11/12.06.1941 No. 149 Squadron Wellington IC W5439 OJ-X Sgt. Harrison M.i.D.
Operation: Dusseldorf, Germany.
Date: 11/12th June 1941
Unit: No. 149 Squadron
Type: Vickers Wellington Mk.1C
Location: Het Broek, Holland.
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.
Pilot: Sgt.Wilfred Harrison MiD. 580035 RAFVR PoW No: 18284 Stalag Kopernikus (1)
Navigator:Sgt. Cliff Morgan 944601 RAFVR PoW No: 18279 Stalag Kopernikus
Fl/Eng: Sgt. G. A. Johnstone 929204 RAFVR PoW No: 222428 Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe
W/Op/Air Gnr: Fl/Sgt M.T. Kenny 629851 RAFVR. PoW No: 18294 Stalag Kopernikus
W/Op/Air Gnr: Fl/Sgt. V.G. Anderson 551296 RAFVR PoW No: 18283 Stalag Kopernikus
Air/Gnr: W/O. Tasman Errol Schofield NZ/391387 RNZAF Age 20. PoW No: 18296 Stalag Kopernikus
REASON FOR LOSS:
This aircraft took off from its base at Mildenhall at 23:43 hours en-route to Dusseldorf, joining 80 others.
This bomber is presumed to have been hit by fire from a German night hunter, aircraft crash landed at Het Broek, Holland. No night fighter claim can be identified for this loss.
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 prisoners of war.
Above left: Sgt Cliff Morgan of No.149 Squadron Right: 149 squadron on a low level fly past at RAF Mildenhall (courtesy I.W.M.)
(1) In the bitter winter months of early 1945 as the Stalag Luft III PoW's were marched westwards to prevent them from falling into the hands of the advancing Russian armies, Harrison and a number of colleagues managed to escape into the undergrowth and hid until the approach of Allied forces. After demobilisation as a warrant officer he was in 1947 awarded a Mention in Dispatches in recognition of his valuable services while a prisoner of war.
After the war Harrison 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. He died aged 93 on October 30th 2010 leaving his second wife, Betty and by the son of his first wife, Peggy.
W/O. Tasman Errol Schofield settled in England after the war and married Joyce Constance Rogers in 1947 - information courtesy Auckland Museum.
None, all survived
With thanks to the following: Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses", Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook "Bomber Command War Diaries". The Times Obituaries October 2010.