28/29.09.1941. No. 99 Squadron Wellington IC Z8869 Sgt. Watt and crew.
Date: 28/29th September 1941 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 99 Squadron
Type: Wellington IC
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
REASON FOR LOSS:
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 right, 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.
Left: Memorial to Sgt. John Whitfield in his local church in Yorkshire. (courtesy Clive Wilkinson)
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.
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.
Sgt. Henry Martin. Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard. Row B. Son of Tom and Sarah Martin, of Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland.
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.
Sgt. David Richardson. Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard. Row B. Son of Adam and Rebecca Richardson, of Whickham, Co. Durham, England.
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 so far from home.
With thanks to Colin Bamford and Moncton N.B. High School for information and photograph of Sgt. John Weir Humphrey, Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 2", Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries", Les Allison and Harry Hayward - "They Shall Grow Not Old", Commonwealth Graves Commission,