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Thread: Sgt Arthur Herbert, 199 Squadron – Wellington X HZ582

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    Default Sgt Arthur Herbert, 199 Squadron – Wellington X HZ582

    I have been directed to this website by one of the forum users and am hoping that somebody might be able to help me.

    Sgt Arthur Herbert was my great uncle. He was a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 199 Squadron RAF Volunteer Reserve, who died on 25th May 1943 aged 22. His service no. is 1212641 and he is buried at Uden War Cemetery (information found via CWGC).

    I have so far managed to determine that he died during Operation Dortmund when his plane was shot down and crashed at Schaijk (Noord Brabant). The other crew members were:

    Sgt H W Austin RAF, service number 1331903 (killed in action)
    Sgt D R Keavers RAAF, service number 420959 (PoW)
    Sgt J P E Last RAF, service number 958746 (PoW)
    Sgt A Herbert RAF, service number 1212641 (killed in action)
    Sgt R M Costello RCAF, service number R99818 (killed in action)

    Whilst I would obviously love to find out further information about my great uncle, I am also really interested in learning anything else I can about the other crew members. I have found Sgt Keevers’ files on the National Archives of Australia website, but wondered what other information I may be able to find.

    How can I found out any further information about the crash or any of the crew members? The chap who told me about this website suggested I ask whether anyone has the aircraft loss card or the PoW questionnaires from the survivors? I am still very much a novice when it comes to RAF procedures and terminology, so any help, advice or information would be gratefully received.

    Sorry for the rather long post, but I thought it best to include the information I already know!

    Thank you in advance.

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    You could also request copies of the Canadian mans service records from the Canadian national archives, will take some time to get the docs to you however.
    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.007-e.html
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 19th January 2011 at 12:08. Reason: yeah have the Aussie records already.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hi

    I have a copy of the 199 ORB and can supply you whatever details you wish from that. I do know that the Austin crew were killed on their second operation with 199 a few days after completing their first operation which was mining to the Frisian Islands. Co-incidentally, I have recently been in contact with another forum member who has just obtained one of your great uncle's crew log books.

    Douglas

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    I can add a bit more on the accident and the crew (info from the book "Het Britse Oorlogskerkhof Uden - De graven en hun geschiedenis" [The British War Cemetery at Uden - The graves and their history] by Mr. A. Verbakel).
    WOp/Ag HERBERT - buried Uden War Cem. 4.F.11 - was shot down by a German night fighter of I./NJG1 based at aerodrome Venlo homebound from a raid on Dortmund. The aircraft crashed along the Gagelsteeg (name of a street) between Schayk and Uden. Three of the five crew were killed. Initially buried 25-5-1943 in the garden of the presbytery of the Roman Catholic St.Petruschurch at Uden, grave nr. 108. Also killed Sgt (Pilot) Horace William AUSTIN - 1331903 and W/O² (Airgunner) Ralph Matthew COSTELLO - RCAF R/99818. These three airmen were the last who initially were buried in the presbytery garden.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis_burke View Post
    You could also request copies of the Canadian mans service records from the Canadian national archives, will take some time to get the docs to you however.
    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.007-e.html
    Hi Dennis

    Thank you for the advice. I will certainly take a look at the site you've mentioned/obtaining the service records.

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    Dear Henk

    Thank you for the extra information. I am slowly managing to piece together exactly what happened to Arthur and the rest of the crew.

    Could you please clarify what 'I./NJG1' is? Also, do you have any idea why the 'three airmen were the last who initially were buried in the presbytery garden'? Were other members of the armed forces buried there previously, or was it an unusual occurrence?

    Thank you
    JT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theletterwriter View Post
    Co-incidentally, I have recently been in contact with another forum member who has just obtained one of your great uncle's crew log books.
    Hi Douglas

    I have a funny feeling that the person you have been in contact with is the same person who suggested I post on this forum!!

    Thank you for the kind offer of passing on details from the 199 ORB. As I am not entirely sure what it contains, would it be possible for you to e-mail me scans of any relevant pages? Or is that a mammoth/difficult task?

    Is there a way of ascertaining whether the Austin crew was the first crew Arthur flew with? I'm not really sure how it works. With the army, some men fought with a few different regiments - would this be the same in the RAF?

    Thank you
    JT

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    Hi JT

    What you have been supplied from our fellow forumite is what is in the ORB. I will have a look to see whether Arthur Herbert served with 199 prior to Sgt. Austin joining 199 earlier that month. However, I think on the balance of probability that the crew who were lost on the Dortmund raid, joined 199 as a crew directly from OTU. Your best bet to confirm your great uncle's career with the RAF is by obtaining his service record.

    Best wishes

    Douglas

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    As mentioned I have been in touch with both JT and Douglas about the loss of this aircraft, I was lucky enough to obtain Sgt Costello's logbook and in the course of my research found JT looking for info.

    As stated the Austalian archives have Sgt Keevers A705 digitised, it doesnt really add much on the loss though, I have just ordered his service file which should hopefully be online in a few weeks.

    In "Air Battle of the Rhur" by Cooper Sgt Austin is noted as having been shot escaping on 19th June, it has no more info that this though and it doesnt tie in with the dates on CWGC and the fact the 3 men were buried together - any thoughts on this comment in the book would be useful.

    Sgt Costello was an American from Green Bay serving in the RCAF - he is recorded on the Canadian Bomber Command memorial, he may also get a mention in the book "Immigrants of War" but I've still to check that out. I'm planning getting Sgt Costello's file at some point soon.

    In terms of the ORB Douglas sent me on the details which I have forwarded to JT, with the book came scans of the ORB so I also forwarded them on.

    Sgt Costello was with Sgt Austing at 27 OTU until joining 199 Squadron, so I think they came in as a full crew.

    Is the crash tied back to a particular Luftwaffe pilot, or just unit?

    The crew had done one mining operation before the operartion they were lost on.

    Thanks

    Alistair

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    JT / Alastair

    I have had a look at J Alwyn Phillips book Valley of the Shadow of Death. On Page 325, it lists the loss of the crew but also records a statement in the line between the entry for Sgts. Austin and Keevers "still trying to evade up to 19 June 1943". No more details are recorded.

    Douglas

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