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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 52965
Last updated: 3 May 2021
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Time:23:42 LT
Type:Vickers Wellington Mk II
Owner/operator:12 Squadron Royal Air Force (12 Sqn RAF)
Registration: W5442
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:along the Kagerweg road near Beverwijk, Noord-Holland -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Waltham
Destination airport:
9th March 1942 Gee-guided Raid on Essen

Departure Airfield: RAF Waltham (Binbrook too boggy for heavy bomber take-off)
Takeoff time: 20:39

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. A Ju 88C night fighter had positioned itself underneath the bomber and raked the unprotected underside. At the controls was Luftwaffe pilot Oberleutnant Alois Lechner of the Einsatzstaffel E./NJG 2 based at Gilze-Rijen airfield. 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 also 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; Sgt Arnold 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.

Crash location:,4.683094&spn=0.015818,0.045362&t=h&z=15>

Because of the low altitude Sgt Arnold hurt his knee badly on landing. He found his friend F/Sgt Scragg 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 Sgt Arnold 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.

Pilot: Plt Off R.H. Buchanan - Badly wounded. Confined in various hospital till repatriation to the UK. (no POW-number known)
2nd Pilot: Sgt. Patrick Gibbings Sanders - Bergen General Cemetery - Plot 1 Row D Grave 9.
Observer: Flt Sgt. Reuben Acton Scragg RNZAF - Bergen General Cemetery - Plot 1 Row D Grave 7.
Wireless Operator: Sgt. Charles John Cheddar - POW Number 24831 - 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.
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. Henry Marshall Murdo - Bergen General Cemetery Plot 1 Row D Grave 8. The 19 year old was on his first mission and was there in place of their usual gunner, Sgt A G Macey.
Air Gunner: Sgt. Ronald A. Arnold - POW Number 24843 - 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.


Chris Roberts, Grandson of Sgt RA Arnold. Rear Gunner.
Nachtjagd Combat Archive The Early Years part two
Bomber command Losses 1942


Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
01-Aug-2009 12:43 Chris Roberts Updated
01-Aug-2009 12:43 harro Updated
18-Jun-2011 12:23 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]
08-Mar-2017 10:33 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Nov-2017 09:20 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Aircraft type]
13-Nov-2017 16:35 Red Dragon Updated [Operator]
18-Oct-2018 19:18 Nepa Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]
07-Nov-2019 19:41 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Cn, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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