10/11.12.1940 117 Squadron Blenheim IV Z5794 Plt Off. Wilfred H. Culling
Date: 10th/11th December 1940 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: 107 Squadron
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Wattisham
Location: Not known.
Pilot: Plt Off. Wilfred Henry Culling 42698 RAFVR Age? PoW No.104. Camp:Stalag Luft 3
Obs: Sgt. Arnold Brown 746717 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 422, Stalag 357/ Killed by friendly fire
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Edwin Thomas Perry 935296 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 445, Stalag 357
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off on a night operation to bomb the German city of Köln. The bomber force of 62 aircraft left to bomb various targets. With only 6 making their primaries. Object to bomb various German ports and to lay mines in the river Gronde.
2 aircraft were lost on the port bombing, the other a 50 squadron Hampden I X3117, flown by Fg Off. Eric B.S. Liddell from Rutland, England was killed along with his 3 other crew members. After liberation, Arnold and his fellow PoW’s were moved from the camp during the coldest winter months of the twentieth century with blizzards and sub zero temperatures and force-marched.
Already weak from the years in the camp on meagre prison rations and suffering from frostbite and hunger, many succumbed to disease and starvation along the route.
On reaching the village of Gresse, 15 kilometres north-east of Lauenburg, on the 19th April 1945, six Royal Air Force Typhoons opened fire with rockets and bombs on the PoW column as they walked along a narrow country road amidst open fields, accidentally mistaking them for retreating columns of German troops. Sixty allied PoW’s were killed and many including Arnold were wounded.
He died of his wounds in Boizenburg the next day 20.04.1944. Initially buried in the Boizenburg cemetery
Above: WO. Arnold Brown (See credits)
WO. Arnold Brown. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 11.N.6. Son of Cyril and Edith Brown, of Northampton; husband of Miriam Doris Brown, of Northampton, England. Grave inscription reads: "A Beloved Husband, A Dearly Loved Son. Worthy Of Everlasting Remembrance".
Promoted to WO whilst as a PoW
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew.
Photo credit and information on Warrant Officer Brown to Eric and Kathleen Brown and Jenny Maguire also thanks to Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries", Oliver Clutton-Brock "Footprints On The Sands Of Time" and the Commonwealth Graves Commission.