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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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149 Squadron crest
25/26.05.1943 No. 149 Squadron Stirling III BK710 OJ-A Sgt. Jack H. Uden

Operation: Düsseldorf, Germany.

Date: 25/26th May 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 149 Squadron 9motto: Fortis Nocte - 'Strong by Night')

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BK710

Code: OJ-A

Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk.

Location: Ijmeer, South East of Marken

Pilot: Sgt. Jack Henry Uden 1334077 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Leslie George Hadden 949263 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. Walter Edwin Lawrence Morse 127978 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Howard Stephen Winchester 128514 RAFVR Age 26. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Arthur Williams 1295227 RAFVR Age 34. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Horace Stephen Scott 901570 RAFVR Age 28. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles John Percival 1600739 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23:44 hrs from Lakenheath, Suffolk, England to bomb Düsseldorf. 759 aircraft took part (323 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes, 142 Wellingtons, 113 Stirlings and 12 Mosquitoes)

The raid was considered a failure - there were two layers of cloud over the target and the pathfinders had great difficulty in marking it.. It is also believed that the Germans were operating decoy markers and fire sites resulting in the main bomber force bombing became scattered over a large area. No concentrated bombing in the target area of Düsseldorf which recorded only 50 - 100 buildings destroyed and some 30 people on the ground killed.

BK710 Crew - Right to Left: F/O. Howard Winchester, Sgt. Leslie Hadden, Sgt. Jack Uden, Sgt. Charles Percival (rear), F/O. Walter Morse, Sgt. Horace Scott, Sgt. Frederick Williams (courtesy of Peter Winchester)

The operation was costly for the RAF with 27 aircraft lost and 161 crew members killed with another 7 injured (405 Squadron, Halifax II HR806 LQ-D crashing shortly after take off) with a further 27 being made PoW.

Stirling BK710 OJ-A was shot down on the return journey home by Uffz. Georg Kraft of 12./NJG1 over the North Sea 40 Kmts North West of Texel (North Holland, Salzhering) at a height of 800 mtrs. at 03.04 hrs on the 26th May. Uffz. Kraft had a total of 13 kills before he was shot down and killed on the 17/18th August 1943 by a 141 Squadron Beaufighter flown by W/Cmdr Braham.

It would appear that the pilot continued to fly the Stirling with the objective of reaching land over Holland, before it eventually crashed into the Ijsselmeer, south east of Marken.

It is understood that the wreckage has been discovered by a team of Dutch divers led by Mr. Johan Graas of the Aircraft Recovery Group. The relatives are pursuing the possibility of recovering the crew. We also understand that despite great efforts this is still not being permitted. Johan Graas also arranged a visit for the relatives of the crash site. A special memorial room showing the pieces recovered from the aircraft was opened in 2011.

Crew of Stirling BK710 F/O. Winchester 2nd from right (Awaiting positive ID - courtesy of Peter Winchester son of F/O. Howard Winchester)

Left: Runnymede Memorial panels, perhaps where many names could be removed if relatives were permitted to recover crews at a positivly identified wreck site? (Aircrew Remembered 2013)

Burial details:

Sgt. Jack Henry Uden. Runnymede Memorial Panel 167. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Leslie George Hadden. Runnymede Memorial Panel 151. Son of George and Emily Elizabeth Hadden, of King's Heath, Birmingham, England.

F/O. Walter Edwin Lawrence Morse. Runnymede Memorial Panel 127. Son of Edwin and Kathleen Morse, of Walthamstow, Essex and husband of Violet Lilian Morse, of Walthamstow, England.

F/O. Howard Stephen Winchester. Runnymede Memorial Panel 130. Son of Jack and Amy Winchester and husband of Margaret Mary Winchester, of Canvey Island, Essex, England.

Sgt. Frederick Arthur Williams. Runnymede Memorial Panel 170. Son of George Frederick and Mary J. Williams and husband of Phoebe May Williams, of Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England.

Sgt. Horace Stephen Scott. Runnymede Memorial Panel 164. Son of William and Sarah Scott, of Canterbury, England.

Sgt. Charles John Percival. Hamburg Cemetery 6A. E.7. Son of Charles John and Florence Percival and husband of Alice Theresa Percival, of London, Staffordshire, England. Body recovered on the 20th June 1943 on Heligoland and buried on the 24th June 1943.

Researched for the Peter Winchester son of F/O. Howard Stephen Winchester. With thanks to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

KTY Page updated 13.11.2019

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Acknowledgements
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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