12/13.03.1941 9 Squadron Wellington IC N2744 WS:U Sgt. Bernard P. Hall
Operation: Bremen, Germany
Date: 12th/13th March 1941 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 9 Squadron
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk
Location: Versen near Meppen, Germany
Pilot: Sgt. Bernard Preston Hall 75806 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
2nd Pilot: Sgt. John Robert Brown 937473 RAFVR Age 21. PoW No. 484 *
Obs: Sgt. William James Manger 910906 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. William Leslie Smith 945932 RAFVR Age? Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John William Hammond 944304 RAFVR Age? Killed
Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Edwin Collins 615282 RAF Age? PoW No. 492 *
* Stalag 357, Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. Moved in September 1944 to Stalag 11b, Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany.
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Sqn Ldr. Dicky James the 9 Sqn Historian contacted Aircrew Remembered on the 2nd December 2021 to inform us that John Robert Brown was born on the 1st February 1920 and at a grand age of 99 is still with us.
Wellington Ic aircraft from 9 Squadron (courtesy of IWM)
REASON FOR LOSS:
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 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 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"
N2744 was claimed by Uffz. Karl Kupfer his 1st Abschuss, from 3./NJG3 over Gross Fullen, 5km west of Meppen at 00:55 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1939 - 12 July 1941) The Early Years Part 1 - Theo Boiten).
The Focke Wolf airframe factory (courtesy of the Australian War Museum)
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. (courtesy of CWGC)
Sgt. Bernard Preston Hall. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 14. C. 15. Inscription reads: "AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM". Son of Montague Preston Hall and Kate Almina Hall of Marylebone, London, England.
Sgt. William James Manger. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 14. C. 17. Inscription reads: "BLESSED ARE THE DEAD WHICH DIE IN THE LORD". Son of Edwin Clement Manger and Emily Jane Manger of Crawley, Sussex, England.
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. Inscription reads: "IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF OUR DEAR SON". Son of William and Minnie Hammond of Barnsley, Yorkshire, England.
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 Oliver Clutton-Brock - Footprints on the Sands of Time, Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial. Addition of loss information and biographical detail for Sgt. Brown (Dec 2021).