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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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9 Squadron crest
22/23.04.1942 9 Squadron Wellington III X3638 St. Owen C.C. Barnes

Operation: Köln (Cologne)

Date: 22rd/23rd April 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3638

Code: WS:?

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk.

Location: Near Ottermeer Farm, Nispen, Holland

Pilot: Sgt. Owen Cicero Charles Barnes 1189038 RAFVR Age 30. KiA

Pilot 2: Sgt. Robert Harvey Armstrong 1123091 RAFVR Age 27. KiA

Obs: Plt Off. Henry Brener 110788 RAFVR Age 28. Injured (1)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Patrick McCrossan 1059959 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 433 *

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Price Williams 973799 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 42894 *

Air Gnr: Sgt. Derryck Ronald Folbigg Wellock 953774 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 222795 **

* Stalag 357 Kopernikus at Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. Moved in September 1944 to the loosely named Stalag 357 Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany. Officially the designation was Stalag 357 Oerbke.

** Stalag 4b Mühlberg, Sachsen, Germany.


An experimental operation, sending Gee equipped aircraft in order to make use of blind-bombing techniques.

Some of the bombs were dropped accurately on Cologne, others landed some 10 miles from the target. It is thought of the 69 aircraft taking part, about 15 aircraft made the accurate bombing with reports from the city that 44 high explosive, 1,200 incendiary bombs hit Cologne. 6 Industrial buildings were damaged with minor damage to other property. 14 people on the ground were killed, 8 others injured.Bomber Command lost 5 aircraft - 2 during the operation with 3 others crashing on return for various reasons. 10 aircrew lost their lives, 8 taken pow with 4 others injured.

Bomber Command lost 5 aircraft - 2 during the operation, with 3 others crashing on return for various reasons. 10 aircrew lost their lives, 8 taken PoW with 4 others injured.

It is known that X3638 was hit by flak from 1.-3./Res. Flak Abt.146, 3./Res. Flak Abt. 514 and 3./Res. Flak Abt. 511. The aircraft crashed at Ottermeer Farm (Ottermeerhoeve) some 6 km south of Roosendaal, Holland - just inside the border with Belgium at 02:30 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (13 July 1941 - 29 May 1942) The Early Years Part 2 - Theo Boiten).

9 Squadron also lost the following Wellingtons on this operation:

Wellington III X3358. Flown by Plt Off. Hale RAFVR - taken pow with 4 other crew, 1 being killed;
Wellington III X3759. Flown by 23 year old American from Milwaukie, Sgt. Ramey RCAF - killed with 4 other crew, the tail gunner, Sgt. Russel survived, injured. (Pilot, Sgt. Ramey had survived an earlier incident on the 27th/28th November 1941, returning from Dusseldorf - Aircrew Remembered visited the graves of this crew in 2013 - remembrance page to follow))

(1) Plt Off. Henry Brener sadly died of his injuries on the 27th April 1942.


The three crew members killed were all initially interred in the German Military Cemetery (British Plot) at Bergen-op-Zoom, Holland and re-buried on 16th April 1946 at Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery.

Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery (courtesy CWGC. and Brenda White)

Above: The Southampton Cenotaph (courtesy Brenda White)

The three crew members killed were all initially interred in the German Military Cemetery (British Plot) at Bergen-op-Zoom, Holland and re-buried on 16 April 1946 at Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery.

Sgt. Owen Cicero Charles Barnes. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave inscription: 'ABSENT FROM THE BODY... PRESENT WITH THE LORD II COR. V.8'. Grave 3.C.3. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest O. Barnes, of Southampton, England.

Above: Grave marker for Sgt. Armstrong (Courtesy of Matt Cobb)

Sgt. Robert Harvey Armstrong. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 3.C.1. Born on the 27th September 1914 in Hexham, Northumberland. Son of Edward Elliot and Harriet (née Clark) Armstrong. Husband to Hilda (née Baglee) Armstrong of Northumberland, England.

Plt Off. Henry Brener. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 3.C.12. Grave inscription: 'IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF MY BELOVED HUSBAND. WIFE MARY AND DAUGHTER CAROL'. Born in 1914 at Nottingham the son of David Brener (a Hosiery Dealer) and Alice Brener nee Kaufman of Nottingham. He was also the husband of Mary Brener nee Segelman and father of Carolyn E. Brener born 1941 both of Mapperley Park, Nottingham, England.

Henry Brener's parents were both born in Russia and the family was Jewish. Henry was a pupil at Nottingham High School from 1923 until 1930. 1109091 LAC Brener was promoted to 110788 Plt Off. on probation (emergency) on the 8th November 1941 as announced in the London Gazette of 24th February 1942. He is also commemorated on the school war memorial.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Brenda White, one of the researchers for the Southampton Cenotaph. Details for Plt Off. Henry Brener added courtesy of the Nottingham High School Archives (Nov 2015). Updated by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) (Nov 2019). Crew details and NoK details updated (Dec 2022). Thanks to Matt Cobb for the grave marker for Sgt Armstrong who is the great uncle of Matt’s partner Rita Armstrong (Dec 2022).

Are you able to assist Brenda and the other researchers at the Southampton Cenotaph? Contact them, or us and we will forward your details.

Other sources listed below:

RS 11.12.2022 - Crew details updated

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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