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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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75 Squadron Crest
25/26th July 1940 No. 75 Squadron Wellington Ic R3235 F/O. Coleman DFC

Operation: Kassel

Date: 25/26th July 1940 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron

Type: Wellington MkIC

Serial: R3235

Code: AA-

Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk

Location: Lake Markermeer off Uitdam Holland

Pilot: F/O. William Harcourt Coleman DFC. NZ/2526 RNZAF Age 23. Killed (1)

Pilot: P/O. Frank Twain Poole 42722 RAF Age 25. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Norman Wilson Brown DFM. 518807 RAF Age 24. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Dowds 632780 RAF Age 19. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Eric Nevill 631165 RAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Donald Francis “Don” Annan A/391377 RNZAF Age 20. Killed


Taking off at 21:22 hrs on an operation to bomb the marshalling yards at Kassel together with eight other aircraft. It seems that during their return they were probably hit by flak as no nightfighter claims have been established for this loss.

Made a hard belly landing in Lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea), 100m off shore of Uitdam.

Crew jumped out just before, all drowned. The First Wellington (of many) crashed in the Zuiderzee area during WW2.

The corpse of Sgt.Norman Wilson Brown was caught in the net of fishingboat VD 46 on 5th or 6th of August 1940 near the island of Marken. Skipper Jan Kes brought the corpse to the harbour of the Dutch fishing village of Volendam, 20 kilometers from Amsterdam. The bodies of all the crew were washed up, the pilot’s on the 03rd August.

(1) Service numbers had not been assigned to officers of the RNZAF at the time of their death - added posthumously.
(2) Sgt. Norman Wilson Brown DFM gazetted on the 13th September 1940.

Burial details:

F/O. William Harcourt Coleman.DFC. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland. Plot 69. Row A. Grave 21. Born on the 29th of November 1916, the son of Mrs. Claudia May Monica Walton, of 12 Derby St, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand. His father was deceased at the time he left for England. Prior to service age just 15, belonged to Christchurch Gliding Club. Joined the RAF in 1937 - transferring to RNZAF in July, 1939. A total of 1063 flying hours logged and on his 27th operation.

Sgt. William Eric Nevill. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland. Plot 69. Row A. Grave 15. Son of William Thomas Nevill, and of Violet Gertrude Nevill, of Edmonton, Middlesex, England.

P/O. Frank Twain Poole. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Holland. Plot 69. Row A. Grave 17. Born on the 14th August 1915 the son of Charles Herbert and Mary Jane Poole, of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. A total of 291 flying hours logged and on his 9th operation.

Sgt. John Dowds. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland. Plot 69. Row A. Grave 23. Son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Dowds, of Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.

Sgt. Norman Wilson Brown DFM. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland. Plot: Plot 69. Row A. Grave 25. Son of Arthur Kinnear Brown and Ethel Brown, of Hull; husband of Minnie Brown, of Hull, England.

Sgt. William Donald Francis “Don” Annan. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland. Plot 69. Row A. Grave 19. Son of Fredrick Andrew John Annan and of Annie Isabell Annan (née MacRae), of Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

Researched Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered November 2016. With thanks to Gene Berford for some of the crew photographs, Fullhamrocks for grave photographs - the remainder from the collection of Michel Beckers. With thanks to relatives of F/O. Coleman via Auckland Cenotaph for detailed information. Also to Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vol’s 1-3.

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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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