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    Friesland wartime history     by Willem de Jong       page 26   

Hindeloopen & Workum

Texel & Den Helder

 

D

Leeuwarden Airfield

Schiermonikoog

Harlingen & Harderwijk

Occupied Harlingen

German Radar

Ameland

Vlieland

Terschelling

St. Jacobparochie

Rottum Island

 

 

Hindeloopen is an old city in the North of the Netherlands on the IJsselmeer famous because of its unique art and traditional costumes.

 

In history, and also during the wartime, it was still a separate city and gemeente with its own town hall. It was called Hindeloopen of course, or Hylpen in the Frisian language. Later on, the larger Gemeente Nijefurd was shaped, which swallowed Hindeloopen, but now, in the last couple of years, it's part of a new and much larger gemeente again, the largest Frisian gemeente on the mainland, called "Súdwest-Fryslân" (SW-Friesland). Now included in that same gemeente are also other old cities and towns, like Stavoren, Workum and Makkum (rivals from the past now working together).

(1) The church tower. (2) The belltower on the roof of the sealock keeper's building. (3) Harbour entrance with its old light.

 

The shipping trade brought the population great prosperity. The 17th and 18th century were especially golden times. At that time, the local people spent a lot of money in Amsterdam on precious fabrics and objects, which were supplied through the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

The rich town developed in those days their own costume and a completely individual style with colourful painted walls and furniture.

 

 

In the small streets some sea captains' houses remind us of this time of glory. You can still see an anchor hanging on the facades of some houses, in those years a sign that the captain could still accept freight.

In summertime when the captain was at sea, his wife lived with the children in the so called “Likhus”. A little house behind the captain's house at the waterline.

 

St. Gertrudis Church (ad 1590) and the 'ships beacon tower'

 

In the old centre you can get a feel for Hindeloopen's unique character by wandering through its narrow streets and looking at the lovely views, the typical wooden bridges and characteristic facades.

At the Hindeloopen Museum you can become acquainted with its rich maritime history and the living culture of Hindeloopen, which still manifests itself in rich local art and fine old costumes.

Hindeloopen is a famed waterside gateway with the Kornwerderzand locks providing access to the Wadden and North seas.

 

 

The Lifeboat Station

 

 

 

Strictly man-power in those early days

 

 

 

Hindeloopen's  Memorial today and the station from the 1930s.

 

 

 

 

Mr. Siem Amsterdam, the engineer of the wartime NZHRM-lifeboat, Mr. Van Meekeren, one of the rowers of the old NZHRM-lifeboat, and MRB 'Arthur' built 1940 - sister boat to MRB 'Twente'. It attended 345 emergencies and rescued 487 people.

 

 

An early life-jacket and exhibits from the Fishermen's Barn's Small Remains Exhibition (Aug. 2011). The collection of Mr. O. Hoekstra.

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Short Stirling and Mosquito bomber recovered wreckage

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Mosquito and B51 remains from Mr. Hoekstra's collection.

 

Sergeant Organ and 2 crewmates from 83 Squadron's Lancaster W4847 and the wreckage of Wellington R1016

Wellington R1016 from RAF 150 Squadron recovered on the dike at Hindeloopen in August 1941.

 

 See Page 19

 

 

The Dutch Interior Forces (NBS) of Hindeloopen.

Top row left to right: Piet de Boer, Jan Swede, Wiebe Bootsma, Anne Abma, Meines Henry, Henry Falcon, Rein Blom, Klaas Poeze, Siep Blacksmith Eeltje Mulder.

Middle row from left to right: Wim Mol, Thones Glashouwer, Dirk B.Blom, Lammert de Boer, Jelle Eekma, ... Blom, Hartman Sjoerds, Thones Swede.

Seated left to right: Jildert de Boer, Wim Bakker, Jan Ypma, Dik van de Velde.

 

The Churchyard

The churchyard surrounds the church on the western side of the village, near the dyke. At the entrance to the churchyard are the graves of 11 airmen. There are 11 airmen buried in this cemetery; seven from the United Kingdom, three from Canada and one from Australia. Of these, three from the United Kingdom and two Canadians are not identified.

 

 

 

 

Rank

Number

Date

Age

Service

Nationality

Squadron

Grave Site

ROY OSWALD FULTON

Sergeant

R/87122

05/03/1943

21

RCAF

Canadian

83 Sqdn

Plot D. Row 1. Grave 6

JOHN LEWIS ORGAN

Sergeant

541922

05/03/1943

23

RAF

United Kingdom

83 Sqdn

Plot D. Row 1. Grave 5

GORDON ROBERT SUGAR

Flying Officer

127055

13/06/1943

22

RAF

United Kingdom

83 Sqdn

Plot D. Row 1. Grave 8

BERNARD WILLIAM PALASTANGA

Sergeant

933248

07/11/1941

21

RAFVR

United Kingdom

408 Sqdn

Plot B. Row 13. Grave 5

ALFRED BAKES SPRINGETT

Sergeant

1078608

22/11/1943

23

RAFVR

United Kingdom

51 Sqdn

Plot D. Row 1. Grave 2

WILBUR HENRY CHAPMAN

F/Sergeant

417157

22/01/1944

26

RAAF

Australian

514 Sqdn

Plot D. Row 1. Grave 1

 

Lancaster W4847 OL-V from 83 (Pathfinders) Squadron, based at RAF Wyton, near St. Ives in Cambridgeshire, took off around 7pm on 5th March 1943 on a bombing raid to Essen in Germany. Its skipper was a 22 year old Canadian, Pilot Officer Henry Partridge.

The aircraft was Intercepted by Lt Robert Denzel & crew from IV/NJG.1 around 10.02pm at an altitude of 3500 mtr. east of Wieringen. The Lancaster was seen to struggle to make it to the Frisian coast but quickly exploded in mid-air and crashed into the Ijsselmeer near Hineloopen. All the crew were lost.

They were, Pilot, Pilot Officer Henry A. Partridge RCAF, Flight Engineer, Sergeant Roy O. Fulton RCAF, Navigator, Flying Officer Leonard W. Sprackling, RAFVR, Sergeant Hayden Fell RAFVR, Air Gunner, Sergeant John M. Freshwater, Sergeant John L.Organ RAF, and Air Gunner, Sergeant Arthur Dinnis RAF.

 

Photographed outside the NAAFI at RAF Wyton. Left to right - Roy Fulton, John Lewis Organ and Henry Partridge

 

The flight engineer, 21 year old Canadian, Sergeant Roy Oswald Fulton, and his crewmate, 23 year old RAF Sergeant John Lewis Organ, are buried at Hindeloopen. The navigator, 23 year old RAF Flying Officer Leonard Sprackling was buried at Workum (Spoordyk) General Cemetery and air gunner RAF Sergeant Arthur Desmond Dinnis, aged 21, at Makkum Protestant Churchyard. The remaining three crew members have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial a few miles from Windsor Castle.

Our photo above shows the 1945 graves of Sgt. J.L. Organ, Sgt. R.O. Fulton and an unknown Airman. The second shows a Canadian liberator, a friend of one of the crew, visiting the graves in April 1945. ( left to right Ykpe Ypma, Jildert Smith, John Glashouwer, two Canadian soldiers, Neeltje (sister) Faber, John Nijholt.)

The pilot, Pilot Officer Henry A. Partridge RCAF, was the 21 year old son of Franklin and Ellie May Partridge, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada who were married at Ramsack, Saskatchewan in 1917. Franklin, who sadly died in 1948, was a station agent for the Canadian National Railway. The couple had two children, Henry and Jean Margaret.

From 1939 Henry Partridge was employed as a ledger clerk at the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He enlisted in the RCAF on March 4th 1941, two weeks before his 21st birthday.

After basic training and pilot instruction in Canada, he received his wings and sergeant's stripes on 5th December 1941.

He was then posted to the UK where his flying training continued at 6SFTS, RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire, on 22nd February.

His course-work there was delayed when Henry received minor injuries to his legs in an air crash (details unknown) at nearby Bourton-on-the- Water, on 28th February, only a few days after his arrival. Unfortunately rheumatism developed and it was only after several weeks of hospital treatment and recuperation that he was pronounced fit for duty on 9th May 1942.

After completing that pilot's training course he was posted to 16 OTU, at RAF Heyford in Oxfordshire, on July 7th for aircrew training on Wellington bombers.

His next posting, on September 30th, was to 1654 Conversion Unit at RAF Swinderby, for instruction on Lancasters, and the forming of a new crew.

He, and his crew, arrived at their new operational unit, 83 Squadron, based at RAF Wyton, in Huntingdonshire, on October 18th 1942.

At the time of his death he had completed 24 missions with 83 Squadron.

RCAF Pilot Officer Henry Partridge, who was still a sergeant when he died, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, a few miles from Windsor Castle.

 

The flight engineer, Sergeant Roy Oswald Fulton, was the 23 year old son of Roy Oram Fulton and his Irish-born wife, Bridget Daley of New Westminster, British Columbia. The couple had seven children, 3 girls, Sheila, Eileen, and Pat, and 4 boys, Roy, Russell, George and Harry.

Their father Roy, was employed as telegrapher for the Star-Pheonix newspaper for 12 years until he moved to Newton Post Office in 1942.

His son, Roy, was born at Bellingham, Washington in November 1919, and when his family moved to Canada, attended Buena Vesta School, Saskatoon, and later, the Technical Collegiate Institute 1938-39. While there he took a 7 months motor mechanic's course.

When he enlisted in the RCAF in January 1941, Roy was employed as a motor mechanic at Boyd Bros.Garage, Saskatoon.

After his initial training with the RCAF, he was posted as a trainee air engine mechanic to 15 SFTS at Claresholm, Alta, on 5th July 1941 and passed out on 1st January 1942. He was then sent to the UK in May 1942 and arrived at RCAF 415 Squadron on Thorney Island, near Chichester, in Sussex, on 11th June.

His next move was to no. 4 School of Technical Training at RAF St. Athan in South Wales, on August 8th, where he attended a six weeks flight engineer's course and was finally awarded his flight engineer's badge on 30th Sepember.

His next posting was to 1654 CU where he joined a crew and completed his training on Lancaster bombers. He was posted with that crew to 83 Squadron on 18th October 1942.

At the time of his death he had completed 23 missions with 83 Squadron.

Roy Fulton, whose body was washed ashore on April 8th 1943, is buried at Hindeloopen near his crew-mate RAF Sergeant John Lewis Organ.

It has been suggested that their skipper, RCAF Pilot Officer Henry Partridge, who was still at that time wearing sergeant's stripes, may also be interred here in a grave marked 'known only unto God'.

 

The rear gunner, Sergeant John Lewis Organ RAF, was the 23 year old son of Thomas and Hilda Organ (nee Lewis) of Milton Hill in Berkshire, who were married near Oxford in 1914.

The couple had five children, Jill 1915, Pamela 1917, John 1919, Elizabeth 1925, and Fay 1927. They appear to have moved to the Milton Hill near Abingdon area before Elizabeth's birth in 1925.

At the time of his death he had completed 20 missions with 83 Squadron.

John was washed ashore the day following the crash and is buried at Hindeloopen near his crew-mate Roy Fulton.

 

The navigator, RAF Flying Officer Leonard William Sprackling, was the 23 year old son of Walter Sydney, and Minnie Louisa Sprackling née Lopes, of Raynes Park, Surrey, who were married at Poplar, Middlesex in 1911.

The couple had three children, twins Doris and Sydney born 1919, and Leonard 1920.

Leonard married Myra Olive Bruce in 1942.

At the time of that last tragic operation he had completed 23 missions with 83 Squadron.

His body was washed ashore at Workum on the 3rd of April 1943 and was buried two days later at Workum General Cemetery,  Plot D - Row 1 - Grave 1.

His older brother, Able Seaman Sydney Sprackling, was serving on naval destroyer H.M.S. Kandahar in the Middle East, when it struck a mine on the night of 18th/19th December 1941, and he was killed together with 72 crew-mates.

Sydney is named on the Royal Navy's Chatham memorial.

Both brothers are also commemorated on the Wickford, Essex, War Memorial.

 

The mid upper gunner, Sergeant Arthur Desmond Dinnis was the 21 year old son of Arthur William Dinnis (1888-1969) and Annie Dinnis née Gribble, of Polegate, Sussex,

who were married at Eastbourne in 1914.

His father was a farmer based at Milton Court, Polegate, located in the parish of Hailsham, East Sussex, and five miles north of the seaside resort of Eastbourne.

The couple had six children, Thomas 1916, Mary 1918, Phyllis 1920, Arthur 1922, Kathleen 1922, and Raymond 1924.

At the time of his death their son, Sgt. Arthur Desmond Dinnis, had completed 22 missions with 83 Squadron.

He was buried at Makkum Protestant Churchyard Row M - Grave 34, with the Germans giving him full military honours, on June 8th 1943, (see our Makkum page) and is remembered on the memorial at his local church in Wilmington.

That memorial is to be found in the churchyard of the 12th century Priory Church of St. Mary & St. Peter and takes the form of a stone cross with a tapering shaft mounted on a three-stepped inscribed stone base. There are seven servicemen named for World War 1, and six for World War 2.

On Arthur's gravestone at Makkum the family's text reads, 'He heard the call and most gallantly responded. He gave his all.'

 


Arthur's mother, Annie Dinnis (1888-1967)

Wilmington churchyard's memorial (from www.beautifulengland.net ) 

 

The wireless operator, RAFVR Sergeant John Matthew Freshwater, was the 27 year old son of John Matthew Freshwater and Amy Hyde who were married at Edmonton, London, in 1914.

He married Hilda M Bandey at Essex SW in early 1940. Their home was at New Southgate in Middlesex. The couple had one daughter, Jean F Freshwater, born there in 1942.

In 1945, when writing to Henry Partridge's mother in Canada, Hilda gave her address as 27 Park Road, North London.

At the time of his death John Freshwater had completed 24 missions with 83 Squadron.

He  has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial - panel 150.

 

The bomb aimer, Sergeant Hayden Fell, was the 21 year old son of Norris Moore Fell (bn 1894) and Gladys May Fell née Bugg (bn 1900), of Levenshulme, Manchester, who were married at Salford in 1917. 

The couple had two children, Hayden (1921) and Vera (1927).

We know very little about Hayden's civilian or service life. He was unmarried and at the time of his death had completed 24 missions with 83 Squadron.

Having no known grave, he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial - Panel 149.

 

 

The graves at Hindeloopen

 

 

 

 

 

Flying Officer Leonard Sprackling at Workum and Sergeant Arthur Dinnis at Makkum.

 

 

 

Lancaster ED603 OL-L of 83 (Pathfinders) Squadron

On the night of June 12th 1943, at around 11pm, an experienced crew of 83 (Pathfinders) Squadron flew Lancaster ED603, a brand new aircraft with only 20 hours on the clock, from RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire. They were taking part in an attack on the German city of Bochum. The Lancaster was hit by flak over the target at 21,000 feet. Damaged, the plane attempted to return home. Over the Netherlands it was detected by German radar.

The crew were - Pilot - F/Lt Eric A. Tilbury - RAFVR - Age 25,   Flight Engineer - P/O Arthur B. Smart DFMRAF,  Navigator - P/O Harold E. Howsam - RAFVR - Age 31, Bomb aimer - P/O A. Gordon Fletcher - RCAF - Age 21,  Wireless Operator - F/Sgt Raymond E. Moore - DFM - RAFVR,  Air Gunner - P/O Charles F. J. Sprack - DFM - RAFVR - Age 24, Air Gunner - F/O Gordon R. Sugar - RAF - Age 22.

Raymond Edward Moore DFM. His DFM was awarded on 21st November 1941 for service with 50 Squadron .

 

Flight Lieutenant Eric Tilbury         Pilot Officer Gordon Fletcher             Oblt Rudolf Sigmund

 

At approximately 2.10am the crew of a nightfighter, piloted by Oblt Rudolf Sigmund of 10.NJG.1, fired on the crippled Lancaster and the battered aircraft crashed into the IJsselmeer. There were no survivors. The bodies of four of the crew were washed ashore on the coast of Friesland but the remaining three were never recovered. That afternoon, Sunday 13th June, lifeboat C.A.den Tex was launched from the NZHRM station at Hindeloopen but was only able to recover a dinghy, leather aircrew gloves and a small amount of wooden wreckage.

In later years the wreck of ED603 was discovered by the fishing boat VD-64 from Volendam. Together with a diving group, the ARG examined the site in September 1997. During this exploration, one of the engines was salvaged and the plane positively identified. The ARG spent several years consulting with the municipality of Woenseradiel to salvage the remains and give the airmen a decent funeral. Unfortunately, that municipality, despite urgent requests from the relatives, decided not to proceed with the salvage. The three lost crewmembers F/Sgt Moore, P/O Sprack and P/O Smart, will therefore, for now, remain 'missing in action'. They are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial near WIndsor, UK.

 

 

 

Memorials at the churches of Bigby, Lincolnshire and Headington, Oxford.

 

 

Flying Officer Gordon Sugar is buried at Hindeloopen Protestant Cemetery, Flight Lieutenant Eric Tilbury at Stavoren (Row I, Grave 29), and Pilot Officer Harold Howsam and Pilot Officer Gordon Fletcher at Workum (Plot D, Row 1, graves 9 and 8)

The graves of Gordon Sugar at Hindeloopen and Eric Tilbury at Stavoren

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monument at Texel. On its wooden frame is a propeller originating from Lancaster ED603 OL-L, which crashed into the Isselmeer near Makkum in Friesland on 13 June 1943. The monument commemorates the Allied aircrew (from more than 40 aircraft) who died on or near Texel during the Second World War.

A Merlin engine from Lancaster ED603 OL-L on display at Fort Veldhuis in Heemskerk.

 

12/13 June 1943 Bochum.  The third raid on Bochum was conducted by 503 aircraft - 323 Lancasters, 167 Halifaxes and 11 Mosquitos, with zero hour (1.40am) being announced with a brilliant display of red and green TI. This raid took place over a completely cloud-covered target. Accurate Oboe skymarking enabled all the Lancaster/Halifax Main Force to cause severe damage to the centre of Bochum. This included complete destruction of a large new barracks complex at Kornharpen. The German night-fighters were active, flying 68 sorties of which 44 intercepted bombers. This was due to a brilliant display by the northern lights and a moon as well. Industrial output of the city was reduced by 50% after this raid. One particularly gruesome factor of this raid was the civilian casualties: a 2000lb penetrator  pierced one of the big underground bunkers (there were 10 deep bunkers and 5 big but shallow shelters) and killed all 900 occupants, also collapsing the access ways. One rescuer managed to get down an air shaft to report that all inside were dead from blast. The bunker was then sealed, and remains so. 14 Lancasters and 10 Halifaxes were lost, 4.8 per cent of the force.

 

Bomb-damaged Bochum

 

 

Sergeant Bernard William Palastanga of 408 Squadron. On the night of the 6/7 November 1941, 408 RCAF Squadron were operating Hampden Bombers from RAF

 Syerston. Sgt. Palastanga was the Observer in Hampden AD 972 which took off as part

 of a raid on Germany. As they were crossing the Dutch coast returning from bombing the target, Hampden AD 972 was attacked by a Messerschmitt 110 night fighter.

 The aircraft was immediately put into a diving cork-screw to port manoeuvre and contact was lost with the enemy aircraft but not before it had fired several bursts of machine gun and cannon fire. A crew check was made by the pilot to which Sgt. Palastanga did not respond. On checking his position the escape hatch was found open. Sgt. Palastanga had evidently bailed out as his stowed parachute was missing from the rack. 21 year old RAF Sergeant Bernard Palastanga, son of William Joseph and Dora Palastanga of Hollington, St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, was reported as missing - believed killed in action. He is buried in Grave 5 Row 13 Section B of Hindeloopen cemetery

 

 

Flight Sergeant Chapman from 514 Squadron

On the night of 21/22nd January 1944, Lancaster DS824 took off from RAF Waterbeach at 1956 hours, detailed to bomb Magdeburg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.


The crew were RAF P/O J K Williams, (Pilot), RAF Sgt JR Keenen, (Flight Engineer), RAF Ft Sgt L N Millis, (Navigator), RAF F/O D F Henshaw, (Bomb Aimer), RAAF Flt Sgt W H Chapman, (Wireless Operator), RAF Sgt A Pratt, (Mid Upper Gunner), RAF Flt Sgt E A Lane, (Rear Gunner). The aircraft crashed in the Ijsselmeer (Zuider Zee) Netherlands, and all lost their lives. 
The bodies of F/Sgt Noël Leslie Millis and F/Sgt Ernest Allan Lane were recovered by a local fisherman and are buried in the cemetery of the Reformed Church in Makkum. 
P/O Williams is buried in the Stavern General Cemetery, Netherlands. Stavern is 45kms south of Harlingen. P/O Williams was flying his second tour of operations.

Flt Sgt Wilbur Henry Chapman, the 26 year old son of Samuel and Harriett Chapman and husband of Isabel Jean Chapman, of Dawson, South Australia, is buried in the Hindesloopen Protestant Churchyard.  
F/O Henshaw, and Sgt’s Pratt and Keenan have no known grave, and their names are commemorated on the Runnymed Memorial, near Windsor, UK.

 

 

 

22 year old Flight Sergeant Leslie Noel Millis from Teddington, Middlesex, and his grave at Makkum

 

 

 

 

Sergeant Alfred Springett from 51 Squadron - Halifax LW286 Bombing mission to Berlin.  Take off was at 5.04pmon 22 November 1943 from RAF Snaith. Cause of loss was not established. The aircraft wasprobably either hit by flak over Texel or intercepted by a night fighter. The Halifaxcrashed in the IJsselmeer between Urk and Hindeloopen. 23 year old Sgt Alfred Springett is buried in the Protestant Cemetery at Hindeloopen and F/O Francis Moynihan at Lemmer Cemetery, while 19 year old Sgt Eddy Dyer's grave is at Amersfoot (Oud Leusden) General Cemetery. Their other crewmates have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial near Windsor. 

The crew were -  Pilot - P/O Horace F. Farley - RAFVR - Age 30 - from Clapham, London.  Bomb Aimer - F/O Harry Oswald Hetterley - RAFVR - Age 21 - from Castle Bromwich in Warwickshire. (He married Margaret Esther in early 1943 at Birmingham.)  Navigator -  F/O Francis Henry Moynihan - RAFVR - Age 23 - from Birmingham.  Flight Engineer - Sgt Samuel H. Godfrey - RAFVR - Age 21 -  from Loxwood, Sussex.     Wireless Operator - Sgt Alfred B. Springett - RAFVR - Age 23 - from Leeds, Yorkshire.    Air Gunner - Sgt Edward H. G. Dyer - RAFVR - Age 19 - from Cullompton, Devon. Air Gunner - Sgt John E. Whitehead - RAFVR - Age 20 - from Southsea, Hampshire.

764 bombers from RAF Bomber Command were sent out against the German capital that night. Take off of those from 51 Squadron at RAF Snaith was around 5pm. Their flight path took them over the Dutch island of Texel, the IJsselmeer and Northern Netherlands. The attack on Berlin started at 8pm (UK time) when pathfinders dropped their markers over the city. 51 Squadron lost two aircraft on that mission. Halifax HR726 MH-B, piloted by Wing Commander Christopher Wright, was shot down over the target area and crashed at Grunewald, 9km from Berlin. There were no survivors.

 

Handley Page Halifax B Mark II Series 1A, HR952 'MH-X', of 51 Squadron receiving a mixed load of 500-lb MC bombs and incendiaries in its dispersal at RAF Snaith. (IWM collection)


The story of Halifax LL294 from 298 Squadron

298 squadron was re-formed on 4 November1943 at RAF Tarrant Rushton, Dorset from 'A' Flight of 295 Squadron.

Flying the Handley Page Halifax, it trained to air-tow the big General Aircraft Hamilcar glider, but began operations in February 1944 in its original role, dropping SOE agents.

On the eve of D-Day the squadron sent six aircraft with Horsa Gliders to capture the Orne bridges before the main landings and later towed fifteen gliders to the landing zones in Normandy.

For the Arnhem landing, the squadron towed thirteen Horsas and seven Hamilcars on the first day and eight of each on the second. Ten Horsas on the third day took reinforcements to the 1st Airbourne Division.

 

Based on the books by Jan J. van der Veer and Vic Klep, the following narrative was constructed by Elger Abbink.

On Saturday October 14th 1944, Flying Officer Bill Taylor and his crew, flying Halifax LL294, were assigned a Special Duties operation. The goal was to "deliver parcels" - to drop supplies for the resistance. The target was located somewhere near Borger, Drenthe, in the Netherlands.

The codename for the flight would be Rummy 6. It was Taylor and his crew's second Special Duties flight but they were an experienced crew; by October 1944 they had been flying together for 2 years.

At about 0:15am on October 15th 1944 Taylor's Halifax LL294 with the radio code 8A-P takes off from its base Tarrant Rushton in Dorset, England. They head north, west of London. When they're north of Norwich, they turn east. The coast of the occupied Netherlands is passed about 8 kilometres south of the naval base Den Helder at an altitude of 7000 feet. When they pass the coast line, the aircraft turns towards the south east - towards Hoorn,

increase airspeed to 220 miles per hour. A few minutes later, Horwood, the tailgunner, thinks he sees a German nightfighter and warns the pilot to take evasive action. A few moments later, Horwood reports that the German fighter, which he identified as a Junkers 88, has disappeared into the clouds. They continue their flight towards the east, the airplane constantly varying its speed, course, and altitude. Photo  shows from left to right: Harold "Fergy" Ferguson (bomb aimer), Alfred "Alf" Springate (radio operator), John Campbell (flight engineer), James "Jimmy" Horwood (tailgunner), Bill McGechie (navigator) and Bill Taylor (pilot). Springate was Welsh; Campbell was English; Ferguson, Horwood, McGechie, and Taylor were Canadian.

 

 

Bill Taylor is the one with the moustache

 

During a maneuver in which Taylor drops the airplane to 600 feet (or 180 meters) there is a sudden bright flash of light. The crew deliberates what it might have been - a fire burst from the night fighter they saw a few minutes ago, ground fire, or lightning. They decide however that most likely it was a flash of a flame coming out of the exhausts as a result of throttling back during the maneuver. However, shortly after that, Taylor begins to notice that the aircraft is responding in a strange manner, and that they were losing altitude. Horwood suggests something - perhaps their onboard toilet - might have shifted and is interfering with the control cables running along the fuselage towards the tail. Campbell, the engineer, and Springate, the radio operator, run to the back the plane and check to see if something is wrong, but they don't see anything out of the ordinary. The aircraft continues to lose altitude, and is beginning to lean heavily to port. Taylor tells Ferguson and McGechie to abandon their stations in the nose of the aircraft. McGechie checkes his watch at this moment: it is 1.45 AM. Taylor struggles to maintain control of his aircraft. He pulls back the throttle of the starboard engines, and gave full throttle on the left. Campbell is standing next to Taylor in the cockpit while the rest of the crew makes their way to the resting area in the middle of the aircraft, according to the emergency procedure. This part of the aircraft is the strongest and they will have the biggest chance of survival if they crash. Taylor orders the crew to open the emergency hatches in the roof of the plane - if they make an emergency landing the structure may buckle and opening the hatches will become impossible.

  

 

Operation MALLARD: aircraft prepared for the reinforcement of the British airborne assault, assembled at Tarrant Rushton, Dorset, on the afternoon of 6 June 1944. On the runway are General Aircraft Hamilcar heavy lift gliders, preceded by two Airspeed Horsa troop-carrying gliders, while parked on each side of them are Handley Page Halifax glider-tugs of Nos. 298 and 644 Squadrons RAF.       IWM photo

 

Meanwhile, Taylor finds he is regaining some control. They fly low over the IJsselmeer, and pass the other coast north of Stavoren. An emergency landing has become inevitable, and with all his strength Taylor manages to turn the aircraft around, heading into the wind. They make a 180 turn and they pass the coast again just south of Stavoren. Then they hit the water. The perspex nose breaks off on impact and the cold water gushes in. McGechie, who was standing up next to Taylor claimed it was the giant wave coming in that prevented him from being flung forward because of the impact. The rest of the crew in the middle of the plane are soaked, but everyone has survived the crash landing on the stormy lake in complete darkness. "It was one of Bill's better landings," one of the crew later stated. The crew quickly abandons the aircraft knowing that it will sink within 10 minutes. It is dark and cold; it is raining and there are high seas. Outside, standing on the port wing, they notice that the port vertical tail has completely disappeared. The crew inflate their lifejackets, but Ferguson is having trouble with his. Springate helps him. Using their torches, the crew sees that the wing hatch containing their dinghy hasn't opened. They are going to have to swim to shore. Taylor points east and says that it is about 300 metres (less than 1000 ft) away - he had seen it just before the plane crashed. He suggests that they attempt to swim, hand in hand. Pretty soon however they notice that swimming is practically impossible with inflated lifejackets. Ferguson, who cannot swim, panics and gives up the attempt. The crew decide to go back to the aircraft and try to recover their dinghy. Taylor and Springate take care of Ferguson. They manage to bring him to the tail of the aircraft, where he holds on to one of the barrels of the rear turret machineguns. Springate stays with Ferguson, while Taylor makes his way to the others who are back at the wing, which by this point has almost disappeared beneath the waves. They manage to climb on top of the wing again, but struggle to stay there because waves keep washing over it. McGechie makes his way back into the aircraft to retrieve an axe so that they can open the hatch in the wing. Once inside he notices that the lever connected to the cables that operate the hatch had not been completely pulled out. He gives it a jerk with no effect. He tries again and hears someone outside yelling, "it worked, it's coming out!" The dinghy is inflated automatically, launches itself out of the compartment in the wing, and glides into the water. Taylor jumps from the wing and swims after it, forgetting that the raft was attached to the aircraft with a rope. He manages to push the dinghy back towards the airplane and tells the crew to climb in. When the crew attempts to pull in Taylor, something is holding him back. His ankle is caught in one of the antenna wires. McGechie tries to cut it with his knife, but that doesn't work. Taylor then manages to take off his boot, which did the trick, and he climbs into the dinghy. In the meantime, Springate who was still at the tail with Ferguson has been calling for help repeatedly. Because of the cold he and Ferguson had been forced to let go of the gun barrel. The crew in the dinghy try to make their way to the tail, but this time the lifeline of the dingy has been caught in the antenna wire. The crew cuts the life line and goes over to the tail. There they find Springate and with what remains of their strength they pull him on board. There is no sign of Ferguson. The crew calls out for him and tries to search with their torches. The crew keeps calling for Ferguson and after a few minutes they hear a faint response. They try to row over to where they heard it but when they're there the cries seem to come from a different direction. Soon thereafter, they don't hear anything anymore except the wind and the waves. Desperate, the crew fire a signal flare, but there was no response anymore. It was then that the crew decides to row towards the coast, somewhat aided by the wind. The crew must have been exhausted when they finally reached the shore at 3.30am. They would not have been very familiar with an actual Dutch dike - the famous levy system which protects the low lands against the water. McGechie climbed the dike together with Taylor and attempted to do a quick reconnaissance. On the other side they saw a path, a narrow canal, and beyond that, fields. The others cut the dinghy up to somewhat hide their trace. When they reconvened, it was decided to go to the other side of the canal because they would have had a better chance to hide.

 

 The grave of 23 year old bomb aimer Harold Ferguson at Staveren Cemetery and the area close to where they came ashore. He was the son of Thomas & Mabel Ferguson of Blackfalds, Alberta, Canada.

 

The crew try to find a bridge to cross the canal. They first go east, but don't find one. They turn around again and walk in the other direction. There finally they find a bridge to cross. They hide their lifejackets underneath a small dam. They walk towards Stavoren, and in the distance, they can hear horses, a cart, and rattling metal milk containers. The crew run towards the noise.

The noise the crew heard were two young farmers going out early that morning to milk their cows. They were Johannes Visser (1918-2003) and his sister Pietje Visser (1921-2001). Their father had recently died and they were trying to keep the family business going. In an interview in 2000, Johannes Visser said: "It was dark and there was a strong wind. At the edge of town there was a fence, it was called the 'white fence'. We were a bit beyond that fence when our horse was startled by something and stood still. My sister said 'what's wrong with the horse?'" That moment, they saw a group of soldiers in uniform, yelling at them, "please stop!"

The young farmers jumped from their cart. Johannes Visser was so startled he instinctively put his hands up. In the interview he said: "Suddenly there were people around is. They were young men in uniforms. First we thought they were German, but at the same moment we saw that their uniforms were different and we heard that they were speaking English. We couldn't understand them, but we gathered they wanted to tell us something. They were mentioning "an aeroplane". We then understood that they must have had some accident with their aircraft and were in need of help."

Johannes and Pietje did not speak English, but they asked (in Dutch or Frisian) whether they knew they had been spotted by the Germans. The airmen understood what they meant however and shook their heads.

Pietje wanted to know if they were speaking the truth, so she checked whether the airmen's uniforms were really wet. The two quickly made up their mind to help the airmen. It was a commonly known secret that another farmer, Harmen de Boer sometimes hid people at his farm nearby. The two young farmers thought it best to take the airmen there.

Along the way they passed the location where the lifejackets had been hidden, and as they passed it, two of the crew jumped off the cart and retrieved them. Pietje noticed the airmen were shivering. She covered two of them with her brother's coat, and gave her own coat and sweater to the three others.

At some point Johannes and Pietje separated; Johannes would go on to milk the cows, going about his business, and Pietje would lead the airmen to Harmen de Boer's farm. To get there they left the cart behind, and walked several miles through the fields, crossing ditches and climbing fences.

Pietje talked to the airmen even though they didn't understand her, but it gave them some comfort. She was carrying all 5 life jackets, refusing to let the airmen help. She delivered the crew safely to De Boer's farm. The family there was surprised, but the crew received a warm welcome. Pietje waved the crew goodbye, and they waved back.

Pietje made her way back to her brother, and together they finished milking. It was about 7am when they were finished, and it was getting lighter. They climbed onto the dike and they could clearly see the aircraft a few hundred meters out. When they got home, they told their mother what had happened. She urged them not to mention the incident to anyone.

At 8.30 Johannes went back to the dike. He saw debris floating in the water. A little bit further there were more people on the dike, and Johannes decided to head over to see what was up.

A dead body had been washed ashore. It was a young man in uniform with a lifejacket on. Somebody said he was a German, but someone else corrected him, saying Germans didn't have those kinds of boots.

Johannes noticed that on the airmen's sleeve it said "Canada". He did not have any obvious injuries.

On his way back to the farm a German soldier walking in the other direction approached Johannes and asks him if it was true that there was an airplane in the water and a dead body had been found. Johannes was startled that the Germans knew already, said "yes", and kept on walking.

The family remained scared for quite some time after the incident; after all, they had helped Allied airmen to evade capture.

Back at the farm of Harmen de Boer, the crew were given dry clothes and food, and they were sent to bed to recover a bit from their ordeal. Harmen and his wife decide to contact the head of a local resistance group. They couldn't stay near Stavoren because an active regiment of the Grüne Polizei was stationed there. As luck would have it, one of their two sons was dating a girl who was close to the members of the resistance group who were active in Gaastmeer, a town several miles to the north east, and she just happened to be at their farm that day.

She went back to her home town and asked the leaders, and it was decided to take the airmen to that town. Gaastmeer was isolated, even these days it's quite difficult to get to.

The town was home to what the Germans called "the darkest form of terrorism". The following night, at 4.00am, the crew was transported by rowing boat from Warns (my home town) to Gaastmeer. Two members of the resistance were rowing. One of them spoke English and the crew were very happy to finally be able to tell somebody what they had been through. However, this distracted the one rower so much that the other one ended up doing most of the work.

Aided by a little compass from the airmen, they made it to Gaastmeer in a few hours.The most difficult part of the trip was passing the bridge at de Galemadammen. It's a narrow passage that would have been guarded by German soldiers.

The crew remained in Gaastmeer for six months, until the end of the war. They hid at different locations all over the little community. When it was dark the crew sometimes even went for short walks, and in December 1944, the crew were even taught to ice skate on one of the fields that had flooded earlier.

Bill Taylor was taught a bit of Frisian; he was able to say "Ik bin in skipper fan neat - ik kaem yn 'e Sudersee” meaning "I'm a lousy skipper - I came to land in the Sudersee; (IJsselmeer)". It took him some time before he figured out what it actually meant.

James Horwood helped the resistance by servicing weapons, and by giving weapon training. Alfred Springate aided the resistance by operating an illegal radio; he maintained much of the radio traffic between Britain and the south west part of Friesland.

When the war ended, the crew quickly went back to their home countries, but not after a ceremony in which they thanked the people of Gaastmeer for their generosity.

I had the distinct honour of meeting Alfred Springate in Stavoren in 2004, when a monument commemorating the incident was unveiled. My dad and I gave him one of the pieces of aluminium we have found in the last few years that belonged to his aircraft. All but a couple of other parts we have donated to the Frisian Resistance Museum in 2005. I have also met some of the members of the resistance in 2003 when Vic Klep’s book about the events was published.    Elger Abbink.

This is the monument. The plane wreck itself was salvaged in 1953, including its cargo that was still in the aircraft's bomb bay: dozens of containers with weapons which never reached their destination.What caused the Halifax to crash remains unknown. Jan J Van der Veer claims it was most likely a shell from ground fire from a battery near Hoorn that tore off one of the vertical tails and heavily damaged the wing and engines on the port side. Vic Klep argues that it is possible the radio antenna snapped and tore off the port vertical tail.To see more photos and a complete account go to  http://elger.livejournal.com/ 169099.html


Workum is a small city that is located at the Old Zuyder Sea dike. A long time ago, land-winning projects started outside the dike. That resulted in polders on the seafront. The harbour was kept open thanks to a long canal to the sea, with a lighthouse and a breaker dam at the entrance. The polder north of the canal was named 'Workumer Waard', but the upper polder-half belonged to Gaast. The polder south towards Hindeloopen was named 'Workumer Nieuwland'.
In WW2, Workum had about 4km of the polder coastline to guard. South of the lighthouse it had about 1km and north some 3km to patrol.
In one year, from April 1943 to May 1944, 10 Allied airmen were buried here. They were on bombing missions to Essen, Dortmund, Bochum and Osnabrück/Münster.
Four of them washed ashore on Workums coastline, or were brought in by fishermen. A Lancaster crew crashed just south of Workum in a meadow. Today nine airmen rest here, all identified. One American airman was exhumed after the war.

101 Squadron's Lancaster W4888 - SR-P - 4/5 May 1943 - Mission: Dortmund

At 21.40 on May 4th 1943, Lancaster W4888 of 101 Squadron RAF, piloted by Flying Officer Nicholas Stanford, took off from RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor, near the town of Hull in northern England, for a bombing raid on Dortmund in Germany.

On its return journey the bomber was intercepted over the IJsselmeer on the Frisian Coast, by a Messerschmitt ME 110 flown by Lothar Linke, and after a brief aerial combat was shot down at 01.40.

Six crew-members were killed in the crash and are buried in Workum Cemetery.

The navigator, Pilot Officer Ralph Paterson, succeed in bailing out. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.

The crew were -

F/O. Nicholas James Stanford - RAFVR 80378  (Pilot) aged 28 - KIA

P/O. Ralph Duncan Paterson - RAFVR 128664 (Navigator) aged 29 - POW

Sgt. Anthony Jules Lawson Lyon - RAFVR 1336486 (Bomb Aimer) aged 21- KIA

Sgt. Arthur Harold Clark - RAFVR 1203348 (Flight Engineer) aged 22 - KIA 

F/O. William Thomas Lewis DFM - RCAF J16982 (Wireless Operator) aged 28 - KIA 

Sgt. John Milner Hadfield - RAFVR 1132867 (Air Gunner) aged 22 - KIA 

F/Sgt. George William Francis Reynolds - RCAF R131490  (Air Gunner) aged 19 - KIA

 

It was a very bad night for 101 Squadron with the loss of 20 aircrew and six aircraft. Lancaster W4784, piloted by Sergeant Nicholson, and on the crew's first operation together, was lost without trace, and four of the squadron's aircraft crashed after returning to the UK. ED776 just short of the runway at base, and ED830 after colliding with some trees near Linton-on-Ouse, but both,fortunately, with no casualties. Two other aircraft came down in Yorkshire. ED835, piloted by Flight Sergeant G Hough, had been badly damaged by flak and crashed 10 miles south-west of Beverley with the loss of the pilot and two of his crew, and W4863, with New Zealand Sergeant J R Browning the skipper, crashed at Scrotton, 5 miles from Richmond, ending the lives of its pilot and three of his crew.

 

The story about the Lancaster W4888 by Jan J. van der Veer (translation John Rowan, Bruxelles) from www.warkumserfskip.nl/id375.ht

On May 4th 1943, whilst returning home from a successful bombing raid on Dortmund in Germany involving 596 aircraft, the Lancaster W4888 of 101 RAF Squadron was engaged over the IJsselmeer in the area the Frisian Coast, by a Messerschmitt ME 110.

The pilot of this aircraft was one Oberleutnant Lothar Linke, a veteran of the Battle of Britain (July-October 1940), during which he was based in Norway. In May 1943 he was based at the Fliegerhorst Leeuwarden (capital of the province of Fryslân) as a member of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1. He would be killed in action just ten days later near Lemmer in the province of Fryslân.

Damaged by a bombardment from Linke's Messerschmitt, the Lancaster W4888 immediately caught fire.

Given the apparent impossibility of reaching its home base of Holme-on-Spalding Moor, near the town of Hull in northern England, Flying Officer Nicholas J. Stanford decided to look for a landing place in the meadows, adjoining the Frisian coast.

Navigating by the coast, he reached Workum, where he turned his plane (now ablaze, potentially with wounded airmen aboard) over the town and the surrounding area.

As it flew over the railway station of Workum he steered towards 90º west, again in the direction of the IJsselmeer. As Flying Officer Stanford struggled to land the plane, a large farmhouse (with the name of "Sathe Westerein') rose up in front of him.

He managed to avoid this obstacle, but the tail of the machine broke off and landed in a barn of this farmhouse. Rear-gunner John M. Hadfield (who very probably was already dead by this point) was thrown out and he fell in a meadow west of that farmhouse.

The burning plane just passed the Alde Dyk and crashed around 150 metres from the two farmhouses on the south side of that Dyk. All the members of the crew were killed, except navigator Ralph Duncan Paterson, who had managed to exit the plane via the emergency doors on the bottom of the plane.

With burns to his hands, face and knees suffered whilst leaving the plane Paterson parachuted to ground near the lock of Workum. He was made a prisoner of war and sent to the local doctor Bernard C. Noordhoff for medical care. He was allowed to remain there for treatment for several days.

From the window of his room, where he was guarded by a German soldier, he saw the carriages with the bodies of his comrades passing by.

After a few days he was sent to the Bonifatiushospital in Leeuwarden, then to a military hospital in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and then on to various camps in Germany, ending up in Stalag Luft III, near Sagan in Silesia (today in Poland). Here he was involved in the preparations of `The Great Escape', March 24/25, 1944.

After the war he returned to England and resumed his former profession of policeman in London.

The Comrades in Arms of Paterson who did not survive the crash at 01.40h on May 5th were Arthur Harold Clark, William T. Lewis, Anthony Jules Lawson Lyon, George William Francis Reynolds and Nicholas James Stanford, They were buried at the General Cemetery of Workum at the Spoardyk on May 7th. A small detachment of German soldiers of the Hafenüberwachung Workum had given them a military salute at the former orphanage of Workum, where their corpses had been placed on biers.

Reverend ds. Jan van Veen of the Dutch Reformed Church in Workum, a clandestine member of the Dutch Resistance, conducted this ceremony.

After the funeral of his companions the body of rear-gunner John M. Hadfield was found west of `Sathe Westerein' in a meadow at the edge of a shallow ditch. He was buried May 10th in the same cemetery as his comrades.

The Warkumer Nijlân, the region in which the Lancaster W4888 crashed, was formerly part of the Zuiderzee, nowadays the IJsselmeer. It was reclaimed in 1624 and lies between the towns of Hindeloopen and Workum.

The Alde Dyk is the former sea dike, which protected Workum and the surroundings from the Zuiderzee.

The farmhouse `Sathe Westerein' is known, in Frisian literature, as the place where in the 19th century the writer Dr. Joast Hiddes Halbertsma and his brothers Eeltsje and Tsjalling, wrote some of the stories and poems which can be found in their famous storybook `Rimen en Teltsjes' (Poems and Stories).

  


This memorial plaque, near the crash site at Warkumer Nijlân, was unveiled April 16, 2015.     (photo by Geert Bakker)

Flying Officer Nicholas James Stanford
, the pilot, was born on the 2nd of January 1915, in Greytown, Natal, South-Africa.
He was the son of British born Harold Shippey Stanford and Annie Gertrude Adkins.
His mother, who had arrived in South Africa on the 'SS Galway Castle' in May 1913, appears to have died on 16th January 1915, only two weeks after her son's birth. She was only 36 years old.
Her husband, Harold, who was born in Edenbridge, Kent in 1880, died on 18th July 1945 at Greytown's Cottage Hospital in Natal. His estate was inherited by a niece, Mrs. Felicity O'Grady née Stanford.
Nicholas Stanford enlisted in the RAF at Salisbury, Rhodesia, in 1941.
We know nothing about his service history other than forming this new Lancaster bomber crew at 1656 CU in February 1943.
He is buried in
‘Spoardyk’ General Cemetery at Workum - grave D.1.4 .

The wireless operator, Pilot Officer William Thomas Lewis DFM, was the son of Welsh migrant, Alfred Donald Lewis, who arrived in Canada in 1904, and Montreal born Mary Leonard.

Alfred Lewis was employed as a waiter in the restaurant cars of the  Canadian Pacific Railway and lived at Sherbrooke Street, West Montreal. The couple had four sons, three of whom are believed to have joined the RCAF.

Their second son, William Thomas Lewis was born in Montreal on June 1st 1914.

He was educated at the Catholic Thomas D'Arcy McGee High School and, when enlisting in the RCAF in August 1940, he was employed as a purchasing clerk with the Fairchild Aircraft Company.

In Canada he trained at No.2 Wireless School (graduating 23 June 1941) and No.7 Bombing and Gunnery School  (graduating 21 July 1941). He then received his wireless operator/air gunner's badge and sergeant's stripes, and was soon posted to the UK.

His Wellington bomber aircrew training took place at 19 OTU, RAF Kinloss in the extreme north of Scotland, followed by a month with RCAF 420 Squadron at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. He was posted to 101 Squadron at RAF Oakington on 21st June 1942. 

His new crew was skippered by Warrant Officer Leonard Ollier, and their first operation together was in Wellington III X3754 on 25th June.

A full tour of 30 operations followed for which William was awarded the DFM. His commendation reads 'This Canadian Non-Commissioned Officer who has carried out his tour of operations on Wellington aircraft with this squadron has always shown great confidence and ability, and his efficiency as a Wireless Operator has proved a great asset to the crew. A very steady and reliable type with an eagerness for operational flying, who on all occasions has displayed coolness and courage under difficult conditions. Flight Sergeant Lewis was a member of a crew who carried out an exceptionally fine performance in a daylight raid on Emden on the 23rd August, 1942 and his keenness and devotion to duty has at all times been a fine example to the squadron.' 

In October 1942 he received his commission and was now Pilot Officer W T Lewis. During September/October 1942 101 Squadron converted to Lancasters and moved to RAF Holme -on-Spalding Moor, near Hull, in Yorkshire.

William was posted to 1659 CU on October 28th for four-engine bomber training. He later returned to 101 Squadron and joined Flying Officer Nicholas Stanford's crew for a second tour.

He is buried at ‘Spoardyk’ General Cemetery at Workum - grave D.1.2 .


RCAF Flight Sergeant George William Francis Reynolds, R131490 , the air gunner, was the 19 year old son of farmer, George Reynolds, and his wife Alice Gertrude Parr of Elora, Ontario. He was born at Groves Memorial Hospital, Fergus, on October 1st, 1923.

Working on the family farm, George only attended High School for one year. He enlisted at Hamilton on October 21st 1941, a year after the death of his mother. The RCAF enrolment records indicate that his father had retired and that George did not intend to return to farming after completing his wartime service.

The technical training took place at No.4 Wireless School and No.1 Bombing and Gunnery School, Jarvis.

He was awarded his aircrew badge and sergeant's stripes on 25th October 1942 and, following embarkation leave, arrived in the UK in December.

More gunnery training followed and then a posting for heavy bomber aircrew training at 1656 CU on February 9th 1943.

From there he was posted with Flying Officer Stanford's crew to 101 Squadron on March 28th.  

He is buried in Plot D. Row 1. Grave 6. at Workum General Cemetery.

 

Sgt. Anthony Jules Lawson Lyon - RAFVR 1336486, the bomb aimer, was the 21 year old son of newspaper manager, Archibald L L Lyon, and his wife Gladys Chinchen (1899-1963) the daughter of a fish-monger, both from Southampton, UK, who were married there in 1920.

The couple had five children - Anthony (1921-43), Aubrey (1923), Jill (1924-66), Ronald (1926) and Jacqueline (1929-2015).

Anthony joined  Flying Officer Stanford's crew at 1656 CU before being posted to 101 Squadron.

He is buried at ‘Spoardyk’ General Cemetery at Workum in grave D.1.3

The grave of his mother Gladys is at New Cut Memorial Cemetery, Lancaster County, South Carolina, USA.

 

Pilot Officer Ralph Duncan Paterson - RAFVR 128664, the 29 year old navigator, was born at Chorlton, Lancashire on January 18th 1913.

He married Ellen Crittall in the Finsbury district of London in 1935. The couple had two children, both born in the London area, Ralph Duncan Paterson (1937-2012) and Dianne (Beverley) Paterson (1947)

On his mission with F/O Nicholas Stanford in Lancaster W4888, he managed to exit the plane via the bottom emergency doors. With burns to his hands, face and knees suffered whilst leaving the burning aircraft, Ralph Paterson ground near the canal lock at Workum.

8 year old Jacob Wiersma, whose father Simon was the lock-keeper, later recalled in 2015 "Around 1.40am the plane came down in the country, about 150 meters from the Alde Dyk. Paterson himself had managed to break free from the device and sought help from my father. He had just kicked the aircraft's door out, it was quite a ruckus."

He was made a prisoner of war and sent to the local doctor, Bernard C. Noordhoff, for medical care. He was allowed to remain there for treatment for several days.

From the window of his room, where he was guarded by a German soldier, he saw the carriages with the bodies of his comrades passing by.

After a few days he was sent to the Bonifatius hospital in Leeuwarden, and then to a military hospital in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). 

Following stays at various camps in Germany, he ended up in Stalag Luft III, near Sagan in Silesia (in today's Poland). There he was involved in the preparations for `The Great Escape', March 24/25, 1944.

After the war he returned to England and resumed his former profession of policeman in London.

 

Sergeant Arthur Harold Clark - RAFVR 1203348, the 22 year old flight engineer, was the only son of wood-carver Arthur Clark, and his wife Ethel Jessie Hawkins, from Bath in Somerset.

His mother Ethel wrote to the Burgomaster of Workum shortly after her son's death.

His reply enclosed a photo of Arthur's grave and a description of the funeral.

He explained that he was on site within a quarter of an hour of the crash with policemen, and local defence medics. The bodies were taken carefully to a local orphanage.

On the following Friday they were buried in the new cemetery at Workum. The burgomaster had ordered the funeral service to be carried out according to ancient Friesian tradition, using farm wagons and black horses. The Vice-Burgomaster and the local people followed the solemn procession and there was immense sympathy from everyone present. The ceremony was conducted by a minister of the Dutch Church.

Later that year there was a remembrance service which drew a large crowd, and the local people sang the the hymn "For all the saints who from their labours rest"

The burgomaster ended his letter saying - "It is an honour for us to have to care for the boys' graves and an honour to have them buried on Allied soil."

Sgt Clark with girlfriend Hazel, and a later picture of his mother

IN LOVING MEMORY OF HAROLD CLARK/ FLIGHT SERGEANT ENGINEER/ ROYAL AIR FORCE/ WHO LOST HIS LIFE OVER GERMANY/ 5TH MAY 1943. AGED 22 YEARS/ GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN -

Brass plaque in St. John's Church, Lower Weston, Bath.

Sgt. John Milner Hadfield - RAFVR 1132867, the 22 year old air gunner, was the son of cotton worker John M Hadfield (bn 1876) and Annie Batty, who were married at Oldham in 1904.

The couple five children.

Their only son, John, was born in September 1920 at 105 Lee Street, Oldham.

He had four older sisters, Elizabeth (1905), Lucy (1907), Rosina (1909), and Mary (1915)

After the funeral of his companions, the body of rear-gunner John M. Hadfield was found west of `Sathe Westerein' in a meadow at the edge of a shallow ditch and his funeral was on May 10th.

He is buried in ‘Spoardyk’ General Cemetery at Workum, grave D.1.7



The original graves at Workum.

 


 

 


 

 

 

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