LEST WE FORGET

Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Hampden I aircraft P1201), Germany, 8 November 1941

Hampden P1201 took off from RAF Swinderby at 1840 hours on the night of 7/8 November 1941 to carry out a Rover patrol towards Cologne, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base. Four of the Squadron aircraft took part in the raid and two of these including P1201 did not return. All the crew became Prisoners of War.

The crew members of P2101 were:

Pilot Officer John Donald Cordwell (102599) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Pilot Officer James Anthony Cathcart Gordon (400367) (O36204) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 December 1945
Sergeant Edward Holt (1109174) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) PoW
Sergeant Mowbray Norman Stokes (1168877) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW

In a 1945 report the then Flight Lieutenant Gordon reported “Having carried out low level attacks with bombs and machine guns on the searchlight belt at Aachen-Marstrich, I was returning to base at low level. As was later discovered the Met wind was wrong due to freak weather conditions and our position was some miles south of that estimate. This brought me into the foothills of the Ardennes, where at 350 feet I collided with a chimney stack, tearing off the lower portion of the fuselage and breaking the fuel supply. The motors cut and I had to crash land. The Observer and
WOP escaped with me from the front of the wrecked aircraft. The Air Gunner was torn off in his compartment by the effect of the collision but was later reported in hospital, and later as recovered and in one of the NCOs’ camp by another prisoner. I with the Observer and Wireless Operator were taken prisoner by the Feldpolize. The aircraft crashed near Hamur, Belgium. I was a POW for 3 years 5 months. Released near Lubeck by 2nd Army Units on 2 May 1945.”

No. 455 Squadron lost Hampden AE243 (Sergeant Maurice Albert Jenkins (1255580) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 8 November 1941.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951