04/05.04.1943 10 Squadron Halifax II HR699 ZA-J Fg.Off. Wann
Date: 4/5th April 1943 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: 10 Squadron
Type: Handley Page Halifax II
Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire
Location: Hohwachterbucht, 4km NE of Weißenhaus, Germany
Pilot: Fg.Off. John Alistair Wann J9543 RCAF Age 26. Missing (1)
Flt.Eng: Plt.Off. David Colin Tansley Jagger 51701 RAF Missing
Nav: Plt.Off. Norman Bertram 144198 RAFVR Age 32. Missing
Air Bmr: Sgt. William Ernest Scanlon 1089365 RAFVR Age 23. Missing
WOp/Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Henry Wheen 144260 RAFVR Age 28. Missing
Air Gnr (MU): Flt.Sgt. William Malcolm Maisenbacher R137144 RCAF Age 27. Missing
Air Gnr (Rear): Plt.Off. Eric Vernon Frankland 144261 RAFVR Age 20. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Halifax HR699 was one of fourteen aircraft despatched by 10 Squadron that formed part of a force of 577 aircraft detailed to attack the port of Kiel.
The aircraft took off from Melbourne, Yorkshire at 20:58 hrs, 4th April, 1943, and nothing more was heard from the crew. This was the only aircraft lost from the Squadron, although another was damaged and later forced landed.
I came across details of the aircraft and crew when researching the fate of the rear gunner Plt,Off. Frankland. Research revealed that he had carried out at least thirteen ops at the time of his death. On his final operation he was actually flying as a replacement, as one of the regular gunners on Wann's crew was sick. Frankland's normal crew did not fly on this op. It has been reported that this gunner had a boil and unable to "take his position" correctly.
It was originally thought that this aircraft was followed by German night fighters for over 50 miles on the return leg and was shot down, possibly by Oblt. Walter Borchers who claimed a Wellington by mistake. This occurred 70 kms West of Terschelling over the North Sea. However, an entry in Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten, records that HR699 was hit by radar-directed Flak of M.Flak Abt. 221, 261 and 281 and exploded in mid-air and crashed in Hohwachterbucht, 4km NE of Weißenhaus at 23:25 hrs.
The mid-upper gunner, Maisenbacher, was a member of the RCAF, but in actual fact was a US citizen from Columbus, Ohio. Post war his mother corresponded with the RCAF authorities regarding the fate of her son. At one point it was thought that a body washed ashore at Wilhelmshaven shortly after the raid could have been that of her son, but the identity could not be proved.
Aircrew Remembered would like to thank Mr. Bill Bethell for carrying out this research. Also to David Mole and some of the relatives of this crew for further detailed information. To Thomas McGowan, who contacted us in April 2018 for proving further details on his stepmother's brother Plt.Off. David Jagger.
Plt.Off. Norman Bertram the navigator on this flight - taken a few months prior to his death whilst on a day trip to Llandudno (courtesy of his son Tony Bertram)
A little history on Norman Bertram, written by his son for Aircrew Remembered:
"Norman was the eldest of three boys whose father ran the Red Lion pub in Cheadle, Cheshire. The family had lived in the south Manchester area for at least five generations. When he was 11 years old, he won an open scholarship to Stockport Grammar school where he became a keen cricketer and lacrosse player. He liked fly fishing and travelled to Scotland whenever he could.
He volunteered in 1938 and was soon followed by his younger brother Sydney, who also became a navigator flying Beaufighters and then Mosquitos in 248 Squadron, Coastal Command.
Sydney survived the war and took part in the Berlin airlift in the 1950s and didn’t retire from the RAF until the 1970s. Sadly he died in 2007 aged 96.
At the time of his death, Norman had only just gained his commission having volunteered for a second tour of duty. He died in his Sergeant’s uniform.
He was married to Betty who lived in Blackpool and they had two young children, Anne born in 1938 and Tony born in 1941. Norman and Betty ran a small millenary business based in markets in Blackpool and Bolton in Lancashire.
Norman’s name is carved in stone in the Stockport Municipal Memorial, is on the memorial panels in Stockport Grammar school, is written in the Remembrance Books of both York Minster and St Clement in the Strand, and is also on the walls at Runnymede."
Left - panels at Runnymede
Fg.Off. John Alistair Wann. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 175. Further information: Son of Alexander and Isabella Wann, Winnipeg, Canada. (His father, born in Scotland and a farmer, had died before his loss and even though his mother (who at the time of the loss was 65) was his official NoK he requested that his commissioning scroll be sent to a Miss Goatcher in Winnipeg, so it can be assumed that she was a serious girlfriend. Prior to joining the RCAF on the 22nd April 1941 in Winnipeg, Canada, he was a book-keeper by profession
Plt.Off. David Colin Tansley Jagger. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 132. Born in Thorne, Yorkshire the son of David and Ethelwynne Jagger. Husband of Jackie who lived at Seaton Ross in Yorkshire.
Plt.Off. Norman Bertram. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 130. Son of Harry Douglas Bertram and Annie Bertram, husband of Elizabeth Bertram, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. William Ernest Scanlon. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 164. Son of the Revd. Thomas Henry Scanlon, MA., and Ada Mary Scanlon, of Batterstown Rectory, Co. Meath, Republic of Ireland.
Plt.Off. Henry Wheen. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 134. Son of Arnold Wheen, and of Florence Wheen, of Chellaston, Derbyshire, England.
Flt.Sgt. William Malcolm Maisenbacher. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 185. Further information: Son of Charles F. and Ethel B. (née Blaine) Maisenbacher, of Columbus, Ohio, USA. William's natural father was a Edward R. Collier and it would appear that he was adopted later by Charles Maisenbacher after the death of Edward R.Collier in 1925. William worked in his father's watchmaking/repair business prior to joining the RCAF as a prospective Pilot/Observer on the 17th October 1941 but was trained as a gunner following poor school training. He graduated from Bombing and Gunnery school, Fingal, Ontario in April 1942.
Plt.Off. Eric Vernon Frankland. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 131. Son of Percy and Emma Priscilla Frankland (née Bourne), of Southcoates, Kingston-upon-Hull, England.
(1) Wann Lake in Manitoba is named after Fg.Off. Wann
With thanks to the following for further information: Mr. Bill Bethell, David Mole, Trish Bertram. To Thomas McGowan, who contacted us in April 2018 for proving further details on his stepmother's brother Plt.Off. David Jagger. Thanks to Anne Chreptak, the niece of Plt.Off. Jagger, for the update to his NoK details.