28/29.01.1942 No. 104 Squadron Wellington Z8646 EP-B Fl/Lt. Desmond J. Haydon
Operation: Enemy Concentration positions
Date: 28/29th January 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 104 Squadron
Type: Wellington II
Base: RAF Kabrit (Landing Ground 213)
Location: Great Bitter Lake, Egypt
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Desmond John Haydon NZ/402137 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
Pilot 2: Sgt. Ronald Frank Lander NZ/411416 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
Obs: P/O. Richard Stringfellow 113486 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Eric Scales 917121 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Henry Benson 997100 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Price RAFVR Survived - no further details
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23:20 hrs from the Landing Ground at RAF Kabrit to attack German troop positions.
During take off it seems that the starboard engine failed due to a Glycol leak. After reporting the problem the pilot prepared for an emergency landing which, prior to that had to jettison the bomb load. This they did at between 6 - 700 ft. Tragically it seems that the squadron armourers had set the bombs (incorrectly) to fuse for instantaneous detonation.
Subsequently the blast caused the aircraft to dive straight into the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt - killing all but the rear gunner Sgt. Price who, although we have no further details seemed to have survived the crash.
104 Squadron Wellington II
We welcome contact from any of the relatives and any additional information. Of course any details of the survivor, rear gunner Sgt. Price and his remarkable escape.
Fl/Lt. Desmond John Haydon. Fayid War Cemetery. Grave 2.D.2. Son of Albert Leonard and Norina Gladys Haydon, of Penrose, Auckland, New Zealand. Attended Te Papapa Primary School and Otahuhu Technical High School. His 23rd Operation with 456 hours logged.
Sgt. Ronald Frank Lander. Fayid War Cemetery. Grave 2.D.6. Son of Arthur and Ada Mildred Lander, of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.
P/O. Richard Stringfellow. Fayid War Cemetery. Grave 2.C.19. Son of Thomas and Alice Stringfellow, of Lathom, Lancashire, England. M.A.(Sheffield).
Sgt. Gordon Eric Scales. Fayid War Cemetery. Grave 2.C.21. Son of Reginald Bertram and Olive May Scales, of Chichester, Sussex, England.
Sgt. Peter Henry Benson. Fayid War Cemetery. Grave 2.F.24. Son of Thomas and Martha Benson, of Wigan, Lancashire, England.
With thanks to the Secretary of the LBMHS Society, Mr. Richard Houghton, for bringing this loss to our attention. (Latham and Burscough Military Heritage Society) For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below. We encourage the readers from Latham and Burscough to visit their website for great information on this and other losses of servicemen from this area.