View Full Version : No.215 Sqn Wellington. Lost 9-7-1943

27th July 2010, 06:37

Need some help identifying the following No.215 Squadron Wellington.

Friday, 9 July 1943.

A Wellington of 215 Squadron, piloted by Sgt J A Gee, failed to return from a daytime Intruder Patrol along the Arakan coast. The crew were subsequently found in their dinghy eight days later, exhausted but alive.

Air War for Burma.
London:Grub Street,2005.

All help appreciated,


Henk Welting
27th July 2010, 13:38

My Wellington file has no 215 Sqn loss on or around this date.


27th July 2010, 14:15
Wrong date:

29th July 1943


Wellington BB506

Sgt J.A. Gee; (Survived)
Sgt A.C. Tenneson; (Survived)
F/O R.F.N. Jones; (Survived)
F/S L.E. Baxter ; (Survived)
Sgt L.E.G. Baldry; (Survived)
Sgt Redvers Cyril Malcolm Parris (died)

27th July 2010, 14:57
Hello Henk & Paul,

Firstly, Henk thanks for that look-up.

Paul, I had some doubts about the date. I had the following report which did not tie-in with the date quoted in Air War for Burma:

In early August (1943), there occurred an unusual operation. Flying Officer S C Akers (AUS400767), (in Dak FD791), was flying from Chittagong to Dum Dum over the sea when one of his passengers spotted what he took to be a dinghy, and told one of the crew. Visibility was poor, but upon being told of the sighting, Akers turned to begin a search. It took ten minutes to find the dinghy. Akers instructed his WOP to report its position and continued to circle the spot until relieved. Warrant Officer Rutherford, (also) of 31 Sqn, was sent out, relieved Akers and then dropped supply containers to the men in the water, who, it had now been established were a downed RAF crew. Later this lucky crew were rescued by ASR launch.

First in the Indian Skies.
Franks,Norman L R.
n.p.,:R.A.F. Collection,1981.

This is undoubtedly, the same incident.

Once again, I thank you both for your help in clearing up this problem I had with Akers.


27th July 2010, 17:19

For the sake of completeness, here are the details of the 215 Sqn Wellington that is mentioned in Parris' biography, which was lost on 8-8-1943:

No.215 Sqn
Wellington IC HE126

Took off from Jessore at 0745 to carry out a FIRPO Intruder Patrol off the Arakan coast. The aircraft got into difficulties after take-off, went into a steep turn until the plane was almost vertical, then crashed into trees and burnt on impact. All the crew were killed.

53729 P/O (Pilot) Eric Claude DOWLING RAF +
AUS404312 F/O (2nd Pilot) Cecil Tom ENRIGHT RAAF +
1410623 Sgt (Nav.) Edward Ronald Ellis THOMAS RAFVR +
1331911 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Neville Arthur James OVENDEN RAFVR +
R/66066 W/OII (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Francis William HOLCOMBE RCAF + (Front gunner)
611210 F/Sgt (Air Gnr.) James HYDE RAF + (Rear gunner)

All originally buried in the Protestant Burial Ground, Jessore, Bengal, India. Later reinterred at Chittagong War Cemetery, Pakistan, India.


Henk Welting
27th July 2010, 17:42
Thanks Col for this info. HE126 was in my files, however only with HOLCOMBE's name.

23rd May 2020, 14:06
Hello I have been trying to find out what happened to my Great Uncle who was Neville Arthur James Ovenden RAFR, who thanks to your research i found out that he was killed in the above Wellington IC HE126, you mention Parris' biography, where can I find details of this biography. Kind regards Peter Bloomfield RAF(Retired)

23rd May 2020, 15:23
Peter, Hi - and welcome to the forum.
You've probably got all this, but for completeness:-

Q4 1905 Percy George Ovenden m Annie Kate Hills Reg Tonbridge 2a 1605
b. Q2 1913 1 x Sister
b. Q1 1915 1 x Brother
Neville Arthur James Ovenden
b. Q1 1921 (MMS Hills) Reg Tonbridge 2a 1553.
Early Nov 1940 Enlisted 1331911 in Block 1330001-1340000 RAFVR Issued Uxbridge/Weston-super-Mare 01-Nov-40 to 03-Dec-40. Aged 19. TNA AIR 78/121/2 Image 25 R3C1.
d. 8 Aug 1943 in HE126 near Jessore (now Bangladesh) (GE 23.181262 89.169732).

Peter Davies

23rd May 2020, 15:45
Peter B., Welcome Aboard.

You will find Parris' bio, here: http://www.ringmer.info/war-memorial/redvers-parris.html


4th June 2020, 14:29
Hello All,
Just a little clearing up!
HE126 was lost, shortly after take-off from Jessore (then India), now Bangladesh, on 8 Aug 43.
The casualties were originally buried in the Protestant Burial Ground, Jessore. They were later transferred to the Chittagong War Cemetery.
I have been advised by CWGC, by map directions(!), of the likely location of the Protestant Burial Ground. Jessore has changed considerably since 8 Aug 43!!!!
It is, therefore, only highly likely that the location of the Protestant Burial Ground was at GE 23.167615 89.206879 – or nearby.
CWGC advise that the transfer of the remains took place in 1950 under the aegis of the military.
They do not know the precise impact location of HE126. Although they suggest that the on-line Canadians might?
I worked in/with/for the RAF for 42+ years. It always gave me great pleasure to work with the experts in other disciplines. This quest gave me the same pleasure, and I have copied my ‘Thankyou’ email to CWGC to their man in Bangladesh – a Mr Sattar!
Peter Davies

Smith 565
5th June 2020, 16:01
Re HE126

According to the times posted in the record, the crash must have been very close to the airfield at Jessore. Take-off recorded at 07.55 hrs and crashed at 07.57 hrs.

Last year I checked the service file for WO2 Holcombe, RCAF, available via Ancestry. There was no 'circumstantial report' which might have added anything further the facts which Col posted earlier.


5th June 2020, 16:41
HE126 forensic evidence!
So we are possibly looking at an impact location somewhere between the end of Jessore r/w 16 and a point at GE 23.113127 89.187089 (2 mins at 120 kts)?
The a/c is said to have banked into the vertical before the crash.
Having been involved (historically!) in similar incidents of this sort it would seem to me that this might be a case of (a) not all the gust locks (assuming the Wellington had them?!) had been removed, (b) the collection of the visual ‘tails’ of ALL the gust locks had not been shown, by the ground-crew, to the Pilot, and/or (c) some other control surface problem, which the Pilot had not checked?
Peter Davies

Smith 565
6th June 2020, 13:41
Re HE126:

175 Wing ORB (AIR26/258) helps a bit -

'... Q/215, F/Sgt Dowling E, took off on Intruder at 07.55 hours but crashed two minutes after take off one mile South of the Runway on the edge of the Aerodrome. All the crew were killed as a result of the crash. The results of the Investigation into this fatal accident is not yet to hand, but the port engine failed immediately after take off and this may be taken as the primary cause.'


6th June 2020, 16:41
That puts the impact point on the banks of, or in, the Bhairab River. This river is the current border India/Bangladesh (within 300 yds/m of GE 23.159851 89.168291) . Hadn't thought about engine failure. But Wimpy's were notorious for their poor single-engine performance. Between us, then, we had unearthed evidence that should satisfy any modern Court of Inquiry! Well done!
Peter Davies