06/07.09.1943 No. 12 Squadron Lancaster I ED392 PH-D2 Fl/Sgt. Jack P. Hutchinson
Date: 6/7th September 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No.12 R.A.F. Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire.
Location: North Sea, 30 miles N.E. of Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire.
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Jack Pierce Hutchinson AUS/416501 RAAF Age 23. Uninjured
Fl/Eng: Sgt. J. A. Stapely 1803033 RAFVR Uninjured
Nav: Sgt. Leonard Earl Goodkey R/148514 RCAF Age 23. Uninjured
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Clifford Walton 1047593 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. C.H. Gabriel 1393976 RAFVR Uninjured
Air/Gnr: Sgt. A. Burr 1332887 RAFVR Uninjured
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Ernest Belshaw 1795491 RAFVR Age 19. Killed.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Fifteen minutes into the flight, after taking off from RAF Wickenby at 19:56 hours, the starboard outer engine constant speed unit failed and the propellor could not be feathered.
On three engines, the fully loaded Lancaster was not able to maintain altitude, upon which, the captain gave the order to jettison the incendiaries and part of the fuel followed by the 4000 lb. bomb they were carrying. Despite these efforts, ten minutes later, after turning back for base, fire again erupted from the starboard engine and quickly spread from the nacelle along the wing. It was then very apparent to the crew that they could not make it back to land and the order to assume ditching stations was given.
The aircraft hit the water hard and broke in two, sinking almost immediately. Five members of the crew were able to scramble into the dinghy but in the darkness the bomb aimer and tail gunner were lost. Fortunately, the wireless operator had sent out a transmission soon after the engine failure enabling the Air Sea Rescue unit to be dispatched.
Even so, the men spent eighteen hours in the dinghy before they were found at 15:10 hours on September 7, landing back at the dock in Grimsby at 18:45 hours suffering from exposure.
Right: Fl/Sgt. Jack Pierce Hutchinson (courtesy Wickenby Museum via Colin Bamford)
Hutchinson and Goodkey would continue flying together after they were transferred to 626 Squadron until they were both lost when shot down over France during a raid on Schweinfurt in February the following year.
See article on Lancaster LL797 for further details.
Sgt. Clifford Walton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 168. Son of George and Doris Walton of St. Annes-on-Sea, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Arthur Ernest Belshaw. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 142. Son of Thomas and Mary Eliza Belshaw of Cregagh, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist, Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. Fl/Sgt. Hutchinson photograph courtesy of the Wickenby Museum.