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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 89842
Last updated: 24 October 2020
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Date:20-FEB-1940
Time:night
Type:Vickers Wellington Mk IA
Owner/operator:99 Squadron Royal Air Force (99 Sqn RAF)
Registration: N3004
C/n / msn: LN-E
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sauvenière near Gembloux, 16 km NW Namur -   Belgium
Phase: Landing
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Newmarket, Suffolk
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Vickers Wellington Mk.1a N3004 (LN-E) of 99 Sqaudron. Lost on combat operations 20 February 1940. Took off from RAF Newmarket at 17:13 hours. Mission: "Nickelling" (Leaflet dropping raid) target Hamburg, Germany; Force-landed at Sauvenière near Gembloux, 16 km North West of Namur, Belgium.

Assuming they were on German soil, the crew in vain tried to set the airplane on fire. After being apprehended, they were imprisoned at the Fortress II barracks near Antwerp, from which they would 'escape' shortly afterwards, along with all British crews held there at the time.

Crew of Wellington N3004:
Flying Officer O.L.Williams
Pilot Officer R.A.G.Willis
Sgt A.R. Mattick
AC.2 W.Cockburn
AC.2 C.G.Ashman
Pilot Officer J.S.Trotter

According to one published source (see link #3): "The Luftwaffe sent some Messerschmitt Bf 109s into the air to intercept the invaders, and Oberfeldwebel Hermann Förster (II/(Nacht)/JG 2) claimed to have brought one down - it was the Night Hunter's first victory." It is not clear if the claim was against Wellington N3004 or another RAF aircraft. However, it is possible that N3004 was damaged in the encounter, making it imperative to force land in (then neutral) Belgium.

NOTE: Some published sources list Wellington N3004 as code "LN-I", but photographic evidence (see link #3) proves the code to be "LN-E"

Sources:

1. James J Halley, Air-Britain Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/93: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14141915
3. https://www.luchtvaartgeschiedenis.be/content/wellington-n3004-bij-gembloux
4. https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-vickers-408-wellington-ia-sauveniere
5. https://harringtonmuseum.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Aircraft-lost-on-Allied-Forces-Special-Duty-Operations.pdf
6. 3 Group Bomber Command By Chris Ward p 6
7. http://www.belgian-wings.be/Webpages/Navigator/Belgian_Aviation_History/interbellum/ThePhoneyWar%2002.htm


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
04-Feb-2011 13:28 ThW Added
29-Dec-2011 13:26 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
29-Dec-2011 13:30 Uli Elch Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
09-Jan-2012 07:20 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport]
07-Jun-2013 14:02 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Narrative]
21-Aug-2013 09:15 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Source]
02-Feb-2015 16:39 Fuxs Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
06-Jun-2019 02:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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