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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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No. 37 Squadron
18.12.1939 37 Squadron Wellington N2904 Sqn Ldr. Ian V. Hue-Williams

Operation: Wilhelmshaven Harbour, Germany

Date: 18th December 1939 (Monday)

Unit No: 37 Squadron

Type: Wellington 1A

Serial: N2904

Code: LF:B

Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk

Location: North Sea off the coast of Germany

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Ian Victor Hue-Williams. 29210. RAF Age? MiA

2nd Pilot: Flt Lt. Thomas Gaufrey Wearmouth Appleby. 34227. RAF Age? MiA

Obs: Fg Off. Arthur Richard Vaughan Williams. 33293. RAF Age 23. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Alister Raymond Norris. 580831. RAF Age 23. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: LAC. John Arundel Barstow. 550716. RAF Age? MiA

Air Gnr (Rear): LAC. Ernest Lowe. 540706. RAF Age 21. MiA

Wellington 1A of No. 9 Squadron. Wilihelmshaven harbour


Wellington N2904 took off at 09:40 hrs with six other 37 Squadron Wellingtons from RAF Feltwell to carry out a raid at 14,000ft on Wilhelmshaven harbour to attack any battleships or cruisers. Having rendezvous at 10:30 hrs over Yarmouth 37 Squadron Wellingtons flew in a diamond formation with 9 aircraft from both 149 Squadron and 9 Squadron. The formation were attacked South of Wilhelmshaven at 12:30 hrs by approx. 30/40 enemy aircraft and the attack continued until reaching Wilhelmshaven when heavy flak was encountered from both shore based batteries and Navel craft.

No suitable enemy battleships or cruisers were seen. After leaving the Wilhelmshaven area the aircraft were followed for some 70/80 miles to the German coast by the enemy fighters. A total of 12 aircraft were shot down on this operation. Situated on the island of Wangerooge the Germans had been tracking the bomber force for many miles using the experimental early warning Freya radar system and this information was passed on to the German fighters.

The total loss for 37 Squadron from the operation: 21 killed, 1 injured who died of his injuries and 4 prisoners of war. Only one aircraft of No. 37 Squadron returned to base. Lost: (N2888) (N2889) (N2935) (N2936)

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany

Burial details:

Sqn Ldr. Ian Victor Hue-Williams. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 1. Husband to Bettine M. (née Ritchie) Hue-Williams of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.

On the 29th December 1930 a Victor Hue-Williams was granted a short service commission and was posted to RAF Depot, Uxbridge. 1934 Fg Off. Hue-Williams was selected for a medium service commission. On the 12th December 1935 Fg Off. Hue-Williams was posted to No. 2 Flying Training School, Digby and on the 1st April 1936 he was promoted to the rank of Flt Lt. and was granted a permanent Commission on 1st June 1936. Flt Lt. Hue-Williams was posted to School of Army Co-Operation, Old Sarum. 1939 14th August Flt Lt. Ian Victor Hue-Williams was posted to 37 Squadron to assume command of "A" Flight. 1939 27th September Flt Lt. Hue-Williams was promoted to the rank of Acting Sqn Ldr.

Flt Lt. Thomas Gaufrey Wearmouth Appleby. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 1. Son to Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Appleby of the Old Rectory, Little Grandson, Sandy, Bedfordshire, England.

On the 14th September 1934 Thomas Gaufrey Wearmouth Appleby was granted a short service commission as Acting Plt Off. and was confirmed in rank and graded as Plt Off. 14th September 1935. Plt Off. Thomas Gaufrey Wearmouth Appleby was promoted to the rank of Fg Off. 14th April 1937. On the 14th April 1939. Fg Off. Appleby was promoted to the rank of Flat Lt. and on the 8th May 1939. Flt Lt. Appleby assumed command of "A"Flight, 37 Squadron. Thomas G W Appleby is remembered on the Little Gransden Roll of Honour

Fg Off. Arthur Richard Vaughan Williams. Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 26. C. 13. Son of Arthur and Amy Stella Vaughan Williams. Husband of Elizabeth Deborah Margaret Vaughan Williams.

Sgt. Alister Raymond Norris. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 2. Son of Samuel Justinian Norris and Rebecca Jane Norris of Romford, Essex.

Alister Raymond Norris is also remembered on the Romford War Memorial.

LAC. John Arundel Barstow. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 2. No further details known

LAC. Ernest Lowe. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 2. Son of George and Annie Elizabeth Lowe. Husband of Winifred Elsie Lowe of Tottenham, Middlesex.

Researched by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Thanks to John Jones for the NoK details for Sqn Ldr. Hue-Williams, Flt Lt. Appleby and LAC Barstow. (Mar 2019). Thanks to Dave Barstow for pointing out the incorrect NoK details for LAC. Barstow. (Apr 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 30.03.2019 - Addition of NoK details for Sqn Ldr Hue-Williams, Flt.Lt. Appleby and LAC Barstow.

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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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