9/10.11.1942 No. 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Stirling I W7475 HA-H Acting Sqn/Ldr. Peter Frank Hickling D.F.M.
Date: 9/10 November 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron - Motto: "In time"
Badge: An hourglass. The hourglass symbolises the late forming of the squadron during the 1914-18 war, the golden sand having almost run through.
Type: Stirling I
Base: RAF Downham Market, Norfolk
Location: Lashorst, Preußisch Oldendorf, Minden-Lübbecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Pilot: A/Sqn/Ldr. Peter Frank Hickling D.F.M. 68134 RAFVR Age 28 - Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Henry William Bending 1500474 RAFVR Age 34 - Killed (2)
Obs: Sgt. Ian Ignatious Friend NZ40350 RNZAF Age 27 - Killed (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Adam Haddon Thomson D.F.M. NZ41612 RNZAF Age 23 - Killed (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Wynne Morgan NZ411088 RNZAF Age21 - Killed (5)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald William Arthur Follett 1293633 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (6)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Vivian Howe 1184247 RAFVR Age 22 - Killed (7)
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REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Downham Market at 17:55 hours on a mission to bomb Hamburg. The force of 213 aircraft despatched on the raid was made up of 74 Wellingtons, 72 Lancasters, 48 Halifaxes and 19 Stirlings. The aircraft were hampered by cloud, icing and winds that had not been forecast and there was no clear marking or indication of Hamburg. Only 150 aircraft bombed and many of their bombs reportedly fell in the River Elbe or in open country. In Hamburg 26 fires were started including three large ones with three people being killed and sixteen injured.
15 aircraft failed to return representing 7% of the force.
Stirling W7475 was shot down by flak and crashed at at Hüffe Farm near Lashorst at 21:15 hours. There were no survivors.
Scale 1" = 45 miles
A Stirling I being bombed up at RAF Downham Market - Summer 1940 (Courtesy IWM)
(1) A/Sqn/Ldr.Peter Frank Hickling D.F.M. was born in 1914 at Nottingham the son of Frank Goodliffe Hickling (a Chartered Accountant) and Antoinette Hickling nee Bancroft. He entered Nottingham High School in 1929 at the age of 15 and left in 1931. A Lance-Corporal in the school OTC he took his School Certificate and Matriculated before leaving. (Courtesy Nottingham High School Archives)
After leaving school he qualified as an accountant with Stanley Blythen & Co. In ealy 1939 he volunteered for the air force and after pilot training commenced operational flying in September 1940 with number 10 Squadron on Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers. In 1941 the squadron was re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax bombers. On 28 April he was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Medal "for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations" whilst with No 10 Squadron. At this time he had flown 28 operational missions and had 250 flying hours to his credit. His D.F.M. award was announced in the London Gazette of 6 June 1941. Two weeks later on the 15th of May 745012 Sgt. Peter Frank Hickling was commissioned as a Pilot Officer for the duration of hostilities. The following year on 15 May 1942 he was promoted to Flying Officer as announced in the London Gazette of 26 May 1942.Details of his promotion to Flight Lieutenant have not been found. At the time of his death he was 'A' Flight Commander of 218 Squadron. He is commemorated on the Nottingham High School War Memorial.
(2) Sgt. Henry William Bending was born in 1905 at Lewisham the son of Henry George Bending and Ann Louisa Bending nee Hilton.
(3) Sgt. Ian Ignatious Friend was born c1915 the son of Edward Friend and Frances Friend nee Rawson of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
(4) Sgt. Adam Haddon Thomson D.F.M. was born c1919 the son of Peter Thomson and Joan Thomson nee Haddon of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal with effect from 22 October 1942 "for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations" and announced in the Supplement to London Gazette of 27 July 1943.
Courtesy "Weekly News"
(5) Sgt. William Wynne Morgan was born c1921 the son of Wynne and Jessie Morgan of Westport, Nelson, New Zealand
(6) Sgt. Ronald William Arthur Follett was born in 1921 at Watford, Hertfordshire the son of George and Daisy L.R. Follett nee Madden of Abbots Langley, Herfordshire. Commemorated on Abbots Langley War Memorial.
(7) Sgt. Vivian Howe was born in 1921 at Keynesham, Gloucestershire the son of Joseph Percy Howe and Daisy Twiddy Howe nee Killick later of Staple Hill, Bristol, Gloucestershire
The seven crew members were all initially buried at Alswede Cemetery, Minden-Lübbecke, North Rhine-Westphalia in a communal grave and reburied at Hannover War Cemetery on 20 August 1947 in Collective Grave No. 12 G. 13-19
The only epitaph was for Sgt. Vivian Howe and reads:
"...and all the trumpets
Sounded for him
On the other side"
Amor vincit mors (Love conquers all)
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for Nottingham High School and all relatives and friends of the members of this crew - December 2015
With thanks to the sources quoted below.