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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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149
10/11th September 1942 149 Squadron Stirling I R9170 Fl/Sgt. Potts

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 10/11th September 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 149 (East India) Squadron (motto: Fortis Nocte - 'Strong by Night). 3 Group

Type: Stirling I

Serial: R9170

Code: OJ-H

Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk.

Location: Grote Adriana Theodorapolder, Ooltgensplaat, Holland

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Frederick Potts 911454 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Frederick Roberts 533593 RAF Age 30. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Alan Yates 1134666 RAFVR PoW No. 27042 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344) - Stalag Luft Bankan (L7)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Edward Martin NZ/411236 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Frederick Swindlehurst NZ/41610 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James McRobbie Wallace 591267 RAF Age ? Missing - body later recovered

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Flers Lumsden NZ/405497 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 21:41 hrs. Part of a 476 bomber force on Düsseldorf and the neighbouring town of Neuss. Bombing taking place between 23:12 and 00:55hrs. Weather conditions were described as fine with good visibility.

30 allied bombers were lost to both night fighters and the fierce anti-aircraft fire in the target area. The majority of the night fighter attacks were made on the outward bound aircraft over Holland.

Above L-R: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Potts, Sgt. Alan Yates, Sgt. Reginald Swindlehurst, Sgt. George Martin, Sgt. James Lumsden.

R9170 was shot down by Hptm. Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (shown right) of 9./NJG 2, who was flying a Ju 88 C-6 from Gilze-Rijen airfield. Intercepted and shot down at 23:15 hrs. His 19th claim of the war and the first victim of 3 claims during this operation.

Sayn-Wittgenstein was born on the 14th August 1916 in Copenhagen, Denmark. After a total of 83 claims was killed on the 22nd January 1944. His crew survived after abandoning the aircraft. His JU 88C-6 was hit by return fire from 156 Squadron Lancaster JA912 GT-O by the rear gunner Fl/Lt Thompson. The crew of the Lancaster were forced to abandon after also being hit with all crew taken PoW.

Further information on his claims can be found here. Information courtesy of our Kracker archive - see credits below.

Sgt Alan Yates was the only survivor and held as a PoW until war end. He was not the usual navigator for this crew. 21 year old, Sgt. Max Hilton Elliott NZ/411720 had become sick. Sadly he was lost on the 01st October 1942 on 149 squadron Stirling I BF328 on a 'mining operation' to the Frisian Islands. The pilot, 20 year old, Fl/Sgt. Stuart Danel Wells NZ/41969 the other New Zealander was also lost with all the crew. The body of Sgt. Wallace washed up near Numansdorp on the 26th October 1942 which is why he had been buried elsewhere.

Above 149 Stirling - placed on the page as although this may not be OJ-H it does show the enormous size of the Stirling. Look at the crew member next to the undercarriage!

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Sgt. Arthur Frederick Potts. Rotterdam General Cemetery (Crooswijk). Plot LL Row 1 Collective Grave 18-19. No further information - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Frederick Roberts. Rotterdam General Cemetery (Crooswijk). Plot LL Row 1 Collective Grave 18-19. Son of William and Anna Elizabeth Roberts and husband of Rhoda Roberts, of Evesham, Worcestershire. Grave inscription: 'Thoughts True And Tender Of One We Loved And Still Remember. Wife And Family'.

Sgt. Reginald Frederick Swindlehurst. Rotterdam General Cemetery (Crooswijk). Plot LL Row 1 Collective Grave 18-19. Born on the 22nd October 1915 at Stratford, Taranaki. Worked as a farmer/lorry driver for Chas Bayly Estates of Huinga. Enlisted at Levin as an air gunner under training on the 18th January 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 27th March 1941. wireless operator air gunner and promoted to sergeant on 29th September 1941. Embarked for England on the 12th October 1941. Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit starting on the 03rd March 1942. Joined 149 squadron on the 20th July 1942.

Above: Reginald Swindlehurst far left front with David Badcock immediately to his rear - hard to place the photo as it appears to be on a ship and before training. They both left New Zealand on different ships and date. David Herbert William Badcock was killed on the 06th September 1943. 149 Squadron Stirling III EE872 OJ-N details here. If you are able to identify others or details we would be interested to hear from you.

Son of William James Swindlehurst (Died 08th November 1971, age 81) and Ruth Ina Swindlehurst (nee Hancock - died 12th June 1955, age 61), of Huinga, Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 194 flying hours logged and on his 12th operational sortie.

Sgt. George Edward Martin. Rotterdam General Cemetery (Crooswijk). Plot LL Row 1 Collective Grave 18-19. Born on the 23rd May 1919 at Christchurch. Worked as a carpenter for S.F. Clark Limited of Christchurch (dissolved 1984) prior to service. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 22nd December 1940. Trained initially at No. 3 Service Flying Training School on the 23rd March 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 26th May 1941. Started to train at No. 10 Service Flying Training School on the 16th June 1941 but pilot training terminated on the 13th July 1941. Remustered as wireless operator air gunner on the 24th July 1941 Qualified as wireless operator air gunner and promoted to sergeant on the 29th September 1941. Embarked for England on the 12th October 1941. Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit starting on the 20th January 1942. Joined 149 squadron on the 20th July 1942.

Son of Bertram Martin and of Caroline Alice Martin (nee Thornton), of Eltham, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 219 flying hours logged and on his 11th operational sortie.

Sgt. James McRobbie Wallace. Numansdorp Protestant Cemetery. Row E. Joint grave 1. (shared grave with Sgt Leslie George Hardy 1272168 RAFVR Age 23. 432 Squadron Wellington X LN435 QO-X killed on the 29th May 1943)

Sgt. James Flers Lumsden. Rotterdam General Cemetery (Crooswijk). Plot LL Row 2 Grave 23. Born on the 27th April 1917 at Wanganui. Worked as a grocer for Kernahans of Wanganui prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 21st December 1940 as air gunner under training. Embarked for Canada on the 30th January 1941. Wireless operator air gunner and promoted to sergeant on the 04th August 1941. Embarked for England on the 15th August 1941. Remustered as air gunner on the 05th January 1942. Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit starting on the20th July 1942. Joined 149 squadron on the 20th July 1942.

Son of Percy Frederick Lumsden (died 29th March 1943, age 69) and of Helen Eliza Lumsden (nee Miles - died 14th September 1962, age 82), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand and husband of Alice Agnes Lumsden (née Campbell, later Stone), of Wanganui. A total of 208 flying hours logged and on his 11th operational sortie.

Above: Wireless and Air Gunners Course at Mountain View Air Force Station in Canada. Rear: Sgt's. James Flers Lumsden NZ/405497 killed 11th September 1942, Richard John Grenfell NZ/40426 killed on the 29th June 1942, Gordon Albert Rigg NZ/402064, Philip Patrick Scullin NZ/405512, Donald Peter Barber NZ/405465. Front: Ronald Charles Axten NZ/404589, Ian Gordon Stewart killed 29th July 1942, Clifton Robert Brailey NZ/404587 killed 21st June 1942, Roy Swift NZ/405528 killed on the 08th November 1943, Walter Lemnos Winchester NZ/405535 died 03rd March 2009. Taken 03rd August 1941.

Other aircrew member mentioned in the report:

Sgt. Max Hilton Elliott. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 117. Born on the 22nd May 1921 at Wanganui. Son of John Charles Hilton (WW1 Veteran. Corporal 30190 New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force) and Olive Mavis Elliot (née Archer, of Wanganui, New Zealand. A total of 354 flying hours logged and on his 12th operational sortie.

Fl/Sgt. Stuart Danel Wells. Hamburg Cemetery (Special memorial - Buried at the time in Heligoland Civil Cemetery, but whose grave is now lost). Born on the 19th May 1922 at Whitianga. Son of Charles Archer and Mabel Lilian Wells of Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. A total of 345 flying hours logged thought to have over 3 operational sorties.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Steve Albrey (great nephew of Sgt. Swindlehurst) and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Kevin Sturgess for photo of Fl/Sgt. Potts, Dr. Theo Boiten - 'Nachtjagd Combat Archive The Early Years part three ', Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Suzanne Mary for photo of Sgt. Lumsden, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 21-09-2021

Acknowledgements: 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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