18.07.1943 No. 236 Squadron Beaufighter VI-C EL240 ND-E P/O. Ernest F.V. Kidd
Operation: Marsdiep, Netherland
Date: 18th July 1943 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 236 Squadron (Coastal Command)
Type: Bristol Beaufighter Mk VI-C
Serial: EL240 (1)
Base: RAF North Coates, Lincolnshire
Location: Den Helder, Netherlands
Pilot: P/O. Ernest Frederick Victor Kidd 148792 RAF Age 24. Killed
Nav: P/O. Harold Cuthbert Stevenson 149154 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19.30hrs. to attack a convoy in Den Helder.
Earlier in the day the convoy had been photographed by Mustangs from 613 Squadron, later, then in the afternoon attacked by Beaufighters, escorted by Spitfires and Typhoons.
(note:) We have been contacted on a number of occasions stating that this serial number is incorrect. We have checked the operation record books and that is the number listed - of course, that could have been a mistake. We have been informed that the correct number for this aircraft is JL575. We will keep an open mind until further evidence emerges.
236 Squadron attacking shipping off Holland (courtesy IWM)
In the early evening, armed with torpedoes and rockets, 6 aircraft from 236 Squadron, a further 6 from 143 Squadron, escorted by Spitfires from 416 Squadron and Typhoons attacked the convoy again. By now they had moved out of the harbour but still had protection from the flak batteries at Den Helder.
Left to right: P/O. Ernest Kidd, P/O. Harold Stevenson and his wife Audrey (courtesy Peter Andrews)
The lead vessel of the convoy was a Sperrbrecher (1) one of the main targets. Heavy flak from the shore batteries of Den Helder and the vessels themselves made this a most difficult low level attack. With balloons flying from the vessels and enemy fighters also in the area our aircraft had to come in at a very low level.
Pilot Officer’s Kidd’s aircraft was possibly hit by flak, however it has also been claimed by Hptm Luckenbach. The aircraft crashed into houses on the corner of 2 de Vroonstraat, Den Helder at 20.47hrs.(2)
Crash site of EL240 (courtesy Peter Andrews)
Only one civilian was injured, but 5 houses were destroyed in the blaze with another suffering severe damage to the roof. Other properties in the area suffered light damage due to flying debris.
236 Squadron Orb for 18th July 1943 (courtesy Peter Andrews) Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery (courtesy Peter Andrews)
P/O. Ernest Frederick Victor Kidd. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery. Joint grave 29. A. 1-2. Son of Ernest and Catherine Emily Kidd of Canvey Island, Essex, England. (3)
P/O. Harold Cuthbert Stevenson. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery. Joint grave 29. A. 1-2. Son of William and Dorothy Spours Stevenson. Husband of Audrey Dorothy Stevenson of Dursley, Gloucestershire, England. (3)
(1) Sperrbrecher the name given to a German minefield breaker. They were designed to escort other vessels through cleared paths in known mined areas. The boat was specially reinforced with the hull normally filled with buoyant material to aid flotation in case of a hit. Bows were also usually heavily strengthened. Usually also heavily armed with A/A guns and on occasions fitted with barrage balloons.
(2) On the 30th August 1945 a ceremony was held and the Burgomaster of Den Helder unveiled a memorial dedicated to Ernest Frederick Victor Kidd and Harold Cuthbert Stevenson.
(3) Both men were initially buried by the local people in The General Cemetery at Huisduinen, a suburb of Den Helder.
Extensively researched by Peter Andrews (cousin of P/O. Kidd) and compiled by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame. October 2017: Details of the loss of 3 Mustangs removed as they were not part of this attack. A separate page is being compiled for these with information supplied by Marise Treseder - relative of one of those pilots lost.