Friesland wartime history     by Willem de Jong    <   page 24   >  

Lemmer  &  Bakhuizen  by      Willem de Jong

Texel & Den Helder




Leeuwarden Airfield


Harlingen & Harderwijk

Occupied Harlingen

German Radar




St. Jacobparochie

Rottum Island

     Sink the Scharnhorst!
      12 Squadron Losses


Deanweb - the Forest of Dean Directory





Lemmer, in the commune of Lemsterland, is a small port on the southern coast of Friesland. It lies 24 kilometres south of Sneek. This burial ground is on the northen outskirts of Lemmer in Staartweg, the road to Sneek. The Commonwealth war graves plot is in the north-western part of the cemetery. This site contains the graves of 44 airmen. Of these, 7 of the airmen from the United Kingdom and one from Canada are not identified.



Burials of Airmen  at Lemmer



Name Function Part Squadron Deceased Age
William James Anderson Wireless Operator Royal New Zealand Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 09/17/1942 23
John William Bell Pilot Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 78 Sq 11/08/1941 21
Vyvian Quentery Blackden Commander Royal Air Force 12 Sq 04/10/1941 34
John Du Vernet Broughton Observer Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 12 Sq 04/10/1941 33
John Edward Clarke Flight Engineer Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 101 Sq 12/16/1943 21
Frank Renee Malyon Cook Air Force officer Royal Australian Air Force 229 Sq 08/29/1944 21
Ronald Hugh Crabtree Air Gunner Royal Australian Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 09/17/1942 24
John Richard Curtis Air Gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 156 Sq 12/06/1943 22
Are Dallenger Pilot Royal New Zealand Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 09/17/1942 23
William John Drake Wireless Operator Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 156 Sq 12/06/1943 23
Harry Oldfield Goddard Air Gunner Royal New Zealand Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 09/17/1942 27
Mcghee James Hargreaves Air Gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 83 Sq 13/05/1943 32
Adam Byers Hastings Observer Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 207 Sq 09/05/1942 24
Raymond Edgar Hedges Flight Engineer Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 7 Sq 12/16/1943 35
James Hurst Air Gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 7 Sq 12/16/1943 19
Eric Ronald Edward Jordan Air Gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 101 Sq 12/16/1943 21
Donald Trevor Lamb Observer Royal New Zealand Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 09/17/1942 20
Joseph Edward Lecomber Navigator Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 83 Sq 14-05-193 20
John Swanson Macadam Navigator Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 10 Sq 05/14/1943 20
Ronald Ernest Macfarlane Pilot Royal Canadian Air Force 101 (RAF) Sq 12/16/1943 21
Jiří Mareš Sergeant Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 311 (Czech) Sq 07/17/1941 25
Reginald Douglas McWha Rear Gunner Royal Australian Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 12/16/1943 23
Francis Henry Moynihan Navigator Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 51 Sq 22/11/1943 23
Edward Duncan Pockney Pilot / gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 218 Sq 08/19/1941 35
Anthony Steven Renshaw Pilot Royal Air Force 83 Sq 05/14/1943  
Charles Lloyd Robinson Air Force Sergeant Royal Australian Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 12/16/1943 26
Ewart Gladstone Ronson Wireless Operator       Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 408 (RCAF) Sq 06/03/1942 22
Jack Richard Stone Air Gunner Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 83 Sq 05/14/1943 20
William Maitland Aquarius Adj.  Royal Australian Air Force 7 (RAF) Sq 12/16/1943 21
Frederick Ronald Westall Bombardier Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 101 sq. 12/16/1943 21
Henry Williamson Rochead Bombardier Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 83 Sq 05/14/1943 20
Leonard Dinsdale Wilson Navigator Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 101 Sq 12/16/1943 20
Frederick Arthur Worsnop Flight Engineer Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 83 Sq 05/14/1943 29
H.Krasnodeski Polish Air Force 301 Sq 07/03/1942 39
MJ Lozinski Polish Air Force 301 Sq 07/03/1942 29
S. Lugowski Polish Air Force 301Sq 07/03/1942 27
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 07/14/1943
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 07/14/1943
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 08/09/1941
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 10/06/1942
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 07/10/1942
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 20/07/1942
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 07/10/1942
An airman of the 1939-1945 war Royal Air Force 09/18/1942




Wellington W5375 from 12 Squadron



Airborne at 2230 on the 9th of April 1941 from RAF Binbrook was Wellington bomber W5375 PH-D of 12 Squadron with its target the German city of Emden. It was spotted by enemy radar situated in Medemblik and intercepted and shot down at 0059 on the 10th of April by a night-fighter flown by Oblt Egmont Prinz zur Lippe Weissenfeld who was the commander at 4./NJG.1, "Fliegerhorst" Bergen. It was his 100th 'kill'.

This achievement was later celebrated at the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam with General Josef Kammhuber, Wolfgang Falck, Werner Streib, Helmut Lent and others attending.



An F4 at Bergen airfield






A Wellington from 12 Squadron



The damaged RAF bomber crashed into the IJsselmeer and the entire 6 man crew were killed. 

The body of the pilot, 34 year old Wing Commander V Q Blackden, was recovered by NZHRM lifeboat Mrb."Hilda" at Lemmer harbour on 21 June 1941. His crew-mate, 33 year old observer Flying Officer J D V Broughton, was recovered by the same lifeboat also from Lemmer harbour 6 days later. They were both buried at Lemmer.

Air gunner, 30 year old Flying Officer Harold Marshall, is believed to have been found by a fishing boat and taken to Harderwijk where he was subsequently buried.


The two remaining crew members, wireless-operator/gunner Flight Sergeant D. McDougall (24) and wireless-operator/gunner  Sergeant GH Bishop (28) were found and buried on the island of Urk, and in 1947, reinterred and buried at  "Rusthof" cemetery, Amersfoort.(see crash list for further burial details)

34 year old Wing Commander Vyvian Quentery Blackden was the son of Brigadier-General Leonard Shadwell Blackden, C.B.E. and Mary Helen Blackden, M.B.E., of Marden, Kent and husband of Dorothea Mercy Blackden of Horam, Sussex.

He had been 12 Squadron Commander since 28th June 1940. This loss marked the occasion of 12 Squadron's return to operations following conversion from the Fairey Battle.


His younger brother, also an RAF  pilot, 31 year old F/Lt Walter Anthony Seton Blackden, was to lose his life when lost with all the crew of 204 Squadron Coastal Command Liberator EW308 when attacking a submarine in November 1944.

His eldest brother 2nd Lt. Arthur Worsley Blackden (born 1898), of the Royal Field Artillery died in World War I. He was killed at the Somme in September 1916.





Pilot Officer Bond is buried at Bergen General Cemetery.




Whitley Z6948 from 78 Squadron


Whitley Z6948 from 78 Squadron took off at 10.31pm on 7th of November 1941 from RAF Croft on a mission to bomb Mannheim. On its way back to base at around 6.30am on the 8th of November it was shot down by Oberleutnant Ludwig Becker
of 4/NG.1 piloting a Bf 110 from nearby Leeuwarden airfield..

The pilot attempted a belly landing and some crew tried to bail out but the burning aircraft exploded and all were killed. 

It crashed into a meadow belonging to Mr. T. Wagenaar 164 yards south of the road to Oudemirdum, between the road and the IJsselmeer coastline. This was one of the last Whitley bombers used by 78 Squadron who were then in the process of converting to the Halifax Mk. II. Four of the crew were buried in a German military funeral at Nijemirdum churchyard. On the 10th of November local people placed flowers on the new graves. Sgt John W Bell's body was washed ashore at Lemmer harbour on November 19th and he was buried the next day at Lemmer Cemetery.

The crew consisted of 

104492 - P/O - Pilot - George Marshall McCombe - RAFVR - Age 25  from Castlerock, Northern Ireland.

754397 - Sgt. - Co-Pilot - John William Bell - RAFVR - Age 21 from Kessingland, Suffolk. Husband of Christine.

759315 - Sgt. - W.Operator / Air Gunner - Raymond Boucher - RAFVR - Age 20 from Sheffield, Yorkshire.

924137 - Sgt. - Observer - Gilbert Terence Webb - RAFVR - Age 25 from Wheeler End, Buckinghamshire.

985637 - Sgt. - Air Gunner - Donald Cameron - RAFVR - Age 29 from Dunoon, Scotland.




Luftwaffe personel searching the wreckage of Whitley Z6948






Sergeant Gilbert Webb's family visit the grave at Nijemirdum











The graves of the crew and the tower at Nijemirdum churchyard











Another 78 Squadron Whitley


Whitley Z6823 took off from RAF Middleton St George at 2256 hours on the night of 16/17th August 1941, detailed to bomb Cologne, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. It crashed at 0315 hours on 17th of August 1941 at Veldriel (Gelderland), which is 6kms south east of Zaltbommel, Holland. Its crew were:


RAF Flt Lt J A Cant, (Pilot)

RAAF P/O J L Asprey, (2nd Pilot)

RAF Sgt W E Kerr, (Observer)

RAF Sgt A D Wills, (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)

RAF Sgt J Geary, (Air Gunner)

P/O Asprey and Sgt Wills lost their lives and the other three crew members were made POW’s. The 2nd pilot, 26 year old Australian Pilot Officer John Lambert Asprey from Sydney, is buried in the Jonkerbos War Cemetery in Gelderland, Netherlands. The wireless operator, 21 year old Sergeant Alan David Wills from Bristol, is buried in the Eindhoven (Woensal) General Cemetery at NoordBrabant, Netherlands.

Sgt Kerr later reported “I know Asprey left the aircraft with his chute on as I saw him disappear through the escape hatch. It is possible that his chute was damaged during operations and rendered useless.” and Flt Lt Cant reported “Asprey left the aircraft at about 12,000 feet with his chute on but I did not see him after he baled out.”

The pilot, Flight Lieutenant John Cant participated in the creation of 9 escape tunnels with Wing Commander 'Hetty' Hyde during his time in the camp at Warburg, before being imprisoned in the infamous Stalag Luft III at Sagan. During his time there he was closely involved in the famous "Wooden Horse" escape, about which a book was written and a film produced, and was awarded the MBE after the war.

Stalag Luft III – Sagan, Poland – 1943

RAF Flight Lieutenant Eric Williams was the navigator of a 75 Squadron Short Stirling bomber (BK620) shot down on a bombing raid over Germany on 17/18 December 1942. While in a POW camp, he met and became friends with Lt. Richard Michael Codner. When they escaped from the camp where they were captives, they were hunted down and recaptured.

As a punishment, both men were sent to Stalag Luft III near the town of Sagan in Poland. Considered escape-proof, Stalag Luft III was the most secure Allied airman POW camp in all of German-occupied Europe. The security-measures in place meant that it was virtually impossible to get out. There was barbed wire, fences, watchtowers, searchlights, armed guards, microphones buried into the ground to listen for tunnelling and a dusty grey topsoil and an annoyingly pale yellow sandy subsoil that made tunnelling (but more importantly, disposing of the excavated sand) especially hard.

Stalag Luft III and an illustration of the tunnel

The third man in the escape, Oliver Philpot, a Canadian RAF pilot, acted as the ‘behind-the-scenes’ man during the escape. While Williams and Codner did most of the digging, Philpot helped with disposing of the excavated sand and organising the horse and the vaulters necessary to create the illusion of harmless exercise, to fool the German guards. In return for all his help, Codner and Williams promised him a spot in the escape.

A scene from the 1950s film and the three escapees - left to right: Richard M. Codner, Eric Williams, Oliver Philpot

Using bowls for shovels, Williams, Lieutenant Michael Codner, and Flight Lieutenant Oliver Philpot dug for three months before finishing the 100-ft tunnel. On the evening of October 29, 1943, the three men made their escape. Traveling north, Williams and Codner reached Stettin where they stowed away on a ship to neutral Sweden. Philpot, posing as a Norwegian businessman, took the train to Danzig and stowed away on a ship to Stockholm. The three men were the only prisoners to successfully escape from the camp's eastern compound.


Hampden P4368 from 144 Squadron took off from RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire on 10th of August 1940 to bomb the oil installations at Homburg, Duisburg in West Germany.

The RAF crew were Pilot -P/O William "Bill" Frank Tudhope, DFC, Age 21,  Navigator / Bomb Aimer -Sgt.  Spencer Lewis Smith Belton - DFM  Age 21, W.Operator/Air Gunner- Sgt.  Duncan Mackay, Age 20,  and  W.Operator/Air Gunner  Sgt Arthur James Griffiths  Age 21.



It is not known what happened to the aircraft but it did crash or ditch into the former Zuiderzee and the crew of four were all killed. Only one body was recovered - that of the pilot, Bill Tudhope. His crewmates have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The pilot's body was found some days later, believed to be by a fisherman or dike worker during construction work to the new polder, and anchored to a pole by a rope in the Southern outlines of Schokland Island. It was finally recovered on 24th August 1940 and taken by the police to Hanzestad Kampen on the mainland where he was formally identified. The Germans arranged a full military funeral on 27th of August complete with rifle salute.



The funeral of Pilot Officer Bill Tudhope


Two of the crew only two weeks earlier had been decorated for bravery under fire. Their commendation reads - 'One night in July, 1940, Pilot Officer Tudhope was captain of an aircraft which delivered an attack on enemy warships in Wilhelmshaven harbour from an altitude of only 50 feet. The aircraft was subjected to terrific anti-aircraft fire and was badly hit by a high explosive shell. In spite of this, a second attack was attempted, but owing to the extreme density of the gunfire, one engine was badly damaged and the navigator's cabin was riddled with holes. In spite of this ordeal, Sergeant Belton, the navigator and bomb aimer, with great coolness and courage continued his duties, and enabled Pilot Officer Tudhope to bring the damaged aircraft safely home. This officer and non-commissioned officer have shown conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on many previous occasions.'  Bill Tudhope was awarded the DFC and Spencer Belton the DFM.

The grave at Kampen

An old picture of Schokland Island


Harbour of (Old) Emmeloord on Schokland, with lighthouse etc. just before 1940 and the new polder NOP






Bill's father John Henry Tudhope - A World War 1 flyer

Educated in South Africa and England, John Henry Tudhope served with the army in German Southwest Africa. He was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps in April 1917. Posted to 40 Squadron, his Nieuport 17 was badly shot about by Adolf von Tutschek on 28 July 1917. During 1918 he was awarded both the Military Cross and Bar. His citations read -

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed a splendid offensive spirit in continually attacking enemy aeroplanes. He has destroyed three enemy machines and has driven others down out of control, and always set a splendid example of courage and initiative.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in fighting with exceptional dash and skill over a period of nine months, when he carried out numerous reconnaissances, flying low and engaging with bombs and machine-gun fire enemy troops, guns and transport. He obtained many direct hits and inflicted heavy casualties, often flying under very difficult weather conditions. He has crashed three enemy aeroplanes and shot down two others out of control. His determination and courage have been a brilliant example to the pilots of the flight he has been leading.


After the war, he emigrated to Canada where he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1920. As operations manager for Trans-Canada Air Lines at Winnipeg, Squadron Leader Tudhope's survey of available routes through the Rocky Mountains resulted in the Trans-Canada air mail route that connected the prairies with the Pacific coast.

He received the McKee tropy for meritorious service in Canadian aviation in 1930 and flew the first dawn to dusk flight across Canada, from Montreal to Vancouver, in 1937.

Tudhope retired from the RCAF with the rank of Squadron Commander in June 1938. Later, he became president and manager of the first Aviation Insurance Group in Canada.

While serving as telecommunications attache at Canada House in London, England, John Tudhope died in hospital after an illness of about a month. He was 65.


W F Tudhope together with father and mother and sister? in a Curtiss HS2L 'flying boat





Bakhuizen  Bakhuizen is a village in the Dutch province of Friesland. It is located in the municipality of Gaasterlân-Sleat, about 6 km east of the city of Stavoren.

 Lancaster DV401 (QR-Z) of 61 Squadron took off from its base of RAF Skellingthorpe at 23.46, on the second of January 1944. The target of the bomber and its 7-man crew was Berlin. Just south of Stavoren over the IJsselmeer (formerly the Zuiderzee), the aircraft was attacked by a German night-fighter, possibly flown by Lt. Wendelin Breukel and his crew, and was badly damaged.


    An artist's recent impression of the first and last flight of Lancaster DV401 QR-Z


The pilot was 22 year old Flying Officer George Arthur Tull, the only son of a London tobacco shop keeper. The aircraft was on fire, and possibly members of the crew were injured. Tull tried to reach land to make an emergency landing, and the airplane passed the Frisian coast over the small fishing harbour of Laaksum. By that time, the airplane had lost a lot of altitude and was ablaze from back to front.

They were too low for anyone to bail out, and were at first lucky to miss hitting the Oudemirdumer Klif, but about a mile inland, the tail of the aircraft broke off. Half a mile further, the airplane slammed into the 'Bakhuisterhoog', the hill at Bakhuizen. The airplane that had been brand new, with only 64 flying hours on its clock, complete with bomb load and the remaining three quarters of its fuel, hit the ground and exploded in a huge fire-ball. None of the crew survived.




The crews of DV401 and another Lancaster from a 61 Squadron Lancaster. Gordon Heasman is circled and Canadian John Baldwin is next right




The crash site



The subsequent explosion woke all the people in the surrounding area. A farmhouse nearby, owned by the Haarsma family, was damaged but fortunately no civilians were hurt. It was 01.30am on January 3rd, 1944.

The next morning saw the Germans closing off the crash-site so that no civilians would see the mutilated bodies. However, local people in large numbers quickly arrived to show their respect.

On the evening of Tuesday 4th of January, with some transport supplied by the farmers, the coffins were followed by a long and spontaneous procession of local men, women and children, to St Odulphus Catholic church in Bakhuizen.

The building was simply too small for all of them so the most impressive Requiem Mass ever held there was performed by candle-light on that cold wintry night in the cemetery behind the church. The snow was falling and slowly covering the graves as the beautiful but fragile voices of the choir and alter boys sang 'Our Father in Heaven' in a mixture of Dutch and English. For all those there a New Year had started with a hope for better times and an end to all this craziness.

The crew were - F/O George Arthur Tull (pilot, age 22); Canadian F/Sgt John Stanley Baldwin (bomb aimer, age 20); Sgt Charles Gordon Crosby (gunner, age 35); Sgt Charles Ablett (gunner); Sgt James Stock (wireless operator, age 22); Sgt Gordon Edward Heasman (flight engineer, age 33); Sgt Joseph Gerald Holden (navigator, age 20).



Canadian F/Sgt. John Stanley Baldwin, the Bomb Aimer of Lancaster DV401, came from Windsor, Ontario, near the US border (across from Detroit) and Lake St. Clair. He was a son of Arthur J. and Mary A. Baldwin. At his home town Windsor, in Jackson Park, near the Detroit River, is erected the 1964 built 'Lancaster' Memorial, pictured above, dedicated to the Windsor airmen killed in W.W.2.




St Odulphus Catholic church in Bakhuizen





There are nine airman's graves at Bakhuizen. The other two are Australians Sgt John Vincent Conlon and F/Sgt Stuartson Charles Methven from Lancaster W4308 of RAF 460 Squadron shot down by a night-fighter on its way home from a raid on Dusseldorf on 23rd January 1943. It crash-landed near Warns, 3km from Bakhuizen and the surviving five crew members taken prisoner.





Left by the family of Sgt Gordon Heasman, the flight engineer on DV401.

He was the son of Edward W. and Mabel Annie Heasman, and husband of Doris Mabel Heasman, of Wymering, Hampshire, UK.








Acknowledgements  -  Some of this information, based on the work by Jan J van der Veer, is from the research of Elger Abbink who has built a model of DV401. see website   He has also documented the visit of Gordon Heasman's children and grand-children to the grave. YouTube film







Hi Tom,Peter Baskerville's profile photo

I came across your website and thought you might be interested in the work I have been doing in capturing my dad's stories about his time as a Lancaster pilot on 460 squadron.

I have also been curating Internet content relevant to 460 squadron and Bomber Command for a few years here -

These links may be of interest to your readers.  Warm regards  Peter Baskerville




Willem's Introduction


Ameland in war-time


Texel  & Den Helder 


Friesland War-time Crashes


Ameland,166 & 75 Squadron




Friesland Cemeteries


Ameland Graves


Destroy the Scharnhorst!


Leeuwarden area




Destroy the Scharnhorst!


Wirdum Remembers


Terschelling 2


Destroy the Scharnhorst!




Sage War Cemetery


12 Squadron


Schiermonnikoog  part 2


RAF Topcliffe & 424 Sqdn.


The Runnymede Memorial




Vlieland Cemetery


Vuren at war


Kallenkote Cemetery




Makkum Cemetery


Wartime Harlingen


Hampden AE 428


A Fatal collision?


RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron


Willem's War-time photos


Hudsons and Venturas


Zwolle's ' De Groene ' group


Shipdham & USAF 44th


Hudsons and Venturas (2)


408 Squadron's Leipzig raid


68th Squadron's Casualties


101 Squadron


Friesland radar


Rottum Island


Lancasters DS776  & JA921


Bergen General Cemetery








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