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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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142 Squadron Crest
07/08.11.1942 No. 142 Squadron Wellington III BK198 QT-P Sgt. Hill

Operation: Gardening

Date: 7/8th November 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 142 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BK198

Code: QT-P

Base: RAF Grimsby

Location: North Sea off Bergan ann Zee, Netherlands

Pilot: Sgt. Richard Francis Hill 656834 RAF Age ? Missing - believed killed

Nav: Sgt. Joseph Atkinson 810060 RAF (Auxiliary Air Force) Age 25. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Noel Briggs Collins 1453186 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Woodhouse AUS/403846. RAAF Age 29. Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Martin Randolph Hehir AUS/408579 RAAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed


Took off from Grimsby at 22:45hrs. for a Gardening mission to lay mines off Texel.

Due to intense search light glare it is believed that the pilot may have lost control, and having been hit by flak from unit 3.Lei.Abt/845 came down at 00:41hrs. 7 km West of Bergen aan Zee and crashed into the North Sea.

Above graves at Bergen General Cemetery (courtesy André Reijniers) and left Runnymede Memorial (archives)

Burial details:

(1) The following day the Germans recovered the body of Flt.Sgt. Thomas Woodhouse from the sea near Bergen aan Zee. German sources (Totenliste 124 and a Death card) mention three other unidentified airmen were also washed ashore at that time. They were believed to be members of the same crew. Flt.Sgt. Woodhouse was buried in grave 141 at the Bergen General Cemetery. Grave 140 was eventually exhumed by the Imperial War Graves Commission and the remains identified as Sgt. Atkinson. The graves of the other two unknown mentioned in the German Totenliste could not be located. As the aircraft carried a crew of five, it was impossible to make any definite statement regarding the fate of the other three crew members. It was therefore decided to include the names of Sgt. Hill, Sgt. Collins and Flt.Sgt. Hehir on the Runnymede Memorial (Extract from Traces of War).

They were buried on the 12th November at Bergen General Cemetery.

Sgt. Richard Francis Hill. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 85. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Joseph Atkinson. Bergen General Cemetery. Plot 1. Row A. Grave 27. Son of Anthony Wordsworth Atkinson and Florence Jane Atkinson.

Sgt. Noel Briggs Collins. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 80. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Woodhouse. Bergen General Cemetery. Plot 1. Row A. Grave 28. Son of Thomas and Ethel May Woodhouse of Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Martin Randolph Hehir. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 111. Son of Thomas William and Catherine Mary Hehir of Rand, New South Wales, Australia.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame for relatives of this crew. Acknowledgments: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', special thanks to Brenda Ayres, niece of Fl/Sgt Noel Briggs Collins. Also to André Reijniers for grave photographs. Thanks to John Jones for the Traces of War extract.

RS 12.09.2019 - Addition of Traces of War information

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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