21/22.01.1943 No. 427 Squadron Wellington III X3873 ZL-R F/O. Shead
Date: 21/22nd January 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 427 Squadron
Type: Wellington III
Base: RAF Croft, Yorkshire
Location: North Sea off Schlermonnikoog
Pilot: F/O. Derrick Alan Shead 41480 RAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Obs: Sgt. Gordon Ray Hoyt J/51021 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael Patrick J/18374 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William “Billy” John Oram 1380977 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Lewis Sparling R/129739 RCAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Croft at 17:02 hrs. on a gardening (See Abbreviations) operation to the Nectarines region of the Frisian Island chain. 70 aircraft taking part in this larger than usual operation. Dropping magnetic mines between 18:10 hrs and 19:43 hrs.
Weather conditions for the operation were a full moon, heavy cloud formations with rain and a general poor visibility avoided heavy contact with the Luftwaffe night fighters.
A total of 6 aircraft were lost with two falling victim to the night fighters and the remainder by the Kreigsmarine flak units.
It is thought ‘possible’ that X3873 was the victim of the Luftwaffe ace Major Helmut Lent (1) the commander of Stab IV/NJG1 - his 58th claim of the war, bringing the Wellington down at 20:11 hrs over the North Sea north of Schlermonnikoog.
(1) Major Helmut Lent - went on to claim 102 night fighter kills and a further 8 before on the 7th October 1944 he died after suffering injuries sustained during a crash landing on the 5th October 1944 during a crash landing in his Ju88 G-6 at Paderborn airfield following engine failure and subsequent collision with a high tension cable.
His crew were rescued - injured from the crash. Walter Kubisch (radio operator) and Hermann Klöss (2nd radio operator) died the same day, Werner Kark (War correspondent and Air/Gnr) died the next morning.
F/O. Derrick Alan Shead. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 121. Understood to be from Saskatoon, Canada although serving in the RAF. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
Obs: Sgt. Gordon Ray Hoyt. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 187. Son of Gordon and Susie M. Hoyt of Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael Patrick. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 177. Understood to be from Edson, Alberta, Canada - next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William John Oram. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 160. Son of William Thomas and Florence Ethel Oram, and brother of Fred of Woodford Green, Essex, England. Born on the 27th of May 1923, his service record shows 27th May 1922, but Billy lied about his age to enable him to enlist in the RAFVR on 21st October 1940.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Lewis Sparling. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 187. Son of Percy J. and Miinie M. Sparling of London, Ontario, Canada.
Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Linda Ibrom - June 2017. Special thanks to Fred Oram for the information and photos of his brother Sgt. Oram. For further details our thanks to the following sources.