parts of the navigatorsmap
31 July /1 Aug. 1942
16 O.T.U. ( Operational Training Unit )
Pilot: Sgt. E.G. Robertson RCAF KIA
Nav. : Sgt. L.G. Harvie RCAF KIA
Bomb Aim.: Sgt. D.H. Kurtz RCAF KIA
Wireless Op.: Sgt. H.L. Cox RAF KIA
Rear Gun.: Sgt. E.F. Hueston RCAF KIA
Departed at 23.55h. from his home base in Upper Heyford ,Wellington HF852 set course to the target Düsseldorf. All went well and the bombs were dropped on target.
Navigator Sgt. Harvie plotted a course for the trip back home over Holland.
By this time the Night fighters based at Venlo were already patrolling the sky. At around 02.20h. Hptm. Streib (Stab 1./NJG1 ) found Wellington HF852 on his path and immediately shots were fired . The bomber took a direct hit setting the fuel tanks on fire. The crew had no chance. At 02.28h. the fiercely burning Wellington crashed in a field near Elsendorp. None of the five crewmembers survived . All of them were recovered and buried by the Germans. It was Hptm. Streib his 31st claim.
When the farmer was ploughing his field he frequently got stuck on buried pieces of the plane that damaged his machines. During a clean-up of the obstruction some remains came up. There were pieces of the Bristol Pegasus engine ,a complete prop, machineguns ,a wallet etc…
The Recovery team from the Royal Netherlands Air Force was contacted. They collected the ammunition, weapons and large parts. The smaller parts, wallet and prop blade where left and taken care for by a local.
After a tip from local historian B. Ploegmakers (who contacted Ruud Wildekamp ”Documentation group Volkel” and Thijs Hellings “Planehunters” ) about parts of a plane that were still on a farmyard, Ruud and Thijs visited the farmer.
The parts were donated to Thijs for restoration and safekeeping, there were still very recognisable pieces including engine parts and the wallet.
(see news topic http:/www.planehunters.be/wallet-returning-to-burlington/ )
This triggered our team to start the investigation for this crash. Several family members were found thanks to Pete and Neil from the 51 Sqn. History Society , and we returned the wallet to Canada.
Taking a closer look on the surface of the crash site we found many tiny parts of the Wellington, being missed by the other recoveries. We collected, cleaned and identified them.
The steering-wheel and parts of the cockpit were pieced together.
We also found a lot of parts from the front turret.
In the wet soil we even found parts of the navigators map
Translated from “crash investigation report nr.20” by Thijs Hellings
For more photo’s take a look at this link
Many thanks to
Bernard Ploegmakers , Ruud Wildekamp, Alex van Bakel , Sjaak Veth , Teus de Rooi , Neil Smith and Peter Gulliver from 51 Sqn. History Society , members of Documentation Group Volkel , Wim Govaerts , Marcel Hogerhuis , Ivors Kops Burlington Library , Jerry Large , Peggy Large , Kathy Yanchus , Sandra Mactaggert ,Planehunters Recoveryteam Benny-Thijs-Max-Marcel-Kris