10/11.05.1941 No. 149 Squadron Wellington Ic R1512 OJ-H Sgt. John G. Keymer
Date: 10/11th May 1941 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 149 Squadron
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Location: North Sea - West of Wesselbüren
Pilot: Sgt. John Gilbert Keymer 904428 RAFVR Age 28. Missing
Pilot 2: Sgt. Thomas Charles Pugh 904994 RAFVR Age ? Missing (1)
Obs: P/O. George Redvers Newton Adams 86722 RAFVR Age 23. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Charles Ockenden 910417 RAFVR Age 25. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Lewis George Sutherland 976127 RAFVR Age 21. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Nathan Menage 518613 RAF Age ? Missing
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REASON FOR LOSS:
Leaving RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk at 22.37 hrs to bomb the shipyards, Altona power station with 119 other aircraft - 60 Wellingtons, 35 Hampdens, 23 Whitleys and 1 Manchester.
Bombing was carried out in near perfect visibility with 47 large fires started within the city. Kosters Department store, a bank and the Hamburg Stock Exchange were destroyed - 31 people killed on the ground, 151 injured with 837 people bombed out of their homes.
Above: area of "possible" loss and below: 149 Squadron Wellington
The allies lost some 4 aircraft, the others:
Whitley V P5048 ZA-H from 10 Squadron lost, 23 year old F/O. Peter Beckford Gough 42599 RAF from Wivenhoe, Essex missing with all his other 4 crew.
Wellington Ic R1379 KO-B from 115 Squadron lost, 26 year old Sgt. John Anderson 969380 RAFVR killed, remaining 5 taken PoW.
Wellington Ic R1435 JN-H from 150 Squadron lost, 24 year old, F/O. Victor G.D. Spiller 41077 RAF from Keymer, Sussex, killed with all 5 other crew.
It is thought ‘possible’ that this Wellington had been one claimed by Ofw. Johann Schönherr (2) of 6./NJG1 at 03.03 hrs over the North Sea west of Wesselbüren. His claim was for a Blenheim (other claims were also for Blenheims which turned out to be Wellingtons)
Left: Fred Ockenden and his wife, Doreen on their wedding day April 1941 (courtesy Andrew Ockenden)
(1) Sgt. Thomas Pugh was acting as ‘second dickie’ prior to having his own crew to go on operations
(2) This was the 2nd abshüsse for Ofw. Johann Schönherr (2night/1 day claim) - he was wounded in a crash on the 2/3rd March 1944 after a crash at Holzelfingen near Reutlingen after engine failure. No further details if he survived the war.
Notes: 10/11th May 1941 was the heaviest and largest bombing operation on London of the war - over 1,400 people killed, Rudolf Hess (Hitlers deputy) had parachuted into Scotland.
Sgt. John Gilbert Keymer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 46. Son of Bernard William Keymer and Ellen Constance Keymer of Farnham, Surrey, England. He lost his younger brother 24 year old, Michael (748504 RAFVR) on the 22nd August 1940. Serving with 65 Squadron, flying Spitfire I K9909 YT-O when he was shot down off Dover at 19.35 hrs by Me109’s from JG26. Body recovered, buried at Bazinghen Churchyard in France. (The only CWGC grave in the cemetery)
Sgt. Thomas Charles Pugh. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 50. No further details but it seems that this was his first operation and had just got married.
P/O. George Redvers Newton Adams. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 31. Son of Leonard Edward and Hilda Emma Adams, of Ealing, Middlesex, England.
Right: One of the many memorial panels at Runnymede (Aircrew Remembered own archive)
Sgt. Frederick Charles Ockenden. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 49. Son of James Ockenden, professional golfer (French Open champion -1923), wife of Dorothy Florence (née Drew) of the Empress Inn, Thoday Street, Cambridge, England. They were married shortly before he was killed, in April 1941.
Sgt. Lewis George Sutherland. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 53. Son of George and Christina Sutherland, of Sunderland, Co. Durham, England.
Sgt. Thomas Nathan Menage. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 48. Next of kin details not available as yet. Joined the RAF in November 1934 as an Aircraft-hand. After the outbreak of war he re-mustered as an Air Gunner and after completing his training joined 29 Squadron at Digby in September 1940. Fought in Blenheims as an air gunner during the Battle of Britain. He was posted away to 11 OTU on 4th February 1941 prior to join 149 Squadron.
For further details our thanks to the following, Mr. Andrew M. Ockenden who had been researching his family name. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Runnymede Memorial Database.