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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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RAF Crest
13/14.09.1942 No. 26 OTU Wellington Ic X9786 WG-F P/O. Hage

Operation: Bremen

Date: 13/14th September 1942 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 26 Operational Training Unit (7 Group)

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: X9786

Code: WG-F

Base: RAF Wing, Buckinghamshire

Location: Ijsselmeer, Holland

Pilot: P/O. Robert Leo Hage 119024 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Kenneth David Jones 1128890 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Alexander Knox Smith 656553 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Donald Fisher 1265865 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Alexander Gartlan R/79372 RCAF Age 21. PoW No: 27143 Camp: 344


Taking off at 23:53 hrs to join 332 other aircraft on an operation to bomb Bremen including many from Operational Training Units to make up numbers.

It is reported that the raid was heavy with 848 houses destroyed and Bremen industry suffering considerable damage with the Lloyds dynamo works put out of act for some two weeks and various parts of the Focke-Wulf factory for up to 8 days. 5 nearly completed aircraft were destroyed and 3 more damaged. 70 people on the ground were killed and a further 371 injured.

The allies were also to suffer with some 15 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling and 1 Whitley were lost, with 87 aircrew killed, another 28 being made PoW.

Above: 26 OTU No. 6 Pilots Course 14th July 1942. L-R: Sgt’s. Knowles, Flack, Welford, Easter, Southall, Lowe, Hage, Astrosky and Sgt. Rogers (courtesy Teunispats Netherlands - see link below for his fine research, via Jan Halvorson)

Wellington X9786 was attacked by Hptm. Wilhelm Dormann (1) of III./NJG1 at 05:48hrs over Elburg. His aircraft a Bf110 G2 G9+BD with his wireless operator/gunner Obfw. Friedrich Schmallscheid having been previously scrambled from Twente Airfield. The aircraft finally coming down in the Ijsselmeer at 05:52, the rear gunner Sgt. John Gartlan managed to bale out during the decent, but was quickly captured by the Germans. The aircraft fell into very shallow water and was recovered by the Germans later that month.

Crash location - Courtesy of Zuyder Zee Air War Over Holland

(1) Hptm. Wilhelm Dormann had a total of 14 confirmed claims before he was shot down on the 17/18th August 1943 by an interception from a 141 Squadron beaufighter - he did manage bale out severely wounded but his radio operator was killed.

Pats Research - a huge database containing a great deal of date regarding the Air War over the Netherlands and surrounding areas.

We hope that we will be able to continue supporting his work and that we are able to work together. The photograph above of No. 6 course has been retouched and named in order that others searching for names mentioned can be found via the various internet search engines. (original placed below)

Sgt. John Alexander Gartlan, biography - Courtesy of Zuyder Zee Air War Over Holland

Burial details:

P/O. Robert Leo Hage. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 85. Row. A. Grave 9. Born on the 24th July 1920 the son of Leonerd and Blanche Betts Hage, of Missoula, Montana, USA. Epitaph reads: “Brief, Brave And Glorious Was His Young Career.”

Sgt. Kenneth David Jones. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 85. Row. C. Grave 7. Son of Tom and Mary Irving Jones (ńee Howarth), of Crosby, Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Alexander Knox Smith. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 85. Row. B. Grave 8. Son of Alexander Hastie and Sarah Caroline Smith (née Knox), of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England. Epitaph reads: “Until The Day Break And The Shadows Flee Away.”

Sgt. Donald Fisher. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 85. Row. A. Grave 7. Son of John and Catherine Fisher and husband of Alice Florence Fisher, of Ilford, Essex, England. Epitaph reads: “Beloved Husband Of Alice and Father.”

Researched for Jan Halvorson, relative of the pilot and dedicated to relatives of the crew. Many thanks to Ian Coleman, Pats Research Group for OTU photograph. Thanks to John Jones for the Zuyder Zee Air War Over Holland contributions. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

RS 10.08.2019 - addition crash location and bio for Sgt. Gartlan

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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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