09/10.06.1944 No. 49 Squadron Lancaster III ND533 EA-M F/O. Bryan E. Bell
Date: 9/10th June 1944
Unit: No. 49 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire
Location: Rosay-sur-Lieure, Northern France.
Pilot: F/O. Bryan Esmond Bell 151471 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Sydney Charles Holmes 1810022 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Nav: F/O. Duncan MacFadyen AUS/425178 RAAF Age 28. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Philip Derek Hemmens 152583 RAFVR Age 20. PoW (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Holden 1521290 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Hilary Daniel Clark 159223 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph John Reed 1281835 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 21:36 hrs from RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire to attack the railway station at Etampes. Four other raids were also taking place at the same time against airfields in France. This raid however was intercepted by the night fighters over the target or on the homebound journey, as was in this case of ND533.
Left to right: F/O. Bell, F/O. MacFadyen, Sgt. Holden and F/O. Hemmens (archives)
It is thought ‘probable’ that this 49 Squadron Lancaster was shot down by Oblt. Johannes Werth (2) of 5./NJG2 with combat taking place at 00:42 hrs at 2,300 mtrs North West of Paris. This was his 7th kill of the war, already classed as an ace.
(1) Although he survived the crash being taken PoW, F/O. Philip Hemmens was later to die on the 18th October 1944 at the Buchenwald concentration camp, thought to have been from pneumonia.
(2) Oblt. Werth had a total of 8 kills - surviving the war.
Lancaster ND533 EA-M Memorial (Courtesy Alain Octavie)
Crew graves (courtesy Jane Chilvers of Norwich)
F/O. Bryan Esmond Bell. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI.C.10. Son of Percy Henry and Marjorie May Bell, of Harrow, Middlesex, England. His grave inscription reads: ‘His precious memory will live always in the hearts of those who loved him.’
Right: original memorial at the crash site.
Sgt. Sydney Charles Holmes. Marissel French National Cemetery Grave 248. Son of Charles and Thirza Elizabeth May Holmes, of Edmonton, Middlesex, England. His grave inscription reads: ‘Our Syd - some day, some time our eyes shall seethe face we keep in memory.’
F/O. Duncan MacFadyen. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI.C.10. Son of John and Margaret MacFadyen, husband of Elizabeth Adams MacFadyen, of Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia. His grave inscription reads: ‘His duty fearlessly and nobly done. Ever remembered.’
F/O. Philip Derek Hemmens. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 206. Son of the Revd. Ernest Hemmens and Florence Hemmens.
Sgt. John Holden. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI.C.10. Son of Thomas Edward and Mary Holden, of Rising Bridge, Accrington, Lancashire, England. His grave inscription reads: ‘We have lost, heaven has gained one of the best the world contained.’
F/O. Hilary Daniel Clark. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI.C.10. Son of Daniel and Sarah Clark, of Burnopfield, Co. Durham, England. His grave inscription reads: ‘ Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.’
Sgt. Joseph John Reed. Bayeux War Cemetery. Collective grave XVI.C.10. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Reed, of Dagenham, Essex, England. His grave inscription reads: ‘Greater love hath no man than this. The man lay down his life for his friends.’
Researched for the relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: Jill Chivers for grave photographs. Thanks to Roger Bedford for squadron code correction. Other sources as quoted below.