09.06.1941 No. 9 Squadron Wellington IC WS-? W/C. Roy George Claringbould Arnold MiD
Date: 9th June 1941 (Monday)
Unit: No. 9 Squadron
Type: Wellington IC
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk
Location: North Sea near Zeebrugge, Belgium
Pilot: W/C. Roy George Claringbould Arnold MiD. 29198. RAF, Age 30. Killed (1)
2nd Pilot: Sgt. James (Jock) Murray Pinkham 928273 RAF Age 21. PoW No: 18298 Camps: Stalag VIIIB - Lamsdorf, Stalag Luft III - Sagan and Belaria, Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug, 357 - Kopernikus (2)
Nav: F/O. Dominic Bruce. 45272. RAF. Age 26. POW No. 1356. Camps. Oflag IXA/H - Spangenburg bei Kassel, Oflag VIB - Dosel bei Warburg, Oflag IVC - Colditz (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Harry Barratt. 937633. RAF. Age 41. POW No. 18299. Camps. Stalag VIIIB - Lamsdorf, Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug, Stalag 357 - Fallingbostel (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold (Harry) Arthur Wink. 627802. RAF. Age 19. POW No. 18297. Camps. Stalag VIIIB - Lamsdorf, Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug, Stalag 357 - Fallingbostel (5)
Air/Gnr: F/O. Thomas Albert Bax. 78742. RAFVR. Age? POW No. Not known. Camps. Not known (6)
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Wellington IC from No. 9 Squadron (courtesy National Library of New Zealand) and RAF Honinghton courtesy of Fold3
REASON FOR LOSS:
Wing Commander Arnold and crew took off from RAF Honington at 15.36hrs for a reconnaissance operation off the coast of France and Belgium to attack enemy shipping in the Belgium and Dutch coastal sweep.
Three other aircraft from 9 Squadron took off on the same operation. Two returned safely, but reported that they had been attacked by Me 109s. The rear gunner of one of these aircraft reported seeing a Wellington being attacked by two Me 109s and that black smoke was seen coming from this Wellington. The other aircraft that failed to return from this operation was Wellington IC R2620
flown by F/O. Lamb DFC. A total of 18 aircraft took part in this reconnaissance operation with a total loss of 4 aircraft.
Blankenberge Town Cemetery, Belgium and The Runnymede Memorial (both courtesy CWGC)
W/C. Roy George Claringbould Arnold MiD. Blankenberge Town Cemetery, Belgium. Grave Ref. Row A. Grave 18. Son of James and Daisy Arnold. Husband of Vera Constance Arnold of Daventry, Northamptonshire. (1) Roy George Claringbould Arnold was posted to No 9 Squadron from No 40 Squadron on the 16th January 1941. Roy is remembered on the Margate War Memorial
(4) Sgt. Reginald Harry Barratt. Reginald Harry Barratt exchanged his identity with Rifleman G S Godden 859814. He escaped and after the war disappeared to Hungary. Reginald Barratt is thought to have been detained by the Russian near Budapest in 1944. His details appear in the Commonwealth War Grave Commission as having lost his life on the 4th June 1945 and he is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. Panel 269. Son of William and Elizabeth Barratt of Leicester. Husband of Kathleen Evelyn Barratt of Leicester
Further details of the crew:
Stalag Luft III - Sagan and Belatia (both courtesy of Imperial War Museum)
Left: Sgt. James (Jock) Pinkham.(courtesy of the late Cliff Symes)
(2) Sgt. James (Jock) Murray Pinkham. James (Jock) was granted a Short Service Commission as Acting Pilot Officer on the 9th October 1939 and confirmed in his appointment on 6th March 1940. Jock was educated at Kilburn Grammar School and had just celebrated his 21st birthday the week before his capture. His parents received news that their son was safe and a POW in July 1941. Jock's twin brother Captain Anthony Irving Pinkham was awarded the Military Cross in 1945 and his eldest brother Squadron Leader Philip Campbell Pinkham was killed on active service on the 5th September 1940
(3) F/O. Dominic Bruce joined the Royal Air Force in 1935 and was posted to No 9 Squadron on the 20 January 1941 where he became a navigator. He became the Squadron's navigation Leader. Awarded the AFM (Air Force Medal) in 1938 while serving with No 214 Squadron. Dominic baled out of the aircraft at night on the 9th June and for this he became a member of the "Caterpillar Club" (A) He was rescued by the German Navy and became a prisoner of war.
Left: Colditz Castle (courtesy Australian War Memorial)
Dominic was known for his many escape attempts and for his efforts the Germans finally sent him to the infamous "Colditz Castle" After his return to the UK Dominic was awarded the MC (Military Cross) in 1946. The citation in the London Gazette states: " Flight Lieutenant Dominic Bruce, AFM (45272) Royal Ar Force, No 9 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant Bruce was shot down over Zeebrugge in June , 1941, and picked up by a German vessel. After an unsuccessful tunnel attempt in July 1942, Flight Lieutenant Bruce and two companions made a very clever escape from Spangenburg in September 1942, disguised as a German civilian commission and officer escort. They reached Cassel aerodrome hoping to find a Junkers 52 - the only German aircraft they knew how to fly, and finding none of this type on the field, they decided to make for France but were caught several days later near Frankenberg. After this attempt, Flight Lieutenant Bruce was transferred to Warburg. From there he made several attempts to escape, the most successful being in January 1942, when three men masqueraded as a German guard escorting a party of British orderlies. For this Flight Lieutenant Bruce received three months in cells from which he attempted to escape with the aid of a dummy key, but was prevented by the bad weather. In September 1942 he escaped from Colditz in an empty crate and made for Danzig. He was captured ten days later at Frankfurt-on-Oder, but escaped while awaiting interrogation. He reached Danzig and was arrested trying to board a troop ship. Flight Lieutenant Bruce continued to try every possible means of escape, with varying degrees of success, throughout his captivity making about seventeen attempts in all. He was liberated from Colditz in April 1945" Dominic Bruce died on the 12th February 2002 aged 84 and was buried in Teddington Cemetery
(5) Sgt. Harold (Harry) Arthur Wink. Born on the 19th July 1921 Harold Wink had completed 41 operations with the RAF by the age of 19.
(6) F/O. Thomas Albert Bax may have been a POW in Stalag 20B - Marieburg. He was the Squadrons Gunner Leader and was confirmed as Flying Officer in April 1941. Thomas retired from the RAF retaining his rank as Flight Lieutenant on the 23rd March 1948
Left: Caterpillar Club badge (the unofficial badge courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)
(A) The Caterpillar Club is an informal association of people who have successfully used a parachute to bail out of a disabled aircraft. After authentication by the parachute maker, applicants receive a membership certificate and a distinctive lapel pin. The nationality of the person saving his life by parachute and ownership of the aircraft are not factors in determining qualification for membership; anybody who has saved his life by using a parachute after bailing out of a disabled aircraft is eligible. The requirement that the aircraft is disabled naturally excludes parachuting enthusiasts in the normal course of a recreational jump, or those involved in military training jumps.
Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, W. R. Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1941, Oliver Clutton-Brock - Footprints on the Sands of Time, National Archives Air 27/126, Air 20/2336, Victor F. Gammon - No Time for Fear, Gordon Thorburn - Bombers First and Last, T. Mason - 9 Squadron, London Gazette Archives, Flightglobal archives, Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_Bruce, The late Cliff Symes.
For further detailed accounts we recommend the following publications: Operation Musketoon by Stephen Schofield ISBN 0-552-09489-7, Bombers First and Last by Gordon Thorburn ISBN 1 86105 946 9, Flying Among Heroes by Norman Franks and Simon Muggleton: ISBN 9780752480428.