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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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99 Squadron Crest
28/29.09.1941. No. 99 Squadron Wellington IC Z8869 Sgt. Watt and crew.

Operation: Frankfurt

Date: 28/29th September 1941 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 99 Squadron 3 Group (motto: Quisque tenax - 'Each tenacious')

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: Z8869

Code: LN-?

Base: RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.

Location: Great Finborough, Suffolk.

Pilot: Sgt. John Sydney Ferguson Watt 1052238 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. John Duncan Broadley NZ403937 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Obs: Sgt. John Weir Humphrey R/65191 RCAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry Martin 950327 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Kenneth Whitfield 945230 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. David Richardson 1379034 RAFVR Age 29. Killed


Taking off at 19:11 hrs from RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire to attack the German city of Frankfurt - no further details as to the success of the operation, but a disaster, in particular for 99 Squadron and the allies in general losing some eight aircraft of the 30 Hampdens and 14 Wellingtons sent.

Above Sgt. John Weir Humphrey and left, RAF Waterbeach airfield (courtesy Moncton N.B. High School)

99 Squadron crew photographs (not this crew)

Wellington Z8869 had completed the operation, returning collided with a line of trees, exploding and crashing at 00.55 hrs at Stone Farm, Great Finborough, Suffolk. A large haystack was also destroyed in the blaze. No details as to what cased this but probably due to poor weather and low fuel.

Other aircraft lost from 99 squadron this night:

Wellington IC T2879 Flown by Sgt. Joseph Parry R.N.Z.A.F. Killed, with all 5 other crew members. Believed to have crashed into the sea.
Wellington IC W5436 Flown by P.O. Keith H.N. Rumbo from Brazil, killed with 3 others, 3 suffering injuries when their Wellington crashed in England near Bury St. Edmunds on return to base. One of the 3 injured died the following day.
Wellington IC X9761 Flown by Sgt. E. Coleman who was to remain as a pow for the remainder of the war along with two others. Three evaded capture and returned to England.

Memorial to Sgt. John Whitfield in his local church in Yorkshire. (courtesy Clive Wilkinson) Grave of Sgt. John Sydney Ferguson Watt (courtesy John G. Duffus)

Burial details:

Sgt. John Sydney Ferguson Watt. Dundee (Balgay) Cemetery. Sec. A. Grave 404B. Son of John Ferguson Watt, and of Jean Morris Watt, of Dundee, Scotland.

Sgt. John Duncan Broadley. Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard. Row B. Son of George and Alice Manwell Broadley, husband of Agnes J. Broadley, of Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand. 213 flying hours logged.

Sgt. John Weir Humphrey. Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard. Row B. Son of James Albert and Rita Maud (Nee Weir), of Sunny Brae, New Brunswick, Canada. Formerly of Moncton New Brunswick High School, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "He Fought A Good Fight; He Wears A Crown".

Sgt. Henry Martin. Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard. Row B. Son of Tom and Sarah Martin, of Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. Grave inscription reads: "Not My Will, But Thine, Be Done".

Sgt. John Kenneth Whitfield. Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard. Row B. Son of Harry and Marguerite Whitfield; husband of Rosemary Thornton Whitfield, of Cookridge Village, Horsforth, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "The Lord Is My Shepherd".

Sgt. David Richardson. Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard. Row B. Son of Adam and Rebecca Richardson, of Whickham, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription reads: "Sleep On, Take Your Rest".

Researched for Clive Wilkinson and the Royal British Legion as they are dedicating a plaque to Sgt. John Whitfield in his local church in Yorkshire on Remembrance Day 2013. Page also dedicated to all the relatives of this crew, all of them so far from home.

With thanks to Colin Bamford and Moncton N.B. High School for information and photograph of Sgt. John Weir Humphrey, also with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, PRK Aviation, also to John G. Duffus who kindly visited the grave of Sgt. Watt and took the photograph - February 2019, other sources as quoted below:

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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