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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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9 Squadron crest
22/23.04.1942 No. 9 Squadron Wellington III X3638 Sgt. Barnes

Operation: Köln (Cologne)

Date: 22/23rd April 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3638

Code: WS-?

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk.

Location: Near Ottermeer Farm, Nispen, Holland

Pilot: Sgt. Owen Cicero Charles Barnes 1189038 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Robert Harvey Armstrong 1123091 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Obs: P/O. Henry Brener 110788 RAFVR Age 28. Injured (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.P. McCrossan 1059959 RAFVR PoW No. 433 Camp: 357 - Stalag Kopernikus, Poland

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.P. Williams 973799 RAFVR PoW No. 42894 Camp: 357 - Stalag Kopernikus, Poland

Air/Gnr: Sgt. D.R.F. Wellock 953774 RAFVR PoW No. 222795 Camp: 4B - Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe, Germany


An experimental operation, sending ‘Gee’ (2) equipped aircraft in order to make use of blind-bombing techniques.

Some of the bombs were dropped accurately on Cologne, others landed some 10 miles from the target. It is thought of the 69 aircraft taking part, about 15 aircraft made the accurate bombing with reports from the city that 44 high explosive, 1,200 incendiary bombs hit Cologne. 6 Industrial buildings were damaged with minor damage to other property. 14 people on the ground were killed, 8 others injured.Bomber Command lost 5 aircraft - 2 during the operation with 3 others crashing on return for various reasons. 10 aircrew lost their lives, 8 taken pow with 4 others injured.

Bomber Command lost 5 aircraft - 2 during the operation, with 3 others crashing on return for various reasons. 10 aircrew lost their lives, 8 taken pow with 4 others injured.

It is known that X3638 was hit by flak, 1.-3/Res. Flak Abt.146, 3.Res.Flak Abt.514 and 3./Res. Flak Abt.511. The aircraft crashed at Ottermeer Farm (Ottermeerhoeve) some 6 km. south of Roosendaal, Holland - just inside the border with Belgium at 02:30 hrs.

9 Squadron also lost on this operation:

Wellington III X3358. Flown by P/O. Hale R.A.F.V.R. - taken pow with 4 other crew, 1 being killed.

Wellington III X3759. Flown by 23 year old American from Milwaukie, Sgt. Ramey R.C.A.F. - killed with 4 other crew, the tail gunner, Sgt. Russel survived, injured. (Pilot, Sgt. Ramey had survived an earlier incident on the 27/28th November 1941, returning from Dusseldorf - Aircrew Remembered visited the graves of this crew in 2013 - remembrance page to follow))

(1) P/O. Henry Brener sadly died of his injuries on the 27th April 1942.

(2) ‘Gee’ was the code name given to a radio navigation system used by the Royal Air Force during World War II. It measured the time delay between two radio signals to produce a ‘fix’. It was the first hyperbolic navigation system to be used operationally.

Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery (courtesy CWGC. and Brenda White)

Left: The Southampton Cenotaph (courtesy Brenda White)


The three crew members killed were all initially interred in the German Military Cemetery (British Plot) at Bergen-op-Zoom, Holland and re-buried on 16 April 1946 at Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery.

Sgt. Owen Cicero Charles Barnes. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 3.C.3. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest O. Barnes, of Southampton, England. Grave inscription: 'Absent From The Body... Present With The Lord Ii Cor. V.8'.

Sgt. Robert Harvey Armstrong. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 3.C.1. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

P/O. Henry Brener. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 3.C.12. He was born in 1914 at Nottingham the son of David Brener (a Hosiery Dealer) and Alice Brener nee Kaufman of Nottingham. He was also the husband of Mary Brener nee Segelman and father of Carolyn E. Brener born 1941 both of Mapperley Park, Nottingham, England. Henry Brener's parents were both born in Russia and the family was Jewish. Henry was a pupil at Nottingham High School from 1923 until 1930. 1109091 Leading Aircraftsman Brener was promoted to Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) with effect from 8 November 1941 as announced in the London Gazette of 24 February 1942. He is commemorated on the school war memorial. Grave inscription: 'In Proud And Loving Memory Of My Beloved Husband. Wife Mary And Daughter Carol'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Brenda White, one of the researchers for the Southampton Cenotaph, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives and Nottingham High School Archives for additional information re Henry Brener.

Are you able to assist Brenda and the other researchers at the Southampton Cenotaph? Contact them, or us and we will forward your details.

RW 14.11.2015 Details added re P/O. Brener - Courtesy Nottingham High School Archives

KTY Page updated 14.11.2019

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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