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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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44 squadron badge
03/04.06.1940 44 Squadron Hampden I P1340 Sgt. Spencer

Operation: Emmerich am Rhein, Germany.

Date: 3rd/4th June 1940

Unit No: 44 Squadron

Type: Handley Page Hampden I

Serial: P1340

Code: KM:?

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire

Location: Shotley Point, Orwell Estuary, near Harwich.

Pilot: Sgt. Edwin Joseph Spencer 565945 Age? Safe - rescued

Obs: Plt Off. Reginald William Roots 36202 RAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Albert Gross Kendrew 624417 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Samuel Patrick Connell 580913 RAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed


This aircraft was tasked for a bombing sortie to Emmerich. En-route to target the aircraft collided with a Barrage Balloon near Harwich.

It is believed that the pilot, Sgt Spencer abandoned the stricken machine, he owes his life to Petty Officer B. Driver Royal Navy, who heard his cries for help and dived into the river and found Sgt. Spencer clinging to a buoy.

The Hampden struck the balloon in the Harwich area with the aircraft swinging violently to port. The pilot reported that he was unable to control the aircraft and baled out at approx. 1000 ft.

The bodies of his three crew were never recovered from the water or from the wreckage which was trawled up from the docks in the 1980's

Memorial commissioned by the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Co dedicated to the three missing airmen at the Felixstowe Dock - commissioned in 1999.

Burial details:

Plt Off. Reginald William Roots. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 10. Son of Claudius William and Florence Irene Roots, of Wellington, Auckland, New Zealand.

Although flying as an observer he was a qualified pilot with 316 flying hours logged. This was his 7th operational sortie. Born in England but left and settled in New Zealand at an early age.

Sgt. Albert Gross Kendrew. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 16. Son of Arthur Kendrew, and of Bertha Kendrew, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Samuel Patrick Connell. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 12. Born on the 4th April 1920 in Dublin,Republic of Ireland. Son of John F. and Mary Connell, of Drumcondra, Co. Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

Originally researched by Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the families of the crew. Map and updates by Kelvin Youngs - Webmaster (Jun 2018). Thanks to Pamela Flynn, whose husband was nephew to Sgt Connell, for Sgt Connell's NoK details (May 2022). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (May 2022).

RS 03.05.2022 - NoK details updated

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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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