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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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102 Squadron
24.12.1944 102 Squadron Halifax III, LW168, Plt Off. Edward Hislop

Operation: Essen-Mülheim, Germany

Date: 24th December 1944 (Sunday)

Unit No: 102 (Ceylon) Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial No: LW168

Code: DY:O

Location: Near Krefeld, Germany

Base: RAF Pocklington, East Riding, Yorkshire, England

Pilot: Plt Off. Edward Hislop 187942 RAFVR Age 29. Murdered (1)

Flt Eng: Sgt. Arnold Coope 1815629 RAFVR Age? PoW *

Navigator: Plt Off. Charles Richard Hawthorne J92445 RCAF Age 21. PoW *

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Kevin Patrick Lindenboom 1293195 RAFVR Age 22. Murdered (1)

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Robert Clifford Clements 1402056 RAFVR Age 22. PoW *

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Dennis Worthing 1834665 RAFVR Age? PoW *

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. John Temple 2218557 RAFVR Age 25. PoW ** (2)

* Unknown PoW Camp

** Stalag 3A, Luckenwalde, Brandenburg in Prussia

REASON FOR LOSS:

LW168 took off from RAF Pocklington at 11:57 hrs on the 24th December 1944 to join a force to attack the airfield Essen-Mülheim, thought to be in use as a forward supply point for the German Ardennes offensive.

The Essen-Mülheim airfield is located 6 km (3¾ mls) SW of Essen and about 5 km (2 mls) SE of Mülheim itself. Today the airfield is used for general aviation and business charters.

On this date the airfield was bombed by approximately half of 338 RAF Bomber Command heavy bombers that staged a daylight attack on Essen-Mülheim and Düsseldorf-Lohausen airfields. 4 x Bf109Gs from II./JG 77 were destroyed and the airfield was reported unserviceable due to severe bomb damage on the runway and taxiways. The estimated repair time was 4 weeks. (Luftwaffe Airfield 1935-45 Germany (1937 Borders) – Henry L. deZeng IV).

The aircraft was caught in a barrage of Flak and partially abandoned before crashing near Krefeld, some 24 km (15 mls) WSW of Mülheim, at 14:30 hrs.

Other than Flt Sgt. Temple it is not known when and where the other airmen who became PoWs were captured.

LW168 was one of three aircraft lost from 102 (Ceylon) Sqn on this mission:

Halifax III MZ871 DY:G which crashed near Neuss. (4 PoWs, 2 KiA, 1 Murdered);

Halifax III MZ827 DY:? which sustained Flak damage and crash landed at an emergency airfield at RAF Carnaby in Yorkshire at 17:29 hrs. No injuries were reported.

(1) An investigation by No. 22 Section, No. 4 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit (MREU) was carried out to determine the fate of the missing Plt Off. E. Hislop and Flt Sgt. K.P. Lindenboom.

In summary the investigation determined the following:

At about 14:00 hrs on the 24th December 1944 an aircraft flying towards Mülheim was seen in difficulty and five airmen were seen to bale out and landed scattered around the Krefeld region.

One unknown airman, thought to be Flt Sgt. Lindenboom, landed in the garden of 95 Legionstraße (Legion Street), Gellep in Krefeld. This airman was shot and killed by a Sturmabteilung (SA) man named Johann Rheinberg who lived at this address, which does not exist today.

Rheinberg was apprehended by Military Police in May 1945 but before he could be brought to trial he hanged himself while being held in prison at Krefeld.

A second airman, thought to be Plt Off. Hislop, landed in the river Rhine and was seen to discard his parachute and swim strongly to the west bank of the river near to the Ölfabrik oil factory of the proprietor’s Holtz und Willemsen. Here he was seen to plead with the NCO of the guard detail from the Krefeld-Uerdinger Brücke (Bridge) not to shoot him, this was to no avail and he was shot and killed. The NCO was identified as Unteroffizier (Cpl) Heinrich Baecker.

When interviewed he admitted that he had shot the airman once in the chest because he did not raise his hands in surrender and then once in the head. It was recommended that Baecker be charged with committing a war crime as soon as he was well enough to be moved from his home on Bonner Straße today in Swisttal-Miel some 1½ km NE of Ludendorf. He was extremely ill with tuberculosis and could not be moved.

Baecker died on the 10th November 1946 at 23:55 hrs.

On the 26th December the two bodies were transported to the Krefeld-Bockum Neuer Friedhof (cemetery).

The graveyard assistant for the cemetery initially claimed that Plt Off. Hislop and Flt Sgt. Lindenboom had been buried in grave nos. 64 and 65 in plot 2. However, upon exhumation of these two graves the remains therein clearly exhibited skeletal injuries that were consistent with those resulting from being in a crashed aircraft.

Note: The remains were later identified as those of Sgt. John W. Freeborn 1891501 RAFVR and Sgt. Richard E. Faselt R254327 RCAF who were from Lancaster III PB639, of 153 Sqn which was shot down on the 2nd November 1944 with the loss of all seven crew.

The graveyard assistant was again questioned and this time he admitted that he was aware that the two airmen in question had been shot prior to their arrival at the cemetery and that he was not allowed to bury them. The burial was carried out by a Luftwaffe Unterfeldwebel (Sgt) and four Russian labourers. He could not understand why Plt Off. Hislop was not in one of the exhumed graves but he was sure that he was in the cemetery somewhere.

The Luftwaffe Unterfeldwebel was identified as Heinrich Kirchheussen who when questioned confirmed that he had buried the two airmen but he could not be sure where in the cemetery they were buried. He proved to be a difficult and evasive witness and his answers were not considered to be truthful.

To compound the confusion as to the location of the two airmen the records for the Krefeld-Bockum Neuer Friedhof, which had apparently been prepared since the occupation, were inaccurate because no burials had been recorded for the period between the 4th July 1944 and the 7th February 1945. Further investigation also determined that all records of burials for grave Nos. 60 to 82 had been destroyed.

In the deposition by a Johann Scholten, who was a cemetery gardener by profession, he stated that he arrived for work at the Krefeld-Bockum Neuer Friedhof on the morning of one day between Christmas and New Year and found two dead Allied airmen lying uncovered without coffins on the grass in plot 2 directly in front of the Allied military graves.

Both were wearing blue uniforms and one of the two wore 3 or 4 stripes on his sleeve. Both were tall and well built men. He noticed blood on the head and body of one of the men and on closer examination he discovered a head wound and one body wound. He did not examine the other man and could not say whether he had any wounds or not. However, he did see one of the men had a label on his jacket bearing the name HISLOP.

After reporting the two bodies to Unterfeldwebel Kirchheussen he was told that an Arbeitskommando (Work party) would be sent to bury the two airmen. He then proceeded to mark out the locations for the two graves to be dug. These were grave nos. 68 and 69 located in plot 2, row 2.

On the 22nd June 1946 in an effort to determine where in the cemetery the remains of Plt Off. E. Hislop and Flt Sgt. K.P. Lindenboom were buried the investigating officer ordered that grave no. 68 to be opened which he examined before being covered again.

It should be noted that in the investigating officer’s initial report he recorded that two bodies were found in this grave lying side by side. No further mention of this second body or its subsequent location has been found in the investigation file transcripts. The officer speculated that this second body may have been that of Flt Sgt. Lindenboom.

These authors cannot find any explanation as to whether the investigating officer misspoke or indeed there was a second body in grave no. 68.

Two days later grave nos. 68 and 69 were opened again and the bodies placed in coffins. The body in grave no. 68 was left in the same location but for some unknown reason the body that was in grave 69 was reburied in grave 83.

On the 8th August 1946 grave nos. 68 and 83 were opened again and examined by a pathologist after which they were reburied in the same locations. The pathologist concluded that the body in grave no. 68 exhibited skeletal injuries that were consistent with those resulting from being in a crashed aircraft.

Note: A Graves Concentration Report recorded that the remains in grave no. 68 as those of Fg Off. Robert J. McCormack J88840 RCAF also from Lancaster III PB639, of 153 Sqn which was shot down on the 2nd November 1944.

Examination of the body in grave no. 83 determined that this man had been shot in the back whilst swimming or in bent-down position. No bullet wound was found to the skull, only a wound from a blow by a sharp edge tool, possible a spade. Death could not be attributed to the bullet wound, but to the skull injury.

Note: These remains were determined to be those of Plt Off. Edward Hislop who was murdered by Unteroffizier (Cpl) Heinrich Baecker.

The whereabouts of the remains for Flt Sgt. K.P. Lindenboom were never determined and he remains Missing in Action and is therefore remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

(2) Flt Sgt. Temple was captured near Krefeld the same day. He was held at a Luftwaffe airbase in Krefeld, probably the airfield 5 km (3 mls) NE of Krefeld, and then transferred to Dulag Luft Wetzlar on the 26th December arriving there the next day.

On the 8th January 1945 he was transferred to Stalag 7, Bankau arriving there 2 days later. His final move was to Stalag 3A on the 19th January arriving there on the 5th February.

As the Russians approached Stalag 3A the guards fled leaving the prisoners to be liberated by the Red Army on the 22nd April 1945. However, Flt Sgt. Temple did not leave until the 8th May 1945 and was interviewed on the 15th May 1945.

John Temple was a clerk in Chester before he enlisted in the RAFVR on the 20th July 1943.

Burial Details:

Above: Grave marker for Plt Off. Edward Hislop (Courtesy of Des Philippet – FindAGrave)

Plt Off. Edward Hislop. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 2.E.10. Born in 3rd Qtr of 1915 in Wigan, Lancashire. Son of Edward and Jane Hislop of Wigan, Lancashire. Husband of Ellen (née Gray) Hislop of Newtown, Wigan, England.

Above: Panel 220 for Flt Sgt. Kevin Patrick Lindenboom (Courtesy of Andrea Ruddick – Aircrew Remembered)

Flt Sgt. Kevin Patrick Lindenboom. Runnymede Memorial Panel 220. Born circa 1922 in Bengal, India. Son of John Norman Patrick and Edith Gertrude Lindenboom of Whyteleafe, Surrey, England.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Other sources listed below:

RS & TV 08.10.2023 - Initial Upload

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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.
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