31.10.1941/01.11.1941 No. 51 Squadron Whitley V Z9141 MH-J Fl/Lt. Eric Arthur Barsby
Date: 31 October/1 November 1941 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 51 Squadron Motto: Swift and Sure.
Badge: A goose volant - approved by King George VI in December 1937. It was chosen as a play on the word 'Anson', which the Squadron was flying when the badge was being designed, as 'Anser' is the Latin word for Goose, and it was felt that a heavy wild fowl was appropriate for a bomber squadron.
Type: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V
Base: RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire
Location: Texel, Netherlands.
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Eric Arthur Barsby 84318 RAFVR Age 26 - Killed (1)
2nd Pilot: P/O. Stanley David Steel NZ/404424 RNZAF Age 21 - Killed
Obs: Sgt. Jack Harris Knight 918519 RAFVR Age 22 - Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/Sgt. Eric Warburton R/56900 RCAF Age 24 - Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Vincent Sature R/52027 RCAF Age 37 - Killed
On 3 March 2017 Aircrew Remembered was contacted by Toronto Police Staff Sergeant K.G.E. "Chuck" Konkel who wrote:
"In November 2011, I read an article in the Hamilton (Ontario Canada) Spectator about a community on the island of Texel, the Netherlands who were trying to locate relatives of Allied airmen lost when their aircraft crashed.
The principal behind this effort was an individual named Mr. Bram van Dijk. I approached the Chief of Police Toronto and volunteered my services to locate such families in Canada and elsewhere. He graciously acceded to my request. Over the years we have had a number of very moving stories of reunification.
In the end, there was only one grave site Mr. Van Dijk and I could not make headway on and that was the grave of Sgt Vincent SATURE Regimental Number # 52027 air gunner RCAF who flew aboard an RCAF Whitley bomber V Z 9141 which crashed on 31 October 1941 after being shot down by Paul Gildner, a German Luftwaffe ace.
.... are you interested in the tale...?"
As always Aircrew Remembered was happy to help.
Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock has compiled this account of the crash and the biographical details of the crew using information provided by Chuck Konkel and Bram van Dijk together with the results of his own research.
If you have any further information especially concerning relatives of Vincent Sature alias Vincenty Saturnin Korzydlowski, Aircrew Remembered would very much like to hear from you. We can be contacted via the help-desk by clicking here
REASON FOR LOSS
A force of 123 aircraft comprised of 5 different types despatched to bomb the Blohn and Voss Shipyards at Hamburg. Crews reported that visibility in the target area was bad with 8/10th. Heavy and light flak was encountered over the target and although searchlights were active they were ineffective due to the cloud cover. Only 56 crews claimed to have bombed the target area.
Hamburg reported no major incidents but 14 fires, 7 of them large ones, 1 person killed, 8 injured and 175 bombed out.
4 Whitleys failed to return, the other three were:
Z9220 also of 51 Squadron and piloted by Sgt. Charles Allen Guan Aus/402349 RAAF (shown below) - all 5 crew members missing believed killed
Z6950 of 77 Squadron piloted by Sgt. Harold Every Roberts 1375133 RAFVR - all 5 crew members were killed
Z6953 of 77 Squadron piloted by Sgt. Arthur Frederick Conroy Couch 1164422 RAFVR - all 5 crew members missing believed killed.
Whitley Z9141 took off from RAF Dishforth at 17.39 and at 21.36 transmitted the signal "Operation completed" and turned for home.
425 Squadron Operations Record Book then records that they
"Had bearing from Butser* at 21.52 but nothing further was heard of this aircraft."
* Butser refers to the radar station at Butser Hill in Hampshire.
During the home-bound flight Whitley Z9141 was intercepted and shot down by Oberfeldwebel Paul Gildner of 4./NJG1. The aircraft crashed on a sandbank in the Wadden Sea near Polder de Eendracht on the island of Texel. (See biographical note 6 below)
In November 2017 Aircrew Remembered received an update from Chuck Konkel regarding the quest to trace relatives of Sgt. Victor Sature. Despite the best efforts of all concerned, especially Windsor researcher Colleen Callegari who even appealed for help to Dutch consular staff, Polish officials and the Korzydlowski family's church in the central Polish town of Lask, it has been impossible to discover any living relatives.
But that was not to be the end of the story.
On 1 December 2017 at Mount Carmel Catholic Church, South Windsor a Memorial Mass was held for Flight Sergeant Vincent Sature.
The mass was attended by about 200 people including Diplomats and Military Attachés from Poland, Netherlands and Great Britain, officers of the Department of National Defence, Windsor and Toronto police services, representatives of the RCAF and RAF, Canadian Historical Aircraft Association and others.
After the mass the churchgoers were joined by 600 school children and there followed a memorial fly past by a WW2 Harvard trainer flown by the very competent 87 year old retired RCAF Squadron Leader, Ron Holden.
Toronto police Staff Sergeant Chuck Konkel remarked "We have brought closure to his life"
(1) Fl/Lt. Eric Arthur Barsby was born in 1915 at Williton, Somerset the son of Thomas Barsby (a Hotel Waiter) and Emily Barsby nee Bray (a Boarding House Keeper) of Minehead, Somerset. He had three known siblings; Lilian Emily Barsby born 1902, Robert Thomas Barsby born 1904 and Hilda B.M. Barsby born 1913.
741140 Sgt. Eric Arthur Barsby was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation on 24 August 1940 (London Gazette 27 September 1940). The appointment was confirmed and he was promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 24 august 1941 (London Gazette 23 September 1941). The date of his promotion to Flight Lieutenant is not known.
He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour at Taunton School, Somerset and the Minehead War Memorial, Somerset.
(2) P/O. Stanley David Steel son of Mr D. Steel and Mrs G. Steel, Te Puke, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand and later of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.
According to the Auckland Star of 21 March 1939 Stanley Steel was believed to have created a new record for rapid training in aviation. He began his lessons on Monday 6 March 1939 and undertook his first solo fight on Monday 13 March gaining his license on Saturday 18 March having taken just 12 days for the entire course.
It was reported in the Auckland Star of 20 November 1939 that he was one of those instructed to report to RNZAF Station Levin for preliminary training.
Stanley David Steel is commemorated on the War Memorial at the Te Puke War Memorial Hall New Zealand.
(3) Sgt. Jack Harris Knight was born in 1919 at Woking, Surrey the only child of John Matthews Knight and Nellie M. Knight nee Taylor of 54 Goldsworth Park, Woking. He was educated at Maybury School and Woking County Grammar School. After leaving school Jack Knight was employed at the West Smithfield Branch of Lloyds Bank before volunteering for the RAFVR in 1940. He was awarded his Observers Badge and promoted to Sergeant. (Details courtesy Woking County Grammar School Roll of Honour)
Jack Knight is commemorated on the Woking County Grammar School Roll of Honour
(4) F/Sgt. Eric Warburton was born on 24 October 1917 at Stonewall, Manitoba the son of English born parents Albert Warburton (a Farmer) and Doris Ann Warburton nee Sheldon later of Grosse Isle, Manitoba. He had three brothers Archie (died 1974) Jack (died 2009) and Bert (died 2013) and two sisters Evelyn (1924-2104) and Marjorie. He was educated at Stonewall Public School (1924-32) and Argyll Public School (1933-34). After leaving school he worked on his father's farm until enlisting in the RCAF. When he enlisted at Winnipeg on 18 April 1940 he was described as being 5' 6" tall weighing 142 lbs with a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He declared that he played hockey extensively and that he had had plenty of shooting experience and understood firearms well.
After initial training at RCAF Toronto, Ontario he was posted to No. 1 Wireless School at RCAF Montreal, Quebec on 23 May and on 27 October to No. 2 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mossbank, Saskatchewan. He was awarded his Air Gunners Badge and promoted to Sergeant 13 December 1940 and was then posted to the Overseas Pool at RCAF Rockcliffe at Ottawa, Ontario.
Eric embarked for the UK on 2 March 1941 where he was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre at RAF Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon followed by a posting on 15 March to No. 15 Operational Training Unit at RAF Harwell in Berkshire for training on Wellingtons. There followed on 4 April a posting to No. 1 Signal School at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire and on 10 May to No. 10 Operational Training Unit at RAF Abbingdon in Oxfordshire for training on the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley including night flying experience. He was posted to No. 51 Squadron at RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire on 20 August 1941 for operational flying. His promotion to Flight Sergeant was on 1 September 1941.
Eric Warburton is commemorated on the Stonewall War Memorial Manitoba and the Woodlands War Memorial Manitoba
In 1974 the memory of Eric Warburton was honoured by the Province of Manitoba with the naming of Warburton Lake. (Details provided by our Colin Bamford)
(5) Sgt. Vincent Sature was born Vincenty Saturnin Korzydlowski on 11 February 1904 at Lask, Lodz district of Poland the son of Wlaidslaw Jan Korzydlowski (a Mechanic) and Felicja Maria Korzydlowski nee Kobylanska. He gave his house address as 30 Sieradzka, Lask, Poland.
He was educated at the Tadeusz Kosciuszko High School in Lodz probably until 1920. From 1920 to 1924 he served in the Polish 1st Uhlans (Light Cavalry) and later in the Infantry as a Machine Gunner. He saw active service under General Pilsudski in the campaign against Red Russia and was awarded two medals, the La Lwow and the Obrona Wilna.
He entered service as a private and was later commissioned.
From 1924 to 1926 he studied at the University of Warsaw (he alternatively states that he attended University in Krakov).
It was learned from Polish sources that he arrived in Canada on 17 September 1926 and he states in his RCAF Attestation Paper that for a period from 1926 to 1927 he was employed as a Salesman by Watkins Products. A letter from the Chrysler Corporation of Canada confirms that he was employed by the Corporation as an Assembler commencing on 14 May 1928. His address at that time was 1116 Drouillard Road, Windsor, Ontario.
He named his next of kin as his Uncle, Victor Kobylanska of Palonia Drug Store, Gary, Indiana USA. Victor Kobylanska was presumably his mother's brother. Other RCAF documents in his service file alternatively record his next of kin as his father Wlaidslaw Korzydlowski of Lask, district of Lodz, Poland and his Uncle Stanislaw Kobylanski of Prairie, Detroit, Michigan USA.
Naturalised on 3 November 1936 Vincenty Saturnin Korzydlowski anglicised his name to Vincent Sature.
When he enlisted at Windsor on 2 April 1940 he was described as being 5' 6¾" tall weighing 132 lbs with a medium complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He engaged in swimming, boxing and tennis.
He initially trained as an Armaments Artificer but in January 1941 applied to be re-mustered as an Air Gunner. After training at No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis, Ontario he was awarded his Air Gunners Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 12 April 1941. He embarked for the UK on 29 May 1941 and on arrival was posted to No. 3 Personnel and Reception Centre at RAF Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon followed by a posting on 7 July to No.10 Operational Training Unit at RAF Abbingdon in Oxfordshire for training on the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley including night flying experience. He was posted to No. 51 Squadron at RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire on 15 August 1941 for operational flying.
He is commemorated on the RCAF memorial at Dieppe Gardens, Windsor, Ontario.
The memory of Vincent Sature was also honoured by the Province of Ontario with the naming of , Sature Lake, Kenora, Ontario. (Details provided by our Colin Bamford)
(6) Oblt. Paul Gildner was born 1 February 1914 at Nimptsch, Silesia. He joined the Army in 1933, later transferring to the Luftwaffe and on the oubreak of war in September 1939 was a Messerschmitt pilot with Zerstörergeschwader 1 (ZG) with the rank of Oberfeldwebel. During 1940 he flew intensively in the European campaign and during the early stages of the Battle of Britain. After training in night flying he was transferred to 4./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (4./NJG 1) in August 1940. He had his first victory on 3 September 1940 and continued to score regularly thereafter. He was commissioned as a Leutnant on 1 August 1941 and promoted to Oberleutnant on 1 April 1942.
He died aged 29 when his Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-4 crashed following engine failure and fire near Gilze en Rijen in the Netherlands on the night of 24/25 February 1943. His radio operator Unteroffizier Huhn managed to escape and bailed out. He was buried at Ysselsteyn German War Cemetery, Netherlands.
During his career he scored 48 abschüsse and received the following awards.
Flugzeugführerabzeichen (Pilots Badge), Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (Honour Goblet), Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe, Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class, German Cross in Gold, Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Knight's Cross, 196th Oak Leaves. Hewas also mentioned four times in the Wehrmachtbericht (The daily Wehrmacht High Command mass-media communiqué)
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
1) Fl/Lt. Eric Arthur Barsby was buried at Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery Noord Holland, Netherlands. Grave reference: Plot K. Row 4. Coll. grave 76A-79
We will remember you
(2) P/O. Stanley David Steel was buried at Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery Noord Holland, Netherlands. Grave reference: Plot K. Row 4. Coll. grave 76A-79
(3) Sgt. Jack Harris Knight was buried at Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery Noord Holland, Netherlands. Grave reference: Plot K. Row 4. Coll. grave 76A-79
(4) F/Sgt. Eric Warburton was buried at Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery Noord Holland, Netherlands. Grave reference: Plot K. Row 4. Coll. grave 76A-79
(5) Sgt. Vincent Sature was buried at Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery Noord Holland, Netherlands. Grave reference: Plot K. Row 4. Coll. grave 76A-79
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - March 2017
With special thanks to "Chuck" Konkel for bringing this story to our attention and providing much of the information. Also to Bram van Dijk and Jan Nieuwenhuis for providing additional information regarding the crew, the crash and photographs as credited.
Thanks also to the sources quoted below.