27/28.03.1942 No. 408 Squadron Hampden I AE219 EQ-R P/O. William M. Fraser
Operation: Gardening (See Gardening code names for area and explanation)
Date: 27/28th March 1942 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 408 Squadron (RCAF)
Type: Hampden I
Base: RAF Balderton, Nottinghamshire
Location: North Sea-North of Terschelling
Pilot: P/O. William Macmillan Fraser J/15238 RCAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Obs: W/O. II. Alger Jenkins R/56125 RCAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Frederick Trawford 1173842 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herman Albert Benjamin Bird 927772 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Page placed following visit by Aircrew Remembered to Runnymede Memorial - September 2016
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Balderton in Nottinghamshire at 19:27 hrs - one of 15 Hampdens detailed to lay mines in the Yams area (Heligoland Approaches).
Three aircraft failed to return - all victims of Luftwaffe night fighters. Hampden AE219 was shot down by Oblt. Rudolf Schoenert (1) of 4./NJG2 north of Terschelling in the North Sea at 23:21 hrs. Neither the crew nor aircraft were recovered.
The Squadron lost two others during the operation:
Hampden I L4140 EQ-B - Flown by 26 year old, P/O. Gordon Findlay Beaver NZ/402237 RNZAF from Auckland, New Zealand. A very experienced pilot with 572 hours logged - his 37th operation! All four crew listed as missing.
Hampden I AT176 EQ-A - Flown by 21 year old, Fl/Lt. William Beaumont J/5227 RCAF from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. All four crew listed as missing.
(1) Oblt. Rudolf Schoenert is universally recognised as the driving force behind the introduction of upward-firing armament in night fighter aircraft, the first prototype of which he introduced into his own Dornier Do-17 in 1942. The concept, dubbed Schräge Musik (Jazz Music), Oberfeldwebel Paul Mahle, an armourer attached to II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (NJG 5—5th Night Fighter Wing) at Parchim, worked closely with Rudolf Schoenert and built his own working prototype of Schräge Musik, which was soon fitted to all of the Gruppe's aircraft. He was to become one of the highest scoring aces of the Luftwaffe with 65 claims, Schoenert's radio and wireless operator was Oberfeldwebel Johannes Richter. He survived the war and died on the 30th November 1985. (See Kracker Archive on this site)
P/O. William Macmillan Fraser. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 100. Son of Angus and Grace Fraser, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
W/O. II. Alger Jenkins. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 102. Son of Alger and Louise Snedecor Jenkins, of Montclair, New Jersey, USA.
Sgt. Arthur Frederick Trawford. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 95. Son of Arthur Frederick and Dorothy Emily Trawford, of Shirley, Warwickshire, England.
Sgt. Herman Albert Benjamin Bird. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 78. Son of Brice Herman Frederick and Henrietta Alice Bird, of Colchester, Essex, England.
For further details and our thanks to the following sources: