Halifax monument Muiden, The Netherlands

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by David van Coolwijk, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    Me and a group of volunteers are making a monument for the crash of Halifax JB803 KN-G, which crashed between Muiden and Muiderberg in the Netherlands on may 1st 1943.

    I am doing the research of the crash and have found a lot of information, I have the 77 squadron ORB, bomber lost Card and the Bomber movement card.

    My search began with the search for family members, this proved to be very difficult, but with the help of a local radio station in Canada, newspaper articles and genealogy research I have traced 5 of the 7 relatives.

    I have not been able to locate the last 2 families yet, it seems as if there are no direct relatives left.

    JB803 took off from RAF Elvington on April 30th for a mission to Essen, somewhere near Amsterdam it was intercepted by German nightfighter Heinz Vinke and was severely damaged.

    JB803 cirkeled around Muiden and Muiderberg for a while and 5 of the crew baled out over the Ijsselmeer and drowned. The pilot and an air gunner remained on board.

    The pilot attempted, as we believe, an emergency landing, but the airplane toppled over because of the muddy meadow and exploded upon impact, killing both the pilot and the air gunner.

    In 2003 a Merlin Engine was recoverd in remarkable condition and is now on display in a museum in Heemskerk.

    A seventh crewmember is still missing, we think he has been buried in Amsterdam, because a wounded airman was found on may 1st without identification and was brought to a hospital in Amsterdam, he died on may 13th without waking up. (we are still looking into this, there is no hard evidence about this yet).

    You can read more about the crash, crew and monument here:

    Halifax monument Muiden

    Regards,

    David
     
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  2. sri_130

    sri_130 Member

    Great project, good luck with it.

    Elvington is only a few miles from me (along with RAF Burn & RAF Snaith). I have some great books and stories from both of those airfields - who flew Halifax's.
    If you need anyone to do some research on this side, I might be able to do the running around for you.
     
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  3. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    That would be amazing! I will let you know!
     
  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Crew details to assist
    WATSON, GORDON. Sergeant (Pilot). Service Number 1383608. Died 01/05/1943.
    77 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY. Row E. Grave 84.

    CRAWFORD, IAN DOUGLAS. Sergeant (Flight Engineer). Service Number 634710. Died 01/05/1943. Aged 21.
    77 Sqdn. Royal Air Force
    Son of John and Jean Crawford, of Glasgow.
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY Row E. Grave 80.

    PARSONS, ARTHUR EDWARD. Flying Officer (Navigator) Service Number J/11636. Died 01/05/1943. Aged 27.
    77 (R.A.F.) Sqdn Royal Canadian Air Force
    Son of Arthur Edwin and Olive Sarah Parsons, of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY Row E Grave 85.

    HANNAM, LEON. Segreant Navigator Air Bomber. Service Number 1383305. Died 01/05/1943. Aged 22.
    77 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Son of Leon and Margaret Cecil Emma Hannam, of Islington, London.
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY Row E. Grave 82.

    LOUTH, WILLIAM ROBERT. Sergeant (W/Op Air Gunner) Service Number 1198324. Died 01/05/1943
    77 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Commemorated at Runnymede Memorial Panel 157
    Louth possibly married a Miss Hunter in Leicester 3rd Qtr 1939, when War had been declared. (Rootschat) Finding relatives of missing airgunner William Robert Louth of Hayes Middlesex (World War Two) Page 3 RootsChat.Com

    SHEPHERD, RAYMOND. Sergeant (Air Gunner). Service Number 929961. Died 01/05/1943. Aged 21.
    77 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Son of Ada Shepherd, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY Row E. Grave 81.

    SCARFF, THOMAS DEUEL. Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) Service Number R/95040. Died 01/05/1943. Aged 23
    77 (R.A.F.) Sqdn Royal Canadian Air Force
    Son of Charles Henry and Daisy Kemp Scarff, of St. James, Manitoba, Canada.
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY Row E. Grave 83.
     
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  5. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    Thank you for your effort!

    Most of the information about the crew I already have, rootschat has been a great resource!

    At this point I am in desperate need of information on Raymond Shepherd, his mother was probably widowed at young age, her probable surname is Corke. But I am not sure.

    Also Ian Douglas Crawford gives me a headache! I have been in contact with the Oban Times and they have made an article about him, he was from Argyll, Schotland. No luck at all!

    He also had a very young uncle who died while training for the RAF in Africa, had an older sister called Janet Crawford, she died in 1931 aged 32. So there is a substantial age difference.

    My guess is, the Crawford family moved to Australia, but this is based on a hunch.

    I know there is a family memorial in Glasgow at the Sandymount cemetery.

    I have his death certificate, but there is no further information on it.
     
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  6. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    From various internet sources it seems Hannam was recovered from the nose and front turret section, so it would appear he was still in the aircraft when it crashed, but flung into the Ijsselmeer when it broke up.
    It also seems strange that a pilot would circle for several minutes (5 to 7) in a severely damaged plane... surely that would invite further attacks from nightfighters and flak?
    Early Halifaxes had a problem with the triangular fins not providing sufficient directional stability and often were lost by going into a flat spin
    and which, under certain conditions and configurations, such as with an engine stopped, etc., could cause a stall. The convergent turbulent flow over the stalled fin then caused rudder overbalance, which suddenly and without warning threw the rudder hard-over to its extreme travel. This often broke the pilot's ankle, but even when it didn't the pilot often wasn't strong enough to move the rudder back. As many of these accidents happened at night and on operations, it was difficult to solve at first, and it was actually some time before the unexplained losses were traced to anything other than enemy action. The fin stall only occurred under certain specific conditions, one of which was subsequently discovered when the aircraft was corkscrewing with one or two engines on one side out, a condition which often occurred when the aircraft was actually flying on operations.


    It seems he had sufficient control for most of the crew to bale out, but to continue circling as described might mean that someone was wounded or trapped and one or two crew members were trying to get him out while the pilot tried to maintain control. 5 minutes should be enough time for all the crew to escape.

    Takeoff was just before midnight and the Halifax is reported as having crashed shortly after 2 am, so presumably still heading for Essen and with a full bomb load.

    But this is 70 odd years on, so it's all a guess.

    So it's Shepherd and Crawford you need to trace relatives for .....

    Rootschat gave 3 possibles for Shepherd
    Raymond SHEPHERD possible births:
    Jun qtr 1921 Middlesbro' vol 9d p1175 mmn SWALES
    He appears to be
    SHEPHERD, RAYMOND. Aircraftsman 2nd Class. Service Number 1050924. Died 04/03/1941. Aged 19.
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Son of Thomas Henry and Florence May Shepherd, of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire
    Commemorated at RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL Panel 58.

    Sep qtr 1921 St Thomas, Devon vol 5b p59 mmn TILLEY (registered as Raymond L)
    Raymond Labdon Shepherd died 1998 in Exeter

    Dec qtr 1921 West Bromwich vol 6b p1652 mmn GREGORY (not yet traced)

    but there is a complication with
    SHEPHERD, RICHARD RAYMOND. Gunner. Service Number 908472. Died 26/05/1940. Aged 19.
    72 Field Regt. Royal Artillery
    Son of R. W. and Ada Shepherd, of West Jesmond, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
    Commemorated at DUNKIRK MEMORIAL Column 15.
    Same mother's name but unlikely to be related as ages so similar.

    Great Yarmouth is known for fishing,

    There is no mention of Raymond's father, which could mean he had died before the CWGC information was provided.


    PS: I forgot to welcome you here, and to thank you for all the work you and your friends have done over the years for these airmen.
    The tracing of Louth is a good detective story, hopefully the remains of that unknown airman dying on 13th May can be verified as his in due course.
     
  7. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    Thanks, of course we will never know what exactly happened that night, there are some eyewitnesses. They claim it circled for a couple of minutes. This can be explained by the jammed rudder? Maybe the pilot was incapacitated?

    Thomas Scarff (rear gunner?) and Gordon Watson (pilot) we found at the crash site. According to the local doctor without external injuries, however, I doubt that. But I'm no doctor.

    Watson was buried up to his waste in mud and sitting upright according to the police report we have.

    The information I have about Shepherd is the following:

    Sergeant (Air Gunner)SHEPHERD, RAYMOND
    Service Number 929961

    Died 01/05/1943

    Aged 21

    77 Sqdn.
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    Son of Ada Shepherd, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

    This info comes from The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

    As far as I understand from my thread on Rootchat, his mother was Ada Shepherd. Her maiden name was Ada Corke. There are 2 theories.

    1. She was divorce
    2. She had a little adventure with a man called Shepherd.

    I have a photo of the entire crew, but naturally there are now 2 men in it of whom I cannot tell who they are, unless they are confirmed by the relatives of both of them.

    I hope I will come in contact soon, so I can complete my research and invite them to the revealing of the memorial when it is done!
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    I've been to a couple of similar commemorations in Northern Belgium/Netherlands and there other great groups which investigate and erect memorials. Keep up the great work.
     
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  9. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Yes, traced the Rootschat sub string for Ada Shepherd nee Ada Cork.
    What may be of some interest is that researchers there have made a connection to Ada's parents which links to a brother who died in WW1.
    Ada Shepherd at V.A.D. Military Aux. Hospital, Woodbastwick Hall, South Walsham, Norwich who started there in Jan 1916 as a laundress. birth Mar qtr 1884 Yarmouth vol 4b p26 CORKE Ada Hannah mmn (mothers maiden name) ENGLAND
    birth Mar qtr 1882 Mutford vol 4a p895 CORK Henry Edward mmn ENGLAND

    They have traced a potential birth (illegitimate?) in Sep 1921 at Rochford (Essex?) Vol 4a page 1339
    Corke, Raymond S. (Shepherd?) mother Corke. There is a suggestion that there was a Cunliffe Shepherd family at Winsford Hall, Gt Yarmouth, and it might be how the Raymond S came to be registered in Rochford, sent away until the birth? But I may be unfairly besmirching that family....

    (As a personal aside, I too, was born in Rochford (the hospital) many years later and it is beside what was RAF Rochford and now Southend "International" airport, so if the father had RAF links, that may have been told to Raymond and influenced his wartime choice of service?)

    Baptism Name: Edie Hannah Cork Baptism Age: 0. Baptism Date: 7 Feb 1884 Baptism Place: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Father Charles Cork Mother Eleanor Cork. Birth Date: 14 Jan 1884 (Same date as Ada gives in 1939) Just noticed, the year of birth she gives in 1939 is 1887, but day and month are the same.

    CORK, HENRY EDWARD. Sapper. Service Number 43261. Died 05/08/1917. Aged 39
    106th Field Coy. Royal Engineers
    Husband of Mrs. M. J. Cork, of 28, East Rd., Maygrove, Great Yarmouth. Native of Great Yarmouth.
    Buried at BIRR CROSS ROADS CEMETERY III. A. 1.

    So there may be Cork(e) descendants that have a family link.
     
  10. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Here's one of your men:-

    PARSONS, ARTHUR EDWARD. Flying Officer (Navigator) Service Number J/11636. Died 01/05/1943. Aged 27.
    77 (R.A.F.) Sqdn Royal Canadian Air Force
    Son of Arthur Edwin and Olive Sarah Parsons, of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY Row E Grave 85.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Information found on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. He is bottom right of your group photo.

    77 SQDN.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  11. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Here's another one for you:-

    SCARFF, THOMAS DEUEL. Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) Service Number R/95040. Died 01/05/1943. Aged 23
    77 (R.A.F.) Sqdn Royal Canadian Air Force
    Son of Charles Henry and Daisy Kemp Scarff, of St. James, Manitoba, Canada.
    Buried at MUIDEN GENERAL CEMETERY Row E. Grave 83.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Information found on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. He is top left of your group photo.

    77 SQDN - Copy.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  12. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    [QUOTE="KevinBattle[/QUOTE]

    Quite interesting is it not? And fun to research. There should be several relatives, but locating them seems very hard.
     
  13. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    Thank you, both photos are mine, I have posted them at the canadian war memorial website some time ago. I had great help from Tom Slater of Sarnia historical society.

    I am also in contact with the family of the other Canadian airman. I found them because of a radio interview with CHVN Radio from Winnipeg!

    There is still so much to be told......
     
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  14. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    View attachment 229829
     
  15. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

  16. Delta Golf

    Delta Golf Junior Member

    Only one Ada Shepherd listed in the 1939 register in Norfolk. DoB 14 Jan 1887, living at 28 Belfort Place , Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England and widowed which if the mother of Raymond answers one of the questions.
     
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  17. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    That seems to be the same person indeed!
     
  18. sri_130

    sri_130 Member

    (Googled) Belfort Place was next to the Silk factory in Great Yarmouth. The street was bulldozed in the 1970's.
    Not relevant, but I love looking to see if places still exist today.
     
  19. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    Same here, highly disappointed when something has been demolished, espacially if something too modern is build on the same spot.
     
  20. David van Coolwijk

    David van Coolwijk http://www.halifaxmonumentmuiden.nl/

    I am also working on a documentary, here's the trailer. Still needs some tweaking, but I'm getting there!

    Soon I will start a crowdfunding hoping to get the funds for the creation of this film.

     

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