Looking for crash site of Lancaster ND988 QR-E in Wechte Germany

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by nd988, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. nd988

    nd988 Member

    Hello to all

    In My research into the Lancaster and crew of ND988 QR-E that flew out of Skellingthorpe on the raid of the Dortmund-ems Canal of 23rd of september 1944 i have not been able to find the actual crash site of the Aircraft in the area of Wechte near Lengerich and Ladbergen in the region of Westphalia Germany.

    In the RAF investigation report i have made by F/LT C.W LORD dated june 10 1946 he gives the map reference of the site as follows.

    Map Wechte M.R Sheet P.2 1-100,000 B021 997

    Could someone please guide me in the right direction as to use this reference number in finding the site ?

    many thanks

    please view the images below as i have uploaded two photos of Ian the later one taken not long before his death.


    Attached Files:

  2. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member

    Using the co-ordinates converter the map reference converts to Latitude : 52.19499° Longitude : 7.76791°. It should be noted however that the conversion can be 150 to 1000 meters out on the field.

    I will see if I can find the link to the relevant war time map and get back to you



    Converter at: http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-translator.php
  3. HA96

    HA96 Member

    Hi Mike,Wechte and Lengerich is between Osnabrueck and Muenster. Do you want me to contact a friend of mine researching this kind of Crash sites, normally further North, but may know about this crash as well? Stefan.
  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Wow, Mike!
    You're leaving it very tight if you are going to the crash site for the anniversary on 23rd September!
    You know the crew, captained by your grandfathers brother, Ian Melville Campbell and the rest of the crew.
    Have you got no further than this rough approximation?
    You might well need to contact Stefan to see if his contact can meet you in the Wechte area to narrow down a few sites, and may have sufficient German to help search local information such as newspapers or other archives. There should be someone who may remember the crash, at least a letter (properly translated) emailed soon to the local Wechte newspaper may draw information in time for your visit.
    Chorleys Bomber Command Losses actually give the location as "Crashed circa 23:30 at Wechte, 3 km South West of the centre of Tecklenburg.." Whether that is the direction for Wechte or the crash site, I can't say, but in my mind Wechte is better known so it could be a pointer for the crash area.

    The CWGC also now provide access of the Concentration Document which details where the bodies were exhumed from for reburial at Reichswald. It also shows the location as 3 miles south west of Cleve.
    Lengerich Evangelical Cemetery, Germany Sh(eet?) P2 1/100000 18979 B078998. Graves 13 - 18.

    It may not be much comfort but Ian was able to be identified, but the rest of his crew that perished share a communal grave, despite Milne also being a Kiwi with a distinctive uniform.

    Have you tried accessing the RNZAF personnel and service files for Ian and Milne? They often contain more information as to what may have happened.

    There is also the possibility that Sgt H Lea Service Number 1295544, the rear gunner who appears to have been the only one able to get out of the aircraft, possibly by simply rotating the turret and pushing open the doors, may have completed a Liberation Report after his release from Luft 7, his PoW Number being 919.

    Hopefully other Pals will realise the urgency and do their best to add any further information for you.
    Presumably many months ago you obtained the crew details from the CWGC database so you have areas of the UK that relatives may still be living?

    Anyway, off you go and pack your bags!

    EDIT: It appears there was a radio fix at 23:30 at Wechte, which must have been just immediately before they were attacked.
    Their Loss Card shows they were carrying 14 x 1,000 Medium Case Long Delay bombs (! hour) and that burial of 3 (Campbell, Hoad and Wickland plus 3 unknowns - obviously the rest of the crew bar Lea - and that the Loss Card shows the spelling as Miln(no "e") at Lengerich was confirmed from captured German documents.
  5. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member

  6. nd988

    nd988 Member

    Than you very much to Pete Stefan Kevin for providing the information that i did not have or have managed to find such as the coordinates.

    Stefan if you could please contact your friend and ask if he knows of this crash that would be great !.

    Kevin i had started to look into obtaining Milns records through the RNZAF also in the town where he was from which is not very big there are some people living with the same name.
    The information on the loss card and radio fix is something that i have never read of so thats an exciting find for me !

    I have been contacted by Hans-Gerhard König whose Grandparents farm was mostly destoyed likely by LM 223, flown by F/O Sydney John Staples, which appeared to have colllided with Lancaster LM309 The other involved aircraft, piloted by F/O Jack Lindquist which later crashed at near Ibbenbüren, a town 10 km north of Wechte; 3 crew members survived and became PoWs. Both crews were supposed to be unexperienced ( first and second operation). this information was provided by Hans. he also mentioned the aircraft being shot down from by a night fighter.

    I have contacted him to ask if he has visited the location of the ND988 site.

    you guys will find the reports i uploaded very interesting,apart from what i have learnt from you guys and Hans this is all i know.

    I traced the surviving member as far as that he survived the war and i was given his last known address which was in 1945, further research into Stalagluft 7 is needed.

    I am very interested to find a photograph of the other crew and if possible one of the aircraft, were the photos you often see with crew in front of their aircraft taken officially ?
    im sure there would be something out there somewhere.

    Thanks again Gentleman it is likely i will get to the site in september 2017 and next year is a busy one for me.


  7. nd988

    nd988 Member

    Thank you very much Pete for your help in providing the map link i tried a few places to find one.
    heres a google earth image i used the coordinates to find,ill see how it matches in with any local knowlege when i can.

    thanks Pete
  8. nd988

    nd988 Member

    Thank you very much Pete for your help in providing the map link i tried a few places to find one.
    heres a google earth image i used the coordinates to find,ill see how it matches in with any local knowlege when i can.

    thanks Pete

    Attached Files:

  9. nd988

    nd988 Member

    I would like to add that in the wartime report you will notice the aircraft is written as N.D 989 instead of ND.988 , N.D 989 was atatched to 50 Sqdn
  10. HA96

    HA96 Member

    Hi Mike,

    my friend has come back to me and so far could not really contribute to the actual crash site other than what you already know. Wechte is about 3km away from Tecklenburg (one of the larger small towns in the area with about 10,000 inhabitants).
    He knew about the crash and also stated that of the 136 Lancaster 14 were shot down. 3 additional Lancaster were also shot down close to the Wechte crash of ND988 on the same night
    I could check for you the possibility of any Archives in Tecklenburg or in another town like Lengerich close by. They might have filed Newspapers of 1944 and since any crash of the enemy was “good news” details and the actual crash site may have been mentioned.
    I was lucky when searching for a US pilot shot down close to my home town. The internal history book of a close by monastery had the crash site very well documented (+/- 200m). May be I am lucky again.

  11. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Perhaps an important clue is that 6 of the crew were initially interred at Lengerich, which indicates (to me at least) that this was nearest to the crash site than other aircraft lost in the area that night. I'd be tempted to start my search there, as why else would the bodies have been brought there?
    There appear to be numerous postings under various names all purporting to be the relative whose grandfathers brother piloted ND988.
    Andreas Schmidt, kiwicampbell etc
    Are they all you, as it appears the "crash site" was visited in 2007 or 2008...
    It also seems that contact has been made with the family of at least one crew member.... have you traced any others yet over the last 7 or 8 years?

    I can see it's not such a rush as it would have been say last year for the 70th anniversary, possibly waiting for the 75th might be too long for you!
  12. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member

    If you download the P2 map, you may be able to mark it based on the coordinates in the MRES report and then create an overlay for Google Earth to see how close the mark is to the one created by using the converter.

    I was planning to do that today for you but I was needed for more pressing family matters so I didn't get the opportunity.


  13. nd988

    nd988 Member

    Hi Kevin

    Yes that me on different sites over the years.
    I had made contact with a relative of the navigator R.D Cole a few years ago but lost contact about 2007,he is a cousin.
    We hoped to meet up at Skellingthorpe and then travel to Wechte this did not eventuate but i hope it does still happen and i still plan to film it and make a decent mini docco about the trip.
    I think advertising in the local paper is a great idea.

    Thanks everyone

    Mike Smythe
  14. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

  15. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hi Mike,

    Google evangelische friedhof lengerich and you'll find what you're looking for.


  16. HA96

    HA96 Member

    I have a phone number for the Archives of Lengerich and call them tomorrow.

  17. Gerhard40

    Gerhard40 New Member

    The story of HG Koenig about the collission of f/o Staples in LM223 is not wright. Staples disapeared in the North See around the coast of the Dutch province of Zeeland. The last contact he made was around Hooge Zwaluwe. Probably he was shot down by Leutnant Adamski IIINJG1, who claimed a Lancaster in this area.

    LM 309 f/o Lindquist collided with ND868 f/lt Jones. The second Lanc. came down near farmhouse Bronswick, region Schieren, village Ibbenbueren. Seven crewmembers were buried in a bombcrater near this farmhouse and after the war on Reichwald Cemetery Kleve. F/lt Jones was made POW.
    Lanc LM 309 crashed in Laggenbeck near farmhouse Sommercamp which house was partly destroyed by fire. Several crewmembers were buried in a small piece of wood near this farmhouse and reburied on Reichswald Cem. Kleve.

    ND 988 was clearly a victim of the local flak in the target area as the nightfighters didn't reached the force in time. RAF and German sources (1946) said that there was a mid-air explosion
    The target was heavy defended by flak-guns. There were casualties under the flak-soldiers.

    PB 188 83 Suadron was also hit by flak on bombing run and had the navigator wounded.

  18. HA96

    HA96 Member

    Could not reach anyone at the Archives of Lengerich today. The man in charge is back next week. What I know already is that Lengerich is responsible for anything about the history of Wechte. There is another source I can contact in Wechte to check. Lets wait and see.

  19. nd988

    nd988 Member

    Thank you to Gerhard for your reply and the information provided.not just for ND988 but the other aircraft as well which i did not know much about but are important in the greater picture of events that took place that night.

    Stefan thank you very much for inquiring at the records department at Lengerich.
    It will be very interesting to see what they have on file.
    I wonder how many of the eyewitness family members still live in that area today.

    somewhere out there there maybe a photograph of the site as im sure the luftwaffe took photographs of such events. i wonder where the bulk of the wreckage ended up...likely recycled after it had been examined. im sure there would be some remnants under the surface.

    Good work gentleman !

  20. nd988

    nd988 Member

    Interesting to see the list of soldiers buried in the cemetery at Lengerich

    Lengerich-Evangelischer Friedhof
    Auf dieser Kriegsgräberstätte ruhen 128 Kriegstote des I. und II. Weltkrieges.

    I. Weltkrieg: 9
    II. Weltkrieg: 119

    116 deutsche
    8 ehem. sowjet.
    3 polnische
    1 niederländischer

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