18.12.1939 37 Squadron Wellington 1A N2935 LF:H Fg.Off. Thompson
Operation: Wilhelmshaven Harbour, North Sea
Date: 18th December 1939 (Monday)
Unit: 37 Squadron
Type: Wellington 1A
Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk
Location: North Sea
Pilot: Fg.Off. Arthur Telford Thompson. 39353. RAF Age 22. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Alfred John Tilley. 513966. RAF Age 26. Killed
Nav: Plt.Off. Matthew Infield Drawwater. 40374. RAF Age 28. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Cpl. Wilson Robinson. 535440. RAF Age? Killed
Air Gnr: LAC. Leonard Arthur Stock. 520962. RAF Age 22. Killed
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Wellington 1A 1939. Wilhelmshaven 1939
REASON FOR LOSS:
Wellington N2935 took off at 09.40hrs with six other No. 37 Squadron Wellingtons from RAF Feltwell to carry out a raid at 14.000ft on Wilhelmshaven harbour to attack any battleships or cruisers. Having rendezvous at 10.30 hrs over Yarmouth 37 Squadron Wellingtons flew in a diamond formation with 9 aircraft from both 149 Squadron and 9 Squadron. The formation were attacked South of Wilhelmshaven at 12.30hrs by approx. 30/40 enemy aircraft and the attack continued until reaching Wilhelmshaven when heavy AA fire was encountered from both shore based batteries and Navel craft. No suitable enemy battleships or cruisers were seen. After leaving the Wilhelmshaven area the aircraft were followed for some 70/80 miles to the German coast by the enemy fighters. A total of 12 aircraft were shot down on this operation. Situated on the island of Wangerooge the Germans had been tracking the bomber force for many miles using the experimental early warning Freya radar system and this information was passed on to the German fighters. The total loss for 37 Squadron from the operation: 21 killed, 1 injured who died of his injuries and 4 became Prisoners of War. Only one aircraft of 37 Squadron returned to base. Lost: (N2904) (N2889) (N2888) (N2936)
Battle over Wilhelmshaven from a book that Arthur's wife had kept (courtesy Martyn Bailey)
Alfred John Tilley and a letter of sympathy from 37 Squadron to Arthur's wife Olive (both courtesy of Martyn Bailey
Runnymede Memorial and Sage War Cemetery
Fg.Off. Arthur Telford Thompson. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 1. Son of Surg. Captain James Arthur Thompson R.N. and Alice Thompson of Richmond, Surrey.
Arthur Telford Thompson was born in Portsmouth in 1917 and granted a short service commission as Acting Pilot Officer on the 21st December 1936 and was posted to No. 3 Flying Training School, Grantham on the 11th January 1937. He was confirmed in his appointment and promoted to Pilot Officer with effect 12th October 1937. Plt.Off. Thompson was promoted to Flying Officer May 12th 1939. At the time of his death his address was 46a Clarendon Road, Watford.
Regret to inform you Sgt. Tilley (courtesy of Martyn Bailey)
Sgt. Alfred John Tilley. Sage War Cemetery. Grave Ref: 7. B. 9. Son of Frederick and Lilian Tilley. Husband of Olive Tilley of New Cross, London
Plt.Off. Matthew Infield Drawwater. Sage War Cemetery. Grave Ref: 7. A. 4. Matthew Infield Drawwater was born in 1912. Son of John Thurrold Drawwater and of Florence Margaret Drawwater of Peterborough, Northamptonshire.
Plt.Off. Drawwater was granted a short service commission as Plt.Off. on probation with effect 25th October 1938.
Cpl. Wilson Robinson. Sage War Cemetery. Grave Ref: 5. C. 10. No further information on next of kin as yet
LAC. Leonard Arthur Stock. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 2. Born in 1st quarter of 1917 in Southwark, Greater London. Son of Leonard and Elizabeth Ellen (née Heard) Stock of Chislehurst, Kent and husband to Winifred Mary (née Taylor) Stock.
Researched by: Kate Tame for aircrewremembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew
Acknowledgements: With special thanks to Martyn Bailey son of Olive Tilley, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, W. R. Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1939-1940 including Prewar Losses July 1936 - September 1939. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - Bomber Command War Diaries, National Archives U.K. Air 27/394, 27/388, Imperial War Museum, Flight Archives, London Gazette Archives