12th August 1941 17 Operational Training Unit Blenheim I L1245 P/O. Wand
Date: 12th August 1941 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 17 Operational Training Unit. 7 Group
Type: Blenheim I
Base: RAF Upwood, Huntingdonshire
Location: Wilburton, Cambridgeshire
Pilot: P/O. Walter Edgar Anthony Wand 84312 RAF Age 21. Killed
Pilot: P/O. Ranald Peter Bell NZ/402841 RNZAF Age 24. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Evan Aneurin Davies 1375288 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Upwood for night flying practice at just after 23:00 hrs.
Attacked three times by Ofw. Rolf Bussmann of 3./NJG2. flying a Ju88-C. After the third attack at 00:23 hrs. the starboard engine failed on L1245 and P/O. Wand decided a forced landing was the only option from their height of around 300 metres. Sadly all three crew were killed during the attempt at Crow Farm, Wilburton.
Ofw. Rolf Bussmann (shown left) had been busy on his intruder operation. He had shot down two Oxfords from 15 Flying Service Training School. Oxford II W6629 at 00:15 hrs flown by 18 year old, LAC. Colin Paget Blair and Oxford II R16156 at 00:10 hrs. flown solo by 23 year old, Fl/Sgt. Erling Julin Olsen a Norwegian.
Off. Bussmann then strafed and bombed 11 Operational Training Unit airfield at Bassingbourne which he reported as being illuminated. 10 airmen were killed with a further 11 suffering various degrees of injury 7 aircraft damaged.
On return to his base at Gilze-Rijen, Netherlands he severely damage his aircraft in a heavy landing - none of the crew suffered injuries, escaping from the aircraft before it burst into flames. He survived the war an ace with 24 claims.
Burial and personal details:
P/O. Walter Edgar Anthony Wand. Mill Hill Churchyard (St. Paul). Row 1. Grave 7. Son of Walter Arthur and Florence Amelia Wand. of Mill Hill, London, England.
P/O. Ranald Peter Bell. Bury Cemetery. Row G. Grave 21. Born on the 19th January 1917 at Blenheim. Asheep farmer for W.P. Bell of Longrow, Takapau prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 31st August 1940. Pilots badge awarded on the 16th January 1941 and received his commission on the 01st March 1941. Embarked for England on the 27th March 1941. Son of Adam Bell and of Melina Florence Hazelden Bell (née Clouston), of Haverlock North, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. A total of 196 flying hours logged. (note: the correct spelling for his christian name, CWGC spell it incorrectly as Ronald)
Sgt. Evan Aneurin Davies. Ramsey Cemetery (Wood Lane). Plot L. Grave 227. Son of John Edward and Anna Davies. Grave inscription: 'Loving Thoughts Shall Ever Linger Round The Grave Where Thou Art Laid'.
Fl/Sgt. Erling Julin Olsen. Midtgulen churchyard, Norway. Born on the 26th December 1917 in Florø, son of engineer Oskar Julin Olsen, born 1888 in Bergen, and Klara Amanda née Johansen born 1902 in Florø. Memorial inscription: 'Flight Sergeant Erling Julin Olsen Born 26-12 1917. Fell For His Country 13 - 8 1941 Erected By The People Of Svelgen Svelgens Turn Og Idrettsforening'.
LAC. Colin Paget Blair 1378183 RAFVR. Kidlington Burial Ground. Sec. B. Grave 3. Son of James Bickers Blair and Gwendoline Mary Blair, of Quinta Nova, Carcavelos, Portugal. Grave inscription: 'And So With Vision Splendid Thou Shalt Smile Back And Never Know Regret'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Dr. Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd Combat Archive 2020' Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below: