01.02.1941 No. 217 Squadron Beaufort I L9866 MW-J Sgt. Rutherford
Date: 01st February 1941
Unit: No. 217 Squadron (Coastal Command) (motto: 'Woe to the unwary')
Type: Beaufort I
Base: RAF St. Eval
Location: English Channel off Morlaix, France
Pilot: Sgt. John Bell Rutherford 519262 RAF Age 24. Missing believed killed
Obs: Sgt. Thomas Patrick O'Byrne 743014 RAFVR Age 30. Missing believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Samuel Ralph Browning 755933 RAFVR Age ? Missing believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Anthony Duckworth Wood 623845 RAF Age ? Missing believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 14:57 hrs to attack the Admiral Hipper that was moored in Brest Harbour that was about to sail on her Atlantic attacks after repairs.
L9866 was thought to have been shot down by Uffz. Bochmann (1) of II./JG77 flying a Me 109 E-4 and crashed into the sea 35 km. north west of Marlaix at 17:00 hrs. Another 217 Squadron Beaufort was also lost on this raid. L9835 MW-W piloted by Fl/Lt. Richard Oakley RAAF which lost an engine and also crashed into the sea. All his crew was missing or killed.
(1) Uffz. Bochmann was later shot down and killed by a Russian squadron near Grigoriupol on the 1st August 1941. He was an ace at this time with 13 kills to his name.
Admiral Hipper (archive)
Sgt. John Bell Rutherford. Runnymede Memorial Panel 51. Son of Andrew and Elizabeth W. Rutherford, husband of Margaret Jane Rutherford, of Addington, Surrey, England.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick O'Byrne. Runnymede Memorial Panel 49. Son of Thomas O'Byrne and of Kathleen O'Byrne, husband of Elsie Dorothy Margaret O'Byrne, of Coventry, England. His brothers also served. Peter a Sgt. with 73 Squadron as a pilot. Paddy a aircraft mechanic and Larry as a flight engineer - all survived the war but have since sadly passed away. No one talked about the loss of Thomas, even after the war as none knew what happened to him.
Sgt. William Samuel Ralph Browning. Runnymede Memorial Panel 40. Next of kin details not currently available
Sgt. John Anthony Duckworth Wood. Runnymede Memorial Panel 55. Son of James Henry Duckworth Wood and Mary Veronica Wood, of Kensington, London, England.
Researched for David O'Byrne, nephew of Sgt. O'Byrne and for all relatives of the crew. With thanks to Ross McNeill for his superb publication "Coastal Command Losses Vol. 1".