15/16.05.1941 No. 103 Squadron Wellington Ic R1494 P/O. Eccles
Date: 15/16th May 1941 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 103 Squadron 1 Group (motto: Noli me tangere - 'Touch me not')
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Newton, Nottinghamshire
Location: Oude Pekela, Netherlands
Pilot: P/O. Raymond Gordon Eccles NZ/40759 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
Pilot: P/O. H.J. Sellers 60074 RAFVR PoW No: 1622 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen
Obs: P/O. A.W. Sulston 84022 RAFVR PoW No: 3723 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. E.C. Easton 1259167 RAFVR PoW No: 23 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. S.E.T. Hamblin 543883 RAFVR PoW No: 23 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Maclean 976194 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
100 aircraft taking part on this operation - 3 failed to return.
Taking off at 22:45 hrs and last heard of over the W/T advising that the port engine had failed after being hit by flak over Emden (north of the Emse) - shortly afterwards the aircraft crashed at location shown.
R1494 was one of three that was hit and brought down by anti-aircraft units. Claimed and confirmed by M. Flak Abt. 236 Battery between 01:15 - 01:20 hrs with the Wellington crashing at 01:40 hrs. at Oude Pekela, Netherlands. 4 of the crew managed to bale out and subsequently taken PoW at camps shown.
P/O. Raymond Gordon Eccles. Groningen General Cemetery (Esserveld). Plot RW. Row Class 2. Joint grave 3. Born on the 10th April 1915 at Dunedin, the son of Thomas Eccles and of Rebecca Eccles (née Wilson), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. A garage attendant for Todd Moors Ltd prior to service. Learnt to fly with Otago Aero Club, gaining his licence on the 21st February 1938. Joined the RNZAF on the 12th March 1940. Trained with 20 OTU on the 11 March 1941. 328 flying hours logged and having completed 11 operational sorties.
Sgt. Gordon Maclean. Groningen General Cemetery (Esserveld). Plot RW. Row Class 2. Joint grave 3. No further details - are you able to assist?
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: