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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 53057
Last updated: 19 November 2020
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Type:Vickers Wellington Mk III
Owner/operator:9 Sqn Royal Air Force (9 Sqn RAF)
Registration: X3280
C/n / msn: WS-?
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Waddenzee, off Vlieland -   Netherlands
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Honington, Suffolk
Destination airport:RAF Honington
The Loss of Wellington III - X3280
A flight of nine Wellington 111 bombers took off from RAF Honington (Suffolk) at 17:30 on 9th November 1941, destined for a bombing raid over Hamburg (Target designation – Hamburg ‘B’). The aircraft were those of RAF 9. Sqn. (3 Group) Bomber Command and was coded WS and the flight was led by Vincent (Hugh Wilgar-Robinson) as he was the first to take off at 17:30.
Vincent’s Wellington Mark 3, No: X3280, reported attacking the target at 19:52 but was last heard from at 21:09 hours on his return to base, when it sent out an SOS distress signal which it then mysteriously cancelled. The cause of the crash is unknown but could have been the result of flak received over Hamburg or by an attack by a German Nightfighter.
A last message (unknown) was then sent out from east of Heliogland (Position co-ordinates 54.21386,7.86621) and that was the last contact before they obviously crash landed into the sea.
Vincent’s aircraft (X3280) crashed in the Waddenzee (‘Wadden Sea’ off the North Sea), south of Vlieland/Vliehorst (off Holland) at approximately 21:15 on the same night, with the loss of life of all 6 members of the crew.
Of the 8 remaining aircraft of the Squadron that took off that night, X3352 was hit by flak during the bombing raid over Hamburg and lost the use of the Port engine but the pilot, Sgt W E Pendleton managed to bring his aircraft and crew back but on landing at RAF East Wretham (Norfolk) crashed into a wood near the airfield at 22:10. The aircraft burnt out. All the crew were injured and taken to hospital. (no deaths recorded in RAF log but no further information available).
The other 7 aircraft returned safely to base.
The location of the aircraft on the Waddenzee was not discovered until June 2011, by a Mr. Lammert Kwant - a local expert who conducts excursions on this shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands
The crew of X3280, consisted of the following persons: (long numbers are Service numbers and the short ones are their ages)
• The Pilot: Flying Officer (F/O) Hugh V. Wilgar-Robinson, (63492) (30), Belfast, was washed up on the beach near Vlieland and rests in Vlieland General Cemetery*, Friesland. (Grave 37)
• Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt George H. Dartnall (917066) (22) drifted ashore near Søndervig. On 11/12 his body was found by Receiver of Wrecks Ole Enevoldsen on Søgård Forstrand (it is on the Eastern shore of the inland sea called Nissum Bredning) (see map below) and brought to his home. On the same evening at 22:30 it was collected by three Luftwaffe Unteroffiziers in a truck who took it to Rom airfield. On 13/12 1941 Dartnall was laid to rest in Lemvig cemetery (Grave 714). Vicar J. Bendsen officiated at the graveside ceremony in Lemvig, Jylland, Denmark. (Source: FAF)
• Co-pilot: Sgt Robert Bamber Fielding (1001686) (27). (Panel 43). Son of John Robert and Jane and sister to Marjorie, of Blackpool, Lancashire. Robert was born in 1914 and is remembered on a family headstone in All Hallows Church Graveyard, Bispham, Lancashire. Robert’s last given address was ‘The Knowle, Devonshire Road, Blackpool’.
• Observer: Sgt Reginald Burchell How (959988) (25). (Panel 45). Reginald was the son of James William and Emily Ada and husband of Mary Una. Ipswich, Suffolk.
• W/Op-Air Gnr: Sgt William Smithson (935541) (24). (Panel 37). William was the son of Albert and Ellen of Batley Carr, Dewsbury, Yorkshire. William is remembered on the Batley Carr Holy Trinity Church War Memorial at Dewsbury.
• Air Gnr: Sgt Kenneth Quick (1161595) (21). (Panel 50). Kenneth was the son of Arnold and Ethel of Velindre, Port Talbot, Glamorgan.
These last 4 airmen have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. (Panel commemoration numbers are shown against each name)

Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War 1941 Page 181.

Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
15-May-2016 17:08 Red Dragon Updated [Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Sep-2017 15:30 Vincie Updated [Time, Narrative]
06-Nov-2017 07:29 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Aircraft type]
12-Nov-2018 14:45 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Operator]

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