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Thread: RAF Bradwell Bay, info required.

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    Default RAF Bradwell Bay, info required.

    Hi,
    Can anyone help with information from this Station regarding a 76 Squadron Halifax that crash landed at Bradwell Bay on the 30/31 August 1943.

    Regards,
    Miike

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    Default Re: RAF Bradwell Bay, info required.

    Mike

    I have this in my files - Charles Alfred Kirkham D.F.C. D.F.M. was from Sunderland, and Alexander Bradford Ward D.F.M. was from South Shields.

    From Bomber Command Losses 1943, W. R. Chorley, page 296:

    Halifax V DK195 MP-P Bar
    Mission: Monchengladbach
    Monday August 30th 1943

    Took off 00.05 from Holme-on-Spalding Moor. Very badly shot about by night fighters, one of which is believed to have been hit by the return fire. Crash-landed at 05.20 at Bradwell Bay airfield, Essex. Of those who were injured, Sgt Foster was blinded in one eye, but despite his obvious distress, he refused to leave his post and continued to give his pilot navigational instructions. For his outstanding courage and devotion to duty, he, along with F/S Kirkham and Sgt Ward, was awarded an immediate D.F.M., details being gazetted on 15 October 1943.
    F/S C Kirkham injured
    Sgt M A Manser
    Sgt H G Foster injured
    Sgt A B Ward injured
    Sgt C Wicks
    Sgt J Whitter
    Sgt J R Dennis

    Citiation for the D.F.M. awards:

    1093924 Flight Sergeant Charles Alfred Kirkham, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 76 Squadron
    1578404 Sergeant Harold Gordon FOSTER, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 76 Squadron.
    1497991 Sergeant Alexander Bradford WARD, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 76 Squadron.

    Flight Sergeant Kirkham and Sergeants Foster and Ward were pilot, navigator and bomb aimer respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Rheydt one night in August, 1943. When turning away from the target the bomber was raked by machine gun fire from a fighter. Flight Sergeant Kirkham was hit in the buttock and Sergeant Foster in the leg and the eye. The enemy aircraft made repeated attacks, but Flight Sergeant Kirkham evaded them and eventually flew clear. One of the bomber's engines had been put out of action and much essential equipment was damaged. A fire had started in the interior but fortunately did not spread; part of the outer covering of the aircraft also caught alight but Flight Sergeant Kirkham dived violently and the wind extinguished the flames. At the first opportunity, Sergeant Ward rendered first aid to the severely wounded navigator who had gallantly held to his post. Later Sergeant Ward took over the controls for a short spell while the pilot attended to his own wound. Flight Sergeant Kirkham finally flew the badly damaged bomber to this country and effected a crash landing at an airfield near the coast. In very trying circumstances these gallant airmen displayed courage, fortitude and determination of a high order.

    The story is related by Kirkham in 'Bomber Command' by Max Hastings, pages 170-171.

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Mike H (25th March 2021)

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