carrying a large cargo of gold, the majority of which remains unsalvaged.
In 1858 Lloyd's estimated the total value at £1,200,000, made up of both silver and gold.
Despite extended operations, over £1,000,000 remains to be salvaged.
An uncorroborated newspaper report in 1869 referred to the Dutch crown jewels being on board.

Three officers, including Captain Skynner, were apparently buried in the Vlieland churchyard, and around two hundred others were buried in a mass grave near the Brandaris lighthouse in Terschelling.

 

A lake outside Terschelling is known today as the 'Doodemanskisten' (dead men's coffins), allegedly because it is also close to the place from which the wood for the coffins originated; an alternative explanation is that the name is a corruption of 'd'Earmeskisten', meaning a pauper's grave. No memorials mark these graves.

Captain Lancelot Skynner came from Easton on the Hill, near Stamford, England, where his father was the curate for many years. Plaques on the rectory and in the church commemorate this and Captain Skynner.

Does anyone know whether the 16 bodies mentioned on Vlieland's collective grave and dated 1781 (see illustration below) could have come from HMS Lutine?

The Lutine's bell was recovered in 1859 and installed at Lloyds of London.

One thing is well documented - that Lloyd’s, under the leadership of John Julius Angerstein, paid the claim in full, just two weeks after the disaster.

The cargo was insured by Lloyds underwriters at the time for 1million British pounds - a fortune in those days!

The Lutine gave Lloyd‘s more than a symbolic bell, she created Lloyd’s reputation for paying valid claims – and for having the financial wherewithal to withstand a loss of legendary proportions.

 

 

When Willem & Angeline visited Windsor Castle in August 2014 he was surprised to find this gun from HMS Lutine

 

 

 

A

Buried British Seamen

 

 

 

 

 

35 year old Royal Navy coder, Francis Hall Clark was the son of Harry and Harriet Clark, of Nottingham and husband of May Clark, of Nottingham. He was part of the crew of the Harwich based patrol vessel HMS Pintail which on 10th of June 1941 was escorting a convoy near 62-Buoy some 30 miles off the Humber, UK when the steamship Royal Scot detonated an acoustic mine, blew up and sank. Pintail immediately dashed to the scene to help in the rescue, but she was also caught out by an acoustic mine, close to the steamship. HMS Pintail blew up and was lost almost immediately, instantly killing her Commanding Officer, Lt. John Leopold Elphinstone McClintock, RN, six officers and forty-eight ratings.

 

Merchant Navy Third Officer 23 year old Arthur Bailey and 39 year old Able Seaman John Benson Longner were part of the crew of the British cargo ship SS PACIFIC. It left Sunderland (UK) on February 7th, 1943, in convoy for London carrying a cargo of coal. The convoy became scattered in bad weather during the night of the 8th. At daybreak on the 9th, the SS PACIFIC and two other ships had disappeared. She carried a crew of 38.

 

39 year old Lt Commander Frederick Arthur Smyth, was the son of Arthur Ernest and Alice Jane Smyth, of Ilfracombe, Devon and husband of Dorothy Smyth, of Ilfracombe. On 20th March 1945 he was the commanding officer of a tank landing vessel LST 80 which was in a convoy transporting vehicles and equipment between London, Ostende and Antwerp. Tragically it struck two mines off Ostende and sank.

His body drifted ashore at Vlieland on the 6th of April and Lt Commander Smyth was buried the next day. He was an experienced officer and during the Normandy landings was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery under fire.

 

 

 

 

 

The story behind the collective gravestone:

In memory of 16 sailors, died in the year 1781, of which the remains are exhumed, in the sanddunes of Vlieland, in 2001 and which are reburied in 2004.

Children of some Vlieland tourists were playing and one boy found a skull in the seaside dunes near their campsite and later an almost complete human skeleton with remains of old fashioned clothes and footwear. The parents contacted the authorities and, later, some museum insiders on the mainland. It was discovered that this was a collective sailors grave from the past, totalling 16 bodies. It kept archeological workers busy for many days. They took all the remains to the university for further studies / examinations. These remains were buried again on Vlieland, in 2004, in the local churchyard this time......      




Ninety one year old Austrian-born Waldemar Skolny has made contact. Married to Erika, he became a naturalized American in 1971 and now lives in Fort Myers, Florida.
Born in Vienna in May 1925, he was stationed at Vlieland during the occupation.
Before the war he trained as a heating technician in his father's business.
Waldemar relates that after Austria became part of the German Reich in 1938, he was denounced to the Gestapo for taking some food to a Jewish family who were old acquaintances of his father. He was taken in for questioning but fortunately, thanks to a clerical error, was released.
He was then advised to volunteer for the military, and was eventually drafted to a Luftnachrichten unit based at Vlieland. 
His immediate superior at Vlieland was another Austrian from Vienna, Feldwebel (Sergeant) Lambert Eduard Dworak.
Waldemar's photograph shows him in the uniform of a Gefreiter (Corporal). Willem has added his illustration of that uniform.
He most likely served in the 'Luftnachrichten-Regiment 213' (an Air Attack Warning Unit), Abteilung 1, station Vlieland, which was connected with the 'Luftnachrichten-Betriebs-und-Auswertezug' at (Flgh.) Leeuwarden, and under the command of the 3.Jagddivision (sector Holland), until May 5, 1945.  Willem.


 

A sea eagle on the dike at Vlieland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past there was always a lot of "coastline erosion" on the island of Vlieland, since the war, and even today. Results are disappearing sand dunes, washed and blown away by the seawaters and winds, and also the German built bunkers, falling down on the beach, and destroyed by the sea in the end. today's result is, that the engineers and workers of "Rijkswaterstaat" (authority of the coastal defence line) have decided and started already a large-scale "coast repair operation"; with so called "hopperzuigers" and other heavy equipments, like shovels and bulldozers. They are bringing 1 milllion cubic meters of new sand, from the sea bottom offshore, on to the Vlieland beaches.

My son Pieter was on Vlieland island last Thursday and Friday, (19th/20th April 2013) together with other students of his school, for assessments and teambuilding etc (and a one night stay in the "WestCord Residentie Vlierijck"). In between the lessons they were visiting the beach of course, to also see the "sandworks" there. In the next weeks, before the new sea bathing season, there is a lot of work to do and after that, maybe some new WW2 findings on the beach.......... ? (Some people there are using metal detectors).

 

 

 

 

 

The cutter dredger 'Njord R' in front of the beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sand transport pipe line etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset over the Fresian Chain

 

 

 

 

 

Willem's Introduction

14

Ameland in war-time

25

Texel  & Den Helder 

1

Friesland War-time Crashes

14b

Ameland,166 & 75sqdn

26

Hindeloopen

2

Friesland Cemeteries

14c

Ameland Graves

27

 Scharnhorst!

3

Leeuwarden area

15

Terschelling

28

Scharnhorst! 2

3a

Wirdum Remembers

15b

Terschelling 2

28a

 Scharnhorst! 3

4

Schiermonnikoog

16

Sage War Cemetery

29

12 Squadron

4b

Schiermonnikoog  part 2

16b

424 Squadron

30

Runnymede

5

Harlingen

17

Vlieland Cemetery

31

Vuren at war

6

Kallenkote Cemetery

18

Jacobiparochie

32

Makkum Cemetery

7

Wartime Occupied Harlingen

19

Hampden AE 428,

33

A Fatal collision?

8

RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron

20

 WW2 photographs

34

Hudsons & Venturas

9

Zwolle's ' De Groene ' group

21

Shipdham & USAF 44th

34a

Hudsons & Venturas 2

10

408 Squadron's Leipzig raid

21b

68th Squadron's losses

35

101 Squadron

11

Local Radar

22

Rottum Island

12

Lancasters DS776  & JA921

23

Bergen  Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

back to 626 Squadron

 

 

 

 email-address:  w.jong1@upcmail.nl

 

tom.bint2@gmail.com  (UK)