AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

No 9 Squadron
05/06.06.1940 9 Squadron Wellington IA P9232 WS:M Sqn Ldr. George E. Peacock DFC

Operation: Duisburg, Germany

Date: 5th/6th June 1940 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington IA

Serial: P9232

Code: WS:M

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: Simonshaven, Holland

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. George Ernest Peacock DFC. 33067 RAF Age 26. KiA (1)

2nd Pilot: Plt Off. Bertram Arthur 'Jimmy' James MC, MiD. 42232 RAF Age 24 PoW No. 2263.* (2)

Obs: Sgt. Ronald 'Ronnie' Charles Hargrave DFM. 580775 RAF Age 25. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Archibald Kenneth Griffiths 543756 RAF Age 24. PoW No. 500 **

WOp/Air Gnr: Plt Off. Sedgwick Whiteley Webster 77955 RAF Age 35. PoW No. 2253 * (3)

Air Gnr (Rear): LAC. Charles Murton MiD. 509661 RAF Age 31. PoW No. 52562 **.(4)

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland

** Stalag 357 Kopernikus at Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. Moved in September 1944. The camp was commonly referred to as Stalag 357 Fallingbostel, however, it was officially designated as Stalag 357 Oerbke

If you have any further information on the loss of this aircraft, crew, their relatives and friends than please contact us via the "add info" button at the top of this page

Update July 2015 - the son of Sgt. Griffiths (Dave Griffiths) has since contacted us and is planning to visit the crews graves.


Wellington P9232 took off from RAF Honington along with 11 other Wellingtons over the period 21:45 and 00:15 hrs for a bombing operation on Duisburg railways in the Ruhr. In total 3 Group detailed 34 sorties for this mission, 12 from RAF Honington, 18 from RAF Feltwell and 4 from RAF Marham. P9232 was the only aircraft lost on this mission.

It was a very dark night and all aircraft had to use parachute flares to locate and attack their targets and all encountered intense search light activity and very heavy flak which prevented accurate bombing . Two aircraft were hit by shrapnel with little damage.

Wellington P9232 was coned by Flakscheinew. Rgt. 1 and hit by Flak just after crossing the Dutch coast, exploded near Simonshaven, 16 km SW of Rotterdam (Nachtjagd Combat Archives - The Early Years Part 1 (1939 - 12th July 1941) - Dr Theo E.W. Boiten)

Wellington IA Aircraft (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

(1) On the 15th July 1933 George Ernest Peacock was granted a permanent commission in the RAF as a Plt Off. having successfully passed through RAF Cranwell and in 1935 was promoted to Fg.Off. On the 15th January 1937 Fg Off. Peacock was promoted to Flt.Lt. and on the 18th October was posted to 99 (B) Squadron, Mildenhall, Suffolk. On 1st August 1939 Flt Lt Peacock was promoted to Sqn Ldr. and was posted from 75 Squadron to 9 Squadron on the 6th February 1940.

Sqn Ldr. Peacock was awarded the DFC, gazetted 19th April 1940.

Citation reads: "When leading a formation of aircraft on a raid on enemy warships at Bergen, this officer displayed remarkable courage and determination. After the original attack by his formation he returned alone and repeated his run over the target in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire. When on the return flight to his base he again turned back to attack a hostile flying boat which was shot down into the sea"

Note: We have since been advised that the aircraft shot down was a Do.18 and the front gunner had been Sgt. A. K. Griffiths - verified by his log book.

(2) Bertram Arthur 'Jimmy' James. Born in India on the 17th April 1915. Bertram Arthur James service with the RAF began on the 24th June 1939 when he was granted a short service commission for 4 years as Acting Plt Off. and confirmed as Plt.Off on probation as of the 9th December 1939. He was confirmed on his appointment on the 1st May 1940 and promoted to the rank of Fg.Off. wef 9th December 1940. Fg.Off. James was promoted to the rank of Flt Lt. (war subs) on the 9th December 1941 and confirmed in appointment 1st May 1943.

Flt Lt. James was a prolific escaper and was involved in the Great Escape (being allocated place number 39) in 1944. He was amongst those that were captured and was one of the 5 that were sent to the Concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Sonderlager A. under special orders from Himmler,

Awarded the Military Cross (MC), gazetted 17th May 1946.

Citation reads: "On the night of 5th June, 1940, Flight Lieutenant James was the 2nd pilot of a Wellington aircraft which was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and had to be abandoned whilst over Holland. He made a successful parachute descent some 25 miles south of Rotterdam, disposed of his equipment, and evaded some people who were approaching, but subsequently was captured by the Germans. He was held at Oberussel [sic] for four days for interrogation. Later he was ‘sent to Stalag Luft I at Barth from which camp he made an attempt to escape during an air raid on 21st October, 1941. His attempt, which was made after a tunnel had been constructed, was unsuccessful and as a punishment he received 14 days solitary confinement. In November, 1941, he was discovered whilst engaged in the construction of a second tunnel, and was sentenced to another 14 days solitary confinement. While at Stalag Luft I, he worked on the construction of at least five other tunnels, all without success. His next attempt was made whilst at Stalag Luft III (Sagan) in July, 1942, when he, with another prisoner, managed to slip away from a sick parade and hide in a cow shed. Here they began to construct another tunnel, but were discovered when it was 21 feet long. For this, Flight Lieutenant James served a sentence of 34 days in the cells. In April, 1943, he, with others, commenced the construction of a tunnel which resulted in the escape of 76 officers, but unfortunately 50 R.A.F. officers were shot by the Germans whilst endeavouring to get away. Flight Lieutenant James, however, managed to leave with civilian clothes and forged documents and, together with eleven others, entrained for Boberohrsdorf, arriving there the next morning. Here the party decided to split up into pairs. Flight Lieutenant James and his companion walked across country towards Hirschberg, but were apprehended by German Police. Flight Lieutenant James was eventually sent to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where, with others, in May, 1944, the commenced the construction of a tunnel some hundred feet in length, and 10 feet below the surface. Om 23rd September, 1944, he and four others escaped through this tunnel. Flight Lieutenant James and a companion made their way towards Rostock, but were arrested by members of the German Home Guard who returned them ‘to the Concentration Camp where they were put in cells. Flight Lieutenant James remained in the cells from 6th October, 1944, until 15th February, 1945. He was ultimately liberated by the Allied forces on the 6th May, 1945."

Acting Sqn.Ldr James was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD), gazetted 7th January 1947. Sqn.Ldr. James extended his service for four years on active service 8th May 1947. Transferred to the Secretarial Branch 23rd July 1949. Sqn.Ldr. Bertram Arthur (Jimmy) James. MC. MiD. retired on the 11th June 1958 and died aged 92 on the 18th January 2008 in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

(3) Plt.Off. Sedgwick Whiteley Webster. Born on the 28th October 1904. His service with the RAF started on the 9th March 1940 Sedgwick Whiteley Webster was granted a commission as acting Plt Off. on probation for the duration of hostilities and on the 22nd April 1940 Sedgwick was confirmed as a Plt Off. He was posted to 9 Squadron from 214 Squadron on the 12th May 1940. Confirmed as Plt Off. and promoted to Fg Off. 22nd April 1941. Fg Off. Webster was promoted to the rank of Flt Lt. on the 22nd April 1942. Flt.Lt. Webster was held as a Prisoner of War in L12A - Limburg. 2A - Prenzau, L1 - Barth, L3 - Sagan and Belaria for nearly 5 years. He resigned his Commission on the 20th December 1945. Sedgwick Whiteley Webster died on the 6th March 1980 in Danbury, Connecticut, USA aged 75

(4) WO. Charles Murton 509661 RAF was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) which was promulgated in the London Gazette 31st January 1947

Left: Prisoner of War Camp Barth and Sagan (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

Burial details:

The family of Wim Begthel have tendered the grave of this crew for the past 20 years and every year on the anniversary of 4th May they place flowers at the grave. If relatives of the crew would like to contact us we would be proud to place them in contact with them. Any photographs that relatives may have will be placed at the graves.

Sqn Ldr. George Ernest Peacock. DFC. Geervliet (Simonshaven) Protestant Churchyard. Netherlands. Grave Ref: Row N. Joint Grave 9. Son of Stephen Ernest and Elizabeth Bagnell Peacock of Spennymoor, Co. Durham.

Sgt. Ronald 'Ronnie' Charles Hargrave. DFM. Geervliet (Simonshaven) Protestant Churchyard. Netherlands. Grave Ref: Row N. Joint Grave 9. Son of Samuel and Edith Hargrave of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire.

Sgt Ronald 'Ronnie' Charles Hargrave was awarded the DFM for "Gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations", London Gazette 31st May 1940.

Researched by Kate Tame for aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Updated by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2020). Thanks to Jeroen Koppes for the 3 Group tasking order (Oct 2020). Update to narrative and crew information by Aircrew Remembered (Mar 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 15.03.2024 - Update to narrative and crew information

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 15 March 2024, 10:07

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor