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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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44 Squadron Crest
23/24.05.1940 44 Squadron Hampden I L4171 Sqn Ldr. Charles E. Johnson

Operation: Railway Communications

Date: 23rd/24th May 1940 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit No: 44 Squadron

Type: Hampden Mk I

Serial: L4171

Code: KM:Z

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire

Location: Broichweiden, Aachen, Germany

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Charles Edward Johnson 37290 Age? RAF Killed

Pilot/Bomb Aimer: Plt Off. David Conquest Barker 42043 RAF Age 19. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Harold George Collins 517528 RAF Age 26. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Cpl. William Crook 532528 RAF Age 23. Killed


Taking off from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire tasked to bomb rail communication in tactical support of the British Expeditionary Force in France.

A further 72 other aircraft were sent to bomb roads and major junctions.

Hampden L4171 was hit by flak and crashed at Broichweiden near Aachen, Germany - all the crew were lost.

The crew were initially buried in Aachen Ehren Friedhof. Reinterred on the 17 April 1947.

Burial details:

Sqn Ldr. Charles Edward Johnson. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Rheinberg. Grave: 5.E.24. Son of Charles Frederick and Catherine Mary Johnson. Grave inscription reads: ‘In Loving Memory Of My Dear Brother. RIP’

Plt Off. David Conquest Barker. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Rheinberg. Grave: 5.E.22. Son of Alan Oscar Barker, and of Norah Stancomb Barker (née Conquest), of Selsey, Sussex, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘We Will Remember Them.’

Sgt. Harold George Collins. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Rheinberg. Grave: 5.E.23. Son of Joseph William and May Annie Collins, of Beckenham, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘There’s Some Corner Of A Foreign Land That Is Forever England.’

Cpl. William Crook. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Rheinberg. Grave: 5.E.25. Son of John Nally Crook and Alice Crook, of Wigan, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘The Memory Fades And Life Departs. He Will Live Forever In Our Hearts.’

Researcher - Michel Beckers. With thanks to Des Philippet for grave photographs, others from the collection of Michel Beckers and Richard Johnson (Nov 2016). Thanks to John Jones for the aircraft code update and initial burials (Jun 2022).

For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

RS - 20.06.2022 - Updated narrative

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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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