Graveyard / Begraafplaats: Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery
Location / Locatie: EE grave 98
Militairy Service / Krijgsdienst: Royal Air Force
Regiment: 218 Sqdn.
Number / Nummer: 624070
Age / Leeftijd: 25
Date of death / Overlijdensdatum: 31/08/1943
Son of Harry and Lily Holden from Elveden; Suffolk.
On August 31, 1943 fell behind the zinc factory in Dorplein around 04:00 at night down a Stirling III of the 218 Squadron. Pilot was F / Sgt W.H. Clague. In the book of René Vos, Broken wings: Air War over and Cranendonck Hamont 1940-1945 (Budel, 2011) is on p. 171-181 extensively described what is happening around this crash.
The Stirling was part from a bombing mission in Mönchengladbach. On the way back, the plane was wounded by German night fighters and had to be given the signal to leave the plane. According to the statement of P / O G.F. Lorne exploded the device shortly after he jumped out. The debris were scattered over a length of more than four kilometers.
Four of the seven crew did not survive the crash. Those were gunner Sgt Cecil Charles Holden (25); pilot F / O William Henry Clague (26); Flight Engineer Sgt Jack Adam Whetton (21) and radio operator / gunner Sgt Harold Butler (20).
The three others came safely to the ground and knew even (temporarily) remain from the hands of the Germans. Observer / bombardier P / O Gerald F. Lorne was with his jump hit by flying debris and broke his foot. He landed in the woods northwest of Weert. He found refuge with a farm and was helped from there via a pilot line. Beginning in February 1944, he was in Gibraltar and he was back in England again on 6 February.
Canadian rear gunner Sgt A.A. Frederickson was less fortunate: he was quickly taken prisoner and ended up in the prisoner of war camp Kopernikus. For the third survivor, navigator Sgt Ian Alexander Robb, it took a lot longer before he fell into captivity. He has since written a book about after the war, Ian Robb’s Own Story. Using the resistance (the Possumlijn) he came through Liege, Brussels, Paris and Reims end up in Fismes. Since the pilots relief organization was betrayed and on December 31 he was arrested by the Gestapo.
Robb was initially treated as a prisoner and even ended up in Buchenwald concentration camp. But in October 1944 that changed. Thanks to the Red Cross, he was transferred to Stalag Luft III in Sagan.
Related / Gerelateerde
William Henry Clague - Flying Officer
Jack Adam Whetton - Sergeant
Harold Butler - Sergeant
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