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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. 9 Squadron
18.12.1939 No. 9 Squadron Wellington 1A N2940 WS-? P/O. Lines

Mission: Reconnaissance, Wilhelmshaven, North Sea

Date: 18th December 1939 (Monday)

Unit: No.9 Squadron

Type: Wellington 1A

Serial: N2940

Code: WS-?

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: North Sea off the coast of Germany

Pilot: P/O. Eric Francis Lines. 36224. RAF Age 24. Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Kitto Fearnside. 563436. RAF Age 25. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC1st. Edward Malcolm George Polhill. 551731. RAF Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: LAC. Alex Morrison Dickie. 566708. RAF Age 21. Killed (3)

Air/Gnr: AC2nd. Clifford Walker. 627354. RAF Age ? Killed

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No. 9 Squadron Wellingtons 1A

Wilhelmshaven November 1939


Wellington N2940 took off at 09.00hrs with eight other 9. Squadron Wellingtons from RAF Honington to carry out a reconnaissance in the Schilling/Jade Road and Wilhelmshaven area to attack any enemy battleships or cruisers. No. 9 Squadron Wellingtons flew in formation with 9 aircraft from both No. 149 Squadron and No. 37 Squadron. The formation were attacked South of Wilhelmshaven at 12.30hrs 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 reconnaissance mission. Situated on the island of Wangerooge the Gemans 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. Wellington N2940 may have been shot down or hit by flak and is thought to have been lost near Wilhelmshaven. Of the remaining No. 9 Squadron aircraft - Wellington N2964 and N2981 managed to land at their home base at 16.00hrs. Wellington N2873 was so badly damaged it was forced to land at RAF Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire at 17.30hrs two of the crew having been wounded and Wellington N2871 was forced to land at RAF Northcoates Fitties at 17.30hrs again due to the extensive damage to the aircraft. The third Wellington N2983 which had been so badly damaged by gunfire that it crashed into the North Sea at 15.30hrs near Cromer Knoll. Four of the injured crew were picked up by trawler and one was taken to hospital in Grimsby, the three others returned to R.A.F. Honington, Suffolk one of the crew was lost killed in action. The total loss for No. 9 Squadron from the mission was 24 killed and four injured. No. 9 Squadron Losses (N2872) (N2939) (2941) (N2983)

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey

Burial details:

P/O. Eric Francis Lines. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 1. Son of Maj. Ernest Walter Lines MBE and Blanche Lines of Brighton, Sussex. (1) P/O. Lines was posted to No. 9 Squadron on the 27th September 1939 having been granted a permanent commission as a Pilot Officer

Fl/Sgt. Alfred Kitto Fearnside. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 1. Son of Reginald K. and Elizabeth A. Fearnside of Nanstallon, Cornwall. (2) Alfred Kitto Fearnside arrived from Egypt on the 9th July 1936 and was posted to RAF Depot, Uxbridge

AC1st. Edward Malcolm George Polhill. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 3. Son of Edward and Constance Mary Polhill of Frinton-on-Sea, Essex

LAC. Alex Morrison Dickie. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 2. Son of Alexander and Helen Dickie of Macduff, Banffshire. (3) LAC Dickie is remembered on the Macduff War Memorial

AC2nd. Clifford Walker. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 3. No further information as yet

Researched by: Kate Tame for aircrewremembered 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 27/125 and Air 27/131, W. R. Chorley Bomber Command Losses 1939 - 1940 and Prewar July 1936 - September 1939, Imperial War Museum


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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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