AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.
Our only wish is to honour and respect sacrifices made and to record historical facts: but if in so doing any of our content is inadvertently inappropriate, please contact us via Helpdesk and we will correct the matter.

61 Squadron Crest
16/17.10.1940 61 Squadron Hampden BI X2979 P/O. Clemerson

Operation: Merseburg, Germany (1)

Date: 16/17th October 1940 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Hampden BI

Serial: X2979

Code: QR-?

Base: RAF Helmswell, Lincolnshire

Location: Sporle, Norfolk, England.

Pilot: P/O. William Herbert Clemerson 81027 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Pilot 2: F/O. Edwin Charles Gardner 72558 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Hutchinson Hewitt 822581 RAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Dominick Flanagan 532927 RAF Age 26. Killed

We would like to invite any relatives of this crew to contact us with further information / photographs.

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Helmswell at 18:09 hrs to bomb the industrial town of Merseburg, Germany. Other units attacked various targets at Bremen, Kiel and Bordeaux. The Merseburg Hampdens also dropped incendiary bombs on the Harz Forest.

The bomber force of 73 Hampdens and Wellingtons suffered lightly with the loss of 2 Hampdens and 1 Wellington over the targets.

The returning trip however cost the loss of a further 10 Hampdens and 4 Wellingtons due to fog covering their bases and other technical difficulties.

Hampden X2979 suffered the same fate, encountering adverse conditions, they called their base at 01:11 hrs for a fix, then again at 01:36. Finally it seems that whilst trying an emergency landing the aircraft crashed at Sporle, Norfolk at 02:45 hrs ‘probably due to low fuel’.

(1) During the war the town received 23 air raids with 6,200 homes completely or partly destroyed.

Burial details:

P/O. William Herbert Clemerson. Ilkeston (Park) Cemetery. Grave 8423. The son of Stanley and Amelia Clemerson of Bamford, Nottinghamshire. England.

F/O. Edwin Charles Gardner. Tacolneston Churchyard (All Saints). Son of the Revd. William Alan Gardner and Audrey Grace Gardner, of Norwich, Norfolk, England. Husband of Diana Gardner. Grave inscription reads: “Death is Swallowed up in Victory”.

Sgt. William Hutchinson Hewitt. Cornamagh Cemetery, County Westmeath, Republic of Ireland. Grave O.118. Son of Edward J. and Margaret E. Hewitt, of Athlone, County Westmeath, Republic of Ireland.

Sgt. Dominick Flanagan. Swaffham Cemetery, Norfolk. Grave Sec. A. K.I. Son of Dominic and Elizabeth Flanagan, of Edinburgh, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: “No Earthly Wealth Will Ever Replace His Loving Voice And Smiling Face”.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew following a meeting with a relative of F/O. Gardner by the webmaster in August 2014. Also a great many thanks to Mr. Clive Nuttall who contacted us with further details on P/O. Clemerson - October 2017.

Page revised 28.10.2017

Acknowledgements: 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', 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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2021
Last Modified: 28 October 2017, 16:01

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor