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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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83 Squadron
10/11.01.1942 83 Squadron Hampden I AE133 Sgt. Fletcher

Operation: Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Date: 10th/11th January 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: 83 Squadron

Type: Hampden I

Serial: AE133

Code: OL:X

Base: RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, England

Location: Near Campen, NW of Emden, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Martin Cargill Fletcher 778412 RAFVR Age? Killed

Observer: Sgt. Leonard Armstrong Fox 1255582 RAFVR Age? Killed

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. Harold R. Holme 926467 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 149 *

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. Percy V. Sekine 1375192 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 144 * (1)

* Stalag 383, Hohen Fels, Bavaria

Handley Page Hampdens from 83 Sqn, at RAF Scampton (Credit: Imperial War Museum)

REASON FOR LOSS:

AE133 took off from RAF Scampton at around 17:00 hrs on a mission to bomb targets at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. It has been reported that this mission was the final one for the Hampdens of 83 Squadron.

The aircraft crashed at 21:18 hrs near Campen, north west of Emden in Germany. The villagers of Campen were afraid that the bomber would crash near the school but the bomber did a sharp turn and crashed in a field next to the place called Rüsthofen. (Reference: Aviation Safety Network)

(1) Sgt. Percy V. Sekine survived the crash and recalled the events:

"We took off from Scampton around 17:00 hrs on 10th January 1942, the target was Wilhelmshaven. Over Germany, approaching the target, either through flak or mechanical failure, the port engine packed up and with a full bomb load we started to lose height. The port engine also powered the generator so we could not drop the bombs which we had to do to stand a chance of getting back.

To ditch in the sea in January 1942 was certain death, and Martin Fletcher, our pilot, told me to try and release the bombs manually, but it was no good; we threw overboard everything of weight, guns, cylinders etc.


Then Martin turned the aircraft inland (we had been heading out to sea) and told us to bale out. I jumped out at under 3,000 ft. Harold followed. The last I heard before that was Leonard Fox (second pilot) asking and helping Martin to control the rudder pedals. Less than a minute after I jumped, they crashed, lighting up the sky with the explosion, as I was still on the way down. Leonard Fox and Martin Fletcher are buried at Sage, a cemetery on the way to Wilhelmshaven. I owe my life to Martin, a fine and brave Rhodesian.


I was captured about five hours later, the usual interrogation and then on to the first, Stalag VIIA Mooseburg near Munich, one of many to come. I escaped from there in July 1942 by climbing the wire between two sentry boxes, aided by pouring rain which deadened sound and caused the sentry to shelter as I went over. I was free for seven days but was caught outside Innsbruck. There were two more escape attempts, one by tunnel under the wire, the next on a working party."

Burial Details

Sgt. Martin Cargill Fletcher. Sage War Cemetery Plot 11 Row B Grave 2. No further details

Sgt. Leonard Armstrong Fox. Sage War Cemetery Plot 10 Row D Grave 1. No further details

Researched by Ralph Snape and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones for his contribution.

RS 06.04.2019 - Original Upload

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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