06/07.09.1941 No. 102 Squadron Whitley V Z6574 DY-B P/O. Croucher
Operation: Hüls (now part of the city of Krefeld, Germany)
Date: 6/7th September 1941 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No.102 Squadron
Type: Whitley V
Base: RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.
Location: North Sea, 60 miles N.E. of Bircham Newton, Norfolk.
Pilot: P/O. John Rhodes Croucher 63106 RAF Age ? Missing - believed killed
Co Pilot: Sgt. John Richard Tugman 1288767 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Obs: Sgt. Henry Leslie Benjamin Morphett AUS/407093 RAAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alan Leonard Halsey R/52691 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed (1)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Glover R/56903 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
P/O. Croucher and crew took off at 20:34 hours as part of an operation to bomb the synthetic rubber plant at Hüls.
Nothing further was heard from the crew until they were on the return journey over the North Sea when a distress transmission was received.
A short while later, at approximately 01:35 hours, a second transmission was received advising that they were about to ditch in the sea.
Although a solid fix on their position was obtained and the Air Sea Rescue Service dispatched immediately, a 24 hour search of the area provided no sign of the aircraft or crew.
Sgt. Morphett, who was posted to 102 Squadron from No.10 OTU, had been with the squadron just twelve days when lost.
It is thought 'probable' that this aircraft was shot down by Uffz. Heinz Grimm (3) of 4./NJG1. The Whitley air gunners did return fire during the combat and hit Uffz. Grimm in the thigh, both him and his Bordfunjer, Ogefr. Meisnner were forced to bale out of his Bf110 C-4 to the north of Franeker.
(1) Halsey Lake in northern Ontario is named after Fl/Sgt. Halsey.
(2) Glover Lake in Manitoba is named after Fl/Sgt. Glover.
(3) Uffz. Heinz Grimm (shown right) became an ace with 25 night and 1 day kills before he died of wounds sustained on the 8/9th September 1943, his aircraft being hit by flak over Bremen.
P/O. John Rhodes Croucher. Runnymede Memorial Panel 32. Details of Next of Kin not currently unavailable.
Sgt. John Richard Tugman. Runnymede Memorial Panel 53. Son of John Upton Tugman and of Hilda Mary Tugman of Timperley, Cheshire, England.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Benjamin Morphett. Runnymede Memorial Panel 62. Born on the 03rd December 1917 at Glen Osmond, South Australia, the son of Henry Louis Albert and Isabella Morphett and husband of Lois Grace Morphett of 26 Thornber Street, Unley Park, South Australia.
Fl/Sgt. Alan Leonard Halsey. Runnymede Memorial Panel 60. Son of Leonard Halsey and of Violet May Halsey of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. John Glover. Runnymede Memorial Panel 60. Son of Samuel and Annie Glover of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', National Archives of Australia and A Place of Honour - Manitoba's War Dead.