13/14.05.1943 No. 466 Squadron Wellington X MS473 HD-Q P/O. Sampson
Date: 13/14th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 466 Squadron. 4 Group (motto: 'Brave and true')
Type: Wellington X
Base: RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
Location: North Sea, west of Kijkduin
Pilot: P/O. Thomas Sampson NZ/411032 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
Obs: Sgt. C.W. Jones 1382389 RAFVR PoW No: 1184 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
Air/Bmr: F/O. John Frederick Cahill AUS/403633 RAAF PoW No: 1173 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Kevin Stanislaus Murphy AUS/403621 PoW No: 1191 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.J.T. Lester 1282544 RAFVR PoW No: 1181 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
REASON FOR LOSS:
The Squadron dispatched 14 aircraft of this 442 aircraft raid.
It seems that their take off at 23:56 hrs had been delayed by some 15 minutes and so they were forced to run the engines on maximum power to get into position. After they crossed the Dutch coast the engines forced them to lose height, but they decided to continue to the target at Bochum and drop their 4,000 lb bomb.
They continued to lose height on their return flight and when at 5,000 ft the pilot ordered the crew to bale out. Almost immediately the engines then picked up again and the order was retracted.
The engines soon faltered again and the order was then repeated, four of the crew baled out whilst the pilot kept the aircraft straight and level.
It is not known if the pilot later baled out and landed in the sea or was killed during ditching. His body was recovered on the 10th August by a German fishing vessel and buried at Westuin the following day.
The Squadron very nearly lost another crew on this operation:
Wellington X HZ271 Flown by Sgt. Edward Francis Hicks CGM 846405 RAFVR crash landed near Winterton in Lincolnshire on return, all the crew escaped injury.
P/O. Thomas Sampson. The Hague General Cemetery (Westduin) Allied Plot. Row 4. Grave 72. Born on the 19th April 1921 at Ashburton, the son of William John and Lilian Annie Sampson (née Dunning), of Ashburton, Canterbury New Zealand. A truck driver for Mid-Canterbury Transport Company prior to service. A total of 470 flying hours logged and having completed 20 operational sorties.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: