advanced

    Friesland wartime history     by Willem de Jong    <   page 29    

 

12 Squadron in World War 2

Leeuwarden Airfield
Schiermonikoog
Harlingen & Harderwijk
Occupied Harlingen
German Radar
Ameland
Vlieland
Terschelling
St. Jacobparochie
Rottum Island
Hindeloopen
12 Squadron Losses
Texel & Den Helder
Runnymede Memorial

FLYING OFFICER DONALD EDWARD GARLAND VC, & SERGEANT THOMAS GRAY VC.

On the first day of the Second World War 12 Squadron moved to France to begin operations.

Early in the morning of 10 May 1940 the German forces commenced their Blitzkreig advance through the Low Countries. On the 12th May, 12 Squadron was tasked with destroying vital bridges over the Albert Canal.

The whole Squadron volunteered so it was decided that the six crews already detailed on the readiness roster should undertake the mission.

Flying Officer Donald Garland was to lead 3 aircraft against the Veldwezelt Bridge in a low level attack. Sgt Tom Gray was the Observer/Navigator on Fairey Battle P2204 PH-K, piloted by F/O Donald Garland with LAC Lawrence Reynolds as rear gunner.

They flew below the cloud base at 1000 feet and on reaching the Veldwezelt area started a shallow bombing run. There were estimated to be some 300 guns entrenched in a defensive ring around the bridge, and the aircraft was blasted into the ground.

The second Battle L5439, piloted by PO I A McIntosh, was hit in the main fuel tank, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jettisoned his bombs and made a forced landing and survived as a prisoner of war.

The third Battle L5227, piloted by Sgt Fred Marland, released its bombs but then lost control and dived into the ground.

When the smoke cleared it was seen that the western end of the bridge was shattered, and evidence suggested the damage was caused by Garland and Gray's cool attack. It had been Gray's first operational bombing raid.

Flying Officer Garland and Sergeant Gray were both posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

The squadron returned to England in June 1940. It was stationed initially at RAF Finningley, arriving at RAF Binbrook on July 1940 when it was refurnished with Battles. Amongst other missions, it carried out anti-invasion strikes against shipping in Boulogne Harbour, most notably on 17 and 19 August.

 

One of the 12 Squadron aircraft shot down on 12th May 1940. Fighter bomber Fairey Battle P2332 PH-F airborne 0818 from Amifontaine. It was tasked to destroy the concrete bridge spanning the Albert Kanaal at Vroenhoven. Shot down by Flak and fighters and crashed near the bridge, 24 km SE of Hasselt, Belgium. The crew of three were made prisoners of war.

 

 

Albert Canal bridge near Veldwezelt (Belgium) before 12 May 1940 & Albert Canal bridge near Vroenhoven (with defence bunker M) directly after German capture.

 

 



FLYING OFFICER DONALD EDWARD GARLAND VC, & SERGEANT THOMAS GRAY VC.
They were the first two RAF VC recipients of WWII.


The graves at Heverlee War Cemetery of F/O Garland, Sgt Gray & LAC Reynolds
The citation in the London Gazette for 11th June, 1940, gives the following details: "Flying Officer Garland was the pilot and Sergeant Gray the observer of the leading machine of a formation of five aircraft that were ordered to destroy at all costs a bridge over the Albert Canal which had not been demolished by the land forces and was allowing the Germans to advance into Belgium. In spite of very heavy defence of the area surrounding the bridge, the formation made a successful dive-bombing attack from the lowest practicable altitude, after releasing their bombs they were attacked by a large number of enemy fighters. Only one aircraft of the five returned to its base. Much of the success of the operation must be attributed to the formation leader, Flying Officer Garland, and to the coolness and resource of Sergeant Gray, who navigated the leading aircraft under most difficult conditions in such a manner that the whole formation, although it subsequently suffered heavy losses, was able successfully to attack the target."
Thomas Gray was born in Urchfont, Wiltshire on 17 May 1914, fourth of seven sons of the village policeman, Ernest Arthur Gray. He lived at 'Fiddlers Cottage' which doubled as the police station.
Five of the Gray boys joined the Royal Air Force, three of them including Tom, as Aircraft Apprentices at RAF Halton.
Tom enlisted in the 20th (Halton) Entry on 27 August 1929 and for the next three years trained to become an aero engine Fitter II(E). On leaving Halton in August 1932, Tom was posted to 40 Sqn servicing Fairey Gordon bombers. He volunteered for flying duties as an air gunner (this aircrew category was usually filled at that time by ground tradesmen on a voluntary basis additional to their normal duties).Tom soon earned the brass 'winged bullet' badge of a qualified air gunner.
He was promoted to Leading Aircraftsman in 1933 and in June of that year was posted to 15 Sqn with Hawker Hind day-bombers. Gray returned to Halton for conversion to Fitter I, completing training in May 1936.
On 15 March 1937 he joined 58 Sqn at Driffield with the Vickers Virginia bomber and moved with them to Boscombe Down on 24th March.
In February 1938 came a move to 12 Sqn at Andover and promotion to Corporal. Following a short course of instruction at No 1 Air Observers School, he was remustered as an air observer (equivalent of the later category of Navigator).
In the 1938 annual firing competition, Tom was awarded the 'Silver .303 Bullet' prize. He was promoted to Sergeant in January 1939.
On 2nd September 1939 12 Squadron was moved to France as a unit of the AASF.
After the bombing raid, local civilians recovered the badly burnt bodies of F/O Garland, Sgt Gray and LAC Reynolds, and quickly buried them in a secret location to prevent the Germans claiming them. Near the end of the war Allied authorities were notified and all three were re-interred in Lanaken cemetery.
Subsequently the three were buried in the Imperial War Graves Commission cemetery at Haverlee.
The VC was given to Tom Gray's parents at an investiture in Buckingham Palace on 24 June 1941.
By 1946 three Gray brothers,
Tom, Bob, and John, had died while serving with the RAF.

Donald Edward Garland (28 June 1918 – 12 May 1940) was born in Ballincor,County Wicklow, the son of Dr. Patrick Joseph Garland who had served with distinction as a surgeon in the Boer War and Ashanti Campaign.
Donald was a pupil at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Holland Park, London from 1929 to 1935, and left with a good all-round School Certificate. Spending some time at an insurance office, he joined the RAF on a short-term commission.
His brothers, 36 year old
Flt. Lieut. Patrick James Garland (2 Sqdn.), 32 year old Flt. Lieut. John Cuthbert Garland, and 27 year old Pilot Officer Desmond William Garland (50 Squadron), also died on service.

After the war there was some consternation when it was discovered that the third member of the crew, the gunner, 20 year old
Leading Aircraftman Lawrence Royston Reynolds, son of Arthur and Harriet Reynolds, of Onslow Village, Guildford, Surrey, who was also killed, and buried alongside his crewmates, received no commendation of any type whatsoever. It was later described as 'one of the great injustices of WW2'.

12 Squadron was one of the last No.1 Group units to conduct operations with Fairey Battles. These took place on 15/16 October 1940, when No.301 (Polish) Squadron bombed Boulogne and Nos. 12 and 142 Squadrons bombed Calais.

By November 1940, the Squadron had been completely re-equipped with the Vickers Wellington, remaining for the time being at RAF Binbrook. The squadron moved again in 1942, to RAF Wickenby, and soon after converted to operate the Avro Lancaster.

Its Code Letters were : PH & GZ for 'C' Flight in 1943. On November 7th 1943, C Flight was expanded to become 626 Squadron - code letters : UM.

During World War 2 12 Squadron suffered the second highest percentage losses in Bomber Command. It flew 5,160 sorties and 1,129 men lost their lives in 188 aircraft. 626 Squadron - formed on 7 November 1943 from 12 Squadron 'C' flight flew Avro Lancasters from Wickenby until the end of the war. That squadron flew 2,728 sorties and 338 men lost their lives in 60 aircraft.

12 Squadron officers at RAF Binbrook Officers Mess in 1942

 

 

Wellington W5367 from 12 Squadron 26/27th July 1942.

Wellington W5367 was one of 15 aircraft that took off from RAF Binbrook on the evening of 26th July 1942 to bomb Hamburg. It crashed in the vicinity of Westerholte, NW of Bramsche in Germany, and only the pilot, Alick Holgate, survived. Three of the casualties were originally buried as unknown airmen at the cemetery in the German town of Bramsche, North of Osnabrück, but later exhumed and identified before being interred in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery while the observer, Sgt Robert Ashby, was buried 150 kms away at Rheinberg, indicating that his body was found a fair distance from the crash site or that possibly he was alive for a short time and died of his wounds.

The crew were -

980033 Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.), Alan Cyril Savory, age: 27. Son of John William Savory and Elizabeth Snowball of 26 Munsbro Lane, Greasbrough, Rotherham. Alan was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1915. His family lived there for a few years, returning to the UK in 1916. Alan married Dorothy Foster in the first quarter of 1941 and is named on the Greasbrough War Memorial. 

49530 Sgt Alick Stephen Holgate (Pilot) ( Pow no.25091) was born at Haslingden, Lancashire, in May 1920, the son of Charles and Alice Holgate who were married at Haslingden in 1913. His promotion to Pilot Officer was listed for 30th May 1942 but he was still wearing his sergeant's stripes when surviving the crash of Wellington W5367. During the time in the Pow camp he was made a Flight Lieutenant. Alick remained in the RAF for several years after World War 2.

747809 Sgt Philip Harry Jackett (Air Gunner) was from Mellors Road, West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and had married Gwendolyn Woodruff at Kensington, London, in the summer of 1941.

1284493 Sgt Robert Frederick Ashby (Observer/Navigator). Age:27 Born at Wandsworth in 1914 the son of Amos Charles Ashby and Annie Edmunds, of Putney, London. His parents were 41 years old when they married at Wandsworth in 1913. He was their only child.

622275 Flight Sergeant  Leslie Thomas William Grady (W.Op./Air Gnr.). The son of Frederick and Ethel Grady from Solihull, Warwickshire. He married Alice Rose Baker (1922-1976) at Birmingham Register Office on 2nd November 1940. The couple had two children Janet (1941), and Michael (1942)

 

Sgt. Alan Savory on the Greasbrough Memorial

 

 

 

Wellington W5421, F/Lt. Roy Langlois's crew and the Belgian Comet Escape Line

On the 5th August 1941 at 22.25 hour a Vickers Wellington II bomber W5421 PH-G of 12 Squadron took off from RAF Binbrook bound with 12 other Wellingtons for a raid on the railway marshalling yards in the German city of Aachen. The crew of the aircraft were twenty-four year old pilot F/Lt. Roy Brouard Langlois D.F.C., F/Sgt. Richard Alfred Copley the radio operator age 21, Sgt. Jack Lamport Newton the front gunner, Sgt. John Warren McLarnon the second pilot, Sgt. Harold Joseph Edwin Burrell the navigator, and Sgt. R.D. Porteous RNZAF, the rear gunner.

The Wellington had engine trouble just south of Aachen and was unable to bomb the target. The crew then jettisoned their bombs 15 to 20 miles from the target and turned for home. Over Antwerp the starboard engine caught fire and they began to lose height to 800 feet and they realised they could not reach England.

At first they thought they would ditch in the sea off the Belgian coast but after being caught by searchlights and forced to take evasive action they realised they would have to crash-land. Newton in the front turret saw what he thought in the moonlight was two rivers but in fact was the Antwerp-Deurne airfield in occupied Belgium. The plane did a wheels down landing at 02.19 on the 6th August.

The Germans at the time were under cover in shelters, as other bombers unable to reach Antwerp by their deadline were jettisoning their bombs near the airfield. That gave the crew nearly half an hour to destroy the aircraft to prevent it falling into enemy hands and escape, Newton firing 12 emergency flares into the fuselage before a German fire-tender arrived. The Germans probably believed the crew had been trapped in the burning aircraft

 

and only in the morning light realised that there were no bodies in the plane. This gave the crew valuable time to climb the barbed wire and escape. After climbing the fence they split into two groups of three. The second pilot, observer, and rear gunner going one way, and Roy Langlois, Richard Copley, and Jack Newton, another.

The second group evaded capture and eventually made contact with the Belgian BEAVER-BATON escape line.

F/Lt Roy Brouard Langlois (nicknamed Daddy Long Legs) was later captured and finished up as a POW in Stalag Luft III at Sagan. He took part in 'The Great Escape' on March 24th 1944 but was recaptured and returned to Sagan. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross and attained the rank of Wing Commander before retiring from the RAF in 1962. He died in 1993 aged 76.

F/Sgt. Richard Copley. Around the 1st October 1941 a red headed English or Irish infiltrator was spotted outside Vandenhove's house where Roy Langlois, Richard Copley, and a Scottish soldier named Ahearn were hiding.

On the morning of the next day there was a terrific thumping on the door, the men looked out and saw three cars, the Geheime Feldpolizei were raiding the house. As the door was smashed in the three Brits grabbed their clothes and rushed down to the basement. Vandenhove had built a tunnel from the kitchen to the main sewer in the street. Two days previously he had checked that the exit from the sewer through a manhole in the street was free but when the three evaders tried to lift the manhole they were unable to move it. They were forced to stay in the sewer. Meanwhile back in the house Vandenhove had already been arrested. The evaders' hiding place was given away by the family dog they had befriended. The Germans shot the dog and the airmen and soldier were trapped in the sewer for seven hours before they had to return to the kitchen and give themselves up.

Richard Copley returned  to England on April 26,1945 after nearly four years in German prisoner of war camps.

Sgt. Jack Newton was the first British airman to be helped by the Belgian Comète escape line.  He had been found two days after the crash by a member of the Belgian resistance. The leader of his helpers was a twenty four year old girl called Dedee who took Jack and two other airmen across France to the Spanish border on public transport dressed as peasants. They were met by a Spanish Basque guide who took them on foot across the Pyrenees to San Sebastion. Safely in Spain but not safe from arrest, Newton was covertly driven in the British ambassador's personal car to the Madrid embassy where he was interned in the Embassy chapel until he could be smuggled out of Spain into Gibraltar on January 4th 1942. From there he was able to send a telegram to his wife Mary in Wales to let her know he was alive and well.

Jack returned to RAF Pembroke Dock in South Wales by a Sunderland flying boat from 202 Squadron on January 14th 1942. On arrival he was handed a £1 note, a cheese sandwich, and told to make his way to London for interrogation.

He received no recognition or awards for escaping enemy territory but was promoted to Pilot Officer on September 1st 1942.

He and Mary went on to have a long, happy marriage blessed with three children and ten grand-children.

After the war Jack Newton's adventures were related in a book - Evader: The Epic Story of the First British Airman to Be Rescued by the Comete Escape Line in World War II  by Derek Shuff.

In that book is a dedication by Jack - To Flight Lieutenant Roy Langlois DFC; who saved my life; to Countess A. de Jongh (Deedee), who gave me those extra years of freedom. And to my wife, Mary, who never gave up hope.

 

The other three crewmen from Wellington W5421 were Sgt. John Warren McLarnon the second pilot, Sgt. Harold Joseph Edwin Burrell the navigator, and Sgt. R.D. Porteous RNZAF, the rear gunner.

After splitting off from Langlois, Copley and Newton, the three airmen knocked at the door of a farmhouse at Lierre near Antwerp. The farmers daughter and some other people on the farm hid them for the night and gave them overalls to wear.

The next day they were taken to Antwerp and were hidden in a house in Geulincxstraat until the 9th September. During this time false papers were prepared and arrangements made to get them to Lisbon.

On the 9th September they left Antwerp by train and were met in Brussels by a Mrs Harris who told them she originated from Birmingham. She took them to the Rue Washington where they stayed 2 nights with Jean Vandenhove. (the house where Langlois and Copley were later captured on October 2nd). 

On the night of the 11th they were taken to the station by Mrs Harris and left Brussels guided by a Major Louis de Norman et d’Audenhove bound for Besancon. On arrival at Besancon they went by bus to St.Laurent near Lake Geneva where they stayed the night.

The three crossed into Vichy France at 3pm on the 13th September 1941. They were to rendezvous at a cafe a few kilometers outside St. Laurent, taken by taxi to St.Claude and then by train to Toulouse.

Unfortunately things did not go according to plan. While they were in the cafe they were spotted by a Gendarme who questioned them and asked to see their papers. He was not satisfied with their identities and took them to the local Gendarmerie where it was established that they were RAF airmen.

They were then interned in St Hippolyte-du-Fort near Nimes, in the South of France, which contained many British evaders picked up by the Vichy police. In March 1942 they were taken to Fort de la Revere near Nice where they remained until August 1942. They were then transported to a POW camp in Germany.

 

Countess Andrée de Jongh. She was given the codename "Postman", but was always referred to her as Dédée. The youngest daughter of a schoolmaster, Andrée de Jongh was born at Schaerbeek in German-occupied Belgium on November 30 1916. She trained as a nurse after being inspired by the work of Edith Cavell, the nurse who had been shot in 1915 for assisting British troops to escape. 
Andrée de Jongh began her resistance work as soon as the Germans advanced into Belgium in May 1940. At the time she was a 24-year-old commercial artist and Belgian Red Cross volunteer, but she gave up her work in order to nurse wounded soldiers. Once they were able to walk, she found them safe houses and recruited her friends to help.
With the help of her father, she set up a trail of safe houses along which she could move the men, from Brussels through Paris and on to the western Pyrenees, where loyal Basques gave her great support. Once the Comet Line (so called because of the speed at which it operated) was established there was a constant stream of shot-down aircrew escorted to the "last house" in the French-Basque village of Urrugne.
On the night of January 15 1943 she was sheltering at Urrugne with three RAF evaders when she was betrayed. The house was stormed and she was captured. When interrogated under torture by the Gestapo, in order to save others she admitted being the leader of Le Reseau Comète. The Gestapo, however, refused to believe that such a young and innocent girl could be in charge of an underground movement whose compass stretched from Belgium to Spain.
The escape line survived, and by the time the Allies invaded France in June 1944 more than 500 men had passed down the line to safety. The "helpers", both men and women, had paid a great price: many were executed, including Dédée's own father, Frédéric, who faced a firing squad in 1944.
Dédée de Jongh was sent to Mauthausen and Ravensbruck concentration camps. For two years she lived on a diet of dirty potato and turnip soup, practising her nursing skills and trying to avoid being singled out. Although she survived, she had become gravely ill and undernourished by the time she was released by the advancing Allied armies in April 1945.
After recovering her health Dédée de Jongh went to Buckingham Palace, in 1946, to receive the George Medal — the highest civilian award for bravery available to a foreigner. After the ceremony the RAF Escaping Society gave a dinner in her honour hosted by Air Chief Marshal Sir Basil Embry. The Americans awarded her the Medal of Freedom and the French appointed her a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.
She died aged 90 on October 13, 2007, a few days before the memorial service and reunion held annually in Brussels for the survivors and relatives of those who served with the Comet Line. She was unmarried.

 




Wickenby pilots 20th April 1945  
Wing Commander Mike Stockdale, CO of 12 Squadron, had awarded Lancaster ME758 PH-N a DSO and a DFC on the completion of its 106th operation.The aircraft finished the war having completed 108 operations.


12 Squadron's Total Wellington WW2 Losses

BJ606 BJ653 BJ691 BJ776 BJ777 BJ780
BJ964 W5354 W5355 W5356 W5360 W5361
W5365 W5367 W5371 W5372 W5375 W5379
W5380 W5381 W5391 W5393 W5394 W5395
W5397 W5414 W5419 W5421 W5424 W5437
W5440 W5442 W5444 W5458 W5514 W5523
W5536 W5570 W5574 W5577 W5578 W5585
W5598 W5611 X3802 X3988 Z1728 Z8328
Z8342 Z8370 Z8376 X8379 Z8398 Z8403
Z8409 Z8410 Z8420 Z8491 Z8495 Z8499
Z8502 Z8505 Z8517 Z8523 Z8526 Z8529
Z8531 Z8532 Z8533 Z8538 Z8578 Z8579
Z8585 Z8591 Z8595 Z8598 Z8643 Z8644
Z8652 Z8656

428 (RCAF) Squadron's Sergeant Leonard Franklin Williamson, CGM, from Regina, Canada
This photo from 'Flight' magazine in June 1943 shows Wellington HE239 NA-Y from 428 Squadron after its return to the UK on the 9th of April 1943.
Official description -  "Damage to Vickers Wellington Mark X, HE239 'NA-Y', of No. 428 Squadron RCAF based at Dalton, Yorkshire, resulting from a direct hit from anti-aircraft gun fire while approaching to bomb Duisburg, Germany on the night of 8/9 April 1943. Despite the loss of the rear turret and its gunner, as well as other extensive damage, the pilot, Sergeant L F Williamson, continued to bomb the target, following which it was found that the bomb doors could not be closed because of a complete loss of hydraulic power. Williamson nevertheless brought HE239 and the remainder of his crew back for a safe landing at West Malling, Kent, where this photograph was taken."
RCAF Sergeant Leonard Franklin Williamson was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.
Lancashire born 23 year old  RAF Sgt. Lorenzo Bertrand was the unfortunate rear-gunner and is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany.
Our wartime cartoon illustrates the popular WW2 conception about the durability of the 'Wimpey'.

Narrative of an attack on 12 Squadron's Lancaster LM301, the morning of 29th April 1943, by the pilot, F/Sgt C.O.A. (Laurie) Lawrence.

My own aircraft 12/U ED 522 was bombed up but went U/S just before take off. We were transferred to 12/0 LM301 and consequently took off well behind the others.

On the return trip from Gdynia we crossed Denmark just as dawn was breaking and just off the Western Coast were attacked by a JU88. My Rear Gunner Sgt.C.Drake spotted it, and as he gave me instructions to "Dive Port". The fighter released a burst of cannon fire. The Rear Gunner was blinded by either perspex or shrapnel, and the Mid Upper Gunner, Sgt. A.Harper struck in the right knee cap by a shell, and landed on the floor of the aircraft. The Rear Gunner had managed a burst of fire at the JU88 before being hit and we are unsure whether he shot it down, damaged it, or warned it off.

Sufficient that it did not renew the attack. With the gunners out of action I ordered the Wireless Operator (Sgt A Jackson) into the Astro Dome, but with the aircraft somewhat out of control he could not make it. With the assistance of the Flight Engineer and Bomb Aimer we eventually managed to pull the aircraft out of the dive and on an even keel (very difficult) as the port aileron had broken off and the control column was jerked out of my hands requiring the efforts of the three of us to regain control. I nosed down into some cloud cover so we did not see the JU88 again. We were by then down to 2,000ft, and in addition to the lost aileron had a badly damaged elevator.

I decided to fly the 350 miles back to the nearest airfield with our badly injured gunners. We made an emergency landing at Cottishall on grass (no runways at that time). The control column was virtually useless on approach and a successful landing was carried out by use of the engines for control.

The gunners were taken to Norwich hospital and later to Ely.The Rear Gunner (Sgt C Drake) was shipped back to Canada and eventually regained partial sight. The Mid Upper Gunner (Sgt A Harper) unfortunately had to have his right leg amputated.

For his valiant efforts F/Sgt Charles Oliver Alfred Lawrence was awarded an immediate D.F.M.

 

Postscript.

A cannon shell had crashed into the hydraulic reservoir just by the head of our wireless operator, Sgt.A Jackson, without exploding. He eventually gave it to our bomb aimer, Sgt. Bert Cruse, a Canadian from Winnipeg. At a later date we flew to Binbrook to be introduced to their Majesties.

Bert Cruse was holding the cannon shell in his hand, and the Queen asked him how he came by it. After telling his story, the Queen remarked to the effect "What a terrifying object", to which he immediately rejoined in his Canadian drawl "Well Ma'am it certainly put the sh..", and the Queen replied "I can well imagine it did young man". 

12 Squadron lost four aircraft and their crews on this dangerous mission.

 



Overview of 12 Squadron crashes in the Netherlands and into or near Dutch coastal waters            by Willem de Jong

 

    01.     10 April 1941  Wellington Mk.II - W5375 (PH-D)

Wellington Mk.II - W5375 (PH-D) - target Emden / Ost-Friesland. Lost 10 April 1941 (00.59 h.) - IJsselmeer off Harderwijk, Gem. xxx / Prov. of Gelderland  Downed by Oblt. Egmont ‘Egi’ Prinz zur Lippe Weissenfeld + crew, unit 4./NJG.1 - Flgh. Bergen (it was the 100th ‘kill’ of that unit)

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.

(RAF) W/C. Vyvian Quentery Blackden (Pilot / Capt.)- KIA – buried Lemmer (Frl.) General Cemetery - a/d.() Straatweg - plot C, row 10, gr. 260 Body recovered / brought into habour by NZHRM - lifeboat ‘Hilda’. Until that moment he was the Squadron Commander of 12 Squadron since 28th of June, 1940. His 2 brothers were also lost, in WW1 and in WW2 (!) -

(RAFVR) P/O. John Crewdson Ashton Bond (Co-Pilot)- KIA - Buried Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - Kerkedijk - plot 1, row E, grave 9

(RAFVR) F/O. John du Vernet Broughton (Observer)- KIA – Buried Lemmer (Frl.) General Cemetery - Straatweg - plot C, row 10, grave 262. Body recovered / brought into habour by NZHRM - lifeboat ‘Hilda’ -

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Duncan McDougall (W.O. / A.G.)- KIA - reburied Amersfoort / Oud Leusden (Utr.)

plot 13, row 9, grave 192. Originally interred on former Urk island, in the local churchyard.

(RAFVR) Sgt. George Henry Bishop (W.O. / A.G.)- KIA - reburied Amersfoort / Oud Leusden (Utr.) plot13, row 8, grave 171. Originally interred on former Urk island, in the local churchyard.

(RAFVR) F/O. Harold Marshall (A.G.-Rear)- KIA – Buried Harderwijk (Gld.) General Cemetery – in the British plot 2, grave 11. Body recovered / brought in habour by fishing boat -

* read the full story near the top of page 24

 

  02.     7/8 Sept. 1941 Wellington Mk.II - Z8328 (PH-?)

7/8 Sept. 1941 Wellington Mk.II - Z8328 (PH-?) Take off Binbrook 21.50. - Target Reichshauptstadt Berlin (Germ.)- Crashed (05.00 h.) W. of ‘s-Gravendeel village, in the Hoeksche Waard (Dutch polderland), near the Eerste Kruisweg, in Gem. Binnenmaas, Prov. of Zuid-Holland.  Emergency landing for unknown reasons.

RAF) S/L. Samuel Spencer Fielden - POW (nr.3788) - in camps Oflag X-C - Lübeck +Stalag Luft III - Sagan (Pilot / Skipper)

(RCAF) Sgt. T.V. Johnstone - POW (nr.3779) - in camps Oflag X-C - Lübeck + Stalag Luft III - Sagan (Co-Pilot ?)

(RCAF) F/Lt. W.J. Peat - POW (nr.9576) - in camps 8B + L6 / 357 (Observer ?)

(RAF) Sgt. R. Ledgerwood - POW (nr.9580) - in camps 8B + L3 + L6 / 357  (W.O./A.G. ?)

(RAF) Sgt. L.R. Lanfear - POW (nr.9577) - in camps 8B + L6 / 357(A.G. - Front ?)

(RAAF) Sgt. A.H. Smith - POW (nr.9638) - in camps 8B + L6 / 357 (A.G. - Rear ?)

camp 8B = Stalag VIII-B - Lamsdorf

camp L3 = Stalag Luft III - Sagan

camp L6 / 357 = Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug

Samuel Spencer (Jock) Fielden was born in (1908-1996)  at the Gables, Church Road, Bracknell, Berkshire.  He was the son of GP Dr. Edward Fielden and Maud Jennie Armstrong and was educated at Malvern College where he excelled as a rugby player. He graduated from the Royal Academy, Sandhurst as a 2nd Lieutenant in February 1928. Samuel married Brenda Kate Stevens in 1932. The London Gazette of June 7th 1940 records him as a Captain in the Royal Artillery transferring to the RAF as Squadron Leader. Upon his release from the POW camp he served with 103 Staging Post, at Istres (Southern France) which was then host to the Royal Air Force Liaison Party, servicing transient British and Commonwealth military aircraft to and from the United Kingdom.

He later resumed his army career and held the rank of  Lt. Colonel when he retired.

 

His older brother also graduated from Malvern College. Edward Hedley Fielden (1903-1976) figured largely in the flying activities of the Royal Family for more than three decades, and most important royal flights were subject to his scrutiny and recommendation. His discretion and self-effacement earned him the nickname of "Mouse".

His association with the Royal Family began in 1929 when the then Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VIII), who had acquired a Gipsy Moth, appointed Fielden as his personal pilot.

In October 1933 the Prince appointed Flight Lieutenant Fielden as his Chief Air Pilot and Extra Equerry. With the death of King George V on 20 January 1936 Edward VIII succeeded to the throne and on 21 July that same year Fielden was appointed Captain of the King's Flight. Edward's reign was short-lived and he abdicated on 11 December 1936 to be succeeded by his brother George VI.

Fielden was retained as Captain of the King's Flight and his role was expanded. He was charged with the carriage not only of members of the Royal Family but also members of the Air Council and other important State personages. World War II Fielden had remained in the RAF Reserve and was promoted to Wing Commander in 1936. He returned to the Service when World War II broke out. I

In October 1942 he was promoted to Group Captain and took command of RAF Tempsford, where 138 (Special Duties) Squadron was now also based. Fielden played an important role in directing operations in support of the Resistance movements in Europe.

He was awarded a DFC in April 1943. Later that same year his services to the Royal Family were recognised by his appointment as a CVO. Early in 1945 he was appointed commander of the base at RAF Woodhall Spa. After the war in May 1946 the King's Flight was reformed with Fielden once again its Captain. He was created a KCVO in 1952. Following the death of King George VI on 6 February 1952, he was confirmed in his royal appointment and the unit was renamed as the Queen's Flight soon after the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. He retired from the Queen's Flight in 1962 and at the same time he was appointed Senior Air Equerry to the Queen and promoted to Air Vice-Marshal. He was advanced to GCVO in 1968 and retired as Senior Air Equerry in 1969. Fielden died on 8 November 1976 in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the age of 72.

 

03.    11 Oct. 1941 - Wellington Mk.II - W5379 (PH-O)

Wellington Mk.II - W5379 (PH-O). Take off 00.20 Binbrook - target Köln (Cologne) Germany. Crashed (03.25 h.) near Haamstede village and the lighthouse, in the sand dunes area of Schouwen-Duiveland island (also Gem. Schouwen-Duiveland), in the Prov. of Zeeland, and…… near the temporary German fighter airfield there (!)

The a/c. crash landed because of engine failure, while some sources were saying the crew was trying to make an emergency landing on the nearby beach, but was then intercepted / shot down in the last minutes by a night-fighter!

(RAFVR) P/O. Douglas William Drummond Faint - (Pilot/Capt.) KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (N.-Br.) War Cem. - plot 4, row D, gr. 10. The 22 year old son of William Henry and Maud Faint, of 5 Church Crescent, North Finchley, Middlesex. In May 1939 his profession was described as 'buyer' when he was a member of the Herts & Essex Aero Club, which operated out of a farmer's field at Nazeing in Essex. He was the pilot of a DH60M De Havilland Gipsy Moth bi-plane.

(RAF) P/O. Wilfred A. Wise - (Co-Pilot) POW wounded (nr.663) - after hospitalisation, in camps Stalag Luft I - Barth (twice), Oflag XXI-B -Szubin (Poland) and Stalag Luft III - Sagan (also in Poland today)  At Sagan he was the ‘Air Conditioning Technician’ of the escape tunnels! He died in August 2002, aged 85.

(RAFVR) P/O. Garth Campbell Frew - (Observer) KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (N.-Br.) War () Cemetery - plot 4, row D, grave 8 (Observer). He was the son of Dr. Robert Skeoch Frew of Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, and Marjorie Frew. In 1941 his parents lived at Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire.

Born August 10, 1917, son of R. S. Frew, M.D.,F.R.C.P., of Wimpole Street, entered Mr. Goddard's House from Mr. R. G. Pidcock's School, Bramcote, Scarborough, in Short Half, 1931. He was not a scholar, but his cheery temperament won him many friends. He was short and slight and became a useful wing forward in " ChawkerPot," and determination made him a good runner. His last year he was 7th in Steeplechase.On leaving he went to Edinburgh University, but on the outbreak of war was studying Agriculture. He immediately volunteered for the R.A.F.V.R. as air crew, but was not called up until June 1940. After training in Devonshire, Yorkshire and Gloucestershire he was gazetted Pilot Officer in March 1941 as an Observer in an air crew. He was reported" Missing" in October 1941 and a little later" Missing, believed killed, October 1941," in an operational flight over Germany. He was as popular in the Air Force as he had been at School. Wykehamist (Winchester College) War Service Record and Roll of Honour 1939-1945 

 

(RAFVR) Sgt. Kenneth Herbert Price - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (N.-Br.) War Cemetery - plot 4, row D, grave 9. He was the 19 year old son of William and Ada Price, of Kirkby-in-Furness, Lancashire.

(RCAF) Sgt. Alfred John Childs - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - reburied Bergen op Zoom (N.-Br.) War Cemetery - plot 4, row D, grave 7. Aged 20. His name is displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

(RAF) Sgt. William George Morton - (A.G. - Rear) POW (nr.24465) - in camps Stalag Luft III - Sagan (…..?..) and Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug

* The four airmen KIA were interred first in the Temporary Military Cemetery near Haamstede village - see bottom of page 3 of our website, for some cemetery and funeral service photos of Haamstede. Halfway through 1946 their human remains were exhumed by British personnel, of unit 80 G.C.U., and after renewed ID-checks etc. reburied in the War Cemetery near Bergen op Zoom, in the neighbouring Province of Noord-Brabant.

 

Wilfred Wise joined up with persistent escaper Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp at Stalag Luft III at Sagan, in Upper Silesia, where an immediate attempt to escape did not endear him to the authorities. He was a good German speaker and was one of the early exits from a tunnel behind Paddy. The two men travelled on foot and aimed to make for the railway line where they planned to jump on a goods train as it passed. It was a thin strategy and they spent the first cold night trying to catch some sleep in a quarry. After a few days they were caught by the Gestapo. As a consequence they were both sent to the less salubrious environs of Oflag XXIB at Schubin in Poland, a Straflager for persistent escapers.

Wilfred Wise Obituary Daily Telegraph 23 August 2002

Wilf Wise, who has died aged 85, gave up the chance to take part in the Great Escape from Stalag Luft 3 on March 23 1944; instead, he stayed behind to maintain a flow of valuable intelligence to London. Wise helped to devise and construct the bellows system which ventilated the escape tunnel, and so was an obvious candidate to join the 76 Allied airmen who broke out of the camp.

However, the escape coincided with a period in which he was supplying London with important information on V-2 development in the camp's neighbourhood - information which assisted the Allies in making damaging air attacks. Fluent in German, Wise managed to garner tit-bits of intelligence from a variety of sources and to include this in letters to his mother.

He was well qualified for this task: before flying operationally he had received instruction in sending coded messages in the event of his being shot down. His letters were intercepted by the Secret Intelligence Service which distilled information from Wise's ostensibly mundane observations and family endearments before forwarding them to his family.

Re-location of much of Germany's V-1 "doodlebug" and V-2 rocket work, from what Hitler called the "revenge weapon" centre at Peenemunde on the Baltic, had made it imperative to keep track of the subsequent dispersal arrangements. Such information that Wise could obtain supplemented intelligence which had been gathered by underground commandos of the Polish Home Army, who were involved because the PoW camp was situated at Sagan in Lower Silesia. Naturally, Wise harboured some misgivings about surrendering his opportunity on the night of the Great Escape. But he was later to learn that of 73 of his fellow prisoners who had been recaptured, 50 had subsequently been murdered by the Germans.

Wilfred Arthur Wise was born on January 25 1917 at Norton, near Scarborough, in Yorkshire. Young Wilf was educated at Malton Grammar School and afterwards qualified as a solicitor.

He enlisted in 1940 and the next year was commissioned into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a pilot officer. He joined No 12, a two-engine Vickers Wellington bomber squadron.

In October 1941, he was returning from a raid on Germany as second pilot when one engine failed and he survived a severe crash landing in a Dutch sand dune. Temporarily paralysed, he managed to drag himself out through a hole in the fuselage.

After a spell in a German military hospital in Holland, he was held at Stalag Luft 3 until Russian troops reached the camp. Despite suffering badly from gangrene, Wise, who was now a flight lieutenant, led 200 fellow PoWs northwards until he encountered Allied forces, and in April 1945 (VE Day came on May 8) was repatriated. When he reached home he weighed seven stone.

Back home in Yorkshire, Wise did not return to the law; instead, he took charge of Headley Wise & Son, the family corn and seed business at Malton. In recognition of his activities when a PoW, he was appointed MBE.

Wilf Wise was a countryman at heart, never happier than when shooting or fishing. Over the years he was active in the interest of a range of charitable causes, among them the provision of a fish-and-chips service to pensioners and talking books for blind people. Wise married, first, in 1947, Joyce Bellerby, who died in 1963. They had two sons. He married, secondly, Helen Wallace, by whom he had a daughter.

 

 

Wellington W5379 in flight from Aldergrove, Northern Ireland, prior to delivery to 12 Squadron at RAF Binbrook

 

 

04.       20 January 1942 - Wellington Mk.II - Z8370 (PH-Y)

 Wellington Mk.II - Z8370 (PH-Y) - Take off 18.34 Binbrook. target Emden / Ost-Friesland (Germ.) Crashed 21.00 Terschelling island. More or less successful belly landing at the Eastern ‘Boschplaat’ beach, Gem. Terschelling, Province of Friesland. Downed by Oblt. Ludwig Becker + crew - 6./NJG.2.

On the night of January 20th, 1942, Wellington bomber PH-Y bearing its crew of six was returning from a bombing raid on Emden when a burst of cannon and machine gun fire from a German night-fighter ripped through its tail turret, killing the gunner Sgt. Rutherford. A second burst struck the forward gun turret and astrodome, wounding F/Sgt. Groves in the legs and feet and killing the second pilot, Sgt. Fowler.

As related by George Groves: "Our pilot, Flight-lieutenant Thallon, told us to bale out, that, although he had engines, he couldn't control the aircraft. I crawled from my position in the front gun turret up to the pilot's cockpit. There I opened the hatch and looked down to see nothing but the ominous blackness of the North Sea. True, I was badly shot up, but I was only twenty-years-old and not quite ready for a death by drowning. "Can you make it over that island just ahead," I asked the pilot? Somehow Thallon was able to manoeuvre the crippled Wimpy over the landfall and I, along with Pilot Officer Ross our observer and our other Wireless Air Gunner F/Sgt. Walker 'hit the silk'. Flight-lieutenant Thallon could not follow for he had thought he saw the second pilot move. Believing Sgt. Fowler to be still alive he could not abandon him. I landed somewhere near a village in the centre of the island and was soon arrested by the Germans. The others who had jumped were also picked up by the enemy. The pilot, I learned much later, successfully crash-landed what was left of Wellington PH-Y on a gravel beach on the north shore of Terschelling Island.

(RAF) F/Lt. W.H. Thallon - (Pilot) POW (nr.1441) - in camps Stalag VI-B - Neu Ver-(…..?...) sen, Stalag XXI-B - Schubin & Stalag Luft III - Sagan (in todays Poland)

(RAF) Sgt. Edmund John Roberts Fowler - (Co-Pilot) KIA - Longway Cemetery (Terschelling) - grave 36 ()

(RNZAF) P/O. P.R. Ross - (Observer) POW (nr.1437) - in camps Stalag VI-B - Neu Ver-(…..?.....) sen, Stalag XXI-B - Schubin & Stalag Luft III - Sagan (in todays Poland)

(RAF) F/Sgt. F.W. Walker - (W.O. / A.G) POW (nr.90097) - in camps Stalag VII-A - Moos-(…..?.....) burg, Stalag Luft VI - Matzicken & Stalag Luft IV -Gross Tychow (in todays Poland)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. George H Groves - (A.G.-front) Badly injured / flown to Amsterdam (hospital) first; (...?.....) later on in camps Stalag VIII-B (344) - Lamsdorf & Stalag Luft III - Sagan (Poland now)

(RAF) Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Rutherford - (A.G.-Rear) KIA - Buried Longway Cemetery (Terschelling) - grave 37 *

 

see the Terschelling page of our website, page 15 (complete story and photos about halfway down)

 

05.      9 March 1942 Wellington Mk.II - Z8409 (PH-H)

Wellington Mk.II - Z8409 (PH-H) - Took off 02.04 - target Essen / Krupp factories (Germ.) Crashed 06.00 - near Dreumel village, in a (duck) decoy and boscage area on the river bank of the Maas (Meuse), in the ‘Land van Maas en Waal’, Gem. West Maas & Waal, in the Province of Gelderland. When already over the target, directly after bomb drop, hit and damaged by FLAK. It was now an easy night-fighter target! - The aircraft was downed by Oblt. Rheinhard Knacke + crew (Bordfunker Kurt Bundrock), of unit 2./NJG.1.

 

Oblt. Reinhold Knacke, born 1919 at Alt-Strelitz, was decorated on July 1, 1942 after 25 victories with the Ritterkreuz. During his flying career he gained in total 43 victories and was postumously awarded with the Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz. 
On the night of 2 to 3 February 1943, while in aerial combat with a Halifax bomber his plane was hit, followed by an explosion in the cockpit. This happened when he was attacking the bomber for the fifth time.
Kurt Bundrock, his "bordfunker" successfully bailed out but Reinhold Knacke was found dead next to his crashed Messerschmitt Bf 110-F4  "G9+DK", 3 kilometres east of Achterveld, Netherlands. Earlier that evening he had shot down Stirling R9264 MG-L from 7 Squadron over Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht in Zuid Holland.

 

Wellington Z8409 took off at 0204 hours on Monday 9 March 1942 from R.A.F. Binbrook, Lincolnshire, on a bombing mission to Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany that was carried out by 211 aircraft, they being 115 Wellingtons, 37 Hampdens, 27 Stirlings, 22 Manchesters and 10 Halifaxes. Although it was a fine night, industrial haze over the Essen target prevented accurate bombing and the raid was a disappointment. The raid was however another major step forward, it being a heavy raid on the previously difficult target of Essen, with leading aircraft now fitted with the Gee navigational aid. Gee could only enable the aircraft to reach the approximate area of the target. Photographic evidence showed that the main target, the Krupps factories, was not hit, but some bombs fell in the southern part of Essen. Later Essen reports stated it to have been only a light raid with a few houses and a church destroyed, 10 People killed and 19 missing. A total of 8 aircraft, 5 Wellingtons, 2 Manchesters and 1 Stirling were lost.

According to the official police report, made by policeman F. B. Leenders and H. Winter of the military police. "The burning aircraft came down near the duck-decoy of the van Beesd brothers, approximately 600 meters outside the village of Dreumel. It fell apart in several burning pieces. On the plane there were the following markings: serial code Z-8409 and fuselage code PH-P. The crash location was quickly blocked by the local police and official authorities were warned. In the direct vicinity of the plane were three burnt bodies. It was not possible to go near because of the continuous explosions. At dawn it was noticed that in the direct vicinity of the fuselage there was a partly burned body, while another body was found in another part of the fuselage. Approximately 25 meters from the wreckage  a badly wounded surviving member of the crew was found."

The local doctor J.J. van der Kleij, gave first aid to the only surviving crewman, Sgt. A. C. Macey, the rear-gunner. The German authorities who were now present, ordered the wounded man to be transported to the Sisters Convent in the centre of the village where he was secured while waiting for further transport. Officer H. Winter of the military police was assisted by four colleagues in guarding the crash location. At 20.00 hrs the Germans took over.  After the wounded man's stay in the Sisters Convent he was transported to a hospital. He was repatriated to England in 1943. A.C Macey passed away in 1979.

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Michael Sedgwick Duder - (Pilot).  19 year old son of Alexander and Constance Duder, from Ambleside, Westmorland. Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgemeester Buskensstraat - grave 1.E.13

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Francis Joseph Menshek – (Co-Pilot). 27 year old son of Frank and Margaret Menshek, from St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. KIA - Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgemeester Buskensstraat - grave 1.E.9 .

(RAFVR) Sgt. Eric Ian Campbell Wood – (Observer). No family details available. KIA - Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgemeester Buskensstraat - grave 1.E.11

(RAF) F/Sgt. Kenneth Crouch - (W.O. / A.G.). 23 year old son of William and Harriett Crouch, from Soles Hill, Chilham, Kent. KIA - Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgemeester Buskensstraat - grave 1.E.10

(RAFVR) Sgt. George Edward Warren - (W.O. / A.G.).  25 year old son of Clara Warren, from Bedminster, Bristol. KIA - Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgemeester Buskensstraat - grave 1.E.12

(RAF) Sgt. H.E. Macey - (A.G. - Rear) POW/wounded. The only crewman who survived the crash, he was captured, severely wounded and confined in hospital until his repatriation during October 1943. (see prisoner exchange on page 21)

A

 06.    9 March 1942 - Wellington Mk.II - W5442 (PH-B)  

Took off 20.39 from RAF Waltham. Their homebase of Binbrook was too boggy for heavy bomber take off. The target Essen / Ruhrgebiet (Germany). Crashed 23.42 - S.E. of Beverwijk town, alongside of the Kagerweg, just N. of the Noord zeekanaal and todays Wijkertunnel, crash landing in some trees overthere,Gem. Beverwijk too, Landstreek Kennemerland, Prov. of Noord-Holland over Germany. The bomber was damaged already - hydraulic problems etc. -and then, just before reaching the rather safe North Sea, they were hit again by German ‘ack-ack’, of the 2,0 cm. FLAK batteries stationed at Velsen - Beverwijk - IJmuiden, near the coast (Atlantikwall) and the harbours and industries of the Amsterdam seaway (some sources are saying of AA-unit 3. / Res. Abt. 242)


W5442 when it was with 214 Squadron and had just been modified to carry 4000lb cookies  

(RAF) P/O. R.H. Buchanan - (Pilot / Skipper) Badly wounded / confined in hospital(s) till repatriation to the UK later. (no POW-number known)

(RAFVR) Sgt. Patrick Gibbings Sanders - (Co-Pilot) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 9.  Son of Comdr. A. L. Sanders, R.N., and Joan Sanders, of Weymouth, Dorsetshire

(RNZAF) F/Sgt. Reuben Acton Scragg - (Observer) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 7. Son of Harold and Mary Scragg, of Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand and husband of Esther Dorothy Scragg, of Napier.

(RAF) Sgt. Charles John Chedd - (W.Op) (POW (nr.24831) - in camps Stalag VIII-B Lamsdorf and Stalag Luft IV - Gross Tychow /Pommern (in Poland now). Stalag VIII-B near Cieszyn (Teschen), Poland, was a sub camp of Stalag 8b (later renamed 344) which was the main camp 3km from Lamsdorf. His first mission with this crew, he was replacing their crews wireless operator Sgt. C R Duckham.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Henry Marshall Murdo - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 8 (A.G. - Front). The 19 year old was on his first mission and was there in place of their usual gunner, Sgt A G Macey.

(RAF) Sgt. Ronald A. Arnold - (A.G. - Rear) POW (nr.24843) - imprisoned in the same camps as Sgt. Chedd (Lamsdorf etc.)

 

Ron Arnold's grandson, Chris Roberts, shares their story:

"Returning from the raid on Essen, W5442 had been damaged by flak and limped toward the Dutch coast. It had a damaged port engine, generator and hydraulic failure and had been steadily losing altitude. The hydraulic pumps for the rear and front turret on a Wellington are powered by the left engine, failure of this engine meant there was no hydraulic pressure for rotating the turrets, but this could be done manually, although much slower.

Suddenly the aircraft was racked from underneath by 20 mm cannon fire with tracer. The crew thought they were under attack by a night-fighter, but it was actually 20mm flak (ack-ack) directed from batteries at Velsen and Beverwijk. The Air Raid Precautions Department at Haarlem witnessed the final moments of the Wellington, just before 23.30 hrs the air raid warning signal was given, moments later the aircraft passed overhead. The batteries at Velsen and Beverwijk came into action and reported hitting the aircraft. Flt Sgt Scragg was hit in his chest and the aircraft was now on fire.

Haarlem witnessed the final moments of the Wellington, just before 23.30 hrs the air raid warning signal was given, moments later the aircraft passed overhead. The batteries at Velsen and Beverwijk came into action and reported hitting the aircraft. Flt Sgt Scragg was hit in his chest and the aircraft was now on fire.

The Captain gave the order to abandon aircraft. Sgt Chedd bailed out; Ron either came forward at this stage, or was already forward due to the hydraulic system failure, put a parachute on his friend Reuben and dropped him out of the aircraft before jumping after him. 8 minutes after passing over the battery, the aircraft crashed landed in a field near the Kagerweg at Beverwijk killing Sgt Murdo and Sgt Sanders. Sgt Murdo, who was only 19 years old and on his first operational flight, had frozen with fear to his guns. The Captain, PO Buchanan was so badly injured that the Germans repatriated him to the UK through the Red Cross.

Because of the low altitude Ron hurt his knee badly on landing. He found his friend Reuben and finding that he had died removed his wedding ring with the intention of sending it to his wife in New Zealand. The Dutch police picked him up and held him in the local school until the Gestapo took him to Harlem Prison.

The next morning Maria Petronella de Vries an 8 years old schoolgirl was cycling to school along a road through the polder called Wijkermeerpolder. Suddenly out of the reeds on the lower side of the road (these roads had ditches on both sides with reeds on each bank)

a uniformed man appeared. He said something in a strange language which she didn’t recognise. As her family hid people in their house from the Germans (not clear who, perhaps Jews), she was terrified of anyone wearing a uniform, especially the Germans and rode away quickly. Her father kept her home from school the following day for fear she might talk about it to other people. German records show that Sgt Chedd was captured on 9/10 March at Beverwijk, so it was probably him that she had seen.

The Luftwaffe Politzie collected Ron from the prison and took him to hospital. Later he was moved to Dulag Luft, an allied aircrew de-briefing centre.

The grave reports for the General Cemetery at Bergen show that the dead crew members were buried on March 12th. Two were identifiable at the time of burial, but Sgt Sanders was buried as ‘unknown Sgt’, and named after the war. F/S Scragg is buried in Bergen War Cemetery, Plot 1. Row D. Grave 7.

 

07.   26 March 1942 Wellington Mk.II - W5372 (PH-D)  

Take off 20.11 from RAF Binbrook - target Essen / Ruhrgebiet (Germany). Crashed 22.40 - N. of Bovenkarspel, at Kathoeksloot (N.W. of Enkhuizen city / habour), in Gemeente Stede Broec, Province of Noord-Holland. Downed by Oblt. Egmont ‘Egi’ Prinz zur Lippe Weissenfeld + crew - of unit 5./NJG.2 (He claimed 4 RAF planes that night!) the Wellington crashed on the land of Mr Oud near De Veer and West of the Kathoeksloot at Bovenkarspel.

(RAF) W/C. Albert Golding (DFC+Bar) - (Pilot/Skipper) KIA - Buried Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.), a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 15 - 30 year old son of James and Ellen Golding and husband of Kathleen Rylance Golding of Hawkshaw, Lancashire, England. He was an experienced pilot, who had previously served with 37 Sqdn. and was till that moment the Squadron Commander of 12 Sqdn.

Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross - Squadron Leader Albert Golding, D.F.C.  No. 37 Squadron. One night in February, 1941, this officer was detailed to attack the aerodromes at Maritza and Calathos, on Rhodes Island. Maritza from 4,500 feet, and Calathos from 1,500 feet. Although his aircraft was damaged, he was able to bring back vital information regarding the aerodromes attacked, also the number and type of aircraft dispersed on them. By his courage, skill and persistence Squadron Leader Golding, as captain of the aircraft, contributed largely to the success of the operation. He has completed 30 raids since joining the squadron.

(RAAF) Sgt. Finlay Donald McLeod - (2nd Pilot). 23 year old son of Finlay and Christabelle McLeod of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 22.  His name is also located on panel 126 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial. He was trained as a pilot at Uplands in Canada. RAAF personnel embarked at Sydney May 20, 1941. Disembarked Vancouver, Canada June 13. Commenced pilot training at Uplands, Canada on June 17. Finlay McLeod graduated as a pilot September 1st 1941.

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Bruce Albert Doe - (Air Observer) Born 21 Nov 1919 at Granby, Shefford, Quebec, the son of James and Katharine Doe. KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 16

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Mervyn Duncan - (W.O. / A.G.) 22 year old son of Harry and Annie Duncan, of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 21.

(RAFVR) Sgt. William Stanley Makin - (W.O./A.G.) The 30 year old son of William and Ellen Makin and husband of Florence Gladys Makin, of Wallasey, Cheshire.

He was born at West Derby in Lancashire in 1911. His father was Liverpool born mercantile clerk and salesman, William Makin, and he had two sisters, Doris & Helene, and a brother, Sydney.

KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 24

 

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Percival Gordon Thorpe (A.G. - Rear) - 33 year old son of insurance agent Repton Thorpe and his wife Marguerite.  At the time of Gordon's birth they were living at 5 Prospect Terrace, Grays Inn Road, St. Pancras, London. He married Emma Bacon at Hammersmith in 1931 and the couple lived at Kingsbury in Middlesex. KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 20

* see also on page 25 of our site - Texel & Den Helder etc.

 

Sgt William Makin married Florence Durrant at Wallasey, Cheshire in the June Qtr of 1941.



The graves at Bergen

 

 

08.    26 March 1942 - Wellington Mk.II - W5371 (PH-?)

Take off 20.26 from RAF Binbrook -target Essen / Ruhrgebiet (Germany). Crashed 22.55 near Monnickendam. Some crew came down in the IJsselmeer, Gem. Waterland, Province of Noord-Holland.

Downed by Oblt. Egmont ‘Egi’ Prinz zur Lippe Weissenfeld + crew again -of unit 5./NJG.2 (He claimed 4 RAF bombers that night !)

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Francis John Lowe - (Pilot / Capt.) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 23 - recovered from the former Zuiderzee. His name is also remembered in the WW2 Book, 1942 - page 91, in the Memorial Chamber (Peace Tower) in Ottawa.

(RAAF) Sgt. Thomas Edward Parsons - (Co-Pilot) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 17 - recovered from the waters of the IJsselmeer.

(RAAF) Sgt. Charles William Lawrence Pooley - (Observer) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 85, row D, grave 16 - remains recovered from the wreckage.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Benjamin James Dove - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 85, row C, grave 8 His body was recovered from the wreckage of the bomber.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Walter Robinson Lea - (A.G. - Front) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 18 His remains were recovered from the former Zuiderzee coastline.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Leonard ‘Leo’ Charles Stanley - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row D, grave 19. His body was recovered from the IJsselmeer waters.

In the old city of Monnickendam, a/d. Zarken, is an RAF Airmen Monument, also for the crew of this bomber.

 

An engine from W5371 at Luchtoorlogsmuseum Fort bij Veldhuis Genieweg

 

Monnickendam - the RAF Airmen Monument - One plaque for the crew of Wellington W5371

 

* see also on page 25 of our website - Texel & Den Helder etc.

 

09.      20th May 1942  Wellington Mk.II - W5458

Wellington Mk.II - W5458 (PH-?) -  Take off 22.40 Binbrook. Target Mannheim (Germany). Crashed North Sea, precise location unknown (somewhere N. of the Frisian isles). Reason for crashing / ditching not known (no Luftwaffe claims).

(RNZAF) P/O. William John Fulton - (Pilot / Skipper) MIA / Runnymede - panel 116

(RAFVR) Sgt. Clifford Allan Bell - (Co-Pilot) MIA / Runnymede - panel 78

(RNZAF) Sgt. William Alan Baird - (Air Observer) MIA / Runnymede - panel 117

(RAFVR) Sgt. Harry Edgar Wreyford Ansell-(W.O./A.G.) KIA –(Oost-) Vlieland churchyard- grave39.

(RAFVR) Sgt. James Ernest Hughest - (A.G. - Front) MIA / Runnymede - panel 74

(RAFVR) Sgt. Carodoc Roberts - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - (Oost-)Vlieland churchyard - grave 47

10.     30/31 May 1942 Wellington Mk.II - W5361 (PH-C)

Wellington Mk.II - W5361 (PH-C) - target Köln (Cologne) Germany. Take off 22.42 RAF Binbrook. Crashed 00.26  near Badhoevedorp (Akerdijk) and (Old) Schiphol Airport, S.W. of  Amsterdam, in todays Gem. Haarlemmermeer, Province of Noord-Holland. Downed by gunfire of FLAK (German local defence, on coastline etc.)

RAFVR) F/Lt. Anthony Bremner Payne (DFC) (Pilot) - KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 85, row C, coll.gr.17

(RAFVR) Sgt. Benjamin Sigler - (Co-Pilot) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemertery plot 85, row C, coll.gr.17

(RAFVR) Sgt. Jack Wise - (Observer) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery plot 85, row C, coll.gr.17

(RAAF) Sgt. Geoffrey Clement Praagst - (W.Op.) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery plot 85, row C, grave 16

(RAFVR) Sgt. William James Callaghan - (A.G.-Front) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery plot 85, row C, coll.gr.17

(RAFVR) Sgt. James Brown - (A.G.- Rear) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery plot 85, row C, coll.gr.17

* Wreckage parts of the a/c., one a Rolls Royce Merlin X engine, were recovered in May 1987, during building site preparations for new houses on the location. Later on there was erected a memorial at the site, locally known as the ‘Wellington Monument‘

 

11.    02/03 July 1942 Wellington Mk.II - Z8579 (PH-?)

Took off from RAF Binbrook 22.35 - target Hansestadt Bremen (Germany). Crashed at 02.52 - between Lochem village and Exel hamlet, E. of Zutphen city, a/d. Ampenseweg, in the Gem. Lochem, Landstreek Achterhoek, Prov. of Gelderland.   Downed by Ltn. August Geiger + crew, of unit 8. / NJG.1

A post war report by a Missing Enquiry & Research Unit stated “The aircraft crashed at Exeltor near Lochem, Holland, Three of the crew were killed and Sgt’s Hawkins & Morris were POW’s’

In a later report Sgt Morris stated “ The aircraft crashed at Lochem, Holland. Sgt Williams, F/Sgt Dunn and Sgt Evans were still in the aircraft when I left. Both Williams and Evans were killed in the engagement with an enemy night fighter when the aircraft exploded. Hawkins was a POW.”

Sgt Hawkins reported “Morris baled out before me, and the other three were still in the aircraft.”

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Ian Clarke Dunn - (Pilot / Skipper) KIA - Barchem General Cemetery, a/d. Beukenlaan plot 2 (Erehof), row 2, joint gr. 6.   Aged 27, he was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Dunn, of Laidley, Queensland, Australia and a graduate student of the University of Queensland, in Brisbane. Before enlistment he was an employee of the National Bank of Australia in Mascot.

(RNZAF) Sgt. Geoffrey Hugh Butler-Williams (Observer) KIA - Barchem General Cemetery, a/d. Beukenlaan -plot 2 (Erehof), row A, grave 5. The son of Hugh Evan Butler-Williams and Catherine Maud Butler-Williams, he was born in Sydney, Australia in October 1917. He was living in Auckland, New Zealand and working as a clerk when he enlisted in the RNZAF in 1940. After training he sailed to the UK on the Aorangi in 1941.

 

Geoffrey Hugh Butler-Williams and the Memorial plaque at St George's Church, Epsom, New Zealand

 

(RAF) F/Sgt. K.H. Hawkins - (W.Op./Air Gunner) POW (nr.25025) - in camp Stalag VIII-B (344) -Lamsdorf (in Schlesien/ Germany at that time)

(RAF) Sgt. S. Morris - (A.G.- Rear) POW (nr.24988) - also in camp Stalag VIII-B (344) - Lamsdorf (now Lambinowice / Poland)

(RAFVR) Sgt. David Evans - (A.G. - Front) KIA - Barchem General Cemetery, a/d. Beukenlaan -plot 2 (Erehof), row A, joint gr. 6

 

Sgt I C Dunn on the Queensland University Roll of Honour, and a view of the Allied graves at Barchem Cemetery

 

 

12.    21/22 July 1942 Wellington Mk.II - Z8420 (PH-G)

Take off 23.53 RAF Binbrook - target Duisburg (Rheinland, Germany). Crashed 02.30 - N.W. of Spierdijk village, situated in between the cities of Alkmaar and Hoorn, alongside of the Verlaatsweg, in Gem. Koggenland, region West-Friesland, in Province of Noord-Holland. Downed by Oblt. Ludwig Becker + crew, of unit 6. / NJG.2

(RAF) F/Lt. John Charles Douglas Langley - (Pilot/Capt.) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row B, coll.gr. 12-16.  Son of John Kidger Batty Langley and Ida Langley of Baslow, Derybyshire. At the time of his death John’s was living at Bubnell Cottage, Baslow.  His father and grandfather owned a well-known timber merchants business in Sheffield, with his grandfather being a Liberal MP for the Attercliffe ward in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Leo West - (Observer) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row B, coll.gr. 12-16. His brother, Sgt. (Navigator) Robert John West, serving with 77 Sqdn. (crew of Halifax MZ748) also fell (!) He died 29 June 1944, when his aircraft crashed between Fourmetot and Corneville-sur-Risle, in Eure, France, and he was buried some days later in the local churchyard of Corneville-sur-Risle, in joint grave 1. Robert was married, husband of Ivy Grace West, so for her it was a great loss, but in particular for their parents…… both boys of father Robert William & mother Kathlin West are remembered now on the Nevendon (Wickford, Essex / UK) War Memorial (laying cross of grey stone) in the local St. Peter's churchyard.

 

The memorial at Nevendon in Essex remembering the West brothers, and Flt/Lt. John Langley is named on the Baslow War Memorial in Derbyshire

(RAFVR) Sgt.  Kenneth Sampson Revell - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row B, coll.gr. 12-16.  21 year old son of Richard Sampson Revell and Eva Gwendolyn Revell of Hardwick Farm, Plympton, Devon.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Leslie Desmond Harris - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row B, coll.gr. 12-16. Son of Reginald and Hilda Harris and husband of Ethel Hart Harris. At the time of his death Leslie’s address was 45 Langford Court, Abbey Road, St. Johns Wood, London.

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Harry Robert Hamilton - (Air Gunner) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.) - a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row B, coll.gr. 12-16.  The son of Harry Victor and Mable Walker Hamilton. Harry was born on 27th February 1919 in Ontario, Canada and had served in the R.C.A.F. for 2 years.

 

13.    25/26 July 1942.  Wellington Mk.II - Z8502 (PH-?)

Took off 23.40 RAF Binbrook target Duisburg again (Germany). Crashed 02.12 - N.W. of Zieuwent village (named locally ‘t Söwent), E. of Arnhem city and N. of Bocholt city in Germany, alongside the Reindersweg, in todays Gemeente Oost-Gelre, Landstreek Achterhoek, Province of Gelderland. Downed by a night-fighter, most likely the claim of Oblt. Günter Friedrich + crew, of unit Stab III / NJG.1.

(RAF) S/L. Peter (Cheese) Lemon - (DSO + DFC)  (Pilot / Skipper)POW (nr.579) - in camp Stalag Luft III - Sagan (todays Poland). DSO citation - 

Squadron Leader Peter Coplestone Lemon DFC (39320, Royal Air Force) - No.12 Squadron - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 4 August 1942. Born 1918 at Paignton; home at Weston Super Mare; educated at Bristol Grammar School; commissioned in 1936; promoted Flying Officer in 1938.

On one of the first bomber raids of the war, December 18 1939, he had flown with 37 Squadron on a disastrous raid to Wilhelmshaven. An experimental German Freya radar station on the island of Wangerooge had detected the bomber force and passed the information to the Luftwaffe. His aircraft, was the only survivor of the six Wellingtons dispatched from RAF Feltwell that night.

His 1942 DSO citation reads. "This officer has attacked targets in Germany, France, the Low Countries, Italy, Libya, Albania, Bulgaria, Iraq and the Dodecanese. He is a skilful and determined pilot who, both by his deeds and force of character, has inspired all who work with him. Squadron Leader Lemon, when attacking Mannheim on one occasion, under very difficult conditions, displayed great care and persistence in identifying and bombing the objective. By his exceptional fearlessness, skill and determination, this officer has set a most inspiring example." 

 

Peter 'Cheese' Lemon in Wellington T2508 'LF-O' of 37 Squadron RAF at Egypt in 1941. The cheese above the lemon on this nose-art refers to the pilot. Apparently the latin inscription refers to performing a bodily function from a great height.

 

His October 8th,1940 DFC citation reads "Since the beginning of the war this officer has conducted 28 operations over Norway, Holland, France, Belgium and Germany. In September, 1940, Flight Lieutenant Lemon with great courage in the face of intense antiaircraft fire, dived to 500 feet over Antwerp Harbour and released a stick of bombs which caused a large brick building to blow up and burn furiously. His aircraft was considerably damaged by an anti-aircraft shell which caused a fire, but by skilful piloting a successful landing was made. By his courage, persistent determination and outstanding skill this officer has at all times set an example of the highest order."  

He survived Stalag Luft III and the Sagen death march and continued his RAF career after the war finishing as a Wing Commander. He died at Monmouth in 2006.

(RAF) Sgt. Harrington T. Norris - POW (nr.25068) - in camp Stalag VIII-B (344) - Lamsdorf (Lambinowice, Poland now)

(RAF) P/O. H.W. Fluck - POW (nr.570) - also in camp Stalag Luft III - Sagan

(RAF) Sgt. F.E. Peters (DFM)- (Air Gunner) POW (nr.42800) injured already in the air, during one of the two fighter attacks. (In hospital first ?) - In camps Stalag Luft III - Sagan + Stalag XI (357) - Fallingbostel. While imprisoned, DFM gazetted 17 Aug.’43.

(RAF) Sgt. K. Woodcock - POW (nr.25086) - also in camp Stalag VIII-B (344) -Lamsdorf

RAFVR) F/O. Gerald Purdon King - KIA - Mariënvelde (Achter-Zieuwent), a/d. Waalderweg, in the Ruurlo RC-Cemetery (parish of St. Ludger) grave 4. Aged 39, he was the only son of Indian born publisher, Ernest Gerald King and his Irish wife Louise, from Middleton-on-Sea, Bognor Regis, Sussex (UK)

 

Gerald Purdon King on the Horsell, Surrey, War Memorial

 

 

 14.      26 July 1942 Wellington Mk.II - Z8591 (PH-O)

Take off 00.14 from RAF Binbrook. Target Duisburg (Rheinland, Germany). Crashed 02.30 - between Bunschoten (harbour) and Nijkerk city, in the Polder Arkemheen, N. of Amersfoort city, just inside the Prov. of Gelderland / Gem. Nijkerk and close to the IJsselmeer waters.

Damaged by FLAK over the target area, on altitude ± 10.000 ft., and trying to ‘ run’ homewards, but the crew was losing control over the Dutch coastline of the IJsselmeer / former Zuiderzee. Sent a message saying "Probably have to bail out". Most of the crew bailed out before the a/c. crashed. The observer, Pilot Officer Naden, was killed.

(RAF) W/C. Richard C. (Dick) Collard DSO DFC - (Pilot) POW (nr.568) - in camp Stalag Luft III - Sagan (PL.). He was the 12 Squadron commanding officer at the time.

(RAF) Sgt. G.P. Pepper - POW (nr.25048) - in camp Stalag VIII-B (344) - Lamsdorf (todays Poland)

(RAF) Sgt. J.C. Sedgley - POW (nr.25079) - also imprisoned at Lamsdorf.

(RCAF) F/Lt. N. Thom - POW (nr.390) - in camps Stalag XXI-B - Schubin & Stalag Luftv III - Sagan (Poland). He broke his ankle during parachute landing.

(RAFVR) P/O. John Wilfred Naden - (Observer) KIA - Oud Leusden (Amersfoort) General Cemetery (Utr.)- plot 13, row 4, grave 53. He was the son of Jonas & Eliza Naden, of Macclesfield, Cheshire (UK). His name is also on the local War Memorial in hometown Macclesfield, at Sunderland Street & Park Green, and on the Roll of Honour in the annex to that War Memorial.

 

 

(1) Amersfoort (Oud Leusden General Cemetery. The Commonwealth plot contains the graves of 1 soldier and 143 airmen from the UK, 60 Canadian airmen, 11 Australian airmen, 13 New Zealand airmen and 6 Polish airmen making a total of 234 burials of which 12 are unidentified. (2) Pilot Officer Nadel's name is also on the Macclesfield, Cheshire, War Memorial.

 

The pilot of Wellington Z8591, Wing Commander Richard Collard, was the son of a stockbroker, and was educated at Haileybury College. On leaving school he enlisted in the Royal Air Force and was commissioned as an officer. Serving with No. 4 Squadron and No. 615 Squadron, he then became a flying instructor. He also played Rugby league in the RAF first team.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, Collard joined the Advanced Air Striking Force which was based in France. After the withdrawal from France, he transferred to Bomber Command for a while, and then to the Middle East in command of No. 37 Squadron and No. 12 Squadron.

In 1941, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and in 1942, he received the Distinguished Service Order. He also had the Norwegian Liberty Cross.

During a bomber raid on Duisburg in 1942, Collard was shot down and taken prisoner by the Germans. He remained there until the end of the war, then rejoined the RAF.

In 1946, he commanded the Avro Lancaster goodwill tour of the United States, and became commander of RAF Stradishall in Suffolk until 1948. He spent the next year in charge of development at the Central Bomber Establishment. He was then posted to the middle east to serve as Group Captain Operations in 1950, and from 1951 he was Group Captain Operations for RAF Coastal Command until he retired from the RAF in 1953.

On leaving the RAF, Collard joined the Handley Page Aircraft Company, and became a Director in May 1958. He also became involved in politics, and in November 1957 he was chosen to follow Brigadier Sir Frank Medlicott as Conservative Party candidate for Central Norfolk for the next general election; Medlicott was in dispute with his Association over the Suez crisis, and had resigned the Conservative whip.

His Parliamentary speeches concentrated on RAF and aviation issues. He also took up farming issues, based on his mostly agricultural constituency. In March 1960 he appealed to Members of Parliament who visited British forces' bases in foreign countries to think about what they reported about the morale of the servicemen. He defended the government's decision to abandon the Blue Streak missile and buy the American Skybolt.

Collard was ill in June 1961 and was advised to rest for two months. He did return to Parliament and in July 1962 objected to noise abatement rules and their effects on airlines, arguing that aircraft took off at the maximum load and the pilots should not be distracted by other considerations. However, in the middle of August he was found dead at his home in Whitwell. He now has a road named after him in Kenley Surrey, adjacent to the former site of RAF Kenley. Wikipedia

 

15.     7 Aug. 1942 Wellington Mk.II - Z8585 (PH-W)

Took off 00.43 from RAF Binbrook- target Duisburg (Rheinland, Germany)  Crashed 02.57 -near Rosmalen, East of ‘s-Hertogenbosch city, in todays Gemeente‘s-Hertogenbosch, Province of Noord-Brabant. Downed by Oblt. Reinhold Knacke + crew, of unit 1. / NJG.1. All the crew lost their lives.

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Gilbert Carrington Keats - (Pilot / Capt.) KIA - reburied in Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgem. Buskensstraat - grave 4.H.9.  He was the 25 year old son of Frederick and Abi Keats from Orroroo, South Australia.

(RAFVR) P/O. Harold Shaw -(Observer) KIA - reburied in Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgem. Buskensstraat - grave 4.H.10.  Engaged to Helen Patterson, from Canada. Son of Walter Shaw, of South Woodford, Essex, a company director (Printer, Director of Castell Brothers Ltd. Eventually the business ended up as Shaw’s Price Guide), Brother of Capt. Theodore Leathley Shaw, RASC, Maj. John Leathley Shaw, RA & Lucy Thornton Shaw (who married Capt. John Leathley, RAPC).

In March 1941 he joined the RAFVR. Was trained in Canada as a navigator/observer under the Dominion Air Training Scheme. Commissioned in February 1942 . August 1942 - observer, 12 Squadron RAF.

(RAFVR) Sgt. P. Peter MacDougall Spence - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - reburied in Uden War Cem. (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgem. Buskensstraat - grave 4.H.11. He was the 27 year old son of William and Susan MacDougall Spence, of Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Bernhard John Miller - (A.G. - Front) KIA - reburied in Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Burgem. Buskensstraat - grave 4.H.12.  He was the 21 year old son of Daniel and Catherine Josephine Miller, of Tooting, Surrey.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Douglas Ernest Williams - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - reburied in Uden War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d.  Burgem. Buskensstraat - grave 4.H.13 . He was the 29 year old son of Archibald and Caroline Williams, and husband of Elizabeth Ramage Williams, of Shoreditch, London.

 

Uden War Cemetery

 

* All crew were interred first in the ‘Pastorietuin’ (Presbyterian Garden), near the old RC Cemetery and the former building site of the (1st) St. Petrus Church, in the evening of the same day, 7 Aug. 1942. After new and more burials during the Sept. 1944 battle it was soon named locally ‘t Engelsche Kerkhof’, thus the ‘EnglishCemetery’. In the autumn of 1946 all the war graves there were reopened, and the remains later reburied in the (new) local War Cemetery when at least 2 airmen of this plane got their real ID ‘back’, because when they were buried before it was not known.

 

16.      27/28 Aug. 1942 Wellington Mk.III - X3802 (PH-J)
Took off RAF Binbrook at 2016 hours target Kassel (Germany). Crashed 02.05 near Poeldijk and Loosduinen, just S.W. of Den Haag / the Hague, in todays Gem. Westland, Province of Zuid-Holland (in the coastal area).  Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Downed by a Luftwaffe night-fighter, but not known which ‘claim’ yet. It was later established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter at 0205 hours on 28th August 1942 and crashed in the garden of Mr Giezman-Nieuwenweg, 58 of Poeldijk on the south west outskirts of Den Haag, (Zuid-Holland).

Those killed are buried in The Hague (Westduin) General Cemetery, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. Westduin is a suburb on the south-western district of The Hague. The cemetery is situated in Ockenburghstraat in Loosduinen.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Douglas Spencer McNeil - (Pilot) KIA - Den Haag-Westduin - gr. 2.30 - He came from Dar-es-Salaam, todays Tanzania, E.-Africa.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Albert Mills - (Observer) KIA - Den Haag-Westduin - gr. 2.31

(RAFVR) Sgt. Frederick George Edward Pierson - (Obs./ Bomb Aimer) KIA - Den Haag-Westduin - gr. 2.29

(RAAF) Sgt. Charles Robert Podmore -(Wireless Op./Air Gunner)  KIA - Den Haag-Westduin - gr. 2.32. 28 year old son of Charles and Alice Podmore. Originating from Manila, Australia.

(RAF) Sgt. E. Gershater - (Rear Gunner) POW (nr.27048) - POW camp VIIIB Lamsdorf, later renamed Stalag 344 (in todays Poland)

A

17.      30 Sept. 1942. Wellington Mk.III - BJ964 (PH-R)

Wellington Mk.III - BJ964 (PH-R) – Took off at 1823 from RAF Wickenby for gardening in the ‘Trefoil'. Crashed 21.10 - just South of Bergen town, and very close to the (Luftwaffe) ‘Fliegerhorst’ Bergen, at the Nesdijk, Gem. Bergen too, Landstreek Kennemerland, in the Province of Noord-Holland (coastline area West).Damaged by local FLAK (German airfield and coastal defence) Sector’,thus in front of the Dutch coast, S. of Den Helder / W. of Alkmaar.

(RAFVR) Sgt. George William Arthur Mitchell - (Pilot / Capt.) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.), a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row A, gr. 20

(RAFVR) P/O. Laurence James Alexander Graham - (Navigator) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.), a/d. Kerkedijk, pl. 1, row A, gr. 23

(RAFVR) Sgt. Harold James Kendrick – (Observer) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.), a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row A, gr. 22

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Raymond Lloyd Wakelin - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.), a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row A, gr. 19

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Sam (Sammy) Feinstein - (A.G.-Rear) KIA - Bergen General Cemetery (N.-H.), a/d. Kerkedijk - plot 1, row A, gr. 21

* For the crew it as ‘simply bad luck’, because their sea mine dropping zone was close to the German airfield which was heavily defended by ‘ack-ack’. The skipper was most likely trying to make an emergency landing on that road, the Nesdijk, between the airfield and the town of Bergen, after the a/c. was hit, but he was blinded by the German searchlights, which were lighting up the whole scene in the last minutes before the crash.

A

18.      29/30 March 1943 Lancaster Mk.I - W4858 (PH-A)

Lancaster Mk.I - W4858 (PH-A) - Took off from RAF Wickenby at 21.35 with the target Reichshauptstadt Berlin. Crashed 05.15 - Rotterdam - Charlois, near the Waalhaven area, Gem. Rotterdam, Prov. Zuid-Holland. In fact this crash was soon forgotten, because during the next day, 31 March 1943, almost the same city area of Rotterdam was suddenly bombed by the Allies, in a heavy daylight raid……!!!  Hit and damaged by FLAK-fire over the target area (fuel tanks etc.), the crew had to abandon the aircraft after 2 hours of flying Westward. In the meantime back over Holland - because both starboard engines failed (lack of fuel with only ± 20 gallons remaining,) it was clear they couldn’t cross the North Sea to the UK without ‘ditching in the cold waters’. The skipper ordered the crew to bail out, before he himself left the aircraft, and fortunately before it fell out of control.

(RAFVR) Sgt. F.W. Pinkerton (Pilot / Skipper)- EVA - With help from the local resistance organizations (Frank Wortley) he successfully escaped, mainly on foot (!), through Holland, Belgium, France, and then across the Pyrenees into (neutral) Spain. He made it home in the end via Gibraltar, and was soon restarting his RAF duties again when back in the UK.

(RAF) Sgt. R.G. Irons - (Flight Eng. ?) POW (nr.1019) - in camps L3 and L6 (357)

(RAF) Sgt. I. Clunas - (Navigator ?) POW (nr.1005) - in camps L3 and L6 (357)

(RAF) Sgt. W.A. Lees - (Bomb Aimer ?) POW (nr.1023) - in camps L3 and L6 (357) L3 = Stalag Luft III - Sagan L6 (357) = Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug

(RAFVR) Sgt. Frank Morton - KIA - Rotterdam / Crooswijk, (Old) Gen. Cemetery, a/d. Kerkhoflaan - pl. LL, row 2, gr.33 (W.O. / A.G.)

(RAF) Sgt. N.H.S. Williams - (A.G. - M/U) POW (nr.1046) - in camps L1 and L6 (357) L1 = Stalag Luft I - Barth (West-Pommern)

(RAFVR) Sgt. George Charles William Warren - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - Rotterdam / Crooswijk, (Old) Gen. Cemetery, a/d. Kerkhoflaan - pl. LL, row 2, gr. 31.  His parachute failed to deploy before he hit the ground.

In this monumental and beautiful old cemetery, created in ‘English Garden Style’, are also buried  ± 1000 local victims of the horrible Luftwaffe air raid on Rotterdam city (old centre), on 14 May 1940  (±13.30 h.) It was in fact the reason for the Dutch surrender, after 5 days of heavy battle, in that sudden and destructive ‘Blitzkrieg’ which was started against Western Europe (the low countries and France)

After the war, F W Pinkerton was 1st pilot of BEA Dakota G-AHCY (formally an RAF airplane, coded KG348). On the 19th of August 1949, he and 2 other crew were killed, together with 21 passengers , in a disastrous civilian air crash,  while on its final approach into Manchester Airport. There were only 8 survivors.

 

19.  30th April/01 May 1943 Lancaster Mk.I - W4925 (PH-N)

Target Essen (Ruhrgebiet, Germany). Took off from RAF Wickenby. Crashed 02.40  ± 5 km. S. of Winterswijk, in the agricultural area named ‘t Woold, just inside Dutch territory (E. of Arnhem + Doetichem, N. of Bocholt city in Germany) in Gem. Winterswijk, Landstreek Achterhoek, Province of Gelderland. It was later found that, apart from the pilot, all the crew had attempted to use their parachutes. Because of the low altitude this was unsuccessful and all were found with their chutes unopened.

Downed by Hptm. Wilhelm Dormann + crew, of unit 9. / NJG.1. Hptm. On 17th August, 1943 his Messerschmitt BF110 G-2 was shot down at Klein Dohren by a Beaufighter of 141 Squadron. His radio operator died in the crash and Dormann was seriously injured. He survived the war with a total of 14 kills. He died in 1984 aged 78.

 

 

(RAFVR) F/Lt. James Wallace Potts - (Pilot / Skipper) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 17. (see notes below)

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Frank Bruce Gillan - (Co-Pilot) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 20. He was the 29 year old son of Bruce and Gladys Gillan, and husband of Lorna Mary Gillan, of Preston, Victoria, Australia.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Ronald  Martin - (Flight Eng.) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 21. Sergt. R. Martin RAF. Missing, Believed Killed. Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Martin, of 39 Ruskin Road, Bull Farm, have been notified that their youngest son, Sergt. Ronald Martin, of the Royal Air Force, is missing, believed killed, as a result of recent air operations, and no further details are available. Sergt. Martin, a Flight Engineer of Bomber Command, was 23 years of age, and was educated at St. John’s School. Before joining up he was in the employ of Mr. H.A. Bloor, a house decorator, of West Hill Drive, Mansfield. Mansfield & North Notts. Advertiser.

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Derek Sheldon - (Navigator) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 139

(RAFVR) Sgt. William Woodland - (Bomb Aimer) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 22. Wrongly called 'Navigator' on grave-stone. 27 year old son of Ernest William and Dorothy Woodland, of Bray, Berkshire, England.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Jack Sidney Harris - (A.G.- M/U) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 19.

(RAF) F/Sgt. Kenneth Hall (DFM) - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 18. 23 year old husband of E. Hall, of Caverswall, Staffordshire, England. His DFM was gazetted on 28 March 1944. His DFM was gazetted on 28 March’44 (London)

(RAFVR) Sgt. Leonard Gill - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 23. He was the 22 year old son of Ernest and Emily Gill, of York, England.

* As far as known at the time, all the crew were killed; 7 dead bodies were recovered, most of them outside the wreckage of the a/c. They were buried in one funeral service, on Monday the 3rd of May, 1943, and all their identities were confirmed from marks on clothing and other equipment; but later on, after the war, came the knowledge of the extra airman aboard, F/Sgt Sheldon, who was still MIA………. until now (!) By the way, the airplane was almost complete destroyed by impact, in a large explosion.

A 1946 report by a Missing Research and Enquiry Unit stated “The Chief Inspector of Police at Winterswijk stated that about 0240 hours on 1 May 1943 a 4 engine English bomber was seen to be attacked by a German night fighter and burst into flames. A few minutes later the aircraft was seen to dive and crash on a farm belonging to J Prangen, Woold, K163, about 3 miles east of Winterswijk. At the time I was in a German concentration camp for anti German activities, but one of my aides stated that the Germans had recovered 7 bodies on the day of the crash.”  The M R and E Report went on to say “It may be assumed that Flt Sgt Sheldon was killed by a direct hit by the attacking night fighter and that his body was destroyed when the aircraft disintegrated.”

Our photograph above shows the crew of W4925 PH-N sometime before F/Lt Potts became skipper on 11th April. Back row L to R, - M. Stewart, R. F. Noden, Derek Sheldon, Kenneth Hall, Ronald Martin.     Front row L to R -  Jack Sidney Harris, William Woodland.

 

James Wallace Potts, the 29 year old son of Andrew and Mary Potts, of Auckland, New Zealand, was a school prefect at King's College, Auckland. He moved to the United Kingdom and was an early secretary of the London branch of Kings College Old Boys Association. When he graduated with honours in Economics from Cambridge university, he was drafted into the wartime Ministry of Food and forbidden to enlist in the armed services. However he did manage to join the RAF in 1941 and received his pilot's wings and was promoted to Sergeant in August 1941.  He was then posted to 23 OTU for training on Wellingtons. 

James went on to serve as a pilot with 103 Squadron and survived 32 missions.

In June 1942 his squadron  was selected to fly Halifax bombers and on 7th June 1942 103 Squadron Conversion Flight was formed under the command of Squadron Leader D W Holford DFC. (It was merged into 1656CU 31.10.42). James was promoted to Pilot Officer and chosen with Warrant Officer R J Fulbrook as instructors for the new flight. His commission was published in the London Gazette of 10 Jul 42. (On September 22nd his colleague, Warrant Officer R J Fulbrook, was killed in a training accident along with all on board of Halifax W1243 which crashed near Elsham Wolds.)    

In April 1943 F/Lt. James Potts was posted to 12 Squadron at RAF Wickenby  and took over as skipper of F/Lt Noden's crew and Lancaster W4925 on the 11th of April. He lost his life on their fourth overseas mission together.

 

 

20.     23/24 May 1943 Lancaster Mk.I - W4861 (PH-M)

Took off 22.55 RAF Wickenby - target Dortmund (Germany). Crashed 02.30 in between Holten and Markelo, W. of Hengelo city, a/d. Groenlandsdijk (near todays sandpit ‘Domelaar’), in todays Gem. Hof van Twente, Landstreek Twent(h)e, Province of Overijssel.

Downed by Oblt. August Geiger + crew - 3./NJG.1, while flying homewards.

(RAFVR) F/O. William Norman Mounsey - (Pilot) KIA - Markelo General Cemetery - special memory marker ‘C’, plot 4, row B, grave 7. (Exact location of grave not known)

(RAF) Sgt. W.B. Jowett - (Flight Eng.) POW (nr.183) - camps Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug & Stalag XX-A / 357 - Kopernikus

(RAFVR) F/O. William Butler Whitaker - (Navigator) KIA - Markelo General Cemetery - special memory marker ‘C’, plot 4, row B, grave 10. (Exact location of grave not known)

(RAF) Sgt. A. Dews - (Air Bomber) POW (nr.117) - camps Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug & Stalag XX-A / 357 - Kopernikus

(RAFVR) Sgt. Robert Sydney George Miller - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Markelo General Cem. - plot 4, row B, gr. 9

(RAF) Sgt. Kenneth George Legg (MM) (A.G.-Top) - KIA - Markelo General Cemetery - plot 4, row B, grave 8.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Harry Pierpoint - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - Markelo General Cemetery - plot 4, row B,

 grave 6.

Narrative on loss of W4861, by Sgt A. Dews. We arrived over the target on time, dropped our bombs and were immediately coned. By the time we got free we were down to about 8,000'. We set course for home and decided to regain height. In retrospect we may have been better staying at 8,000' and getting out quicker. We reached about 20,000' again over Holland and then we were shot down by August Geiger. He was working with a decoy. I was watching the decoy in front when Geiger came in from below and behind and set us on fire. The Flight Engineer thought I was dead and lifted me off the escape hatch. He baled out quickly and I followed him. We had no intercom working, but at least the Navigator and Wireless Operator could see the position we were in, as the whole of the port wing was ablaze. I do not know why they did not follow us out. Note. August Geiger shot down 53 of our bombers, was promoted to Hauptman and awarded two Iron Crosses. He was shot down on 29th September 1943 and drowned because he was not wearing a lifejacket.

  

21.    11/12 June 1943  Lancaster Mk.I - ED357 (PH-S)

Took off 22.40 RAF Wickenby -target Düsseldorf / Ruhrgebiet, Germany -during ‘Operation Pointblank’, the Allied bombing of German war factories. Crashed 02.03 - IJsselmeer (former Zuiderzee), ± 10 km. W. of Harderwijk, in todays (new) Polder Zuidelijk Flevoland, in the Province of Flevoland while flying homewards. Downed by Luftwaffe night-fighter; & claimed by Hptm. Helmut Bergmann + crew (Stab / NJG.1). Only two of the crew parachuted to safety.

Sgt Sparling later stated “ The aircraft was shot down over the Zuyder Zee and the crew baled out into the water. I heard the crew calling for help during the night and when I was picked up the next morning there was no trace of the others. As far as I can ascertain Thompson must have been drowned. A 3 hours search found no trace.

Flt Sgt Thomson, and Sgt’s Osborne, Ward and Campbell are buried in the Amsterdam New Eastern cemetery - Noordr-Holland, Netherlands. The navigator, Ken Bowes, has no known grave.

This was a bad night for 12 Squadron; they lost five Lancasters with the deaths of some thirty two airmen. It must have hit all at Wickenby hard when they failed to return in the early hours.

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Daniel McNicol Thomson - (Pilot).  He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the 26 year old son of John and Kate Thomson, who migrated to Bentleigh, Victoria, Australia. KIA - buried Amsterdam/Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 69, row C, coll.gr. 20.

(RAFVR) Sgt. James ‘John’ Leslie Osborne - (Flt. Eng.) 20 year old son of Harry Leslie and Maud Osborne, of Daventry, Northamptonshire. KIA - Buried Amsterdam/Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 69, row C, coll.gr. 20. He is also remembered on the famiy grave at Daventry's Holy Cross graveyard.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Kenneth ‘Ken’ Bowes - (Navigator) 23 year old son of John and Gertrude Bowes and husband of Joyce Bowes, of Darlington, Co. Durham. Kenneth Bowes was born at Billingham in 1920. In October 1942 he was part of the crew of Wellington Z8532 from 12 Squadron which crashed and burnt out at Langtoft, 11 miles from Bridlington, Yorkshire, while returning to RAF Wickenby from a North Sea mine-laying mission. Two of the crew were killed.

He recovered from injuries sustained in the accident and married Joyce Barton, of Darlington, Co. Durham on Saturday 7th June 1943 in Darlington. On 12th June 1943, only six days after his marriage, he lost his life.

MIA / No known grave. Commemorated at Runnymede - panel 143. There is a Kenneth Bowers on the Billingham War Memorial index - did they spell his name wrong? There is no one of that name in the CWG index.

(RAFVR) Sgt. William Middleton Ward - (Bomb Aimer) 20 year old son of William and Louisa Ward, of Corstorphine, Edinburgh. KIA - Buried Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 69, row C, coll.gr. 20

(RAFVR) Sgt. Douglas Noel Campbell - (W.O./A.G.) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 69, row C, coll.gr. 19. 21 year old son of Dugald and Agnes Campbell, of West Drumoyne, Glasgow.

(RCAF) Sgt. Clarence Wesley Albert Sparling - (Air Gunner - Rear ) POW (parachuted into waters, rescued by tugboat) he died from cancer, at North Bay, Ontario,in 1974.

(RCAF) Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Thomas Pingle - (Air gunner - Mid-Upper) From Toronto, Canada. POW (parachuted into the water, rescued by tugboat).   He died in 1995.

 

Helmut Bergmann (26 May 1920 – 6 August 1944) was a German Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He claimed 36 nocturnal aerial victories in 135 combat missions.
Bergmann and his crew - radar operator Feldwebel Gunter Hauthal and gunner Feldwebel Willie Schopp - were shot down and killed in Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-4  on the night of 6/7 August, 1944 at Mortain on the Cotentin Peninsula. Flight Lieutenant John Surman, flying a Mosquito of 604 Squadron RAF, may have shot them down as he claimed a Bf 110 destroyed.
However, friendly fire from the 1st SS Leibstandarte Panzer division who were launching Operation Lüttich, the counterattack at Mortain may have been responsible.  Wikipedia

 

Narrative by Sgt W.T. Pingle Mid-Upper Gunner from Toronto, Canada

This was a night full of incredible luck for myself and the Rear Gunner, another Canadian, Sgt Clarence Sparling.

My first piece of luck was one of the ground crew telling me that my parachute harness was loose, and giving me a hand to tighten it up. I would have had quite a shock when I jumped.

We took off from Wickenby, had no problems en route to the target, and delivered our load. Leaving the target, a Starboard engine caught fire. This was successfully extinguished and we proceeded on our way home.

After some time the pilot Danny Thomson found that he could not maintain height and decided to return at a lower level. As we reduced height all hell let loose. A night fighter raked us from in front of my turret to the front of the aircraft. The front of the aircraft was in flames and someone said, "Get the hell out".

I climbed down from my turret and opened the rear door.I then went to check on Sparling in the rear turret and found that he was jammed in. I got the doors open, and as I pulled and he pushed, he came free and out of the turret. We stood putting our chutes on when someone came running from the front of the aircraft, past us and out of the open door. We talked it over later and don't remember seeing a chute on him. We then went to the door and jumped. The side of the aircraft was on fire, and I could see the burning aircraft going away from me after my chute had opened.

 

(1) The propeller of the ED357 was found in a farmer's field during the reclamation of the Zuiderzee and became a monument in the Dutch municipality of Dronten for all 'Allied Air Crew'. (2) The graves of three of the crew of ED357 at Amsterdam. F/O John Albert Cowley was killed the same night on his first operation with 156 Squadron. He was flying as second pilot on Lancaster ED935 which also crashed into the IJsselmeer. An experienced pilot, he had already earned his DFM with a tour on Wellingtons with 70 Squadron in the Middle East. His body was recovered in the IJsselmeer near Urk on the 21st June, and taken by boat to Amsterdam.

 

I floated down to what I thought was a sandy beach. What a shock when the sand turned out to be water, and not having released my harness the shroud lines wrapped around my legs. I inflated my Mae West and tried to reach my knife to cut the lines. It was out of reach. I don't know how long I was in the water. I was concentrating all my energy on staying afloat and keeping my head above water.

Just when I was having a hard time keeping afloat I heard someone calling. As the voices got closer I could see a tug with barges on the back of it. They threw me a line and hauled me on board. They must have seen the aircraft coming down.They were Dutch, and they took me down to the cabin and gave me a couple of good shots of schnapps to warm me up. There were two women, two children, an old man, and a younger man who seemed to be in charge. None of them could speak English and I could not speak Dutch. I can't understand to this day how I made them understand that there might be more of us in the water.

When daylight came they unhooked the barges and took the tug to make a sweep of the area. After quite a long time they were ready to give up and return to the barges. We saw gulls diving on something in the water and as we got closer saw Sperling in the water. As we pulled him out of the water his first words were "God am I glad to see you, I was just about ready to give up". For some time he had had to blow the Mae West up by mouth.

They then went back, hooked the tug to the barges and took us to Amsterdam harbour and handed us over to the Germans.For the next two years I was in East Prussia, Poland and Germany.

The propeller from ED357 was recovered from a farmers field when they were draining the Zuider Zee. It was erected by the town of Dronten Holland as a monument to all Allied Air Crew. A service is held there every year on May 5th, the anniversary date of the end of the war in Holland. The Air Gunners Association have three bus loads every year to attend the ceremony, and I always send flowers to be placed on the monument at the service. I have returned to Dronten twice. Once in 1980 and for a month last year. Danny Thomson, Campbell Ward, and Osborne are buried at the Nuo Cemetary in Amsterdam. Ken Bowes was never found.Clarence Sparling died of cancer in 1974 at North Bay Ontario. The crew have all had streets named after them in Dronten. LANCASTERDREEF, THOMSONSTRAAT, BOWESHOF, WARDHOF, OSBORNEHOF, CAMPBELLHOF, SPARLINGHOF, PINGLESTRAAT.

 

  22.    12 June 1943 Lancaster Mk.III - DV157 (GZ-Z)

Lancaster Mk.III - DV157 (GZ-Z) took off 23.22 from RAF Wickenby- the target - Düsseldorf (Germany). Crashed 02.50 - North Sea, W. off IJmuiden, more or less in the sea lane to Amsterdam, just outside the jetties of the seaside outer habor (Province of Noord-Holland)

Already  badly damaged by AA-fire over Germany; and returning over the Netherlands, it was losing altitude soon and the skipper ordered the crew to bail out (but only the W.O./A.G. did !). Then they were hit again by FLAK fire (from Kriegs Marine units on the coastline this time) and ditched into the coastal waters of occupied Holland (3 crew were MIA, and at least 1 dead body was washed up on the beach, near Zandvoort, later)

(RNZAF) F/Lt. Alfred William Doel -(Pilot / Skipper) MIA / Runnymede - panel 197. He was a very experienced / allround pilot, who had served with 4 different squadrons.

(RAF) Sgt. William Frank Biggs - (Flight Eng.) KIA - Bergen (Kerkedijk) War Cemetery (N-H) - plot 2, row D, grave 11.

(RAFVR) W/O. Robert Durham (DFM) - (Navigator) MIA / Runnymede - panel 134. Previously with 57 Squadron where he earned his DFM.

(RNZAF) F/Sgt. Owen Kendrick Whyman - (Air Bomber) KIA - Amsterdam/Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery plot 69, row C, coll.gr.18

(RAF) Sgt. D.L. Templeman - (Wireless Op./Air Gunner) POW (nr.264) - via Amsterdam in POW-camps Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug (in todays Lithuania), Stalag 357 - Thorn (in todays Poland) and Stalag XI-D - Fallingbostel (Niedersachsen, Germany)

(RNZAF) F/O. Owen Kenyon Jones - (Air Gunner -Mid Upper) KIA - Amsterdam / Watergraafsmeer, New Eastern Cemetery - plot 69, row C, coll.gr.18 )

(RAFVR) Sgt. Thomas Robert Pagett - (Air Gunner - Rear) MIA / Runnymede - panel 161

 

23.   12 June 1943 Lancaster Mk.I - W4791 (PH-W)

Took off at 23.27 11th June 1943 from RAF Wickenby- target Düsseldorf (Germany). Crashed 03.15- near Wijk aan Zee, ± 5 km. W. of Beverwijk, in the coastal sand dunes area near the beach, on a spot locally known as the ‘Paasduin’, in the Gem. Beverwijk, Landstreek Kennemerland-Midden, Province of Noord-Holland.

Hit by accurate German AA-fire of unit (Kriegs) Marine-Flak-Abteilung  (MFlaA.) 808 - Beverwijk (at least 4 guns of 10,5 cm. each, radar guided) All the crew were lost.They are buried  in the Beverwijk General  Cemetery. All except F/S W. R. Berry are in a collective grave.

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Horace Shepherd - (Pilot) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery ‘Duinrust’, a/d. Bankenlaan - coll.gr. 683 - 688. 29 year old son of William and Elizabeth Shepherd, of Rhyl, Flintshire.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Frederick Norman Pink - (Flight Eng.) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery ‘Duinrust’, a/d. Bankenlaan - coll.gr. 683 - 688.  26 year old son of Frank and Maud Pink; husband of Mabel Pink, of Peckham, London.

(RAFVR) Sgt. William Edward Cunliffe - (Navigator) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery ‘Duinrust’, a/d. Bankenlaan - coll.gr. 683 - 688.  28 year old son of Edwin and Minnie Cunliffe; husband of Dorothy Cunliffe, of Hythe, Kent.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Alan Arthur Gill - (Air Bomber) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery coll.gr. 683 - 688.  20 year old son of Roland and Eliza Gill, of Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorkshire

(RAF) Sgt. Leslie Stephenson - (W.O./A.G.) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery  - coll.gr. 683 - 688.

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Keith Benedict Davidson -(Air Gnr.-Top) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery  - coll.gr. 683- 688. 23 year old son of the late Mr Davidson and Grace Davidson from Luseland, Sask. Canada.

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Weston Robert Berry - (Air Gnr.- Rear) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery  - (single) gr. 689. 29 year old son of Raymond and Florence Berry, of Dungog, New South Wales, Australia

 

12 Squadron 11/6/43. Weather mainly cloudy with thunderstorms In late evening, visibility moderate to good becoming poor in late evening.

SGT. G.W. Fordyce and crew were posted from 1662 C.U.

Operations were ordered, target DUSSELDORF, 24 aircraft taking part, captains being F/SGT Smitheringale: SGT Green: SGT Salthouse: SGT Gardiner: F/O Ford: F/LT Fawcett: S/LDR Slade: W/O Gillman: F/LT Doel: F/O McLaughlin: SGT Forbes: F/SGT Tucker: F/O Wood: F/O Weeks: SGT Sargent: S/LDR Heyworth: F/O Booth:F/O Wright: F/SGT Mizon: SGT Tribe: SGT Thompson: SGT Stancliffe: F/SGT Shepherd & SGT Highet.

5 aircraft failed to return from this operation, captains being F/O Ford: F/LT Doel: SGT Thompson: F/SGT Shepherd: & SGT Highet. The crews were reported missing.

The remaining aircraft returned safely, but SGT Newman mid upper gunner in SGT Sargent’s aircraft received slight injuries from a small piece of flak which hit his turret; he was admitted to hospital.

 

(1) F/Sgt. Weston Berry on the Dungog (NSW) Honour Roll. (2)  Rhyl War Memorial where Horace Shepherd is remembered. (3) Sgt. Alan Gill -this memorial commemorates the residents of Sherburn in Elmet who were killed or missing in World War I and World War II.

 

24.     28/29 June 1943 Lancaster Mk.III - EE195 (GZ-B)

Take off 23.09 RAF Wickenby target Köln (Cologne) Germany. Crashed 02.36  into the North Sea, ± 30 km. W. of Zandvoort, thus outside the coastal waters of the occupied Netherlands, W. of Amsterdam and Haarlem city, in the Province Noord-Holland. It was most likely the claim (no. 18) of Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling + crew, of unit 10. / NJG.1. (He opened fire for the first time ± 5 km. W. of Zandvoort)

(RAF) S/L. Frederick John Knight - (Pilot / Skipper) KIA - reburied in Bergen op Zoom (N.-Br.) War Cemetery - grave 28.B.8. As far as known interred first in the Den Helder /Huisduinen Cemetery, after his body was recovered on the beach. He was the 27 year old son of John and Mabel Knight, of Letchworth, Hertfordshire and husband of Phyllis M. Knight. He was only posted in to RAF Wickenby from 22 OTU to take command of 'C' Flight on the 14th of May.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Ernest Frederick Lawrence - (Flight Eng.) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 156. He was the 20 year old son of Albert and Alice Lawrence, of Dagenham, Essex.

(RCAF) F/O. Howard Cedric Treherne - (Navigator) KIA - Beverwijk General Cemetery (N.-H.), a/d. Bankenlaan - grave 690. He was the son of Randolph and Margaret Treherne. Howard was the first husband of Catherine Veronica Beazley (1920-2006) of Truro, Nova Scotia. They were married during World War Two. The widowed Catherine (Veronica) remarried in December 1946. He was 2nd Lt.William Arthur Douglas (1924-2005) from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Mervyn Barnaby Noble - (Bomb Aimer) KIA - Castricum (N.-H.) Protestant Churchyard of the St. Pancratius Church, between Kerkpad and Schoolstraat - plot J, coll.gr.7. He was the 22 year old son of Lionel and Grace Noble, of Umtali, Southern Rhodesia.(todays Zimbabwe).

(RAFVR) Sgt. Francis Donovan Ayerst - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Castricum (N.-H.) Protestant Churchyard of St. Pancratius Church, between Kerkpad and Schoolstraat - plot J, grave 4. He was the 31 year old son of Henry Ayerst, and husband of Joan Clare Ayerst, of Bognor Regis, Sussex.

(RAF) F/Sgt. Frank Birkin - (A.G. - M/U) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 135. He was the 23 year old son of James and Doris Birkin, of Leeds, Yorkshire, and husband of Annie Birkin.

(RAFVR) Sgt. James Roy Boxall - (A.G. - Rear) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 143. He was the 19 year old son of James and Daphne Boxall, of Mitcham, Surrey.

 

 

 

25.     20 February 1944 Lancaster Mk.III - JB609 (PH-F)

Took off 23.23 from RAF Wickenby - target Leipzig (Germany). Crashed 05.34 - S.W. of Elspeet village, a/d. Schaarweg, todays Gem. Nunspeet, Landstreek Veluwe, Province of Gelderland. Downed by Ofw. Heinz Vinke + crew, at location ± 15 km. N.W. of Apeldoorn (altitude 4800 m.). of unit 11./NJG.1, flying in a Me.Bf.- 110G- 4 and operating in the ‘Raum’ of radar station ‘Hase’ nearby Harderwijk (Gld.) (his 5th ‘victory’ of that night, ‘the night of the falling stars’, and his claim no. 54 in total)

 

 

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Norman Charles Bowker - (Pilot / Capt.) KIA - Harderwijk General Cemetery Oostergaarde, a/h. Oosteinde - British plot 1, gr. 44.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Frank William Burdett - (Flight Eng.) KIA - Harderwijk General Cemetery Oostergaarde, a/h. Oosteinde - British plot 1, gr. 40.

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Arthur Ian Corlett - (Navigator) KIA - Harderwijk General Cemetery Oostergaarde,  a/h. Oosteinde - Br. pl. 1, joint gr. 46-48.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Edward Gedge - (Air Bomber) KIA - Harderwijk General Cemetery Oostergaarde, a/h. Oosteinde - British plot 1, gr. 42.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Hadyn George Williams - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Harderwijk General Cemetery Oostergaarde, a/h. Oosteinde - British plot 1, joint grave 46-48. Father of Mr. Bryan Williams

(RCAF) P/O. James May - (A.G. - M/U) KIA - Harderwijk General Cemetery Oostergaarde, a/h. Oosteinde - British plot 1, gr. 50.  (He was a Warrant Officer II and promoted after his death) RCAF personnel were often commissioned or promoted with the deed being backdated. While the RCAF often sought to commission aircrew upon receipt of their aircrew badge, this was not always the case, and a person might have to wait a year before being commissioned. Nevertheless, promotion from one NCO grade to another (Sergeant to Flight Sergeant to WO2 to WO1) usually proceeded with great regularity - six month intervals (which still meant that Sergeant XXX, awarded aircrew badge on 1 February 1943, might still have to wait until 1 October 1943 to be told he had been promoted to Flight Sergeant, with the promotion backdated to 1 August 1943. The actual act of commissioning required at least a recommendation to that effect on an evaluation form, but once commissioned, promotion from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer was again almost automatic (six months after commissioning).

(RAFVR) Sgt. Eric Sidney Goodridge - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - Harderwijk General Cemetery Oostergaarde, a/h. Oosteinde - British plot 1, gr. 54.

* see this story on page 5 / Harlingen & Harderwijk of our site (also about the Elspeet Memorial Tour, last occasion 19 April 2014)

 

26.    20 February 1944 Lancaster Mk.III - ND410 (PH-Y)

Took off RAF Wickenby 23.17 - target Leipzig (Germany). Crashed 05.39 in todays Grevelingenmeer (former inlet of the sea, after the Zeeland storm flood of 1953 closed by a dam), near Dreischor village etc. on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland, in the Province of Zeeland (S.W.- part of Holland). Downed by Maj. Günther Radusch + crew, of unit Stab / NJG.2, at location KH-9’, altitude ± 7.2 km. (his claim no. 52)

(RAFVR) P/O. Paul Dempster Wright - (Pilot / Skipper) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 213.

He was the son of Lt. Colonel Ernest Leonard Wright. His brother, 20 year old Erskine Peter Wright, a pilot with 103 Squadron, also died in service.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Thomas Edward Roe -(Flight Eng.) KIA - Ouddorp General Cemetery (Zld., on Goeree -() Overflakkee island), a/d. Dorpsweg - row 1, grave 6. His body was washed up on the Ouddorp coastline, 10 May 1944.

(RAFVR) P/O. E. Travers-Clarke - (Navigator) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 212 (Evelyn) son of Lt. General Sir Travers-Clarke CBE KCB KCMG.

(RCAF) F/Sgt. Angus Joseph Gillis - (Bomb Aimer) KIA - reburied in Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery () (N.-Br.), a/d. Ruytershoveweg - grave 14.B.8. His human remains were recovered near Dreischor village (Zld., Sch.-Duiveland), 29 April 1944. He was interred first in the temporary military cemetery near Haamstede, until 1946.

(RAFVR) F/Sgt. Bruce Albert Stratton - (W.O. / A.G.) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 222.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Bernard Gerrard White - (A.G. - M/U) MIA / Runnymede (UK) - panel 240.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Terrence White - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - reburied, in 1946, in Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery (N.-Br.), a/d. Ruytershoveweg - grave 4.C.4. His remains were recovered on the beach near Scharendijke village (Zld., Sch.-Duiveland) and interred also in the temporary military cemetery near Haamstede first.

 

27.    26/27 April 1944. Lancaster Mk.III - ND873 (PH-H)

Took off from RAF Wickenby at 22.54 - target Essen (Ruhrgebiet, Germany).  Crashed 01.58 - near Asten village, between the cities of Eindhoven and Venlo, close to today's motorway A67 / E34 (from Antwerp / Belgium to Duisburg and Essen/Germany), and in wildlife area ‘De Berken’ (The Birches) and alongside the Astens(ch)e Aa (local brook) Gemeente Asten too, Landstreek De Peel, Province of Noord-Brabant while flying homeward.

It was intercepted at location ‘LM’, at altitude 6.5 km. and downed by Ofw. Rudolf Frank + crew (Ofw. Hans-Georg Schierholz & Ofw. Heinz Schneider, his ‘Bordwart’) of unit 3. / NJG.3. This was his 45th and lastAbschuss’/victory. Their own Me.Bf.-110G-4 night-fighter (Wn. 720074 and coded D5 # CL) was also damaged, maybe by the return fire coming from the Rear Gunner and the Mid Upper Gunner (?), or otherwise hit by the heavily burning Lancaster itself and its falling debris …..? 

Whichever, the Luftwaffe fighter was also badly damaged and crashed some minutes later near Heeze village, ± 12 km. more in a Western direction, S.E. of Eindhoven city, and also in the Province of Noord-Brabant. His two flying mates were successful in leaving the plane, and just in time, parachuted to survival. The fighter ace himself was killed in this (2nd) air crash (not enough time to bail out perhaps, or maybe he was wounded?). The 7 RAF airmen in the doomed Lancaster didn’t get any luck like that alas……

 

Crash-site Memorial. The tyre is the original from the tail wheel that was found close to the crash site.

 

(RAFVR) P/O. George Edwin Nicholls -(Pilot / Skipper)  KIA - reburied in Jonkerbosch War Cemetery, in Nijmegen / De Goffert (Gld.), a/d. Burg. Daleslaan -grave 24.F.4 . 32 year old son of James and Evelyn Nicholls, of Heamoor, Penzance, Cornwall and husband of Madeline Nicholls, of Heamoor.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Roy William Laybourne - (Flight Eng.) KIA - reburied in Jonkerbos(ch) War Cemetery, in Nijmegen / De Goffert (Gld.), a/d. Burg. Daleslaan -grave 24.F.6. 21 year old son of William and Martha Laybourne, of Worsley, Lancashire, England.

(RAFVR) F/O. Alfred Thompson McKay - (Navigator) KIA - reburied in Jonkerbos(ch) War Cemetery, in Nijmegen / De Goffert (Gld.). a/d. Burg. Daleslaan -grave 24.F.3. He was born on the 20th of February 1923 the son of Alfred McKay and Margaret (nee Thompson) McKay of Borlum, Knockando in Morayshire, Scotland. He was educated at Keith Grammar School and on leaving in 1941 he joined the Royal Air Force and proceeded straight from school to a cadet course at a university. He went out to Canada for training with the rank of Leading Aircraftman and on returning to the UK was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on the 30th of December 1942. He acted as an instructor for a time before beginning operational service.

(RCAF) F/O.Lawrence Lindsay Smith - (Air Bomber) KIA - reburied in Jonkerbos(ch) War Cemetery, in Nijmegen / De Goffert (Gld.), a/d. Burg. Daleslaan -grave 24.F.7. He was the 21 year old son of the Reverend Lawrence Bradway Smith, B.A., B.D. of the United Church of Canada, and Lillian Frances Smith (nee Casselman), of Westmeath, Ontario, Canada. Born January 22, 1923 at Eganville, Ontario, Canada, Lawrence was their only child. Before his enlistment, as a student, Lawrence lived in Leeds County for six years and participated in swimming, skating and softball. He joined the  RCAF on March 2, 1942 at Ottawa, Ontario.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Alexander Strathern McJannett - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - reburied in Jonkerbos(ch) War Cemetery, in grave 24.F.2. 21 year old son of Margaret May McJannett, and husband of Freda Joyce McJannett, of Wigston Magna, Leicestershire, England.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Alexander Kelso Shiels - (A.G. - M/U) KIA - reburied in Jonkerbos(ch) War Cemetery, in Nijmegen / De Goffert (Gld.), a/d. Burg. Daleslaan - grave 24.F.5. The 21 year old son of James Lyle Shiels and Catherine Wilson Shiels, of Auchinloch, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Harold Edward Dyerson - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - reburied in Jonkerbos(ch) War Cemetery, in Nijmegen / De Goffert (Gld.), a/d. Burg. Daleslaan -grave 24.F.1. The 32 year old son of Alfred and Ada Bell Dyerson, of Plaistow, Essex, England.

* The Skipper and the Rear Gunner were born in 1912, therefore both aged 32, and in fact rather old compared to the rest of the crew……. they were all aged 21 !!

The crew were first interred in the rather small local Allied Plot of Honour, at the (old) cemetery a/d. Dokter Blumenkampweg in Venlo, located nearby the former St. Joseph Hospital. That old cemetery came out of use after WW2, and therefore the local authorities as well as most people of Venlo, and in particular the UK families of the killed airmen, and the adoptive grave carers too, were trying to arrange reburials in the nearby Venlo General Cemetery, a/d. Hulsterweg; but alas, in 1947 those remains were exhumed and reburied later at Nijmegen, in the large Jonkerbosch War Cemetery, in accordance with the demands of the CWGC……

So for many years some loyal Venlo war grave carers, still in contact with the families of the lost men, were traveling to Nijmegen/DeGoffert from time to time, laying flowers and taking pictures there, etc. etc.

It seems, that the CWGC authorities didn’t quite realize that these graves of the liberators were very important to the inhabitants of Venlo, the city in Limburg which was almost completely plundered  by the Germans in 1944, when all the people were evacuated in a horrible way, via Germany (!), and which city, together with nearby ‘Fliegerhorst’ Venlo, was destroyed almost totally in the heavy battle for liberation in the following months……

* The dead Lufwaffe NF- ace, Rudolf Frank, was posthumously promoted to Leutnant and awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross, on 20 July 1944. After the war he was reburied in the German War Cemetery at Ysselstein / Limburg (NL) - grave Z.6.149.

 


Venlo city. In the frontline between September 1944 and March 1945

See also the Dutch book about this crash - 'Nachtvlucht over De Peel' - author Mr. Theo van de Mortel - publisher Uitg. Matrijs - 2009

 

28.     12/13 June 1944.  Lancaster Mk.III - PA986 (PH-D) 

Took off 23.01 from RAF Wickenby, target Gelsenkirchen (Ruhrgebiet, Germany). Crashed 01.23 in the polder Mastenbroek, a/d. Oude Wetering (local road + channel) in the direction of Stadshagen / Zwolle city, on the borderline of the Gemeente Zwartewaterland (Hasselt etc.), Landstreek IJsseldelta, Prov. of Overijssel. All the crew were lost. They are buried in IJsselmuiden General Cemetery and commemorated on a stone erected near the crash-site.

PA986 (PH-D) was a Mk.111 and was delivered to 12 Squadron on 28 May 1944. When it crashed the aircraft had completed 60 operations.

Downed by a Luftwaffe night-fighter from NJG.1 (Fliegerhorst Eelde) while operating in the 'Raum' of Eisbar radar station in Sondel (Friesland). He opened fire and seriously damaged the rear section, rudders etc, of the Lancaster causing it to crash out of control in the area of  'Groot Zwolle'. Four other RAF bombers were also lost near Zwolle, at Nunspeet, Epe, Eerbeek and Wesepe, at around the same time, so it is difficult to identify the German pilot responsible. There are at least 3 night-fighter pilots with claims for that night. Lt. Ernst-Ewald Hittler - 3./NJG.1 - at 01.30 hrs (possibly the Nunspeet crash?), Hptm. Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow - 1./NJG.1 - at 01.31 hrs. - his 21st claim, and  Fw. Karl Pfeiffer - 11./NJG.1 - at 01.34 hrs.

 

This is believed to be the body of the 19 year old Welsh rear gunner, Sgt Dewi Lloyd.

 

This was the first raid of the new oil campaign and the target was the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant (the Germans called the plant Gelsenberg A.G.). The attack opened with exceptional accuracy owing to good work by the Pathfinders and to improved versions of Oboe sets now available. Later phases of the bombing were spoiled by the clouds of smoke from the burning target and by a rogue target indicator which fell 10 miles short of the target and was bombed by 35 aircraft. A German industrial report shows that all production at the oil plant ceased, with a loss of 1,000 tons of aviation fuel a day for several weeks, as well as the loss of other fuels. Gelsenkirchen’s civil records also pay tribute to the accuracy of the attack; 1,500 bombs fell inside the oil-plant area. The civil records also describe the extensive damage to the nearby working-class district of Horst. A total of 279 people were killed, including 24 workers from the oil-plant at the time of the attack, 23 foreign workers who were killed when their wooden barracks nearby were hit and 6 schoolboy ‘Flakhilfers’.

Aircraft taking part : 303 (286 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitoes) of 1, 3 and 8 Groups.    Losses: 17 (Lancasters), 6.1%.

On 13 June (02:46) 40 aircraft from 12 & 626 Squadrons returned to Wickenby from operations at Gelsenkirchen. 1 aircraft was missing -12/D piloted by P/O Williams.

 

(RAFVR) P/O. Albert Williams (DFC) - (Pilot / Skipper) KIA - IJsselmuiden General Cemetery, a/d. Rondeweg, in Kampen - grave 28. 23 year old son of Bertie and Lilian Williams, of Edmonton, Middlesex and  husband of Edna Evelyn Williams, of Edmonton.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Henry John Plant - (Flight Eng.) KIA - IJsselmuiden General Cemetery, a/d. Rondeweg, in Kampen - grave 24A. 23 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Plant, of Barnsbury, London. 

(RAFVR) F/O. Donald Frederick Westfield Keyte - (Navigator) KIA - IJsselmuiden General Cemetery, a/d. Rondeweg, in Kampen - grave 32. 20 year old son of George and Laura Keyte, of Stroud, Gloucestershire.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Wallace Wallinger - (Bomb Aimer) KIA - IJsselmuiden General Cemetery, a/d. Rondeweg, in Kampen - grave 22A. 23 year old son of Walter and Alice Wallinger, of Herne Hill, London.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Raymond Charles Barber - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - IJsselmuiden General Cemetery, a/d. Rondeweg, in Kampen - grave 30. 23 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. William Charles Barber and husband of Lilian Mary Barber, of Dinnington, Yorkshire

(RAFVR) Sgt. Thomas Gribben - (A.G. - Top) KIA - IJsselmuiden General Cemetery, a/d. Rondeweg, in Kampen - grave 22. 22 year old son of William and Agnes Gribben, of Belfast.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Dewi Lloyd - (A.G - Rear) KIA - IJsselmuiden General Cemetery, a/d. Rondeweg, in Kampen - grave 26.  19 year old son of Edward and Elizabeth Lloyd, of Brymbo, Denbighshire.

 

The graves at IJsselmuiden Cemetery.

 

By the way, there was happening another important 'Luftwaffe step' in the air war on that same date, 13 June 1944 (1 week after the successful 'Longest Day' operations). The first V-1 'Vergeltungsbomben' (flying bombs or buzz bombs) were launched against London, and they came down close to London at Swanscombe near Dartford, in Kent. and from that day, many more of them were to come......onto  London itself.

 

29.       23 Oct. 1944. Lancaster Mk.I - PD331 (PH-O)

This Australian crew, (only the Flight Engineer was English), took off at 16.08 from RAF Wickenby, its target Essen (Ruhrgebiet, Germany). They crashed near Huppel hamlet, ± 3 km. N.E. of Winterswijk, (time unknown) close to the German borderline, in Gemeente Winterswijk, Landstreek Achterhoek, Province of Gelderland. Shot down ‘over the continent’ (UK sources), but by whom ? (No claim found in the records of NJG.1, NJG.2 or NJG.3). The Lancaster exploded in mid air, before reaching the target zone, and its debris was spread out over a wide area right up to the nearby German border.The dead bodies of the brave airmen were also found in a wide area…..

(RAAF) F/O. Douglas Wallace Maclean - (Pilot / Capt.) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 29. 32 year old son of Norman Stanley MacLean and Lela Gertrude MacLean and husband since 1942, of Jessie Violet MacLean, of Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia. Jessie (1918-2011) remarried in 1948. He was William Fishburn.

(RAFVR) Sgt. Frank William Niblett - (Flight Eng.) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 31. He was 36 years old and the son of Frank and Jane Niblett, of Sidcup, Kent. He married Doris Gwendoline Jones at Sidcup in 1933 when he was employed as a manager's clerk. They had one child, Beryl, in 1935 and lived at 30 Harland Avenue, Sidcup. Frank lost his life in October 1944. Doris remarried in the summer of 1945. He was Australian Flying Officer Allen Richard Rankin (bn 1922) who had served with 461 Squadron. The couple settled in Victoria, Australia.

(RAAF) W/O. John Philip - (Navigator) Aged 26. KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 30. (no family details)

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Arthur Bevan Llewellyn - (Bomb Aimer) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 35. The 26 year old son of William and Berta Llewellyn of 81 Homebush Road, Strathfield, NSW. In civilian life he was a costing clerk.

(RAAF) F/Sgt.John Edmund Joseph Kelly - (W.O. / A.G.) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 33. 24 year old son of John Joseph and Mary Cecilia Kelly, of Greenslopes, Queensland, Australia.

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Kenneth Harold Rowley - (A.G. - M/U) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 34. The 24 year old son of Henry and Jessie Rowley, of Campsie, New South Wales, Australia.

(RAAF) F/Sgt. Ian Hunter Fleming - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - Winterswijk General Cemetery, a/d. Vreesweg - Plot of Honour, grave 32. The 25 year old served as Ian HUNTER. Son of John Gerald and Mary Amelia Fleming, of Nedlands, Western Australia.

HUNT FOR FAMILY MAN - 28 March 2009.  A DUTCHMAN who tends the grave of an Ashfield World War II airman whose plane was shot down above the Netherlands is trying to trace the man’s family. Peter Rhebergen has written to Ashfield police in his quest to find relatives or friends of Flying Officer Douglas Wallace Maclean. Maclean was the pilot of a Lancaster PD331 plane shot down by the Germans above Mr Rhebergen’s home town of Winterswijk on October 23, 1944. The crew, who were members of Number 12 Squadron, had flown from Wickenby in England and were on their way to bomb the German city of Essen when they were attacked. All seven Australian crew members died. Mr Rhebergen said that each year on May 4 - memorial day in the Netherlands - the people of Winterswijk put flowers on the airmen’s graves. He said he had been interested in World War II history since his youth and he wanted to honour the memory of those who died. “The reason for all the trouble is that I do have much respect for all young guys who lost their lives too early and I wish to keep their memory alive,” he wrote. “Hopefully you can help me in one way or another to come to know more about Douglas Wallace Maclean, who was one of them.” Mr Rhebergen has learned Douglas Maclean was the son of Norman Stanley Maclean and Iela Gertrude Maclean. He was married to Jessie Violet Maclean and was 32 years old. “I do realise that the event I am writing about happened a long time ago but, in spite of that, I do hope anybody who is living in Ashfield will be kind enough to make contact,” he said.

Cumberland Newspapers -Australia

 

(1) Ashfield (NSW) War Memorial, the hometown of D.W MacLean. (2) F.W Niblett on the Bexley, Kent War Memorial. (3) The Wentworthville (Sydney) War Memorial where A.B Llewellyn is remembered.

 

A

Winterswijk General Cemetery

* This was the 2nd Lancaster crew of 12 Squadron buried in that same local cemetery. Although I guess, they would not have known the other guys personally,their last resting places were from then on close to their ‘comrades in sky’ from the same unit.   (see crash no. 19.) South of Winterwijk / Lancaster W4925)

 

30.   7 February 1945 - Lancaster Mk.I - NF925 (PH-T)

Took off 19.09 from RAF Wickenby - target Kleve, in the Rheinland area of Germany, just East of the Dutch city of Nijmegen in Gelderland.Crashed 21.30 - North of Oss city, a/d. Oyenseweg, in the direction of the river Maas (Meuse), thus more or less in the frontline area. The German troops were still nearby, across the river! - Gemeente Oss, Province of Noord-Brabant.

The reason for the crash is not known. At that time there was no large scale German night-fighter activities over the area. Most of Noord-Brabant had been liberated since Sept. 1944. There was even, since Oct. 1944,  an Allied temporary fighter air strip close to the crash site, the RAF-station near Nistelrode village, coded Heesch B.88. It was since Dec.’44 the home base for the 126th (RCAF) Spitfire Wing, who also played an important role in the Allied air defence during ‘Operation Bodenplatte’, 1 Jan. 1945.

RAF Wickenby 7th February 1945- Weather cloudy with fair periods and occasional showers. 1030hrs 29 aircraft required for bombing H hour 2200. 31 aircraft were detailed against Cleve, take off commenced at 1835hrs. Abortive:UM-G2 S/Ldr R O Lane mission abandoned over target orbited at 11000 ft Master Bomber not heard on VHF or Marconi. Reported missing, PH-T NF925 F/Lt J H Sommerville, F/O J T Collins, F/Sgt D H Phillips, F/O H J MacMillan, Sgt J L Fryer, P/O G A Woods and P/O W C Wilson were all KIA.  Wickenby loss rate 3.23%. Bomber Command loss rate 0.33%. Training flight PH-O pilot P/O Grannum,1900hrs message received from flying control that a crew member was ill. On arrival at Station Sick Quarters it was found that Air Gunner Sgt J G Marnoch was dead from asphyxiation as a result of a blocked oxygen tube. Visiting aircraft: Anson XL-767 from Andover.

(RCAF) F/Lt. John Hogarth Somerville - (Pilot) KIA - reburied in Groesbeek (Gld.) Canadian War Cemetery, a/d. Zevenheuvelenweg - gr. XVII.A.14. Born: April 19, 1912. No family details available. His name is also in the WW2 book, 1945 - page 566, at the Memorial Chamber (Peace Tower) in Ottawa.

(RAFVR) Sgt. John Lionel Fryer - (Flight Eng.) KIA - reburied in Groesbeek (Gld.) Canadian War Cemetery, a/d. Zevenheuvelenweg - grave XII.C.16. Age 19 the son of Thomas and Lily Fryer, of Wombourne, Staffordshire, England.

 

Kleve city after the air raids and the following ground battle 'Operation Veritable', in February 1945.

 

(RCAF) F/O. James Thomas Collins - (Navigator) KIA - reburied in Groesbeek (Gld.) Canadian War Cemetery, a/d. Zevenheuvelenweg - in joint grave IX.A.9-10.  21 year old son of Frederick Williams and Mary Collins and husband of Gladys Collins, of Parkstone, Dorsetshire, England. His name is also in the WW2 book, 1945 - page 505, in the Memorial Chamber (Peace Tower) in Ottawa.

(RCAF) F/O. Hubert Joseph MacMillan - (Air Bomber) KIA - reburied in Groesbeek (Gld.) Canadian War Cemetery, a/d. Zevenheuvelenweg - gr. XVII.C.3. Born on July 6th 1923 he was the son of Donald and Mary MacMillan, of Chesterville, Ontario. He was educated at Chesterville separate and high schools. After graduation he enlisted in the RCAF on October 5th 1942. He was commissioned and was posted overseas three months later. He had seven sisters and four brothers, three of whom were in the RCAF - F/O Myles MacMillan of Dawson, B.C, LAC Jack MacMillan of Moncton, NB, P/O Ronnie MacMillan, an air-gunner, and Alex MacMillan of Ottawa.

His name is also in the WW2 book, 1945 - page 538, at the Memorial Chamber (Peace Tower) in Ottawa.

 F/Sgt Dennis Harold Phillips -(W.O. / A.G.) KIA - reburied in Groesbeek (Gld.) Canadian War Cemetery, a/d. Zevenheuvelenweg - in joint grave IX.A.9-10. No family details available.

 

The war memorials at Chesterville, Ontario and St. Benedict's Church, Wombourne

 

(RCAF) P/O. George Arthur Wood - (A.G. - Top) KIA - reburied in Groesbeek (Gld.) Canadian War Cemetery, a/d. Zevenheuvelenweg - gr. XVII.A.10. He came from Connecticut, USA. He was the 19 year old son of Stanley and Nora Wood, of Hartford, Connecticut. His name is also remembered in the WW2 book, 1945 - page 577, at the Memorial Chamber (Peace Tower) in Ottawa.

(RCAF) P/O. Wilfred Charles Wilson - (A.G. - Rear) KIA - reburied in Groesbeek (Gld.) Canadian War Cemetery, a/d. Zevenheuvelenweg - gr. XVII.A.11. He was the 19 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Wilson, of Frankford, Ontario. His name is also in the WW2 book, 1945 - page 576, at the Memorial Chamber (Peace Tower) in Ottawa.

* They were all interred in the local cemetery of Nistelrode village initially, south of Oss city, thus in the liberated and more safe area of Noord-Brabant (although sometimes V-1 ‘Vergeltungswaffen’ were coming down or shells from the German long distance guns)  * Zevenheuvelenweg (Groesbeek etc.) means: ‘Road across the seven hills’

 

Groesbeek is located 10 km south east of the town of Nijmegen and close to the German frontier. The Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery is 3 km north of the village and 1500 metres east of the main road to Nijmegen.

 

 

Christmas Day at RAF Wickerby

 

     Conclusions 

Conclusions at the end, while overlooking this entire listing.

A. For some ‘crazy reason’, by a stroke of bad luck (?), most of the squadron’s crashed bombers came down in the Province of Noord-Holland (N.W.- part of the Netherlands). Therefore many airmen of No. 12 Sqdn. are buried in cemeteries there: Amsterdam, Bergen, Beverwijk etc. In total 49 men, of which 25 men are in Bergen (most burials of the squadron in the Netherlands).

14 men are in Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, 8 in Beverwijk and 2 in Castricum.

For the remainder of the Netherlands there is only one peak in another town, Winterswijk, 14 men also, because of 2 crashes nearby, with all airmen killed (and even one man MIA).

B. Of all those airplanes, 30 in total, 17 bombers were Wellingtons and 13 of them were Lancasters.

The Wellington crashes period, starting with no. 01/IJsselmeer, was from 10 April 1941 till 30 September 1942, and ending with crash no. 17/Bergen. The Lancaster crashes period started with no.18/Rotterdam-Charlois, on 30 March 1943 till 7 February 1945, with crash no.30, near Oss, as the last one.

Between those two periods is a ‘gap’ as we can see, a period of about 6 months, in which time the squadron was changing and training etc., from the (old) Wellington to the (new) Lancaster).

C. 13 of those 30 crashes ended, alas, in ‘total destruction’, crashes in which all airmen aboard were killed. That happened in the crash numbers 1-7-8-10-12-15-17-23-25-27-28-29-30.

D. In all of those 30 air crashes there were in total 188 airmen involved, all personnel from 12 Squadron. 134 airmen were KIA (!), while 16 were MIA; and 37 of them were made POW, of which 2 men were later repatriated, sent back to the UK because of ‘high medical costs’ for the Germans.

There was only one ‘very lucky guy’ of all these men…… Sgt. Frank Wortley Pinkerton, the pilot of Lancaster W4858, who came down in Rotterdam (crash no. 18). He came back to the UK with help of the resistance…… so sad he was killed in an air crash in 1949.

E. Of those lost planes, most crews were operating against the enemy directly; thus, their targets were in Germany itself (in fact they were simply passing over the low countries……)

F. Most of these 30 planes - and this is no surprise for insiders - were downed by Luftwaffe night-fighters.

Final remark. In many towns and villages in the Netherlands, on or near the former crash sites, are erected memorials on which are the names of those brave crews of the well known ‘Fox - Squadron’, and there even a couple of streets named after them, in Dronten, - and that is very right!


 

 

 

 

Willem's Introduction

14

Ameland in war-time

25

Texel  & Den Helder 

1

Friesland War-time Crashes

14b

Ameland,166 & 75 Sqdn.

26

Hindeloopen

2

Friesland Cemeteries

14c

Ameland Graves

27

Destroy the Scharnhorst!

3

Leeuwarden area

15

Terschelling

28

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 2

3a

Wirdum Remembers

15b

Terschelling 2

28a

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 3

4

Schiermonnikoog

16

Sage War Cemetery

29

12 Squadron in World War 2

4b

Schiermonnikoog  part 2

16b

RAF Topcliffe & 424 Sqdn.

30

The Runnymede Memorial

5

Harlingen

17

Vlieland Cemetery

31

Vuren at war

6

Kallenkote Cemetery

18

Jacobiparochie

32

Makkum Cemetery

7

Wartime Harlingen

19

Hampden AE 428, & Koudum

33

A fatal collision?

8

RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron

20

Willem's War-time photos

34

Hudson & Ventura losses

9

Zwolle's ' De Groene ' group

21

Shipdham Airfield & the 44th

34a

Hudson & Ventura losses

10

408 Squadron's Leipzig raid

21b

68th Squadron's Casualties

35

101 Squadron

11

Friesland radar

22

Rottum Island

12

Lancasters DS776  & JA921

23

Bergen General Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

back to 626 Squadron

 

 

 

 

 

 email-address:  w.jong1@upcmail.nl

 

 

uk           tom.bint2@gmail.com