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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.
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No IX Squadron
1941 No 9 Squadron Wellington IC N2744 WS-U Sgt. Bernard Preston Hall

Operation: Bremen, Germany

Date: 12/13th March 1941 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: N2744

Code: WS-U

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: Versen near Meppen, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Bernard Preston Hall. 758066. RAFVR. Age 19. Killed

2nd Pilot: Sgt. J. R. Brown. 937473. RAFVR. Age? PoW No. 484. Camps: L1 - Stalag Luft I - Barth.L6 - Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug. Stalag XIB -357 - Fallingbostel

Obs: Sgt. William James Manger. 910906. RAFVR. Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Leslie Smith. 945932. RAFVR. Age? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John William Hammond. 944304. RAFVR. Age? Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. E. Collins. 615282. RAF. Age? PoW No. 492. Camps: L1 - Stalag Luft I - Barth.L6 - Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug. Stalag XIB -357 - Fallingbostel

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Wellington IC aircraft from No 9 Squadron (courtesy of IWM)


Part of a force of 86 bombers dispatched to target Bremen town centre and the Focke Wulf factory. Sgt. Hall and crew flying in Wellington N2744 were detailed to bomb the Focke Wulf factory (2) in Bremen. Six aircraft from No. 9 Squadron were detailed for this operation and Wellington N2744 was the only one that failed to return. Taking off at 19.34hrs nothing was heard from this aircraft after take-off until 23.29hrs when NAP signal was received which was just on the aircrafts estimated time over the target area. Repeated attempts were made on the Groups frequency, but nothing further was received. 


The Focke Wolf airframe factory (courtesy of the Australian War Museum)

(2) The Focke Wolf airframe factory which manufactured the FW Condor 200 a civilian aircraft which during the war were converted for military use and caused much damage and loss to merchant shipping in the Atlantic. No 9 Squadron's ORB (Operation Record Book) Appendices state "It is most important that this target should be most effectively hit in order that the enemy's interference with our shipping may be reduced"


Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. (courtesy of CWGC) Prisoner of War Camp Stalug Luft I - Barth (courtesy of IWM)    

Burial details:

Sgt. Bernard Preston Hall. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 14. C. 15. Son of Montague Preston Hall and Kate Almina Hall of Marylebone, London

Sgt. William James Manger. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 14. C. 17. Son of Edwin Clement Manger and Emily Jane Manger of Crawley, Sussex

Sgt. William Leslie Smith. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 14. C. 18. No further information as yet

Sgt. John William Hammond. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 14. C. 16. Son of William and Minnie Hammond of Barnsley, Yorkshire. (1) John William Hammond is remembered on the St. Edward Confessor Church WW2 Plague, Kingstone, Barnsley

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, W R Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1941, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - Bomber Command War Diaries, UK National Archives - Air 26/126, Air 27/131, Oliver Clutton-Brock - Footprints on the Sands of Time, Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial

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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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