02/03.07.1942 No. 460 Squadron Wellington IV Z1470 UV-R Sgt. Alexander Whittick
Operation: Bremen, Germany
Date: 2nd/3rd July 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron
Type: Wellington IV
Serial No: Z1470
Base: Breighton Yorkshire
Location: Ijsselmeer Holland
Pilot: Sgt. Alexander Frederick Whittick AUS/404844 RAAF Age 22. Missing
Nav: P/O. Albert Ernest William Webb AUS/406272 RAAF Age 29. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Charles Roland Lark 403409 AUS/RAAF Age 23. P.o.W.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Douglas Hancocks AUS/401237 RAAF Age 22. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Allan Edwin McCrea AUS/406444 RAAF Age 25. Missing
Reason for loss:
Wellington Z1470 took off at 23:31 hours on the 2nd of July to take part in a bombing operation at Bremen Germany. The aircraft was attacked by enemy night fighters and badly damaged which caused it to crash into the waters of the Baulaker in Holland.
L-R: Sgt. Alexander Frederick Whittick, P/O. Charles Roland Lark
Left: Oblt. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld
Z1470 was claimed and identified as being shot down by Oblt. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld at 01.09 hrs. (1)
During day-light hours aerial sweeps over the area were unable to find the crew or any wreckage of the aircraft and it was presumed that Z1470 and its crew had sunk with the aircraft. However, one crew member Pilot Officer Lark had managed to evacuate the stricken aircraft before it crashed:
Flight Lieutenant Lark spent two and a half hours in the waters of lake Baulaker which is west of of Meppel and near the eastern shore of the Zuider Zee. He came to a place called Wonnerperveen. He knocked on a house door and the inhabitant came down stairs but ignored him and went back to bed. At another house he got a better response and he was taken inside. A local doctor came and informed him that his damaged eye would have to be removed. From there he was then taken to a hospital near Meppel. After surgery under anaesthetic he came round to find two Luftwaffe guards who told him that he was now a prisoner of war.
Pilot Officer Lark after being treated and recovered from his wounds spent time in the following P.O.W. camps:- Dulagluft, Offlag XXIB, Poland and finally in Stalag Luft III, Sagan, Germany. During his "stay" he managed to send a post card to his Squadron.
Whilst in captivity the International Red Cross were able to interrogate him about the crash and were able to obtain an account on the loss of his fellow crew members:
"During operations over enemy territory on the night of 2nd and 3rd July 1942 we were attacked by enemy aircraft. I fell to the floor wounded and spoke into the telephone but obtained no reply.
The pilot, Sgt. Whittick, navigator, P/O. Webb and rear gunner Sgt. McCrea were at their usual stations. The wireless operator Sgt. Hancocks was carrying out duties about half way down the fuselage and as far as I can tell was not wounded. Coming forward he helped free me from some entanglement, then climbed over the main spar and disappeared into the cabin.
That was the last contact I had with him or any of the crew. As I baled out, the aircraft was burning in several places and appeared to be out of control. I have since been advised that the remainder of the crew lost their lives. Please convey my deepest sympathy to the families of those concerned. If they so desire, I shall be only too glad to contact them after the war and give them my further details".
(1) Oblt. Lippe-Weissenfeld was killed later in the war on 12th March 1944 along with his crew in the Belgian Ardennes during a transit flight in bad weather. He was credited with 49 kills.
Jack Douglas Hancocks. The Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede Panel 112. Son of William Edward and Violet Hancocks,of Kew, Victoria, Australia. Born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England - 23rd March 1920. Enlisted at No I Recruiting Centre at Melbourne.
Allan Edwin McCrae. The Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede Panel 112. Son of Donald James McCrae and Ethel Blane McCrae, of Kalgoorlie,Western Australia.
Albert Ernest William Webb. The Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede Panel 111. Son of Mrs. E. L. Webb, of Cottesloe, Western Australia. Born in Canterbury, England - 21st February 1913. Enlisted at No 4 Recruiting Centre Perth on the 7th of October 1940 - brother R.J.Webb as his next kin and his religion as Congregational. His brother lived in Dover, Kent, England.
Alexander Frederick Whittick. The Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede, Panel 113. Son of Owen Frederick and Ellen Rose Whittick, of Cairns,Queensland, Australia. Born in Cairns Queensland - 2nd January 1920. His father Owen Frederick Whittick owned a shop in Abbott Street Cairns, which sold sporting goods, books, stationary, music records, typewriters and also sold tobacco products.
Charles Roland Lark was born at Sydney Australia on the 21st June 1918.He enlisted at No 2 Recruiting Centre at Sydney.
Researched by Bob Wilton for relatives of the crew. Acknowledgments: With thanks to the following: 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’, the CWGC