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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.
Further data available at Allied Losses & Incidents database

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15 Squadron Crest
10/11.02.1941 No. 15 Squadron Wellington Ic T2702 LS-B Sgt. Garrioch

Operation: Hanover

Date: 10/11th February 1941 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 15 Squadron

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: T2702

Code: LS-H

Base: RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire

Location: IJsselmeer, Netherlands

Pilot: Sgt. William R. Garrioch 742039 RAFVR PoW No: 497 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

Pilot 2: Sgt. William Hansford Jordan 742138 RAFVR PoW No: 506 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang, Sagan, Heydekrug and Stalag Kopernikus

Obs: Sgt. Robert Fletcher Beisley 751981 RAFVR PoW No: 480 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Hardie George Hedge NZ/40791 RNZAF PoW No: 503 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Glyndwr Reardon 967118 RAFVR Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Hall RAFVR PoW No: ? Camp: Muhlhausen (Orthopaedic hospital - Reserve-Lazaret Obermaßfeld) (2)


Page compiled with information sent by John Jones - September 2018


REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off in the early evening from RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire - the final communication was made at 21:35 hrs stating that they had accomplished their task.


On the return trip, the aircraft was intercepted by the Messerschmitt Bf 110 C-4 with code G9 + AC, which is stationed at Fliegerhorst Deelen near Arnhem. The German twin-engine aircraft is flown by Hptm Walter Ehle (3), Gruppenkommandeur of the command night fighters II / NGJ1. The only way to disable the Wellington is by flying under the bomber unseen, pulling the nose up and then hitting the hull and the fuel tanks with the onboard gun before the tail gunner sees you. The aircraft is struck by the guns of the German fighter. At 23:35 hrs. the Wellington, at 15 km west of Kampen, makes an emergency landing on the ice of the frozen IJsselmeer. Five crew members were known to leave the plane before it drops through the ice. They walked for hours on ice before they reach land. They are arrested by the Germans and held prisoners for the rest of the war. Air Gunner Sgt. Glyndwr Reardon is thought to have gone down with the aircraft.

In 1965, the first lot of land in the dried-up Oostelijk Flevoland was issued for agricultural use. Arable farmer Aaldering was awarded the OU21 plot by the former Rijksdienst voor de IJsselmeerpolders, near the Zeebiesweg near Biddinghuizen. He finds aircraft parts during plowing. In August 1967, the wreckage was recovered by the Salvage Service of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The identification of the device can take place quickly because a license plate of an engine is found. It turns out to be the Vickers Wellington T2702 of which shortly after the war a large part has been recovered by the Royal Netherlands Navy. In that operation the remains of the missing 19-year-old Sgt. Glyndwr Reardon are found.

In the spring of 1967, Bill Garrioch wrote a letter to the Dutch authorities asking if anything had ever been found of his crashed plane. He knows that the body of the gunner Reardon must have been still on board. Through the Dutch department of the Royal Air Force Association, he knew that aircraft remains were regularly found after the Flevoland was dried out. His data enabled Sgt. Glyndwr Reardon finally to be identified. He is now buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery in Nijmegen.

In 1970 William (Bill) Garrioch came to the Netherlands with his wife and visited the disaster site. "We were attacked and shot by a German night fighter. Sgt. John Hall had returned fire, but wounded during the attack however stayed at his post. Our aircraft caught fire and that meant I had to choose I knew we had to try to save ourselves through a landing on the water, I recognised the lake because of the mist strings ..... The IJsselmeer was frozen and that with the machine on fire the other members of the crew were bruised and frightened with terror.

Nose gunner Reardon was killed by the night fighter and we did not see a chance to get his body out of the wreck, which had been pushed under the ice. It only became clear that John Hall had been wounded, he could not walk, his leg was so badly injured that it had to be amputated later. Partly carrying, partly pulling over the ice we went on the road in the fog and the strong freezing cold. But which way on earth ....... After wandering around for a while our navigator saw a few stars and we set off in an Eastern direction. We had lost all sense of time but it must have been around noon, we arrived at the Eastern shore of the lake, but we could not land there because there was a strip of water between the ice and the land. Hours later we were noticed ..... unfortunately by Germans. They picked us up in a small open boat, brought us ashore and made us prisoner of war. We later found ourselves somewhere between Elburg and Nunspeet on the IJsselmeer bank, "Garrioch told his story. The men were transferred to the Wilhelmina Hospital in Amsterdam as they were all in a poor state and later transferred to a PoW camp in Germany. The next day we went to take a look at the wreck that stuck in the ice in a ghostly way in the winter sunlight, and they took two parachutes, a map bag and some small parts from the aircraft.

(1) Hardie George Hedge - Born on the 17th January 1920 at Lyall Bay, Wellington. Prior to service lived at 2 Elder Street, Dunedin, New Zealand. Hardie passed away on Tuesday the 05th July 2016, age 96. He said in an interview the Germans did a good job on the amputation. He was repatriated at an unknown date.

(2) John Hall is thought to have passed away around 2010 aged about 90 + years old. He had severely damaged his leg in the crash.

(3) Hptm. Walter Ehle was killed on the 18th November 1943 while attempting to land his G-4 after a mission near St. Trond, when the landing lights went out during his landing manoeuvre. Buried Lommel Belgium, Block 21, Grave 42 - information courtesy of the Kracker Archives on this website.

Burial details:

Sgt. Glyndwr Reardon. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 8.C.3. No next of kin details - are you able to assist?

For details our thanks to John Jones for details and also to Des Philippet for grave photograph. Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

JJ/KTY 22.09.2018

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.
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