Operation: Koln (Cologne)
Date: 28th/29th September 1940 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit No: 9 Squadron
Type: Wellington IC
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk
Location: Near Antwerp, Belgium
Pilot: Sgt. Charles Wilfred 'Wilf' Oliver 740921 RAFVR Age 26. PoW (1)
2nd Pilot: Sgt. Kenneth Bruce Gladwin 745498 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Leonard William Hardy 522533 RAF Age 27. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Jack Woods 940148 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Edward John Milsom 967453 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Sydney George Brooker 751046 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
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Above: Wellington Ic of 9 Squadron and left aerial view of RAF Honington
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Honington for a bombing operation on Koln. T2505 was hit by Flak and crashed in Antwerpen-Noord (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1939 - 12 July 1941) The Early Years Part 1 - Theo Boiten). It was reported that at Cologne explosions which continued for 10 minutes were seen to break out in the target area.
(1) Roderick Oliver, the son of Sgt. Oliver, contacted Aircrew Remembered with the following information:
Wilf, as he was known, was born on 28th June 1914 making him 26 when he was shot down. He was from York and joined the RAF Reserve and then qualified as a Pilot in 1936.
He was nearing the end of his tour of 30 missions when his Wellington was hit by flak. Sgt. Brooker, the rear gunner was killed and the rest of the crew bailed out but tragically drowned having parachuted into a lake.
As the pilot, Wilf was last out of the aircraft but it was too low for his parachute to fully open. His life was saved because he landed in the soft mud at the edge of the lake suffering 10 fractures. His life was saved by an RAMC Captain who had been captured at Dunkirk. Wilf was in a number of PoW camps, one being Schildberg (Stalag 21c) in Poland where his portrait was painted by a fellow PoW named Roland Spencer-Ford with a box of children’s watercolour paints in 1942 (Roland became a highly regarded water colour artist post war and the portrait is in my possession)
Captain (temporary Major) William Edon Tucker OBE, RAMC was formally an orthopaedic consultant at the Park Street Orthopaedic Clinic and had gained three international caps for the England Rugby Union team. He was mainly based at Lazarett 9c(a) Obermassfeld PoW hospital, which was attached to Stalag 9c.
Wilf returned to the UK in November 1943 when the Red Cross arranged an exchange of badly wounded PoW's via Sweden. On his return, he was immediately promoted Warrant Officer (WO). WO Oliver, of the Administrative and Special Duties Branch, was commissioned and promoted to 185608 Plt Off. with effect 2nd November 1944, London Gazette 1st December 1944. Promoted to Fg Off. with effect 28th June 1945, London gazette 13th July 1945. He relinquished his commission retaining his rank on the 28th June 1959.
Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium
Sgt. Kenneth Bruce Gladwin. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium. Grave ref: II. B. 1. Grave inscription: "IN MEMORY OF OUR DARLING WHO LIVES FOR EVER IN THE HEARTS OF HIS LONELY MAM AND DAD". Son of Harold Bruce and Gwendolyn Gladwin of Boreham Wood, Hertfordshire, England.
Sgt. Gladwin while training at No 7 Operational Training Unit (OTU) was involved in an accident while flying Spitfire R6607. The aircraft's engine failed while he was approaching the airfield at RAF Hawarden, Flintshire and he made a forced landing with no injuries.
Sgt. Leonard William Hardy. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium. Grave ref: II. B. 7. Grave inscription: "I LOVED YOU SO MUCH, DEAR, BUT GOD LOVED YOU BETTER. TILL WE MEET AGAIN. MARY". Son of William and Louise Hardy. Husband of Mary Isobel Hardy of Leicester, England.
Sgt. Jack Woods. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium. Grave ref: II. B. 6. Grave inscription: "HE GAVE HIS LIFE THAT WE MIGHT LIVE". Son of James William and Florence May Woods of Balby, Yorkshire, England
Sgt. Edward John Milsom. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium. Grave ref: II. B. 2. Grave inscription: "PEACEFULLY SLEEP, BELOVED ONE, UNTIL THE DAY DAWN". Son of Edward and Mabel Milsom of Cathays, Glamorgan, Wales
Sgt. Sydney George Brooker. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium. Grave ref: II. B. 5. Grave inscription: "IN PROUD AND TREASURED MEMORY OF SYD. "AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER"". Son of John George and Adelaide Fanny Sarah Brooker. Husband of Mary Catherine Brooker of Lent Rise, Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England.
Researched by Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Thanks to Michel Beckers for crash photographs (Aug 2018). Updated with thanks to Roderick Oliver, the son of Sgt. Oliver (Apr 2022).
Other sources quoted below:
RS 11.04.2022 - Narrative for Sgt. Oliver updated
KT - further information unknown
RS 11.04.2022 - Narrative for Sgt. Oliver updated
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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