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Thread: Hampden AE133 10 Jan 1942

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    Default Hampden AE133 10 Jan 1942

    Dear Gentlemen,

    according to BCL Vol. 3 AE133 crashed at Kampen, Sylt Island.

    Two crew were killed in action. The problem is that Fox and Fletcher rest in Sage War Cemetery having brought here from the Russian Cemetery at Vechta(!).

    So the previous burial place and the crash place of Kampen don't really match.

    No entries in the Luftgau reports shed light on this problem.

    So what really happend to AE133?

    kind regards

    Steve

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    Default Hampden

    G'day Steve

    Air Britain has the following.

    AE133 83 Missing (Willhelmshaven) 11.1.42

    Cheers...Chris

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    Hello Steve,

    The Hampden File has
    AE133 83 (OL-X) 10/11.1.42 Crashed at Kampen; cause not known.
    Sgt. M, Fletcher and Sgt. L.A. Fox both b. Sage;
    Sgt R. Sekine and Sgt H. Holmes both POW.
    Target Wilhelmshaven.

    All for now
    Alex

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    Mosquito, perhaps the CWGC cemetery information answers your question:-
    Quote: Sage was on the line of the Allied advance across northern Germany in 1945 but most of those buried at Sage War Cemetery were airmen lost in bombing raids over northern Euope whose graves were brought in from cemeteries in the Frisian Islands and other parts of north-west Germany.unquote.
    Kampen as a crash site fits into that description, and where I would have expected them to have been buried. Vechta seems to be an error.

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    Default

    Dear Steve
    This might interest you, it may not help on 'original cemetery' but it may be of interest.
    Best wishes
    James


    83 Squadron 1917 - 1969 Low and Harper

    On 10th January 1942, the squadron operated for the last time in Hampden aircraft when six crews attacked Wilhemshaven. From that attack Sgt Fletcher, flying AE133 failed to return, having been shot down at Kapen. Sgt VC Fletcher and the Observer LA Fox, were killed and Sgts P Sekine and HR Holme taken prisoner.
    Percy Sekine, the Wireless Operator, remembered clearly how the two pilots struggled with the controls to hold the doomed aircraft steady enough for him and Harold Holme to take to their parachutes before the Hampden exploded into the earth.

    "We took off from Scampton around 17.00hrs on 10th January 1942, the target Wilhemlshaven. Over Germany, approaching the target, either through flak or mechanical failure, the port engine packed up and with a full bomb load we started to lose height. The port engine also powered the generator so we could not drop the bombs which we had to do to stand a chance of getting back.
    To ditch in the sea in January '42 was certain death, and Martin Fletcher, our pilot, told me to try and release the bombs manually, but it was no good; we threw overboard everything of weight, guns, cylinders etc.
    Then Martin turned the aircraft inland (we had been heading out to sea) and told us to bale out. I jumped out at under 3,000 ft. Harold folowed. The last I heard before that was Leonard Fox (second pilot) asking and helping Martin to control the rudder pedals.
    Less than a minute after I jumped, they crashed, lighting up the sky with the explosion, as I was still on the way down. Leonard Fox and Martin Fletcher are buried at Sage, a cemetery on the way to Wilhelmshaven. I owe my life to Martin, a fine and brave Rhodesian.
    I was captured about five hours later, the usual interrogation and first of many Stalags was VIIA Mooseburg, near Munich. I escaped from there in July 1942 by climbing the wire between two sentry boxes, aided by poring rain which deadened sound and caused the sentry to shelter as I went over. I was free for seven days but was caught outside Innsbruck. There were two more escape attempts, one by tunnel under tyhe wire, the next on a working party."

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    Dear Kevin,

    your explanation sounds good but the initial burial place is confirmed by the local archive.

    Possible that all baled out and AE133 flew on and finally crashed at Kampen. But no german record confirms a crash at Kampen that night.

    The following crash sites are recorded

    off Rüstersiel, Wilhelmshaven district (unknown type)
    10km N of Norderney (Wellington)
    Waddenzee near Terschelling (Wellington)
    "District Emden" (Hampden)

    cheers

    Steve

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    Hello Steve,

    With two airmen captured, it might be worthwile to check if they have filed a Pow questionnaire upon liberation. It's usually a good source of information. If they did, these reports should be in Kew, with the following references :
    Sgt P. SEKINE : WO 344/282/1 (SEAVERS -> SELBY)
    Sgt H.R. HOLME : WO 344/148/2 (HOLLY -> HOLMWOOD)

    That should help a little and add some more tiny bits of information to what Kevin has given.

    Perhaps there's a spelling error for Kampen, or it's a hamlet's name, or a little place.

    Joss

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    Dear James,

    thanks for this helpful report.

    The brave airmen Fletcher and Fox went down with the a/c.

    So Kampen/Sylt is definetly wrong. If AE133 had crashed onto Sylt Island Fletcher and Fox would have been buried locally at List or Westerland but of course not Vechta.

    But as far as I know there is no place called Kapen. But indeed there are other possibilities (Cappeln or Apen i.e.).

    I will take your advice, Joss, and look for the Pow questionnaires of Holme and Sekine.


    kind regards

    Steve

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    What puzzles me here is the reference to two pilots. The Hampden was famous as being strictly a one-pilot aircraft (like the Blenheim IV) - there was just no physical room for a second pilot. However Fox is noted by the survivor's narrative as both 2nd pilot, and as observer - presume other two crew members were both W/Opr A/Gs. Now, very early in the war, the observer in Hampdens was often a trained pilot serving as an observer, as the latter trade was in very short supply at this time in the RAF. However I cannot believe that this was still the case in January 1942. Also the details of this "second pilot" assisting with the rudder pedals would seem to confirm that Fox was in the nose (Observer's) compartment, and thus would presumably have access to the rudder pedals, from the front. Unless Fox was a trained pilot but had remustered as an observer (but still wore his pilot badge), I cannot see that he could be referred to as a second pilot, although our survivor obviously considers him to be such. Any comments from Board members?
    David D

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    H David

    The term 2nd pilot was often used to describe an extre pilot being carried aboard for experience before flying on ops with his own crew.

    Perhaps this was the case here?

    Malcolm

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