AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List

.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

149 squadron crest
11/12.06.1941 149 Squadron Wellington IC W5439 OJ:X Sgt. Harrison MiD

Operation: Dusseldorf, Germany.

Date: 11th/12th June 1941 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 149 Squadron

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: W5439

Code: OJ:X

Location: Het Broek, Holland.

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.

Pilot: Sgt.Wilfred Harrison MiD. 580035 RAFVR Age 23. PoW No. 18284 * (1)

2nd Pilot: Sgt. Clifford Morgan 944601 RAFVR Age 23. PoW No. 18279 * (2)

Observer: Sgt. George Alexander Johnstone 929204 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 222428 **

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt Michael Terence Kenny 629851 RAFVR Age 19. PoW No. 18294 * (3)

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Vernon George Ingram Anderson MiD 551296 RAFVR Age 20 PoW No: 18283 * (4)

Air Gnr (Rear): WO. Tasman Errol Schofield 391387 RNZAF Age 20. PoW No: 18296 * (5)

* Stalag 357 Kopernikus at Thorn (Toruń) in Poland

** Stalag 4B Mühlberg, Sachsen, Germany.

Above left: Sgt. Schofield reported missing and right as a Warrant Officer (WO) (Courtesy of Russell Thorne)

REASON FOR LOSS:

This aircraft took off from its base at Mildenhall at 23:43 hrs en-route to Dusseldorf, joining 80 others.

W5439 was hit by 2./Res. Flak Abt. 642. The aircraft crashed at Deest near Nijmegen at 03:00 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1939 - 12 July 1941) The Early Years Part 1 - Theo Boiten)

On Sgt. Harrison's 48th sortie, his starboard engine caught fire on the return trip and he was compelled to execute a belly landing in a field in the Netherlands. Thanks to his skill, all his crew survived to become PoWs.

Above left: Sgt. Cliff Morgan of 149 Squadron; Right: 149 squadron on a low level fly past at RAF Mildenhall (courtesy IWM)

(1) Sgt Harrison was captured in Het Broek, south of Amsterdam the day after the forced landing on the 13th June 1941. He was then transferred to Dulag Luft, Oberursel arriving there on the 16th June. On the 19th June he was transferred to Stalag 8B, Lamsdorf arriving there on the 21st June.

Note: In 1943, the Lamsdorf camp was split up, and many of the PoWs (and Arbeitskommando) were transferred to two new base camps Stalag 8C Sagan (modern Żagań and Stalag 8D Teschen (modern Český Těšín). The base camp at Lamsdorf was renumbered Stalag 344.

On the 8th May 1942 he was transferred to Stalag Luft 3, Sagan arriving there on the 9th May 1942. In July 1943, probably on promotion to Warrant Officer (WO), he was transferred to Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug.

In July 1944 he was transferred to Stalag 357 Kopernikus at Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. On the 1st September 1944 the PoWs were force-marched from Thorn to the site of the former Stalag 11D, with construction being carried out by the Italian PoW from 11B. The camp was commonly known as Stalag 357, Fallingbostal but officially the designation was Stalag 357, Oerbke.

In early April 1945 the PoWs were informed by the Commandant Oberst Hermann Ostmann that 12,000 British PoWs were being evacuated from the camp in the face of the Allied advance. The men marched from the camp in columns of 2,000. WO. Harrison successfully escaped from the forced march on the 14th April 1945 and contacted British Forces at Trauen, about 50 km (31 mls) east of the camp.

He was interviewed on the 22nd April 1945 when it was revealed that he was involved in various tunnelling projects whilst at Stalag Luft 6 and was mainly involved with photographs and forging documents.

WO. Harrison was Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD) for his valuable services as a PoW which was promulgated in the London Gazette on the 1st January 1947.

After demobilisation he became a civil airline pilot flying most of the world’s commercial routes and retraining as airliners progressed from piston engines through turboprops to turbojets. He retired from the BOAC as a senior captain in 1967 having flown more than 15,000 hours in civil aviation. Wilfred Harrison was born on the 3rd July 1920. He was a qualified Pilot when he enlisted in the RAFVR on the 24th January 1937. Wilfred passed away on the 30th October 2010, at the age of 91 leaving his second wife, Betty and the son of his first wife, Peggy.

(2) Sgt. Morgan was captured near Amsterdam the day after the forced landing on the 13th June 1941. He was then transferred to Dulag Luft, Oberursel arriving there on the 14th June. On the 21st June he was transferred to Stalag 8B, Lamsdorf arriving there on the 24th June.

Note: In 1943, the Lamsdorf camp was split up, and many of the PoWs (and Arbeitskommando) were transferred to two new base camps Stalag 8C Sagan (modern Żagań and Stalag 8D Teschen (modern Český Těšín). The base camp at Lamsdorf was renumbered Stalag 344.

On the 6th June 1942 he was transferred to Stalag Luft 3, Sagan arriving there on the 7th June. Late in June1943, probably on promotion to Warrant Officer (WO), he was transferred to Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug. In August 1944 he was transferred to Stalag 357 Kopernikus at Thorn (Toruń) in Poland.

On the 1st September 1944 the PoWs were force-marched from Thorn (to the site of the former Stalag 11D, with construction being carried out by the Italian PoW from XI-B. The camp was commonly known as Stalag 357, Fallingbostal but officially the designation was Stalag 357, Oerbke.

In early April 1945 the PoWs were informed by the Commandant Oberst Hermann Ostmann that 12,000 British PoWs were being evacuated from the camp in the face of the Allied advance.

It appears that he was one of a number of PoWs that hid in the camp and avoided the forced-march. The camp was liberated on the 16th April 1945 by British troops from B Squadron, 11th Hussars and the Reconnaissance Troop of the 8th Hussars. They were met at the main gate of the camp by a guard of Airborne troops, impeccably attired and led by RSM Lord.

WO. Morgan was interviewed on the 3rd June 1945

Clifford Morgan was born on the 12th October 1917. He was employed as a Draper in Kinver, Staffordshire prior to enlisting in the RAFVR on the 30th December 1939.

(3) Flt Sgt. Kenny was captured on the same day of the crash landing. He was then transferred to Dulag Luft, Oberursel arriving there on the 15th June. On the 21st June he was transferred to Stalag 8B, Lamsdorf arriving there on the 24th June 1941.

Note: In 1943, the Lamsdorf camp was split up, and many of the PoWs (and Arbeitskommando) were transferred to two new base camps Stalag 8C Sagan (modern Żagań and Stalag 8D Teschen (modern Český Těšín). The base camp at Lamsdorf was renumbered Stalag 344.

On the 6th May 1942 he was transferred to Stalag Luft 3, Sagan arriving there on the 7th May.

On the 2nd November 1943, probably on promotion to Warrant Officer (WO), he was transferred to Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug arriving there on the 4th November 1943.

On the 17th July 1944 he was transferred to Stalag 357 Kopernikus at Thorn (Toruń) in Poland arriving there on the 18th July. On the 5th August 1944 he was PoWs were force-marched from Thorn to the site of the former Stalag 11D, with construction being carried out by the Italian PoW from XI-B. The camp was commonly known as Stalag 357, Fallingbostal but officially the designation was Stalag 357, Oerbke.

In early April 1945 the PoWs were informed by the Commandant Oberst Hermann Ostmann that 12,000 British PoWs were being evacuated from the camp in the face of the Allied advance.

WO Kenny escaped from the forced march on the 10th April with a WO. Hughes RCAF but was recaptured on the 17th April by members of the Kampfgruppe ‘Kalle’, 3 km (1¾ mls) NE of Soltau, about 16 km (10 mls) NE of the camp.

Believed to have been Frederick James Hughes R165160, RCAF the Bomb Aimer from 166 Sqn, Lancaster III DV220 shot down on the 20th February 1944 (3 KiA, 4 PoW).

Note: A Kampfgruppe tended to short-lived and no information about Kampfgruppe ‘Kalle’ has been found.

It is not recorded where he was held after being recaptured or when he was liberated. However, he was interviewed on the 28th May 1945.

Michael Terence Kenny was born on the 19th June 1921. He enlisted in the RAFVR on the 2nd January 1939.

(4) Sgt Anderson was captured near Amsterdam the day after the forced landing on the13th June 1941. He was then transferred to Dulag Luft, Oberursel arriving there on the 16th June. On the 21st June he was transferred to Stalag 8B, Lamsdorf arriving there on the 22nd June.

Note: In 1943, the Lamsdorf camp was split up, and many of the PoWs (and Arbeitskommando) were transferred to two new base camps Stalag 8C Sagan (modern Żagań and Stalag 8D Teschen (modern Český Těšín). The base camp at Lamsdorf was renumbered Stalag 344.

On the 8th May 1942 he was transferred to Stalag Luft 3, Sagan arriving there on the 10th May. On the 23rd July 1943, probably on promotion to Warrant Officer (WO), he was transferred to Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug arriving there of the 25th July 1943.

In July 1944 he was transferred to Stalag 357 Kopernikus at Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. On the 1st September 1944 the PoWs were force-marched from Thorn (to the site of the former Stalag 11D, with construction being carried out by the Italian PoW from XI-B. The camp was commonly known as Stalag 357, Fallingbostal but officially the designation was Stalag 357, Oerbke.

In early April 1945 the PoWs were informed by the Commandant Oberst Hermann Ostmann that 12,000 British PoWs were being evacuated from the camp in the face of the Allied advance. The men marched from the camp in columns of 2,000.

WO. Anderson successfully escaped from the forced march on the 14th April 1945 with a WO. W. Fixter and contacted British Forces at Trauen, about 50 km (31 mls) east of the camp.

WO. Wilfred Harold Fixter 953587 RAFVR was the 2nd Pilot from 106 Sqn, Manchester I R5840 shot down and ditched on the 3rd May 1942. (7 PoWs).

WO. Anderson was interviewed on the 22nd April 1945 when it was revealed that he worked with the escape organisations on tunnels at Stalag Luft 3. Stalag Luft 6 and Stalag 357.

WO. Anderson was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) for his valuable services as a PoW which was promulgated in the London gazette on the 1st January 1947.

Vernon George Ingram Anderson was born on the 3rd July 1920. He enlisted in the RAFVR on the 24th January 1937.

(5) Tasman Errol Schofield was born on the 1st Jun 1921 in Hinakura, South Wairarapa, Wellington, New Zealand. After demobilisation he settled in England and married Joyce Constance Rogers on the 26th July 1947 in Hailsham, Sussex. Tasman Errol Schofield passed away on the 16th August 2007.

Burial Details:

None, all survived

Researched by Aircrew Remembered and dedicated the crew and families. Thanks also to "The Times Obituaries" October 2010. Reviewed and updated by Aircrew Remembered (Jan 2022). Reviewed and updated by Aircrew Remembered with new information about the crew (Mar 2024). Thanks Russell Thorne for the images of WO. Tasman Errol Schofield (Mar 2024)

Other sources listed below:

RS 23.03.2024 - Update to narrative and photographs for WO. Harrison.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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', 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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 24 March 2024, 06:09

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor