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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 No. 37 Squadron Wellington 1A N2904 Sqn.Ldr. Hue-Williams

Operation: Wilhelmshaven Harbour, North Sea

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

Capt. Sqn.Ldr. Ian Victor Hue-Williams. 29210. RAF Age ? Missing (1)

Pilot: Flt.Lt. Thomas Gaufrey Wearmouth Appleby. 34227. RAF Age ? Missing (2)

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

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alister Raymond Norris. 580831. RAF Age 23. Missing (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC. John Arundel Barstow. 550716. RAF Age ? Missing

Air/Gnr: LAC. Ernest Lowe. 540706. RAF Age 21. Missing

If you have any further information on the loss of this aircraft, crew, their relatives and friends than please contact us via the "add info" button at the top of this page

Wellington 1A of No. 9 Squadron. Wilihelmshaven harbour


Wellington N2904 took off at 0940 hours with six other No. 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 10.30hrs over Yarmouth No. 37 Squadron Wellingtons flew in a diamond formation with 9 aircraft from both No. 149 Squadron and No. 9 Squadron. The formation were attacked South of Wilhelmshaven at 1230 hours by approx. 30/40 enemy aircraft and the attack continued until reaching Wilhelmshaven when heavy A.A. fire 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 No. 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.

(1) 1930 29th December Ian 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 Flight Lieutenant 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 No. 37 Squadron to assume command of A Flight. 1939 27th September Flt.Lt. Hue-Williams was promoted to the rank of Acting Squadron Leader.

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.

(2) On the 14th September 1934 Thomas Gaufrey Wearmouth Appleby was granted a short service commission as Acting Pilot Officer and was confirmed in rank and graded as Pilot Officer 14th September 1935. Plt.Off. Thomas Gaufrey Wearmouth Appleby was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer 14th April 1937. On the 14th April 1939. Fg.Off. Appleby was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant and on the 8th May 1939. Flt.Lt. Appleby assumed command of A Flight No. 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.

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

LAC. John Arundel Barstow. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 2. Son of Herbert Harry Arundel and Hilda (née Tiedemann) Barstow of Ormskirk , Lancashire, England.

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.

Acknowledgements: With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - The Bomber Command War Diaries 1939 - 1945, UK National Archives Air 27/388 and Air 27/394, W. R. Chorley Bomber Command Losses 1939 - 1940 and Prewar July 1936 - September 1939, Imperial War Museum, Flightglobal Archives. Thanks to John Jones for the NoK details for Sqn Ldr Hue-Williams, Flt.Lt. Appleby and LAC Barstow.

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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