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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 141377
Last updated: 6 April 2020
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Date:14-DEC-1939
Time:
Type:Vickers Wellington Mk IA
Owner/operator:99 Squadron Royal Air Force (99 Sqn RAF)
Registration: N2886
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:off Wangerooge Island, Lower Saxony -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Newmarket, Suffolk
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Time of loss not known, but this aircraft too0k off from RAF Newmarket, Suffolk at 23:45 hours. Shot down by Flak or fighters during raid on Helgoland and Wilhelmshaven. While on a maritime patrol flight off the German coast, the aircraft was shot down by a German fighter and crashed into the sea off Wangerooge Island, Lower Saxony. All six occupants were killed.

Crew (99 Squadron, RAF):
F/S J. E. K. Healey,
Sgt W. F. Antell,
Sgt B. T. Boram,
AC2 W. H. Pountain,
LAC H. E. Beaumont,
LAC R. Forsyth.

N2886 was one of six Vickers Wellington aircraft lost in a single day (December 14th 1939) in this single raid. According to the obituary of LAC Beaumont (see link #3):

"Thirty three members of 99 Squadron died on 14th December 1939 when an armed reconnaissance mission to Heligoland Bight was ordered with the aim of also attacking major units of the German fleet believed to be in Schillig Roads on the approach to Wilhelmshaven. It was mistakenly believed, from previous operations, that the Luftwaffe fighter were only equipped with rifle calibre machine guns and that a massed formation of bombers could adequately defend itself.The Luftwaffe had however progressed and their fighter were armed with cannon.

Taking off from Newmarket at 11:43 they set off, via Yarmouth flying just below the cloudbase at 1,000 feet. The weather deteriorated en route and flying almost at sea level they came across flak ships which forced a change of course. Then the Luftwaffe arrived on the scene, with Me 110's and Me 109's.

In the ensuing air battles the Wellingtons were easy prey to the fighters. The only bombs dropped were those jettisoned by the returning bombers.

In all 5 Wellingtons and their crews were lost to the Germans, either to flak or to fighters. Even then one returning bomber crashed in the final approach at RAF Newmarket, killing three of it's crew (the pilot, New Zealander, F/Lt Eugene Hetherington is buried in West Row)."

In all, RAF Bomber Command lost eighteen Wellingtons in a single day - 14 December 1939 - along with most of their crews.

Sources:

1. Air Britain: RAF Aircraft L1000 - N9999, published 1991
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/61: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14142178
http://www.oldhaltonians.co.uk/pages/rememb/ROH/18.htm
3. http://www.undyingmemory.net/BeckRow/beaumont%20howard.html
4. http://www.rafcommands.com/archives/air-81-raf-casualty-packs-1939-45-part-1/
5. https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-vickers-408-wellington-ia-wangerooge-island-6-killed-1
6. http://www.ystalyfera-fallen.co.uk/william-antell.html
7. http://www.bomber-command.info/c99wellloss.htm


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
02-Jan-2012 11:23 Uli Elch Added
14-Jan-2017 21:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Dec-2017 18:31 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
13-Nov-2018 07:01 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
04-Jun-2019 20:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
08-Jun-2019 09:41 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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