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RAF Serviceman with Dutch ancestry

1942-04-15 The Loss of John de Visscher Wellington Z8490

Crash site: Officially near Kempen, 10 km WNW of Krefeld, but in reality in Schiefbahn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Crash cause: unknown, enemy action presumed, enemy Flak likely


Visscher (Hall), John Jacques Gabriel de

Reichswald 080223


Sgt, Wop/Ag

RAF VR 1162262


None known




RAF No. 158 Squadron Bomber Command



Wellington Mk. II Nr. Z8490 NP-N


RAF Driffield, Yorkshire, GB


Raid on Dortmund, Germany. Airborne 14/4/1942 at 22.22h


KIA, most likely shot down on the way home by enemy Flak






1. Near Kempen, 10 km WNW of Krefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Source: NIMH

2. Field of Herr Wibbelt, Im Unterbruch, Schiefbahn, SSE of Willich, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Source: "......und stürzte brennend ab", Flugzeugabstürze Allierter Bombenflugzeuge am linken Niederrhein im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939 - 1945 ; eine kommentierte und bebilderte Zusammenstellung, Dr. Ludwig Hügen, Kleve, 2003, via Henk Weltink 26/02/2008


Crew initially buried with unmarked white wooden crosses in the Ehrenfriedhof, Neersener Strasse (at the time), Schiefbahn, Germany, very close the crash site. Reburied 12/11/1947 in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany, Hall = grave 31/D/15

Known to








His grave has a British RAF type headstone. CWGC mentions his parents as Jean Jacques Gabriel and Maria Adriana Elisabeth de Visscher of 's Gravenhage, Holland. He assumed, and is buried under the name J.J.G. Hall

Other crew

2. Sgt. Peter Fitzpatrick Vane Winkle, Pilot, RAF VR 931850, KIA, Reichswald grave 31/D/14

3. P/O. Andrew Downie, Obs, RAF VR 109923, KIA, Reichswald grave 31/D/11

4. Sgt. Thomas Strang, Wop/Ag, RAF VR 958284, KIA, Reichswald grave 31/D/12

5. Sgt. Kenneth William Barker, RAF VR 800585, KIA, Reichswald grave 31/D/13

GB arrival


None known. A Roll of Honour for all 158 Sqn crew who fell is to be erected at RAF Lissett. Source: Eddie Fell, chairman of the 158 Squadron Association, 06/01/2008



There is confusion over his surname situation.

Reichswald 080223 Hall crew 2

Reichswald 080223 Hall crew 3

2. Crash site data

In '...und stürzte brennend ab' by Dr. Ludwig Hügen, Kleve, 2003, page 100-101, crash eyewitness Herr Willi Holter gives an account:

"Das für uns zweifellos stärkste Erlebnis eines Flugzeugabschusses hatten wir in der Nacht von 15. zum 16. April 1942 (richtig 14./15. April 1942, d. Verf.) Damals stürzte ein 'Wellingtonbomber' im Unterbruch ab. Die Fliegeralarme waren Gewohnheit geworden, und wir standen schon gar nicht mehr immer auf. So war es auch in jener Nacht, als das Schlafzimmer durch Scheinwerfer hell wurde und die Flak stark schoss. Ich ging ans Fenster, und sah eine niedrig über das Unterbruch kreisende 'Wellington' im Scheinwerferlicht. Das fliegerische Gebaren verriet, dass die Maschine angeschossen war. Sie ging schließlich in einen steilen Gleitflug über und schlug mit großem Feuerschein auf. Wir sahen in Richtung Unterbruch die Flammen. Wir schätzten die Absturzstelle aber zu weit. Sie lag am Garten von Ranf auf dem Acker von Wibbelt. Die Maschine, die aus Richtung Römerstraße kam, explodierte beim Aufschlag. Die Trümmer flogen in Flugrichtung, also Richtung Unterbrucher Straße und Bauernhof Jakob Nilges. Das Flugzeug war auf dem Rückflug und hatte keine Bomben mehr an Bord. Durch den explodierenden Treibstoff flogen brennende Teile in das Haus von Nilges und setzte es in Brand. Es brannte bis auf die Grundmauern nieder. Die schweren Stern-motoren lagen in Richtung Dorf, rechts der Straße. Viele leichtere Teile lagen links der Straße im Garten von Nilges oder auf dem Stück von Wibbelt. Sauerstofflaschen fanden wir 100 bis 200 m weit in Richtung Vehling."


'Our strongest experience beyond doubt of an aircraft crash came in the night of 15 to 16 April 1942 (should be 14 to 15 April 1942, author). A Wellington bomber came down in Unterbruch. Air attack warnings had become frequent, we did not always bother to get out of bed. This was true for this night, when the bed room became lit by searchlights and the Flak was firing in force. I went to the window, and saw a 'Wellington' cruising low in the searchlights over Unterbruch. The flightpath disclosed that the aircraft had been hit. It then went into a steep gliding slope and it hit the ground bursting into flames. We saw the flames in the direction of Unterbruch. However, we had overestimated the distance. It lay in the garden of Ranf on the field of Wibbelt. The aircraft, that came from the direction of the Römerstrasse, exploded on impact. Debris was flying in the direction of the flight path, meaning Unterbrucher Straße and the farm of Jakob Nilges. The aircraft was on the way home and no longer carried any bombs. As a result of the exploding fuel burning debris flew into the house of Nilges and set it on fire. It burned down to the bottom masonry. The heavy radial engines came down in the direction of the village, right side of the road. Many lighter parts lay left of the street in the garden of Nilges or on the field of Wibbelt. We found oxygen bottles at a distance of 100 to 200 meters, in the direction of Vehling.'

The crash site, North of the Im Unterbruch road, Schiefbahn, Germany. The aircraft came gliding in; there is no deep impact crater. The explosion was caused by the fuel, the bombs had already been dropped. Source: Dr. Ludwig Hügen, Willich, G. Unterbruch crash site 1942b.jpg

Map 127. Kempen (1), or Schiefbahn (2), Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, the official and the real crash areas of Wellington Z8490

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