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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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149 Squadron Crest
28/29.09.1940 No. 149 Squadron Wellington Ic R3164 OJ-B P/O. Bjelke-Petersen

Operation: Hanau

Date: 28/29th September 1940 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 149 Squadron

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: R3164

Code: OJ-B

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: Target area ?

Pilot: P/O. Harold Ridley Bjelke-Petersen 73021 RAF Age 28. PoW No: 1263 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

Pilot: Sgt. Walter Thomas Hallam 566919 RAF Age 23 Killed (1)

Obs: Sgt. K. Holden 751424 RAFVR PoW No: 297 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. A. Botten 624678 RAFVR PoW No: 321 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. C. McK. Laird NZ/39865 RNZAF PoW No: 300 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Barnett Witton NZ/39872 RNZAF Age 21. PoW No: 313 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan


Very few details on this loss. Taking off from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk at 20:05 hrs - 109 aircraft attacking various targets in Germany.

It is thought probable that they were hit by anti-aircraft fire in the target area. We welcome any further information on this.

The pilot, 2 year old P/O. Harold Bjelke-Petersen was from Australia and had joined the RAF in 1939 on a short service commission. He had an earlier lucky escape whilst with 11 Operational Training Unit. Flying Wellington I L4222 to carry out night circuit and landings practice. When landing at 00:30 hrs during an air raid alert the aircraft hit at least one Glim Lamp with the undercarriage then collapsing, none of the crew suffered injuries. He left the RAF as a Fl/Lt in 1946.

Right: The two New Zealand crew members.

Burial details:

Sgt. Walter Thomas Hallam. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 1.G.22. Son of Walter Foster Hallam and Caroline Elizabeth Hallam and husband of Kathleen Hallam, of Sheffield.

(1) His elder brother, 26 year old Sgt. Frank Foster Hallam, also died during service on the 07th January 1940 whilst with 233 Squadron. All 3 crew were lost as well as two civilian contractors attached to the RAF, when the Hudson I N7256 ZS-L on an air test strayed off course and crashed into Mynydd William Meyrick high above the Ogmore Valley. Buried at Oxley United Reformed Chapelyard. N.E. Sec. 2. Line C. Grave 76.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot 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, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 03.12.2018

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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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