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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 53051
Last updated: 12 January 2021
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Date:30-NOV-1941
Time:22:55
Type:Vickers Wellington Mk IC
Owner/operator:101 Squadron Royal Air Force (101 Sqn RAF)
Registration: R3295
C/n / msn: SR-P
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Balg on Schiermonnikoog island -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Oakington
Destination airport:
Narrative:
During the night of 30 November-1 December 1941, the RAF Bomber Command flew 246 sorties in the following operations:
_ 181 aircraft (92 Wellingtons, 48 Hampdens, 24 Whitleys, 11 Halifaxes, 4 Manchesters and 2 Stirlings) went to Hamburg to bomb shipyards and three aiming points in the city. 122 crew claimed good bombing results in moonlit conditions, while 35 other bombed alternative targets. Hamburg reported 22 fires, including 2 large ones, 65 killed, 176 injured and more than 2,500 bombed out. Kiel reported bombs but no casualty and four bombers were claimed shot down in flames by the local Flak. Total British losses for the raid were 15 aircraft lost (6 Wellingtons, 4 Hampdens, 4 Whitleys and 1 Halifax, with 61 KIA and 18 POW), two more (a Wellington and a Whitley) ditching on the British coast and three other (a Halifax, a Hampden and a Whitley) lost in crashes in England. There was no casualty for the last two categories.
_ 50 aircraft attacked Emden and claimed good bombing results. Two Whitleys and one Wellington did not return from this raid and only one of theuir 16 crew survived as a POW.
_ 3 aircraft attacked Ostend.
_ 8 Hampdens laid mines in the Baltic.
_ 4 aircraft flew OTU sorties.
____________________________________________

The Wellington IC R3295 SR-P of 101 Sqn RAF took off at 1640 hrs on 30 November 1941 from Oakington to bomb Hamburg railway station. On their way to target one of the engines started to splutter, the suspicion being that it had iced up. The pilot, Sgt Paul Winfield, asked the crew whether they should drop the bombs abd return, or press on regardless. The vote was five to one to press on, the only opposition coming from the observer, whose wife was pregnant. So they continued and, amidts the customary Flak, bombed the target, brillianttly illuminated by the full moon, before setting source for home.

But, as they crossed the Dutch coast heading for England across the North Sea, the Wellington started to run out of engines. It was decided to trun back to Holland with the prospect of baling out and contacting the Underground, however slim this might be. The bomber was, however, losing height rapidly and it was obvious the chances of reaching land were diminishing. The wireless operater sent the message ’Landing in sea near coast’, but just as a ditching was being contemplatedd a strip of sand was observed and a belly landing was mage without any due mishap or injury. It was 2255 hrs and they had landed on a beach of the Dutch Frisian island of Schiermonnikoog.

As it was dark, the crew agreed to lay up for a few hours until daylight, then split up into pairs. Their landing had gine unnoticed, until the pilot of a German aircraft spotted the virtually intact Wellington sticking out of the water on the beach. It was not long after midday on 1 December that all six of the crew had been rounded by German marines stationed on the island.

The rear gunner, Sgt Adrian ’Toggle’ Heath, and the American second pilot, Sgt Winfield L "Johnny" Johnson RCAF, came across a man gathering firewood. Heath, who was born in Burma in 1920, was an art student at the Slade when war broke out and through his artist’s eyes saw him as a ’Van Gogh peasant’. Though the man could speak only Walloon, which neither airman could understand, by use of their map and sign language the two airmen understood well enough that the island was swarming with Germans. It was not long before they met some. Johnson suggested that they should take no notice, and pretend that they hadn’t seem them, but when shots were fired over theur heads they put up their hands in the accepted manner.

The night was spend as guest of the Kriegsmarine in the officers’ mess. Heavily escorted to the mainland next day the crew were put into solitary confinement in Amsterdam prison. From there they were taken by road to Utrecht and then by train to Frankfurt and Dulag Luft.

The Germans were delighted. The Wellington IC R3295 had landed with very little structural damage and they now had an opportunity to examine a complete British aircraft with all the latest equipment. It was pulled by man-power near the Beachhotel, north of the village, and then dismantled for transport to the mainland.

Crew (all captured):
Sgt Paul Winfield (pilot)
Sgt Winfield L "Johnny" Johnson RCAF (co-pilot)
Sgt Idwal Gwyn Davies (observer)
Sgt Terry A Cooke (wireless operator/air gunner)
Sgt "Bill" A W J Cleeve (mid-upper air gunner)
Sgt Adrian ’Toggle’ Heath (rear gunner)

Five crew (Johnson, Davies, Cooke, Cleeve and Heath), after the delights of Stalag VIIA and Stalag 383, reached Luft 7 in Trupp 16 on 30 July 1942. Nothing is known of Winfield’s time as a POW. He was confined in hospital for a time due to his injuries (possibly at St.Bonifatius Hospital - Leeuwarden).

On his release from captivity in 1945, Heath returned to his art studies and at the time of his death in 1992, he was recognised as one of the best abstract artists to have worked in the United Kingdom since the war.

Sources:

"The Long Road: Trials and Tribulations of Airmen Prisoners from Stalag Luft VII (Bankau) to Berlin , June 1944 - May 1945", by Oliver Clutton-Brock and Raymond Crompton. ISBN 9781909166202
http://www.626-squadron.co.uk/willem4b.htm
"The Bomber Command War Diaries", by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt, ISBN 1-85780-033-8
"Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, vol 2: Aircraft and Crew Losses 1941", by W R Chorley. ISBN 0-904597-87-3
https://www.defensie.nl/binaries/defensie/documenten/brochures/2008/04/08/verliesregister-1941/verliesregister-1941.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Heath_%28painter%29
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schiermonnikoog
http://wikimapia.org/#lang=fr&lat=53.489167&lon=6.202222&z=12
Nachtjagd Combat Archive The Early Years part two for location


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
30-Nov-2015 13:57 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Apr-2020 12:50 TigerTimon Updated [Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Source]

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