31/01.06.1940 37 Squadron Wellington IC P9288 Sgt. Simmons and crew loss
Date: 31st May/01st June 1940 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 37 Squadron
Type: Wellington IC
Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk, England.
Location: Unknown - North Sea?
Pilot: F/O. Robert Collin Simmons 39344 RAF Age? Missing
Pilot 2: Sgt. John Mclean 523836 RAF Age 24. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward Alan Downham 580712 RAF Age 19. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Dallas Atack 631239 RAF Age 20. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Bridge 620406 RAF Age 19. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Feltwell in Norfolk at 01.00 on an operation to Nieuwpoort. Understood to be bombing various German positions to cover the evacuation at Dunkirk.
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner for P9288 Sgt. Dallas Atack
33 Wellingtons took part in this operation and two were lost, both from 37 squadron.
No claims have been established for the loss of this Wellington and is thought to have come down in the North Sea.
The other loss from the squadron was flown by P/O. William Gray from Dalston, from Cumberland. He survived the crash but succumbed to his injuries some 9 days later. Wellington IC L7791 crashed near Eringhem near Dunkirk. Flying as an air gunner on this aircraft was the most decorated and oldest member of Bomber Command to be killed during the war on operations. Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson KCIE, CSI, CMG, DSO., aged 56 was the former Member of Parliament for Hitchin prior to going into the RAF.
Sgt James F. Brown was also killed with two other crew members surviving.
F/O. Robert Collin Simmons. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 6. No further details available as yet.
Sgt. John Mclean. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 17. Son of John and Agnes McLean, of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
Sgt. Edward Alan Downham. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 13. Son of William Robert and Ada Downham, of Stanmore, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Dallas Atack. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 11. Son of Enoch and Florrie Atack, of Castleford, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. James Bridge. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 12. Son of Alfred Herbert and Mildred Bridge. No further details.
Researched for Mike Swift and dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. With thanks for further information to Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries", Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2", Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 1", Commonwealth Graves Commission.