Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Lancaster ME846 crash site?


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 stubbo

stubbo

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 12:32 PM

It has been suggested by a contributor on another site that I post this request on ww2talk.
For the past 6 years, I, relations and friends of the crew of Lancaster ME846 of 619 Squadron, have been researching the circumstances of the loss of this aircraft on the night of 21/22 June 1944.
From the diaries of three of the four who bailed out and from the reports of the crew of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 G9+BC of No. 1 Night Fighter Squadron, piloted by Captain von Bonin that attack ME846, we know much more than previously.
The Lancaster, fully loaded with bombs and fuel, was on its way to Wesseling and was flying at 18,000 feet close to the town of Balen in Belgium when it was hit in the starboard wing, which immediately caught fire. The pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft and at the same time turned to port, descending onto a reciprocal course. All but the rear gunner responded. Although uninjured, the pilot stayed with the aircraft as it is thought that the upper gunner went to the aid of the rear gunner. However, before anything could be done, the starboard wing became detached at about 3000 feet and the falling aircraft exploded close to the ground. The bodies of the two gunners were found and are now buried at the Schoonselhof cemetery in Antwerp. Nothing has been found of the pilot.
Our research has revealed that the aircraft came down in the Bladel Woods, which straddle the boarder between Holland and Belgium. Records at Postel Abby in Belgium speak of the explosion blowing out windows in the neighbourhood, but that would surely mean a built up area, which the Bladel Woods are not! The RAF report the aircraft crashed in the Bladel Woods, but in Holland and I have tried to check AIR 2/10031 at the National Archive, which documents the attempts by the RAF after the war to locate the remains of missing airmen. Unfortunately that file is missing from the Archives. The Royal Netherlands Air Force Crash Recovery Team is also searching for any clues as to where the aircraft came down.
We would dearly like to locate the remains of the pilot who gave his life by stayed at the controls in order that his crew had the maximum chance to escape and to give him the burial he so richly deserves. For me it is very “close to home” as he was the youngest brother, at only 20 years of age, of my mother.
Can anyone help us, please?
  • 0

#2 Peter Clare

Peter Clare

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 10,448 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 01:23 PM

Hello stubbo,

Welcome to the forum.

Seems you have done most if not all you can. I've had a look at the relevant entry in BCL Vol.5 but no crash site is listed for this loss. I expect you have already looked at that.

Have you had a look at this link?

Missing research and enquiry service - Your Archives

Wishing you the best of luck.

Regards
Peter
  • 0


 

In remembrance of my father Sgt S. Clare R.A.F Missing from operations 13th August 1942. Never Known, Forever Loved.


#3 Gage

Gage

    Moderator

  • Super Moderators
  • 3,690 posts
  • LocationLincolnshire

Posted 05 December 2009 - 05:16 PM

Also wishing you the best of luck. Keep us posted, please.
  • 0

'There I stood at the bar, wearing a Mae West, no jacket, and beginning to leak blood from my torn boot. None of the golfers took any notice of me - after all, I wasn't a member!' Kenneth Lee - after being shot down on the 18th August 1940.

Andree Borrel (Denise) SOE

♫ Now wicked tongues can speak and rewrite history But you can't keep the truth contained And like the song was sung Realize we're one and we're here to stay 


#4 KevinBattle

KevinBattle

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,000 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 08:56 PM

Peter, forgive my ignorance, but how does one go about using this Enquiry service? it seems to simply highlight a series of files, which once clicked lead to further sets without opening a file to read the contents or an Enquiry Form.
It's just that I would like to follow up using the link for the crew of HR732 which we believe was destroyed by mid air explosion after being hit by flak on the approach to Leipzig.
Thanks in advance, it just doesn't seem "user friendly"!!
  • 0

#5 Verrieres

Verrieres

    no longer a member

  • Validating
  • 1,592 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 09:32 PM

Google Translate

I`m sure this has been found prevously references to

its landing position "at about 15 km south-east of Postel, but north-east of a channel or ...river


and
TAYLOR KNOX estimated the location of the plane crash: "north of Balen, and at East of Postel...
and

At the crash site were the bodies of Bowers and Moggridge found by the Germans moved to a cemetery in Deurne.

Later the bodies were exhumedand reburied at the erepark of Schoonselhof in Antwerp....



Hopefully this is the same Lancaster Crash.





Verrieres



Edited by Verrieres, 05 December 2009 - 10:49 PM.

  • 0

#6 DaveB

DaveB

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,277 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 10:50 PM

I don't know if you're already aware, but the Australian member of the crew has three files held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA). Two of those files have been scanned and are available to be read online. One is his pers file and the other relates to the crash of his aircraft.

Between the two files is a bunch of interesting info, including his report of his baling out of the aircraft and subsequent assistance from the resistance to stay out of the hands of the Germans. Post-war there were a couple of attempts to contact him from someone purporting to have assisted him. Knox wrote a letter back to the RAAF asking them to inform him that Knox had left the country and his present address was unknown. He also stated that he was already in touch with the families that helped him.

Knox' father was formerly a Brigadier and worked for the largest newspaper in Victoria (if I'm reading the file right) so there was a fair bit of interest in his case while he was listed as missing until his subsequent meeting up with friendly forces.

The files also give some detail on the fates of other crew members, POW or deceased etc.

There is even correspondence concerning what to do with Knox' bicycle......

cheers


Dave


Summary heading

KNOX, Peter Edmond - (Flight Sergeant); Service Number - 418433 RAAF

Descriptive note (I haven't checked these details, but sometimes the names or service numbers of other crewmen are incorrect as they have been added in by NAA staff from sometimes degraded documentation)

In addition to the file subject, the following servicemen are mentioned in this record:

DAVIS M A H – (Pilot Officer); Service Number – 174023
BELSHAW W D – (Sergeant); Service Number – 1808996
TAYLOR L E J – (Flight Sergeant); Service Number – 1585057
NEWBERY T A – (Sergeant); Service Number – 1602063
MOGGRIDGE G H – (Sergeant); Service Number – 1896779
BOWERING J E R – (Flight Sergeant); Service Number – R195841 (RCAF ?)

Edited by DaveB, 05 December 2009 - 10:55 PM.

  • 0

#7 DaveB

DaveB

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,277 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 11:46 PM

MISSING AFTER AIR OPERATIONS OVER GERMANY (Monday 26 June 1944)

Brigadier and Mrs Errol Knox, of Walsh Street, South Yarra, have been officially advised that their only son, Flt-Sgt Peter Knox, is missing after air operations over enemy territory in Europe.

Flt-Sgt Knox was born at Neutral Bay, Sydney, in 1923, and enlisted on his 18th birthday. He was educated at St Aloysius, Sydney; Xavier College, Melbourne, and Newman College, Melbourne University, and finished his first year arts in history honours. Flt-Sgt Knox represented Xavier in cricket and football. He also played football for Newman College.




MISSING AIRMAN SAFE (Monday 11 September 1944)

Flight-Sergeant Peter Knox, son of Brigadier and Mrs Errol Knox, of Walsh Street, South Yarra, who had been reported missing in air operations over enemy territory in Europe, is now known to be fit and well.

Advice to this effect was received on Saturday from Geoffrey Hutton, special staff correspondent of The Argus, who said he had contacted Flight-Sgt Knox in Brussels.

Attached Files


  • 0

#8 DaveB

DaveB

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,277 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 11:47 PM

AIRMEN'S ESCAPE FROM GESTAPO (Tuesday 12 September 1944)

Amazing Story of Hide and Seek in Belgium

From GEOFFREY HUTTON, Special Staff Correspondent of THE ARGUS, by Wireless from Belgium.

For six days since the liberation of Brussels thin-faced young men have been arriving in the city and asking their way in schoolboy French. The people of Brussels have been giving them a royal welcome as soon as they have explained that they are Allied airmen who have been shot down over Europe and are reporting back to duty.

Belgium lies on the trunk route to the Ruhr, and many of our aircraft have been lost over friendly territory on their way to bomb German war industries. Members of their crews have been trooping into a big hotel in Brussels - Englishmen, Americans, Australians, and Canadians. Sometimes they have met members of their own crews who had parachuted from burning planes.

On Saturday I was as surprised as anybody could be when I saw in the hotel lobby Flight-Sgt Peter Knox, son of Brigadier and Mrs Errol G. Knox, of Walsh Street, South Yarra. I had seen him last in London in the week after the Allied invasion of France. He was on a week's leave, and complaining that he had missed the fun of D Day, and was getting a dose of buzz bomb instead.

A few days later, on June 22, he went out as bomb aimer of a Lancaster crew on a raid on Cologne, and did not come back.

His story is typical of many others. His plane was hit by flak somewhere near the Dutch frontier, and caught fire. The pilot ordered the crew to bale out. They were scattered over several miles and did not see one another again after they had reached the ground.

Flight-Sgt Knox hid his parachute and headed west, walking by night and hiding in scrub by day. After two days he -met a Belgian farmer, who gave him food. He kept moving, sleeping in the open until he reached a town, where he found shelter.

He arrived in Brussels about a fortnight before the city's liberation.

BELGIANS KNEW PENALTY

"All Belgians knew that the penalty for harbouring Allied airmen was the firing squad," Knox said to me. "but everybody was ready and willing to give me shelter, and nobody tried to give me up to the Germans. They had little food themselves, but they scraped some up for me. The worst hardship really was being forced to hide indoors all the time.

"My French was good enough to make myself understood, but it was not good enough for the Gestapo. I had only one close shave. It happened a few days before the British arrived. "I was wondering how long it would be before I would be free, when a German came to the door. I scrambled into an air-raid shelter and waited. It was a false alarm. His only interest was in getting away as quickly as possible, and had come to look for a motorcar."

Most of the escaped airmen in Brussels today owe their liberty and their lives to the courage of Belgian civilians. Some of them have had even greater strokes of luck. They fell into the hands of a Gestapo agent who pretended to be a loyal Belgian, , and were handed over to the Germans.

They were kept in prison at St Gilles, where they heard that Belgian political prisoners were being tortured by the Gestapo. All the inmates of the prison were herded into trains on September 3, but the tracks had been damaged, and, after a long wait, the German guards disappeared and ran for safety.

The Germans seemed to be debating whether to begin shooting the political prisoners, but they remained calm, and the guards finally became panic stricken and left them.

The airmen, who have all undergone a great strain and lost weight, are being returned to England for medical attention and long leave.

Their friends in need have undergone a strain, too. Yesterday I met a Belgian woman who had been sentenced to death a week before for having harboured airmen. She had been left behind in the rush when the British arrived. Some had not been so lucky.

Edited by DaveB, 05 December 2009 - 11:53 PM.

  • 0

#9 DaveB

DaveB

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,277 posts

Posted 05 December 2009 - 11:53 PM

Monday 19 November 1945

A WRNS GUARD OF HONOUR lined up outside Newman College Chapel, University of Melbourne, on Saturday morning when Miss Monica P. Newcombe, of England, a member of the WRNS, was married to Pilot-Officer Peter Knox, son of Brigadier Errol G. Knox and Mrs Knox.

Attached Files


  • 0

#10 KevinBattle

KevinBattle

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,000 posts

Posted 06 December 2009 - 10:09 AM

Dave Barlow:
Do the Files give any Names of Belgians who may have helped Knox or others of the crew? Is there any description of where he or the rest of the crew or the aircraft landed?

From Verrieres description it seems to be near present day Wezel, where there is both a waterway running East West and another roughly North South, but which one may need our Belgian friends to check local eyewitness or news reports.

As for the initial burial at Duerne, the only one I can find is in France, if that's where two of the crew were initially buried, but I don't imagine they were taken far from the crash site for burial. Is there another Duerne in Belgium?
  • 0

#11 DaveB

DaveB

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,277 posts

Posted 06 December 2009 - 10:46 AM

Attached images are of the letter that Knox wrote to the RAAF and the letter sent from Belgium by a man who claimed to have helped Knox....

Attached Files


Edited by DaveB, 06 December 2009 - 10:52 AM.

  • 0

#12 Peter Clare

Peter Clare

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 10,448 posts

Posted 06 December 2009 - 11:12 AM

The following details are taken from BCL Vol.5 for the loss of ME846

21-22 June 1944

619 squadron
Lancaster I ME846 PG-C
Op. Wesseling

P/O. M A H. Davis +
Sgt. W D. Belshaw pow
F/S. L E J. Taylor pow
F/S. P E. Knox RAAF pow
Sgt. T A. Newberry pow
Sgt. G H. Moggridge +
F/S. J E R. Bowering RCAF +

Took off 2301 hrs Dunholme Lodge. 20 year old P/O. Davis is commemorated on panel 211 of the Runnymede Memorial. His two 19 year old air gunners rest in Schoonselhof Cemetery Antwerp, having been brought here from nearby Deurne.

..............................

The following details are taken from 'Footprints on the Sands of Time' - Clutton-Brock.

Sgt. W D. Belshaw. Held Stalag Luft VII. Bankau, Poland. PoW No.381.
F/S. L E J. Taylor. Held Stalag Luft VII. Bankau, Poland. PoW No.282.
Sgt. T A. Newberry. Held Stalag Luft VII. Bankau, Poland. PoW No.317.

No listing for F/S. Knox.

...............................

The Wesseling raid of 21/22 June 1944

133 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos to attack the synthetic-oil plant at Wesseling; all the aircraft in this force were from No 5 Group except for 5 Lancasters provided by No 1 Group. The weather forecast for the target area (and for the attack on Scholven/Buer which took place at the same time) predicted clear conditions but the bombing force encountered 10/10ths low cloud. The planned No 5 Group low-level marking method could not be used and the reserve method, in which the Lancasters bombed on H2S, was used instead. German night fighters made contact with the bomber force and 37 Lancasters were lost, Nos 44, 49 and 619 Squadrons each losing 6 aircraft. The casualty rate represented 27.8 per cent of the Lancaster force. Post-raid reconnaissance showed that only slight damage was caused to the oil plant but a secret German report quoted in the British Official History records a 40 per cent production loss at Wesseling after this raid. It is possible that the loss was only of short duration.

Edited by Peter Clare, 06 December 2009 - 11:22 AM.

  • 0


 

In remembrance of my father Sgt S. Clare R.A.F Missing from operations 13th August 1942. Never Known, Forever Loved.


#13 Smudger Jnr

Smudger Jnr

    Our Man in Berlin

  • Registered Users
  • 9,388 posts
  • LocationBerlin, Germany.

Posted 06 December 2009 - 11:19 AM

Stubbo,

Hello and welcome to the forum.

An extremely interesting thread to read.

Regards
Tom
  • 0
Reconnaissance Corps - Only the enemy in front.

#14 Verrieres

Verrieres

    no longer a member

  • Validating
  • 1,592 posts

Posted 06 December 2009 - 07:44 PM

Dave Barlow:
Do the Files give any Names of Belgians who may have helped Knox or others of the crew? Is there any description of where he or the rest of the crew or the aircraft landed?

From Verrieres description it seems to be near present day Wezel, where there is both a waterway running East West and another roughly North South, but which one may need our Belgian friends to check local eyewitness or news reports.

As for the initial burial at Duerne, the only one I can find is in France, if that's where two of the crew were initially buried, but I don't imagine they were taken far from the crash site for burial. Is there another Duerne in Belgium?


Yes,
Deurne is the second largest district of the municipality of Antwerp, Belgium, (right after the Antwerp town district) and has 69,408 inhabitants.

Belgians named in Translation are
13-year-old Alfons Vermierdt ,Father Vermierdt,Victor Neels ,Mrs Jeanne Leemans

Verrieres

Edited by Verrieres, 06 December 2009 - 07:55 PM.

  • 0

#15 Rich Payne

Rich Payne

    Rivet Counter

  • Registered Users
  • 3,435 posts
  • LocationN.W Europe

Posted 06 December 2009 - 08:12 PM

I posted before reading the last post. Deurne is best known as the suburb of Antwerp where the current airport lies.

Antwerp - Deurne Airport
  • 0

#16 spidge

spidge

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 11,254 posts
  • LocationMelbourne - Australia

Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:50 AM

Noticed this family site for Knox et al.

Crew of Squadron 619 - Knox Family et al website
  • 0


Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#17 stubbo

stubbo

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:24 PM

Peter,

Thanks for your reply and for the lead. I will follow this up.

Regards,

Stubbo
  • 0

#18 stubbo

stubbo

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:33 PM

Dave Barlow,
Thank you for the information on Peter Knox. I am in touch with his family (all born after the war) and I have the details you mention. I am grateful for your reply.
Regards,
Stubbo
  • 0

#19 stubbo

stubbo

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:51 PM

Dear Verrieres,
Thank you for the details of the possible crash site. I am not sure that the "at about 15 km south-east of Postel, but north-east of a channel or ...river" is correct from the information given in the diaries of three of the crew. Bomb aimer Peter Know was out first and landed near Balen. Flight Engineer Dennis Belshaw out second landed to the north east of Peter Knox. Navigator Leslie Tayor out third landed to the north east of Belshaw and Wireless Operator Thomas Newbery out fourth landed 1 kilometer east of Postel. These positions would indicate that the aircraft was flying on a reciprocal course ie Noth-North-West. Leslie Taylor gives the aproximate crash site as aprox 15kms south-east of TURNHOLT (not Postel) and indeed he was to the north-east of a large canal which caused hime some problems!
Thanks for answering my thread.
Regards,
Stubbo
  • 0

#20 stubbo

stubbo

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:54 PM

Dave Barlow,
Thank you for the information, but I already have this. It is good of you and everyone else to take the time and trouble to answer the threads posted.
Regards,
Stubbo
  • 0

#21 stubbo

stubbo

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 07 December 2009 - 04:18 PM

Dear Spidge,
Thanks for the information. I already have much of this but I am grateful for your input nevertheless.
Regards,
Stubbo
  • 0

#22 Gerard

Gerard

    Seelow/Prora

  • Registered Users
  • 4,790 posts

Posted 07 December 2009 - 04:48 PM

Stubbo, Hello and welcome to the forums. I see our "Fly-Boys" have already touched base with you. The very best of luck in your research.
  • 0

"The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."
- General Heinz Guderian

 

"There's no "i" in team, but there's four in Platitude Quoting Idiot" 
 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users