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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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61 Squadron crest
01/02.03.1941 No. 61 Squadron Hampden I X3147 QR-B Sgt. Clarke

Operation: Cologne (Köln)

Date: 1/2nd March 1941 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Hampden I

Serial: X3147

Code: QR-B

Base: Hemswell, Lincolnshire.

Location: Syderstone, Norfolk.

Pilot 1: Sgt. Richard William Tudor Clarke 745499 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Alfred Douglas Cox 754176 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Percy Thomas 967631 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry George Loates 617644 RAF Age 25. Killed


Took off at 20:14 hrs from RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire to attack Cologne (Köln) joining 131 aircraft on what was considered a very successful raid with the docks being hit on the Rhine near the city centre. Further damage including a military store and 13 warehouses burnt out. 21 people were killed on the ground with another 35 injured.

The Allies suffered huge losses though, reporting that 11 aircraft were lost (On Cologne Operation) some as a result of combat but the majority through severe fog conditions over England. (See below)

After running out of fuel searching for a place to land during the severe fog conditions QR-B Hampden I crash landed at Syderstone, Norfolk at 04:14 hrs and the aircraft burst into flames killing all the crew.

Sgt. Richard Clarke (who had carried out 17 operations over Europe including attacks on the Tirpitz and Berlin) and Sgt. Henry Loates were buried in a joint funeral with full military honours on the 7th March 1941. Sgt. Clarke's parents, sister and other relatives were present at the funeral.

61 Squadron Hampdens

Details of losses this night for Bomber Command:

9 Squadron Wellington IC R1288 - All six crew killed
10 Squadron Whitley V T4265 - All five crew killed
50 Squadron Hampden I X2984 - One crew member killed, three surviving
51 Squadron losing 2 Whitley V's - N1481 - All five crew killed. P5108 - Three killed and two made Prisoner of War
61 Squadron losing 3 Hampden I's - P1253 - One killed, three injured - X3147 - All four crew killed - AD723 - All four crew killed
77 Squadron losing 1 Whitley V - Z6463 - 1 killed
78 Squadron losing 1 Whitley V - N1525 - All five crew killed
102 Squadron losing 1 Whitley V - One killed - four rescued by Cromer lifeboat.

Sgt. Clarke's parents, sister and other relatives at the funeral.

Joint funeral for Sgt. Clarke and Sgt. Loates

Great Bircham (St. Mary) Churchyard, Norfolk - Summer 1946 and now

Burial details:

Sgt. Richard William Tudor Clarke. Great Bircham (St. Mary) Churchyard, Norfolk. Plot 1. Row 2. Grave 19. Fulham Cross, London, England.

Sgt. Alfred Douglas Cox. Birmingham (Brandwood End) Cemetery. Sec B.3. F.C. Grave 869. Son of Alfred and Lily Cox, of Billesley, Birmingham, England.

Sgt. Percy Thomas Llanpumpsaint (Bethel) Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard. N.W. part. Son of Rees and Lizzie Thomas of Gwarcwm, Llanpumpsaint, Wales.

Sgt. Henry George Loates. Great Bircham (St. Mary) Churchyard, Norfolk. Plot 1. Row 1. Grave 19. Son of Herbert George Loates, and of Elizabeth Loates, of Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada.

Aircrew Remembered would like to thank Brian Hillman for his extended research in this loss and for his valuable contribution with the funeral photographs. This article prepared for the niece of Sgt Clarke and the other relatives of the crew. Aircrew Remembered visited both the church and the Bircham Newton Museum researching this accident.

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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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