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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21489
Last updated: 6 September 2020
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Date:15-JUL-1940
Time:night
Type:Vickers Wellington Mk IC
Owner/operator:37 Squadron Royal Air Force (37 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L7792
C/n / msn: LF-L
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Beckedorf, Osterholz, in Lower Saxony -   Germany
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Feltwell, Thetford, Norfolk
Destination airport:RAF Feltwell, Thetford, Norfolk
Narrative:
Vickers Wellington Mk.1c L7792 (LF-L) 37 Squadron, RAF: Written off (presumed destroyed) when lost (Failed To Return) from combat operations over Germany. Three of the five crew were killed, two survived to be captured, and taken as PoWs. One was killed in 1944 after escaping from a PoW camp. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (Air Ministry file AIR 81/1121): "Wellington L7792 crashed at Beckedorf, Germany, 14 July 1940. Sergeant J F MacCauley, Sergeant C E Read, Sergeant S C Kirkbride: report of deaths. Sergeant G J W Grimson and Sergeant T Johnson: prisoners of war. Sergeant G J W Grimson later reclassified as missing presumed dead after several attempts to escape".

Took off from Feltwell, Norfolk, 22:00 on 14 July 1940 with the invasion barges in the dockyards of the German port of Hamburg as the target. Failed to return. Three of the crew of five were killed, two taken as PoW. According to the following extract from the the biography of George Grimson, one of the crew (see link #7 for his full biography):

"George Grimson was the wireless operator aboard a No. 37 Squadron RAF Vickers Wellington (serial number "L7792") squadron codes "LF-L" which was shot down on 15 July 1940 during a raid on barges in the dockyards of the German port of Hamburg by the anti-aircraft defences over Bremen. He was one of only two survivors who baled out before the bomber exploded.

Allocated prisoner of war number 134, George Grimson passed through Luftwaffe interrogation centre Dulag Luft, before being sent to Stalag Luft I at Barth, Stalag VIIIb, Lamsdorf and back to Barth before finally being sent to Stalag Luft III"

Crew of Wellington L7792:
Pilot: Sgt 564908 John Francis McCauley aged 25 RAF killed.
Pilot:Sgt 566117 Sydney Chapman Kirkbride aged 24 RAF killed.
Observer:Sgt 580828 Charles Edward Read aged 20 RAF killed.
Sgt 621438 T. Johnson RAF - survived captured, taken as PoW. Became PoW No.438.
Sgt 631689 George John William Grimson RAF - survived, captured, taken as a PoW. Became PoW No.134. A persistent escapee from PoW camps, he was promoted to a Warrant Officer while in captivity, and was constantly hunted by the Gestapo agents of SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Günther Venediger, while "on the run"; a price was placed on his head and wanted posters printed. He was last seen on 14 April 1944 in the Danzig area and was probably seized by the Gestapo, disappearing in captivity, probably having been captured and murdered by the SS. Body not found/not recovered, and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

All three crew killed on 15 July 1940 were interred at New Aumund Cemetery. After the War they were re-interred at Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany. The reported crash location of Beckedorf is a municipality in the district of Osterholz, in Lower Saxony, Germany, at approximate Coordinates: 53.196329N, 8.602176E

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/1121: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14502933
3. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2199385/mccauley,-john-francis/
4. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2199284/kirkbride,-sydney-chapman/
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2389730/read,-charles-edward/
6. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1798931/grimson,-george-john-william/
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Grimson
8. http://aircrewremembered.com/mccauley-john-francis.html
9. http://www.oldhaltonians.co.uk/pages/rememb/ROH/22.htm
10. https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-vickers-416-wellington-ic-hamburg-3-killed


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
26-Jun-2008 14:36 JINX Added
01-Jul-2009 11:49 TOPCAT Updated
09-Jan-2012 07:34 Nepa Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
19-Jul-2012 14:01 Charlie B?E Updated [Country, Source]
09-Mar-2013 18:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Aug-2013 09:19 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source]
19-May-2014 18:22 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Country, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source]
27-Apr-2015 18:57 ABBA Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
15-Oct-2019 21:28 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
16-Oct-2019 12:21 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Narrative]
30-May-2020 14:41 Jabo Updated [Location, Narrative]

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