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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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10 Squadron Crest
04/05.04.1943 10 Squadron Halifax II HR699 ZA:J Fg Off. John A. Wann

Operation: Kiel

Date: 4th/5th April 1943 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit No: 10 Squadron

Type: Handley Page Halifax II

Serial: HR699

Coded: ZA:J

Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire

Location: Hohwachterbucht, 4km NE of Weißenhaus, Germany

Pilot: Fg Off. John Alistair Wann J9543 RCAF Age 26. MiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. David Colin Tansley Jagger 567622 RAF MiA

Nav: Plt Off. Norman Bertram 144198 RAFVR Age 32. MiA (1)

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. William Ernest Scanlon 1089365 RAFVR Age 23. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Henry Wheen 1177706 RAFVR Age 28. MiA

Air Gnr (MU): Flt Sgt. William Malcolm Maisenbacher R137144 RCAF Age 27. MiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Eric Vernon Frankland 1217750 RAFVR Age 20. MiA

Above Plt Off. Wann as R101625 AC2 Wann from his service record


Halifax HR699 was one of fourteen aircraft despatched by 10 Squadron that formed part of a force of 577 aircraft detailed to attack the port of Kiel.

The aircraft took off from Melbourne, Yorkshire at 20:58 hrs, 4th April, 1943, and nothing more was heard from the crew. This was the only aircraft lost from the Squadron, although another was damaged and later forced landed.

I came across details of the aircraft and crew when researching the fate of the rear gunner Plt Off. Frankland. Research revealed that he had carried out at least thirteen ops at the time of his death. On his final operation he was actually flying as a replacement, as one of the regular gunners on Wann's crew was sick. Frankland's normal crew did not fly on this op. It has been reported that this gunner had a boil and unable to "take his position" correctly.

It was originally thought that this aircraft was followed by German night fighters for over 50 miles on the return leg and was shot down, possibly by Oblt. Walter Borchers who claimed a Wellington by mistake. This occurred 70 kms West of Terschelling over the North Sea. However, an entry in Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten, records that HR699 was hit by radar-directed Flak of M.Flak Abt. 221, 261 and 281 and exploded in mid-air and crashed in Hohwachterbucht, 4km NE of Weißenhaus at 23:25 hrs.

The mid-upper gunner, Maisenbacher, was a member of the RCAF, but in actual fact was a US citizen from Columbus, Ohio. Post war his mother corresponded with the RCAF authorities regarding the fate of her son. At one point it was thought that a body washed ashore at Wilhelmshaven shortly after the raid could have been that of her son, but the identity could not be proved.

(1) A little history on Norman Bertram, written by his son for Aircrew Remembered:

"Norman was the eldest of three boys whose father ran the Red Lion pub in Cheadle, Cheshire. The family had lived in the south Manchester area for at least five generations. When he was 11 years old, he won an open scholarship to Stockport Grammar school where he became a keen cricketer and lacrosse player. He liked fly fishing and travelled to Scotland whenever he could. 

He volunteered in 1938 and was soon followed by his younger brother Sydney, who also became a navigator flying Beaufighters and then Mosquitos in 248 Squadron, Coastal Command.

Plt Off. Norman Bertram the navigator on this flight - taken a few months prior to his death whilst on a day trip to Llandudno (courtesy of his son Tony Bertram)

Above: Course No. 33 at 19 OTU on the 5t January 1942. 1121313 Sgt. Bertram seated 3rd from the left. (Courtesy of Paul Markham)

Sydney survived the war and took part in the Berlin airlift in the 1950s and didn’t retire from the RAF until the 1970s. Sadly he died in 2007 aged 96.
At the time of his death, Norman had only just gained his commission having volunteered for a second tour of duty. He died in his Sergeant’s uniform. 
He was married to Betty who lived in Blackpool and they had two young children, Anne born in 1938 and Tony born in 1941. Norman and Betty ran a small millenary business based in markets in Blackpool and Bolton in Lancashire. 
Norman’s name is carved in stone in the Stockport Municipal Memorial, is on the memorial panels in Stockport Grammar school, is written in the Remembrance Books of both York Minster and St Clement in the Strand, and is also on the walls at Runnymede."

Burial Details:

Above: Runnymede Memorial

Fg Off. John Alistair Wann. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 175. Born on the 15th July 1917 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Son of Alexander and Isabella (née Smart) Wann, Winnipeg, Canada. (His father, born in Scotland and a farmer, had died before his loss and even though his mother (who at the time of the loss was 65) was his official Next of Kin he requested that his commissioning scroll be sent to a Miss M. Goatcher in Winnipeg, so it can be assumed that she was a serious girlfriend.

Prior to joining the RCAF on the 22nd April 1941 in Winnipeg, Canada, he was a book-keeper by profession

Wann Lake in Manitoba is named after Fg.Off. Wann

Plt Off. David Colin Tansley Jagger. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 132. Born in Thorne, Yorkshire the son of David and Ethelwynne Jagger. Husband of Jackie who lived at Seaton Ross in Yorkshire.

Sgt. Jagger was appointed to a commission and promoted to 51701 Plt Off. with effect 5th April 1943. Promulgated in the London Gazette 25th May 1943

Plt Off. Norman Bertram. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 130. Son of Harry Douglas Bertram and Annie Bertram, husband of Elizabeth Bertram, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. William Ernest Scanlon. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 164. Son of the Revd. Thomas Henry Scanlon, MA., and Ada Mary Scanlon, of Batterstown Rectory, Co. Meath, Republic of Ireland.

Plt Off. Henry Wheen. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 134. Son of Arnold Wheen, and of Florence Wheen, of Chellaston, Derbyshire, England.

Sgt. Wheen was appointed to a commission and promoted to 144260 Plt Off. with effect 21st March 1943. Promulgated in the London Gazette on the 8th June 1943.

Flt Sgt. William Malcolm Maisenbacher. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 185. Born on the 20th December 1916 in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Son of Charles F. and Ethel B. (née Blaine) Maisenbacher, of Columbus, Ohio, USA. William's natural father was an Edward R. Collier and it would appear that he was adopted later by Charles Maisenbacher after the death of Edward R.Collier in 1925.

William worked in his father's watchmaking/repair business prior to joining the RCAF as a prospective Pilot/Observer on the 17th October 1941 but was trained as a gunner following poor school training. He graduated from Bombing and Gunnery school, Fingal, Ontario in April 1942.

Plt Off. Eric Vernon Frankland.Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 131. Son of Percy and Emma Priscilla Frankland (née Bourne), of Southcoates, Kingston-upon-Hull, England.

Sgt. Frankland was appointed to a commission and promoted to 144261 Plt Off. with effect 19th March 1943. Promulgated in the London Gazette 8th June 1943.

Aircrew Remembered would like to thank Mr. Bill Bethell for carrying out this research. Also to David Mole and some of the relatives of this crew for further detailed information. To Thomas McGowan, who contacted us in April 2018 for proving further details on his stepmother's brother Plt Off. David Jagger. Thanks to Anne Chreptak, the niece of Plt Off. Jagger, for the update to his Next of Kin details (Jul 2020). Thanks to Paul Markham of the 77 Squadron Association for the 19 OTU photograph (Oct 2023). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 17.10.2023 - Addition of OTU photograph and for Fg Off. Wann

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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