05/06.06.1940 9 Squadron Wellington IA P9232 WS:M Sqn.Ldr. George E. Peacock DFC
Operation: Duisburg, Germany
Date: 5/6th June 1940 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 9 Squadron
Type: Vickers Wellington 1A
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk
Location: Simonshaven, Holland
Pilot: Sqn.Ldr. George Ernest Peacock DFC. 33067 RAF Age 26. Killed (1)
2nd Pilot: Plt.Off. Bertram Arthur (Jimmy) James MC. MiD. 42232 RAF Age 24 PoW No. 2263. Camps: L3 - Sagan and Belaria, 2A - Prenzlau, L1 - Barth, 21B - Fallingbostel. (2)
Obs: Sgt. Ronald (Ronnie) Charles Hargrave DFM. 580775 RAF Age 25. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. A.K. Griffiths 543756 RAF Age 24. PoW No. 500. Camp 357 - Kopernikus.
Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Sedgwick Whiteley Webster 77955 RAF Age? PoW No. 2253. Camps 12A - Limburg, 2A- Prenzlau, L1 - Barth, L3 - Sagan and Belaria. (3)
Air Gnr: LAC. C. Murton MiD. 509661 RAF Age ? PoW No. 52562. Camp 357 - Kopernikus. (5)
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Update July 2015 - the son of Sgt. Griffiths (Dave Griffiths) has since contacted us and is planning to visit the crews graves.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Wellington P9232 took off from RAF Honington along with 11 other Wellingtons over the period 21:45 and 00:15 hrs for a bombing operation on Duisburg railways in the Ruhr. In total 3 Group detailed 34 sorties for this mission, 12 from RAF Honington, 18 from RAF Feltwell and 4 from RAF Marham. P9232 was the only aircraft lost on this mission.
It was a very dark night and all aircraft had to use parachute flares to locate and attack their targets and all encountered intense search light activity and very heavy flak which prevented accurate bombing . Two aircraft were hit by shrapnel with little damage.
Wellington P9232 was coned by Flakscheinew. Rgt. 1 and hit by Flak just after crossing the Dutch coast, exploded near Simonshaven, 16 km SW of Rotterdam (Nachtjagd War Diaries Volume 1 (September 1939 - March 1944) - Dr Theo E.W. Boiten)
Wellington IA Aircraft (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)
(2) Plt.Off. Bertram Arthur (Jimmy) James. Born in India on the 17th April 1915. Bertram Arthur James service with the RAF began on the 24th June 1939 when he was granted a short service commission for 4 years as Acting Plt.Off. and confirmed as Plt.Off on probation as of the 9th December 1939. He was confirmed on his appointment on the 1st May 1940 and promoted to the rank of Fg.Off. wef 9th December 1940. Fg.Off. James was promoted to the rank of Flt.Lt. (war subs) on the 9th December 1941 and confirmed in appointment 1st May 1943.
Bertram Arthur (Jimmy) James was a prolific escaper and was involved in the Great Escape (being allocated place number 39) in 1944. Awarded the Military Cross (MC), gazetted 17th May 1946. Citation reads: "On the night of 5th June, 1940, Flight Lieutenant James was the 2nd pilot of a Wellington aircraft which was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and had to be abandoned whilst over Holland. He made a successful parachute descent some 25 miles south of Rotterdam, disposed of his equipment, and evaded some people who were approaching, but subsequently was captured by the Germans. He was held at Oberussel [sic] for four days for interrogation. Later he was ‘sent to Stalag Luft I at Barth from which camp he made an attempt to escape during an air raid on 21st October, 1941. His attempt, which was made after a tunnel had been constructed, was unsuccessful and as a punishment he received 14 days solitary confinement. In November, 1941, he was discovered whilst engaged in the construction of a second tunnel, and was sentenced to another 14 days solitary confinement. While at Stalag Luft I, he worked on the construction of at least five other tunnels, all without success. His next attempt was made whilst at Stalag Luft III (Sagan) in July, 1942, when he, with another prisoner, managed to slip away from a sick parade and hide in a cow shed. Here they began to construct another tunnel, but were discovered when it was 21 feet long. For this, Flight Lieutenant James served a sentence of 34 days in the cells. In April, 1943, he, with others, commenced the construction of a tunnel which resulted in the escape of 76 officers, but unfortunately 50 R.A.F. officers were shot by the Germans whilst endeavouring to get away. Flight Lieutenant James, however, managed to leave with civilian clothes and forged documents and, together with eleven others, entrained for Boberohrsdorf, arriving there the next morning. Here the party decided to split up into pairs. Flight Lieutenant James and his companion walked across country towards Hirschberg, but were apprehended by German Police. Flight Lieutenant James was eventually sent to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where, with others, in May, 1944, the commenced the construction of a tunnel some hundred feet in length, and 10 feet below the surface. Om 23rd September, 1944, he and four others escaped through this tunnel. Flight Lieutenant James and a companion made their way towards Rostock, but were arrested by members of the German Home Guard who returned them ‘to the Concentration Camp where they were put in cells. Flight Lieutenant James remained in the cells from 6th October, 1944, until 15th February, 1945. He was ultimately liberated by the Allied forces on the 6th May, 1945."
Acting Sqn.Ldr James was Mentioned in Despatches (MiA), gazetted 7th January 1947. Sqn.Ldr. James extended his service for four years on active service 8th May 1947. Transferred to the Secretarial Branch 23rd July 1949. Sqn.Ldr. Bertram Arthur (Jimmy) James. MC. MiD. retired on the 11th June 1958 and died aged 92 on the 18th January 2008 in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
(3) Plt.Off. Sedgwick Whiteley Webster. Born on the 28th October 1904. His service with the RAF started on the 9th March 1940 Sedgwick Whiteley Webster was granted a commission as acting Plt.Off. on probation for the duration of hostilities and on the 22nd April 1940 Sedgwick was confirmed as a Plt.Off. Plt.Off. Webster was posted to 9 Squadron from 214 Squadron on the 12th May 1940. Confirmed as Plt.Off. and promoted to Fg.Off. 22nd April 1941. Fg.Off. Sedgwick Whiteley Webster was promoted to the rank of Flt.Lt. on the 22nd April 1942. Flt.Lt. Webster was held as a Prisoner of War in L12A - Limburg. 2A - Prenzau, L1 - Barth, L3 - Sagan and Belaria for nearly 5 years. He resigned his Commission on the 20th December 1945. Sedgwick Whiteley Webster died on the 6th March 1980 in Danbury, Connecticut, USA aged 75
(5) WO. C. Murton 509661 RAF was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD), gazetted 31st January 1947
Left: Prisoner of War Camp Barth and Sagan (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)
The family of Wim Begthel have tendered the grave of this crew for the past 20 years and every year on the anniversary of 4th May they place flowers at the grave. If relatives of the crew would like to contact us we would be proud to place them in contact with them. Any photographs that relatives may have will be placed at the graves.
Sqn.Ldr. George Ernest Peacock. DFC. Geervliet (Simonshaven) Protestant Churchyard. Netherlands. Grave Ref: Row N. Joint Grave 9. Son of Stephen Ernest and Elizabeth Bagnell Peacock of Spennymoor, Co. Durham.
On the 15th July 1933 George Ernest Peacock was granted a permanent commission in the RAF as a Plt.Off. having successfully passed through RAF Cranwell and in 1935 was promoted to Fg.Off. On the 15th January 1937 Fg.Off. Peacock was promoted to Flt.Lt. and on the 18th October was posted to 99 (B) Squadron, Mildenhall, Suffolk. On 1st August 1939 Flt.Lt Peacock was promoted to Sqn.Ldr. and was posted from 75 Squadron to 9 Squadron on the 6th February 1940.
Sqn.Ldr. Peacock was awarded the DFC, gazetted 19th April 1940. Citation reads: "When leading a formation of aircraft on a raid on enemy warships at Bergen, this officer displayed remarkable courage and determination. After the original attack by his formation he returned alone and repeated his run over the target in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire. When on the return flight to his base he again turned back to attack a hostile flying boat which was shot down into the sea"
Note: We have since been advised that the aircraft shot down was a Do.18 and the front gunner had been Sgt. A. K. Griffiths - verified by his log book.
Sgt. Ronald (Ronnie) Charles Hargrave. DFM. Geervliet (Simonshaven) Protestant Churchyard. Netherlands. Grave Ref: Row N. Joint Grave 9. Son of Samuel and Edith Hargrave of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire.
Sgt Ronald (Ronnie) Charles Hargrave was awarded the DFM for "Gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations", gazetted 31st May 1940.
Researched by Kate Tame for aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Updated by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2020). Thanks to Jeroen Koppes for the 3 Group tasking order (Oct 2020). With special thanks to sources as quoted below.