02/03rd September 1941 44 Squadron Hampden I AE313 Sgt. De Brath
Date: 02/03rd September 1941 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 44 Squadron (motto: Fulmina regis iusta - 'The King's thunderbolts are righteous') 5 Group
Type: Hampden I
Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Location: Alsfassen, Sankt Wendel, Germany
Pilot: Sgt. Dennis Napier Neville de Brath 778294 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Ronald Leslie Cole 1163918 TAFVR Age 19. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alan Goldstone 1051488 RAFVR PoW No: 9529 Stalag Luft Sagan / Stalag Kopernikus
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Rawson 971985 RAFVR Age 19. PoW No: 9535 Stalag Lamsdorf (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Weather: Cloudy for most of day, becoming fine by midnight. Low stratus 600-800 ft between 0700-1000 BST. Visibility 2-7 miles. Surface winds WSW'ly veering to NW'ly 5-10 mph.
Frankfurt:Thirteen Wellingtons of 1. Group, thirty-eight of 3 Group, thirty-three Whitleys and six Hampdens of 5 Group attacked targets in the City with excellent results. Very many bursts were seen on and around the aiming points. Large fires were started one of which was visible for 50 miles and one particularly large one reported to the South of the marshalling yard. Several crews report terrific explosions in various parts of the City and two large fires were developing in the Dock area.
The squadron lost 4 crews during this operation, the others:
Hampden I AD913 KM-K Flown by Sgt. K. Knight - struggled to return after port engine failed. Abandoned at 12:45 hrs over Dorking, Surrey. 3 crew escaped but 33 year old Sgt. James Stevens 751652 RAFVR never managed to leave the aircraft and lost his life.
Hampden I AE152 KM-H Flown by 21 year old, P/O. Edward Alan Wilfred Thompson 60564 RAFVR - all 4 crew killed after being hit by flak of 3./M. Flak battery over Vlieland West and crashed into the sea at 23:18 hrs.
Hampden I AE254 KM-W Flown by Sgt. Lesley Alexander Robertson 951819 RAFVR - all 4 crew killed, crashed at Wittenberg in Germany, no further details.
The crashed Hampden at 'Hemmersch Viehwaed' the day after the crash (courtesy Artur Krein)
Hampden I AE313 KM-C was hit by Flakgruppe Frankfurt/Main coming down at location shown at 01:45 hrs.
Sgt. Dennis Napier Neville de Brath. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 8. F. 25. Son of Lt/Col. Harold de Brath MiD and Gwenytth Aileen de Brath, of Ndola, Northern Rhodesia. Grave inscription: 'Killed In Action, Having Completed His Task'.
Sgt. Ronald Leslie Cole. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 8. F. 24. Born on the 07th December 1921 at Johannesburg, South Africa. Son of George Leslie and the late Gwendolin Charlotte Cole, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Grave inscription: 'O, For The Touch Of A Vanished Hand And The Sound Of A Voice That Is Still!'.
(1) Fl/Sgt. John Rawson worked in Nigeria for 11 years then worked for Burma Oil. Passed away in June 2009, age 87.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Portsmouth Grammar School, Bill Chorley for further information, With thanks to James E. Bowere, nephew for information on Fl/Sgt. John Rawson, Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd Combat Archive - The Early Years Part 2', other sources as quoted below:
We also recommend reading this report by Roland Geiger - The Short After Midnight.