11.06.1943 No. 295 Squadron Halifax V EB132 F/O. B.L. Tomkins
Operation: Ferry Flight
Date: 11th June 1943
Unit: No. 295 Squadron
Type: Halifax V
Base: RAF Hornsey South, Hampshire
Location: Ashley Combe, Portlock Weir, Somerset
Pilot: F/O. B.L. Tomkins 116639 RAFVR Survived - injured
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Carl Schultz AUS/409854 RAAF Age 25. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. E.J. Rogers 1504842 RAFVR Survived - injured
Nav: F/O. Alan Douglas Gardner 120390 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. William Angus Bartlett Stokes J/18752 (R/81980) RCAF Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: W/O. John Nelson Hansen 968451 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Mr. Ron Biddle has been researching this loss for a number of years - he is interested to hear from anyone who knows the whereabouts of the memorial placed to F/O. Gardner - it is not placed at the crash site where we understand another has been placed there.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Halifax EB132 was en-route from RAF Holmsley South to Portreath via Bridgewater. During the flight they encountered very heavy fog and clouds to almost sea level. The navigator instructed the pilot to fly 270 degrees which would keep him parallel to the coast.
The pilot reported that he had just started to climb when he saw trees ahed, he took appropriate action pulling back the stick, but the aircraft hit the trees in Yearnor Wood behind Ashley Combe at about 12:00hrs.
Some locals heard the aircraft overhead and rushed to assist with the rescue of the crew members, Mr. Jack Ridler, Mr. Henry John Pollard and Mr. Thomas Cook did in fact pull the survivors from the aircraft and one of the members who had been killed. During the attempt Mr. Ridler suffered severe burns but continued to assist - all three receives bravery awards.
The pilot had just completed a round trip to North Africa towing a Horsa glider on the outbound leg.
Memorial to the crew - but where has this been placed? (courtesy Ron Biddle)
The board of enquiry found that the accident was caused by A: Faulty method of navigation. B: Failure to keep within site of the ground. C: Failure to notice height of ground that the aircraft had to pass.
Fl/Sgt. Frederick Carl Schultz. Heanton Punchardon Churchyard (St. Augustine). Row O. Grave 1. Son of Carl Hugo Schultz and Annie Schultz, of 25 Pleasant Road, Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia. Born on 17th June 1917, enlisted 10th October 1941. Prior to service worked as a postal clerk.
Left: original grave marker for Frederick Schultz (courtesy AWM)
F/O. Alan Douglas Gardner. Ockbrook Churchyard (All Saints).Sec. 8 Row 3. Grave 1. Son of Arthur James Gardner and Elizabeth Mary Gardner, of Borrowash, Derbyshire, England.
F/O. William Angus Bartlett Stokes. Heanton Punchardon Churchyard (St. Augustine). Row P. Grave 1. Son of James Hawks Stokes and Helen Lyle Stokes, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.
W/O. John Nelson Hansen. Heanton Punchardon Churchyard (St. Augustine). Row O. Grave 2. Son of John H. Hansen and Helma Hansen, of Kenora, Ontario, Canada.
With thanks to Ron Biddle for bringing this loss to our attention. For grave photos thanks to Windypop. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.