9/10.04.1941 No. 7 Squadron Stirling I N6011 MG-? Fl/Lt. Victor Fernley Baker Pike D.F.C.
Date: 9/10 April 1941 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron - Motto: "Per diem per noctem" ("By day and by night")
Badge: On a hurt (a roundel azure) seven mullets (stars) of six points forming a representation of the constellation Ursa Major. The constellation Ursa Major has formed part of a device used by the squadron since 1926. The introduction of stars in the form of a constellation in which seven of these appear is appropriate to the squadron bearing this number.
Type: Short Stirling I
Base: RAF Newmarket, Suffolk
Location: Lingen, Lower Saxony, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Victor Fernley Baker Pike D.F.C. 41868 RAF Age 20 - Killed (1)
2nd Pilot: Sgt. Clifford Sumner 742439 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (2)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles MacDonald 549392 Age 23 - PoW No. 560 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (3)
Obs: F/Sgt. Gordon Percy Carver Smith 755541 RAFVR Age 25 Killed (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Edward Osterfield 644162 RAF Age 19 - Killed (5)
W/Op/Air/Gnr (Front): Sgt. Alan James Whitby 900277 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (6)
W/Op/Air/Gnr (Rear): F/Sgt. Anthony Charles Jupp 581459 RAF Age 21 - Killed (7)
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REASON FOR LOSS
A force of 80 aircraft comprising 36 Wellingtons, 24 Hampdens 17 Whitleys and 3 Stirlings was despatched to bomb Berlin. A total of five aircraft i.e. 3 Wellingtons, 1 Stirling and 1 Whitley failed to return. This was the first raid on Berlin to feature Stirling Bombers, all three of those despatched being from No. 7 Squadron. Of the other two, N6009 piloted by F/O. J.(F). Sach(s) returned early after developing a propeller fault over the Dutch Coast and N6005 piloted by F/O. Graham Baptie Blacklock, having sustained damage on the outward journey from an attack by a night fighter, bombed Emden instead of Hamburg.
During the winter/spring of 1940/1941 RAF Newmarket was used as an alternative strip for the Stirling bombers from RAF Oakington and it was from there that N6011 took off at 20:40 hours on 9 April 1941 on a mission to bomb to Berlin. At 23:35 hours the aircraft was shot down by Oberfeldwebel Karl-Heinz Scherfling of 7./NJG1 flying a Messerschmitt Bf110 and crashed south west of Lingen, in Lower Saxony some 300 miles short of the target. There were no survivors.
Number 7 Squadron took the first production Stirlings in August 1940 and these were the first to be used operationally on 10/11 February 1941 against fuel storage tanks near Rotterdam. N6011 was the first Stirling to be lost due to enemy action.
The six crew members killed were initially buried at the Lingen New Cemetery and re-buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany on 29 May 1947.
On 12 April 1941 the report of the raid (left) appeared in The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) Courtesy of Trove, National Library of Australia.
Scale: 1" = 45 miles
The controls and instrument panel of a Short Stirling Mark I of No. 7 Squadron. Courtesy IWM
Short Stirling Mark I, N3641 MG-D, of No. 7 Squadron RAF taking off at Oakington, Cambridgeshire. Courtesy IWM
(1) Fl/Lt. Victor Fernley Baker Pike D.F.C. was born in 1919 at Plymouth, Devon the son of Cecil T.B. Pike and Mildred Elizabeth Pike nee Luscombe of Higher Brimley, Devon. He was known as "Farmer Pike" on the squadron. He was granted a short service commission as an Acting Pilot Officer on probation on 1 April 1939 (London Gazette 18 April 1939) confirmed as Pilot Officer on probation on 21 October 1939 (London Gazette 21 October 1939) and confirmed in this appointment on 23 January 1940 (London Gazette 23 January 1940). He was promoted to Flying Officer on 21 October 1940 (London Gazette 19 November 1940). On 22 November 1940 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross whilst serving with No. 58 Squadron (London Gazette 22 November 1940)
His elder brother Sgt. Richard Cecil Luscombe Pike (born Plympton Devon in 1915) was the observer of Battle I K9356 of 218 Squadron that crashed on a training flight on 13 November 1939. The crew of three were all killed and are buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais, France.
(2) Sgt. Clifford Sumner was born in 1918 at Coventry the son of Joe William Hughes Sumner and Ada Emily Sumner nee Pattison.
(3) Sgt. Charles MacDonald was born on 24 December 1917 at Bearsden, Glasgow, Scotland the son of Mathew MacDonald. He married Nellie Wood at Ripon in 1941. In April 1941 she lived at Spring House, Grewelthorpe, Ripon, North Yorkshire but in December 1941 her address was Langthorpe Stores, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. Charles MacDonald was initially sent to Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan and Belaria but was then one of the 200 NCOs transferred to Stalag Luft 1 at Barth Western Pomerania in October 1942. At the time of capture he was recorded as being 1.79m tall, of slim build with a wide face, brown eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion.
(4) F/Sgt. Gordon Percy Carver Smith was born on 14 April 1915 at Nottingham the son of William Carver Smith and Beatrice Ellen Smith nee Daubney of Nottingham. F.G.1. His father was a Grocer and the family lived at 3, Thorncliffe Rise Nottingham. Gordon P.C. Smith was admitted to Nottingham High School on 16 September 1925. (Courtesy of Nottingham High School Archives)
(5) Sgt. William Edward Osterfield was born in 1922 at Birkenhead, Cheshire the son of William Ewart Osterfield and Annie C. Osterfield nee Waring later of West Kirby, Cheshire.
(6) Sgt. Alan James Whitby was born in 1919 at Swansea the son of James Whitby and Dora Whitby nee Letts of Brynmill, Swansea, Wales.
(7) F/Sgt. Anthony Charles Jupp was born in 1919 at Romford, Essex the son of Leonard Percival and Maude Jupp nee Matthews of Noak Hill, Essex.
(8) Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling was born on 6 September 1918 at Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. He joined the Luftwaffe in 1938 and at the end of 1940 was posted to 7./NJG1. He claimed his first victory on the night of 31 March/1 April 1940, a Wellington near Groningen in Holland. He was transferred to 5./NJG2 in Spring 1942 and went on to claim a total of 33 victories (all at night). Having shot down his 33rd aircraft on the night of 20/21 July 1944 and flying Messerschmitt Bf110 G-4 he was himself shot down by a Mosquito of 169 squadron flown by W/C N.B.R. Bromley and Fl/Lt. P.V. Truscott near Mol in Belgium. His gunner was also killed but his wireless operator survived though badly wounded. Karl-Heinz Scherfling was buried at Lommel German War Cemetery in Belgium.
He was the holder of the Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold, Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (Honour Goblet) (9 August 1943), Iron Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class, the German Cross in Gold (16 August 1943) and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 8 April 1944.
Fl/Lt. Victor Fernley Baker Pike D.F.C. was buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref: 14.G.3 (1)
God bless you dearest.
Sgt. Clifford Sumner was buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref: 14.G.5 (4)
I have given my all,
Let it not be in vain
F/Sgt. Gordon Percy Carver Smith was buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref: 14.G.8 (3)
Very greatly missed
Sgt. William Edward Osterfield was buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref: 14.G.4 (5)
In loving memory of our dear son Billy.
For ever with the Lord
Sgt. Alan James Whitby was buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref: 14.G.7 (6)
He died that we might live
F/Sgt. Anthony Charles Jupp was buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref: 14.G.6 (7)
Always in our hearts
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for Nottingham High School and all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - January 2016
With thanks to the sources quoted below.