16/17.07.1941 No. 150 Squadron Wellington Ic R1495 JN-B P/O. Bethridge-Topp
Date: 16/17th July 1941 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 150 Squadron 1 Group (motto: Αιει Φθανομεν - 'Always Ahead')
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Snaith, Yorkshire
Location: River Elbe, Schulau, Germany
Pilot: P/O. Edward Bethridge-Topp 43713 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Pilot: Sgt. Alan Richard Harris NZ/402183 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Obs: P/O. Keith Fereday Glenn 88446 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Ronald Norman 947151 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Alfred Galbraith 950922 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Kenneth Charles Edwards 84680 RAFVR Age 30. PoW No: 3645 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Snaith at 22:15 hrs - joining some 06 other aircraft from various Squadrons to bomb Hamburg.
5 aircraft were lost, the others:
40 Squadron Wellington X3220 Flown by 36 year old, Sq/Ldr. Reginald George Weighill 24033 RAF - all six crew killed when the aircraft crashed on return at West Caister.
40 Squadron Wellington X9630 Flown by 22 year old, Sgt. Alan William Porteous Bird NZ/401369 RNZAF - 5 crew killed or missing, 1 taken PoW when the aircraft crashed into the North Sea off te Dutch coast. (Pilot shown left)
50 Squadron Hampden AD844 Flown by 24 year old, P/O. Henry Moncrieff Owens 88012 RAFVR - all 4 crew missing, believed killed.
311 Squadron Sgt. Jaroslav Nyc 787166 RAF (Czech) Pow No. 39284 held at Stalag Kopernikus along with 4 other crew, 1 other killed when the aircraft came down into the Ijsselmeer. (Pilot shown left)
Wellington R1495 was hit by flak from No. 3 Flak Division: 1./Res. Flak Abt. 601 and 1./Res. Flak Abt. 613 with the aircraft crashing near Schulau at 01:19 hrs. Only the rear gunner, P/O. Edwards managed to bale out of the aircraft and taken PoW. He was eventually released in May 1945 and left the RAF as a Fl/Lt. in August 1945.
P/O. Edward Bethridge Topp. Hamburg Cemetery. Collective grave 5A. A1. 11-15. Born on the 13th September 1916, the son of Edward Bethridge-Topp and of Violet Heather Bethridge-Topp (nee Ponder), of Wellington City, New Zealand. A total of 437 flying hours logged and completed 16 operational sorties.
Sgt. Alan Richard Harris. Hamburg Cemetery. Collective grave 5A. A1. 11-15. Son of Richard and Beatrice Florence Harris, of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. A total of 223 flying hours logged and thought to have completed 2 operational sorties.
P/O. Keith Fereday Glenn. Hamburg Cemetery. Collective grave 5A. A1. 11-15. No further details, are you able to assist?
Sgt. William Ronald Norman. Hamburg Cemetery. Collective grave 5A. A1. 11-15. No further details, are you able to assist?
Sgt. Robert Alfred Galbraith. Hamburg Cemetery. Collective grave 5A. A1. 11-15. No further details, are you able to assist?
Researched with the assistance of Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, Tracey Goodwin for grave photographs, other sources as quoted below
New Zealand photographs reproduced under licence - Auckland Library Heritage Collection: 6 August 1941: AWNS19410806-26-42