12.02.1942 No. 144 Squadron Hampden I AE141 PL-J Sgt. Nightingale D.F.M.
Date: 12th February 1942
Unit: No. 144 Squadron
Type: Hampden I
Base: RAF North Luffenham, Rutland
Location: Mousehold Heath, Norwich, Norfolk
Pilot: Sgt. Ernest Ivo Nightingale DFM. 776067 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Nav: Sgt. E. 'Ned' Sparks survived
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. L. Ward survived
Air/Gnr (Beam): Sgt. R.S. Cole survived
Air/Gnr (Lower rear): Sgt L.G. Hewlett survived
Crew list corrected in November 2013, we are indebted to Mr. John Woodhead (144 Squadron researcher) for this revision
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off to attack the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and also the light cruiser Eugen as they sailed from Brest to Germany through the English channel in a careful well executed plan by the Germans. Often called the "Channel dash". Weather was very poor and the results from the continual attacks from 92 Wellington's, 64 Hampden's, 37 Blenheims, 15 Manchester's, 13 Halifax's, 11 Stirling's and 10 Boston's.
Most of the bombers could not find the targets which were very heavily defended and those that did bomb (39 aircraft) no hits were made on the targets although both the Battle cruisers were damaged by mines laid previously. The Cruisers all reached the safety of the German ports.
Hampden AE141 was one of the many hit by flak and on it's return whilst trying to make an emergency landing at Norwich crashed in the area now known as Mousehold Heath. Sgt. Nightingale earned his D.F.M on an earlier operation in May 1941.
144 Squadron incurred the most operational losses while operating the Hampden, suffering a total of 109 aircraft lost!
Above Left: Grave of Sgt. Nightingale - taken by Aircrew Remembered. Any relative who would like a high resolution copy of the grave please contact us and it will be sent free of charge. Right: Memorial plaque February 2015. (courtesy Jane Baron)Burial details:
Sgt. Ernest Ivo Nightingale D.F.M. Norwich Cemetery Sec. 54. Grave 531. Son of William Maxwell Nightingale and Eleanor Mary Nightingale, of Nairobi, Kenya.
Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: John Woodhead - researcher on 144 Squadron, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol 3', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt 'Bomber Command War Diaries', the Commonwealth Graves Commission.