10/11.12.1940 No. 50 Squadron Hampden I X3117 F/O. Eric B.S. Liddell
Date: 10/11th December 1940 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 50 Squadron
Type: Hampden I
Base: RAF Lindholme, Yorkshire
Location: Trier, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Eric Beck Squibs Liddell 40234 RAF Age 24. Killed (1)
Pilot 2: P/O. Ronald George Ash 43278 RAF Age 25. Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric McConnell 1755215 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Stanley Atkinson 652440 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Lindholme in southern Yorkshire at 22:40 hrs to bomb Mannheim - aircraft understood to have been hit by flak and crashed near Trier, Germany. All the crew were lost.
Above: Sgt. Atkinson and in the centre with his older brother Albert - understood to be the day after Albert's wedding (courtesy David Stone)
They had escaped an earlier incident just the previous month when on the 07/08th November on an operation to Essen the crew flying Hampden X2994 (including a Sgt. Leech but minus P/O. Ash who joined them later) were forced to abandon the aircraft when it ran out of fuel over East Anglia. The aircraft later crashed near West Raynham airfield
When the possessions of Stan Atkinson were returned - a brass model of his aircraft was found - sadly in time this went missing - David Stone managed to find a replica which he presented to Stan's brother.
The pilot, ’Squibs’ Liddell then a Sgt. also escaped an earlier heavy landing in Hampden P4309 at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland, England whilst with 14 Operational Training Unit. Whilst returning to base at 18:30 hrs he overshot the runway and crashed heavily - no injuries to the crew. Aircraft was written off.
(1) ’Squibs’ Liddell brother, Tord Alvar Quan Lidell MBE (11 September 1908 – 7 January 1981) was a BBC radio announcer and newsreader. During the Second World War his distinctive voice became synonymous with the reading of news. It was during the Second World War that the BBC named its previously anonymous announcers and newsreaders - to distinguish them from enemy propagandists. During the war, "Here is the news, and this is Alvar Lidell reading it" became an inadvertent catchphrase.
In 1943 he served with the RAF as an intelligence officer (some of the time at Bletchley Park, but returned to the BBC a year later. In 1946 he was appointed chief announcer on the new BBC Third Programme, where he remained for six years, maintaining the highest standards, particularly over pronunciation and phrasing. Recordings of Lidell's news bulletins have been included in many films set in Britain during the Second World War, such as 1968's the Battle of Britain.
(2) Further research continues into P/O. Ronald George Ash - Australian archives have him as being killed on the 01st June 1941 with 36160 F/O. Aubrey Glen Curtis? Any assistance offered for this are very welcome. The CWWG list him as we have described.
Above, the mother of Sgt. Atkinson during a visit sponsored by the wonderful Dutch people in 1963 (courtesy David Stone)
The crew were initially buried in Macken Cemetery and interned in the Rheinberg War Cemetery on the 04th June 1947.
F/O. Eric Beck Squibs Liddell. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9. D. 16-19. Son of Hazel Beck Liddell, husband of Olive Liddell, of Ketton, Rutland, England.
P/O. Ronald George Ash. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9. D. 16-19. Son of Fredrick William and Marion Eva Ash, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Sgt. Eric McConnell. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9. D. 16-19. Born in Bury, Lancashire, England. Also commemorated in St. Annes Church, Belfield, Milnrow, Rochdale.
Sgt. Alfred Stanley Atkinson. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9. D. 16-19. Son of Alfred Ernest and Ada Atkinson, of Walker, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.
Researched by David Stone for Aircrew Remembered April 2016. With thanks to Ralph Davidson for information on Sgt. McConnell - February 2017. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.