14/15.11.1940 No. 9 Squadron Wellington Ic L7852 WS-P Sq/Ldr. Pritchard
Date: 14/15th November 1940 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 9 Squadron (Motto: Per noctem volamus - We fly through the night) ‘B’ Flight
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk
Location: Between Zuid-Scharwoude and Broek-op-Langendijk
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Stanley Graham Pritchard 34201 RAF Age 28. PoW No: 384 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria L3
Pilot 2: P/O. Percy Ainsworth Ward Thomas 42910 RAF Age 27. PoW No: 352 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria L3
Obs: Sgt. Harold Newall 581408 RAF PoW No: 377 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria L4
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. A. Hunt 966661 RAF PoW No: 335 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus 357
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald F. Akerman 651923 RAFVR PoW No: 316 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug L6
Air/Gnr: P/O. Roye Vincent Derbyshire 78996 RAFVR Age 29. PoW No: 327 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria L3
REASON FOR LOSS:
Ten aircraft from 9 Squadron left for an operation to Berlin, taking off at around 16:55 hrs.
Weather forecast: Surface wind: strong northerly wind at first, moderating and backing to become south westerly during the afternoon and evening. Continuos rain at first, ceasing about sunrise. Fair or fine during remainder of day. Cloud 10/10 at 800-1500 ft during rain. 3/10 - 7/10 at about 7000 ft. during daylight hours. Cloudless at night - visibility 2000 yards in rain improving over 4 miles.
Bomb load: 2 containers incendiaries, remainder of load 500 lb. general purpose bombs 75% fused N.D.T. 25% fused long delay.
Some 50 aircraft taking part, although only 50% reported that they reached the target. What has been described as the worst losses to Bomber Command since the start of the war with 10 aircraft failing to return.
9 aircraft returned to base at 07:15 hrs, Wellington L7852 posted as missing.
Later reported that L7852 had been damaged by anti-aircraft fire over Northern Germany. On the return trip the pilot ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. All of them managed to safely do so, with the aircraft crashing at 02:30 hrs at Zuid-Scharwoude about 200 Mts. from a vegetable auction premises. All the crew taken PoW.
Sq/Ldr. Stanley Pritchard promoted to W/Cdr. with effect on 01st January 1946. Retired from the RAF on the 03rd April 1955. Sq/Ldr. P.A.W. Thomas relinquished commission on the 21st May 1958. The brother of Sgt. Harold Newall, Eric, also served as a fighter pilot on Hurricanes.
Wellington Ic: Two 1,000hp Pegasus XVIII engines, 4 gun nose turret, 2 gun rear turret, two waist guns, bomb load up to 4,000lb. Range: 1,885 miles at 180 mph with 1,500lb bomb load. Max speed: 255 mph. Max weight: 36,500lb.
None - all crew survived the war.
Researched for Tony Hamer - relative of Sgt. Newell - November 2017. Our gratitude to Kate Tame for her assistance in further information. For further details our thanks to the following sources.