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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 204483
Last updated: 13 October 2021
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Date:12-JUN-1942
Time:01:23 LT
Type:Short Stirling Mk I
Owner/operator:214 (Federated Malay States) Squadron Royal Air Force (214 (Federated Malay States) Sqn RAF)
Registration: R9326
MSN: BU-G
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 8
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North Sea beach of Memmert island - Niedersachsen -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Stradishall
Destination airport:
Narrative:
The aircraft, hit by flak from Borkum, disabling the rear turret, crashed on the beach of a small island called Memmert immediately to the north of Borkum Island.

Geoff Ransome recalls this event in 2011 aged 91:
On a June afternoon in 1942, our crew was briefed for that night to lay mines in the German shipping lanes that lay off the Dutch/German coast. We took off at night. We set course for the mine laying point, arriving by dead reckoning in total cloud. We flew a square pattern for some considerable time waiting for the cloud to break. Suddenly a flare path lit up and we recognised a German airfield on the island of Borkum and were thus able to pinpoint our position and head for the mine laying position. Having laid the mines, we decided to fly back to the airfield under their radar level and drop the four 250lb bombs. As we were running up to the island, the aircraft bottomed on the sandy beach and slid into the sea. The bombs were left lying on the beach. We hastily unfastened our harnesses and opened the top hatch and activated the dingy. Because of the rapidly changing tides in that area, we were by then on sand. We were unhurt apart from the front gunner who suffered a broken leg. We burnt all documentation and attempted, unsuccessfully, to set fire to the aircraft. There was a fishing boat moored in the channel but there was not sufficient depth to float it. We opened the rations in the dingy and drank a quantity of rum! After a while, we were approached by armed German soldiers who took us prisoners. We were taken to the only cottage on the island which was the home of a fisherman who gave us meal of black bread and gulls' eggs. Very unpalatable, but we were grateful. Later, we were collected by German escorts from the mainland and taken to a POW reception camp for debriefing and thence on to a POW camp, Stalag Luft III.
During the time in Germany, we were moved every few months to a different POW camp, usually in cattle trucks in difficult conditions. In early 1945, we were marched out of the camp, escorted by elderly German guards. On one of the marching days, our column of men was shot up by our own fighter planes. There were many casualties. Eventually, by standing and waving our airforce greatcoats, showing the white inner lining, to the attacking planes, they appeared to recognise the signal and flew off. The march continued and the routine was that we would be locked up in one of the very large two storey barns that appeared to be common in north Germany. Each morning, we were wakened by the German guards shouting "rous, rous!" and banging on the corrugated sides of the barn. One morning the guards did not make themselves known and eventually, after waiting some while, we managed to break out of the barn. Since there was not a German in sight, we set off to explore. We came to a German hospital with no sign of anybody about but parked outside was a military ambulance. On the fuel guage, it showed virtually no fuel. George, the flight engineer in my crew, was an experienced driver and we set off, driving towards what we hoped were the British lines. In fact, we met with an American advance jeep. They said they were unable to assist except to give us some white bread, which we found difficult to swallow after being used to German black bread, and that we should carry on towards our own advancing forces. It became obvious that there was some other fuel system as the ambulance kept running. Finally we arrived at a British base. We were told to lose ourselves in the outfield until it was possible to transport us back to England. VE Day passed without our knowledge and we were eventually flown home a few days later.

Crew
Air Gunner: Sgt Alex Ballentine PoW Camps L3-L6-L4. PoW Number 304
Flt Sgt L C Beagles PoW Camps L3-L6-357. PoW Number 306.
Air Gunner: Sgt Stanley George Goodey, Air Gunner POW Camps 9C-L6-L4. PoW Number 39727
Observer: Flt Sgt Charles Cyril Honychurch RCAF PoW Camps L3-L6-357. PoW Number 326.
Sgt W D Horne PoW Camps L3-L6-L4. PoW Number 327.
Sgt B F Hoskins (Bomber Command Film Unit) PoW ?
Sgt G D Morton PoW Camps L3-L6-357. PoW Number 342.
2nd Pilot: Sgt Geoff H Ransome POW Camps L3-L6-357. PoW Number 353.
Sgt L D Richardson (Bomber Command Film Unit) PoW ?
Pilot: Sgt Len R Tonkin RAAF POW Camps L3-L6-357. PoW Number 365.

Sources:

Bomber Command Losses 1942
214 Squadron Association
Nachtjagd Combat Archive The Early Years part three
Google Maps


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
15-Jan-2018 16:47 Red Dragon Added
15-Jan-2018 16:48 Red Dragon Updated [Total fatalities]
04-Oct-2018 14:38 Nepa Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]
29-Apr-2020 19:30 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Source]

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