25/26.07.1941 No. 10 Squadron Whitley V T4231 ZA-A P/O. William McN. Spiers
Date: 25/26th July 1941 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 10 Squadron
Type: Whitley V
Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire
Location: Koersel, Belgium
Pilot: P/O. William McNaughton Spiers MiD. 87666 RAF Age 24. Killed (1)
Pilot 2: Sgt. Wilfred Puttick 929723 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Navigator: P/O. Harry Joseph Daniels 68738 RAF Age 24. Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cyril Webster Fitzmaurice Durham Eisenhuth Lawson 535558 RAF Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Bernard Beverley 1150773 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Page placed in the hope that someone has further photographs of the crew - local villagers honour them every year and would like to place one during their commemorations.
Updates: Relatives of Sgt. Cyril Lawson contacted us in July 2016. Close friend of P/O. Harry Daniels contacted us in September 2016. The son of Sgt. Douglas Beverley contacted us in October 2016.
Relative of second pilot, Sgt Wilfred Puttick contacted us in July 2017 and very kindly sponsored the page in his memory.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 22:28 Hrs from RAF Leeming in Yorkshire - total force of 30 Hampdens and 25 Whitleys taking part on an operation to bomb Hanover.
Bombing results from this operation were not reported and we have no record of the damage inflicted. The allies lost some 7 aircraft with 22 aircrew killed, 6 taken PoW.
Intercepted and shot down over Koersel by Fw. Reinhard Kollack (3) of 1./NJG1, his 2nd claim of the war at 04:22 hrs.
Above, thought to be some of the crew from the aircraft, we know that Sgt. Beverley is 2nd from the left, are you able to identify the others? It is suspected that Harry Daniels is 3rd from left with Cyril Lawson on extreme right. (courtesy Simon Beverley)
Above as described and also final page in his log book (courtesy Simon Beverley)
Above: as described, on right photo with his family Sgt Puttick is on extreme right (courtesy Myra E. Dover - née Puttick)
Another Whitley from the Squadron was also shot down on this operation:
Whitley V Z6624 ZA-O Flown by 26 year old Sq/Ldr. Peter Wellwood Fortune Landale DFC 70379 RAFVR from Dumfries in Scotland. Shot down over the North Sea by the nightfighter ace Oblt. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weisenfeld (4) of 4./NJG1 at 03:23 hrs - all 5 crew missing - believed killed.
(1) He managed to escape a previous crash in Whitley T4202 ZA-N on the 19th March 1941 - his pilot at the time was killed, the remaining 4 crew escaped injury when the aircraft crashed on return from an operation to Kiel. His brother 2 year old, P/O. John Reynolds Spiers 88038 RAF was also killed during service. On the 21st February 1941 whilst serving with 16 Operational Training Unit. Anson I R3331 made a forced landing at Cotton Hall Farm in Denbighshire, the pilot, 21 year old P/O. Robert James Dufty 86635 RAF lost his life along with the other two crew. (Sgt. Robert Williams 922895 RAFVR W/Operator under training, Sgt. John Rennie King 944474 RAFVR W/Operator instructor)
(2) P/O. Harry Joseph Daniels was engaged at the time to the mother of Marcus Watson who supplied these details:
"My mother was engaged to Harry at the time of his death. In fact, she was staying in the area of RAF Leeming at that time. Both Harry and my mother were from Coventry. I believe Harry's younger brother Gordon may still live in the same family home on Leamington Road, south of Coventry. My mother and Harry were both keen swimmers. Harry was a strong swimmer and rugby player. When Harry didn't return my mother fled back to Coventry. She had already been through the Coventry blitz so must have been deeply affected by events. My mother never knew what happened to Harry, until I found his grave in the War Memorial Grave web site. She believed he had been lost over the sea. Unfortunately, she died in 2011, so I will not be able to show her the pictures of Harry's funeral and how well his grave and the other crew members graves are respected by the local community."
Marcus contacted us again in January 2017 and sent these details:
“My mother (Esme Mildred Veronica Hutchinson) was engaged to Harry at the time of his death. In fact, she was staying in the area of RAF Leeming at that time. Both Harry and my mother were from Coventry. I believe Harry's younger brother Gordon may still live in the same family home on Leamington Road, south of Coventry. My mother and Harry were both keen swimmers. Harry was a strong swimmer and rugby player. When Harry didn't return my mother fled back to Coventry. She had already been through the Coventry blitz so must have been deeply affected by events. My mother never knew what happened to Harry, until I found his grave in the War Memorial Grave web site. She believed he had been lost over the sea. Unfortunately, she died in 2011, so I will not be able to show her the pictures of Harry's funeral and how well his grave and the other crew members graves are respected by the local community.”
“Esme Mildred Veronica Hutchinson: Born April 1921 and died April 2011. She was the only child of Howard (Dick) and Rose Hutchinson. They ran a grocers business on the corner of Walsgrave and Marlborough Rd. They also owned several properties in the area and I believe Gordon Daniels rented one of them for his Opticians business. I did manage to talk with Gordon a couple of times over the phone after my mother had died. We were planning on meeting. I was going to bring one of my sisters along with me as Gordon remembered them from their visits to Walsgrave Rd. (My grandparents remained there until about 1960 when they retired to Norfolk). Unfortunately, the moment passed and we never did."
"When I spoke with Gordon, it was he who mentioned that my Mother was staying near RAF Leeming, where Harry was stationed. My mother was a very keen swimmer and diver which I assume is how she got to know Harry. She kept several photographs of Harry (2 formal in uniform) as well as some newspaper clippings of Harry’s sporting prowess, including an autograph book containing a few things written by Harry. The most personal item she kept was a ring (I believe the intended wedding ring). She wore it as well as her own wedding ring.”
Mr. Neal Snell also wrote to us in October 2016:
"I visited his grave just last week. Academically Harry was a very talented individual graduating at Birmingham University and he also excelled at swimming and rugby represented Birmingham University and his county with it appears even more potential to come. According to his brother Douglas Percy (now deceased) he had a premonition that 'he wasn't going to come back' which sadly proved to be accurate and all on their very 1st raid although I have no way of confirming this."
(3) Fw. Reinhard Kollack, survived the war as a nightfighter ace with a total of 49 kills. On 6 February 1980 he died at the age of 65.
(4) Oblt. Egmont Prinze zur Lippe-Weissenfeld - went on to claim a total of 49 abschüsse. He was killed on the Sunday,12th March 1944 along with his crew in the Belgium Ardennes during a transit flight in poor weather conditions.
P/O. William McNaughton Spiers MiD. Koersel Communal Cemetery. Grave 3. Son of William McNaughton Spiers, and Agnes Spiers, of Leicester, England.
Sgt. Wilfred Puttick. Koersel Communal Cemetery. Grave 5. Son of John and Mabel Puttick, of Ewell, Epsom, Surrey, England.
P/O. Harry Joseph Daniels. Koersel Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Son of Joseph and Caroline Annie Daniels, of Coventry, England. Prior to service worked as a solicitor. Had been commended for Gallantry but we have no details of this.
Sgt. Cyril Webster Fitzmaurice Durham Eisenhuth Lawson. Koersel Communal Cemetery. Grave 4. Son of Herbert Julius Elsenhuth Lawson and Aileen Lillian Durham Lawson (née Leigh) and husband of Joyce Netherton of Cornwall, England.
Left: Cyril and Joyce Lawson (courtesy Donald Lawson)
Flight-Sergeant Lawson enlisted with the RAF in 1936 and spent three years as a cadet at Cranwell, the school for RAF officers. He re-mustered as an aircraftman in 1939 to get into active service, and since then has made many flights over enemy territory. At the outbreak of war he was stationed with the Coastal Command and was later transferred to the Bomber Command at his own request that he might see more action. Born in Toronto and educated at Brantford and Toronto schools. Attended both Oakwood and Harbord Collegiates. Survived by his widow, Joyce Netherton of Cornwall, England, his mother, two brothers, William B, and Malcolm of Toronto and four sisters, Mrs. D. Leslie Black, Prince Arthur, Mrs. James Stewart Innes, Toronto, Miss Eva C., Brantford, and Mrs. Everett H. Pettit, Montreal, Canada. His father H. J. E. Lawson, is dead.
Sgt. Douglas Bernard Beverley. Koersel Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Son of Bernard J.A.Beverley and Mary Beverley, of Ilford, Essex, England.
Researched for Put Felix of Koersel, Belgium, who also supplied many of the photographs placed on the page. Also many thanks to Donald Lawson for details on Sgt. Cyril Lawson. Marcus Watson for details on P/O. Harry Daniel. Neil Snell who contacted us in October 2016 - he is in contact with The niece of P/O. Harry Joseph Daniels. Simon Beverley, son of Sgt. Douglas Bernard Beverley who has also sent some of the great images as shown. Myra E. Dover (née Puttick) for photographs of Sgt. Puttick. For further details our thanks to the sources shown.