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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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295 Squadron Crest
11.06.1943 No. 295 Squadron Halifax V EB132 F/O. B.L. Tomkins

Operation: Ferry Flight 

Date: 11th June 1943

Unit: No. 295 Squadron

Type: Halifax V

Serial: EB132

Code: -

Base: RAF Hornsey South, Hampshire

Location: Ashley Combe, Portlock Weir, Somerset

Pilot: F/O. B.L. Tomkins 116639 RAFVR Survived - injured

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Carl Schultz AUS/409854 RAAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. E.J. Rogers 1504842 RAFVR Survived - injured

Nav: F/O. Alan Douglas Gardner 120390 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. William Angus Bartlett Stokes J/18752 (R/81980) RCAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. John Nelson Hansen 968451 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Mr. Ron Biddle has been researching this loss for a number of years - he is interested to hear from anyone who knows the whereabouts of the memorial placed to F/O. Gardner - it is not placed at the crash site where we understand another has been placed there.


Halifax EB132 was en-route from RAF Holmsley South to Portreath via Bridgewater. During the flight they encountered very heavy fog and clouds to almost sea level. The navigator instructed the pilot to fly 270 degrees which would keep him parallel to the coast. 

The pilot reported that he had just started to climb when he saw trees ahed, he took appropriate action pulling back the stick, but the aircraft hit the trees in Yearnor Wood behind Ashley Combe at about 12:00hrs.

Some locals heard the aircraft overhead and rushed to assist with the rescue of the crew members, Mr. Jack Ridler, Mr. Henry John Pollard and Mr. Thomas Cook did in fact pull the survivors from the aircraft and one of the members who had been killed. During the attempt Mr. Ridler suffered severe burns but continued to assist - all three receives bravery awards.

The pilot had just completed a round trip to North Africa towing a Horsa glider on the outbound leg.

Memorial to the crew - but where has this been placed? (courtesy Ron Biddle)

The board of enquiry found that the accident was caused by A: Faulty method of navigation. B: Failure to keep within site of the ground. C: Failure to notice height of ground that the aircraft had to pass.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Frederick Carl Schultz. Heanton Punchardon Churchyard (St. Augustine). Row O. Grave 1. Son of Carl Hugo Schultz and Annie Schultz, of 25 Pleasant Road, Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia. Born on 17th June 1917, enlisted 10th October 1941. Prior to service worked as a postal clerk. 

Left: original grave marker for Frederick Schultz (courtesy AWM)

F/O. Alan Douglas Gardner. Ockbrook Churchyard (All Saints).Sec. 8 Row 3. Grave 1. Son of Arthur James Gardner and Elizabeth Mary Gardner, of Borrowash, Derbyshire, England.

F/O. William Angus Bartlett Stokes. Heanton Punchardon Churchyard (St. Augustine). Row P. Grave 1. Son of James Hawks Stokes and Helen Lyle Stokes, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

W/O. John Nelson Hansen. Heanton Punchardon Churchyard (St. Augustine). Row O. Grave 2. Son of John H. Hansen and Helma Hansen, of Kenora, Ontario, Canada.

With thanks to Ron Biddle for bringing this loss to our attention. For grave photos thanks to Windypop. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

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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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