SGT H.E.CHAMBERLAIN 144SQN RAF

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by brianharoldhogg, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. I am seeking all possible information concerning the above named. I believe he originated from Northern R hodesia where he worked as a policeman before joining the RAF. With 144sqn he was a Hampden pilot who sadly was lost during a mission on 12/13 October 1941 . According to the limited info' I have his a/c AD 906, was shot down @ Ijesselmeer nr Stavoren, this claim made by Oblt Helmut Lent.
    Can anyone please help with this. Details of his crew members would also be most appreciated.
     
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    CWGC Details:

    CHAMBERLAIN, HERBERT EDWARD

    Rank:Sergeant
    Trade:Pilot
    Service No:777660
    Date of Death:12/10/1941
    Age:26
    Regiment/Service:Royal Air Force 144 Sqdn.
    Grave Reference: Row N. Grave 33. Cemetery:WONSERADEEL (MAKKUM) PROTESTANT CHURCHYARD
    Additional Information:Son of Capt. John Chamberlain, M.C., and Myrtle Elizabeth Chamberlain, of Penhalonga, Southern Rhodesia.

    Seems your presumption as to his birthplace is correct

    TD
     
  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hampden I AD965 (AD906 Struck Off Charge 27 April 1944) of 144 Squadron lost 12-13 October 1941 on an op to Huls (Chemical plant)

    Crew

    Sgt. H E. Chamberlain +
    Sgt. E W. Hawkins +
    Sgt. C A J. Webster +
    Sgt. C M. Morris +

    During the course of 1941 RAF Bomber Command visited Huls on 4 occasions. 145 aircraft attacked the target (industry and oil). 141 tons of HE were dropped along with 23 tons of incendiaries. 12 aircraft were missing or lost
     
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  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. Woodhead

    Woodhead Junior Member

    This crew has always been a mystery to me. Their Hampden AD965 had transferred with 144 Squadron from Hemswell to North Luffenham in July 41. Since arriving at North Luffenham it had been taken on 21 operations up to the date it was lost. During July and August it was the regular Hampden for F/Lt Aldis and his crew. My father flew it to Brest on the 13 September 41 and various crews flew it after that date.

    The crew Chamberlain, Hawkins, Webster and Morris appear in the 144 Squadrons records only for the Operation on the 12-13 October 41 flying AD965. The entry only records the loss of the aircraft and crew. They had flown no other operations with the squadron since it had arrived at North Luffenham in the July. With no contemporary record of their joining 144 Squadron at this time. The ages of the crew between 24 and 32 would suggest they were an experienced crew but were still all sergeants. My father was a Sgt pilot on his first tour but only just 21. They may have been brought in from an OTU (Operational Training Unit) to make up the numbers. 16,14 and 25OTU were the source of new crews for 144 Squadron and for crews being rested.

    The squadron flew three operations on the night of 12-13 October, it is not recorded which operation AD965 was involved in. The first to Bremen had take off times between 19.05 and 19.30 hrs on the 12th, involving 10 Hampdens. Flying a dog leg out over the North Sea with a course correction at 54 deg N - 04 deg E, for Bremen. I speculate AD965 was on this operation, returning on a direct course west from Bremen rather than on a reciprocal course when picked up by Obit Helmut
    Lent flying out of Leeuwarden, who recorded his attack at 00.33 hrs. The second operation was an Intruder involving 2 Hampdens taking off at 00.50 hrs on the 13th, giving some protection over the Himmelbett search light defences for the 10 Hampdens on the third operation to the Huls Synthetic Rubber factory on the Wesel-Datteln Canal near Haltern, taking off between 01.00 and 01.22 hrs on the 13th. If Lent recorded his attack time correctly AD965 must have taken off on the first operation. The doubt comes in to play due to the course to Huls which crossed the Zuider Zee (Ijesselmeer) were AD965 was recorded as lost. The squadron revisited the factory on the 28 Dec 41 with a more successful outcome due to better weather and better intelligence on dummy fires.

    Hope this helps and does not add confusion. I would be interested if you get more info on the crew.

    John
     
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  6. AlanW

    AlanW Senior Member

    The ages of the crew does not automatically point to them being an experienced crew. Chamberlains service number indicates that he joined up in Rhodesia in June 1940, Hawkins... August 40, so given the length of the training period concerned, they were probably very new to the squadron, and lost on their first op. Of the other two, Webster joined Sept 39, and Morris also Sept 39.
     
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  7. May I please thank John, Owen, Peter & T.D. for their prompt & informative replies. This is my first attempt to gather information in this manner & I have found the experience very rewarding.
    From what has been said it does seem to be the case that enquires based on Chamberlains time with 144 sqn will be limited to his activities on 12/13 October. I had hoped there would be more to tell. From the information currently to hand there are a few points which you may be able to clarify.
    1. Chamberlain is buried in the Wonseradeel [Makkum] Protestant Churchyard in the Netherlands. His crew are commemorated on the Runnymead memorial indicating no known graves. Would this mean that Chamberlain alone was found at or near the crash site?
    2. The a/c was lost on 13 October but not struck off charge until April the following year. Is this an unusually long time.
    3. John, you obviously have extensive knowledge of sqn activity & say that your father actually flew AD965 IN September in '41. Do you have a photo of this particular a/c.
    4. Does anyone know how I can trace Chamberlains activities prior to him joining 144 .indeed where I could enquire about his early flying days given that Rhodesia no longer exists.
    As I have said, this is my first foray into sites such as this & I must apologise if I have not correctly observed all the right etiquettes in responses etc.
    Thank you, Brian.
     
    Remko de Jong likes this.
  8. May I please thank John, Owen, Peter & T.D. for their prompt & informative replies. This is my first attempt to gather information in this manner & I have found the experience very rewarding.
    From what has been said it does seem to be the case that enquires based on Chamberlains time with 144 sqn will be limited to his activities on 12/13 October. I had hoped there would be more to tell. From the information currently to hand there are a few points which you may be able to clarify.
    1. Chamberlain is buried in the Wonseradeel [Makkum] Protestant Churchyard in the Netherlands. His crew are commemorated on the Runnymead memorial indicating no known graves. Would this mean that Chamberlain alone was found at or near the crash site?
    2. The a/c was lost on 13 October but not struck off charge until April the following year. Is this an unusually long time.
    3. John, you obviously have extensive knowledge of sqn activity & say that your father actually flew AD965 IN September in '41. Do you have a photo of this particular a/c.
    4. Does anyone know how I can trace Chamberlains activities prior to him joining 144 .indeed where I could enquire about his early flying days given that Rhodesia no longer exists.
    As I have said, this is my first foray into sites such as this & I must apologise if I have not correctly observed all the right etiquettes in responses etc.
    Thank you, Brian.
     
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  10. Thank you for that T.D. I shall make contact.
    Brian.
     
  11. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    https://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-green2.html
    Good luck in your research.
    There may be some additional background in researching his parents and I just wonder if this critique of Ernest Hemingway's "Green Hills of Africa" might be connected?
    I also wonder if the bracketed name (Jimsun) in the ORAF's page might have been a local corruption of Jim's (John) son?
    The CWGC appears to have worked in the cemetery in 1957 and detailed the burials.
    It's in the Friesian Islands and many aircrew that were shot down into the Ijseelmeer may have been carried by tides to different locations and may have not been identified when found.
    Having said that, I think the Hampden was regarded as a difficult aircraft to bale out from, so the crew may have been trapped in the wreckage.
    The Ijseelmeer was partly drained after the War and many aircraft wrecks were found, so there may be more information in the Dutch press.
     
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  12. Woodhead

    Woodhead Junior Member

    Hi Brian
    Responding to your four questions

    1 If not killed during the attack, the crew positions for the navigator, wireless operator/upper rear gunner and lower rear gunner would have been difficult to escape from after impact with water at night. The fuselage of the Hampden was 3ft across similar to a Spitfire. The pilot may have been thrown clear on impact.
    2 AD965 was the Hampden involved and recorded as lost on the night. Slight confusion on your original Hampden number AD906 which was SOC 27 April 44. AD906 in 1941 was with 140TU. (A long shot may be to check 1941 14OTU archives for a Sgt Chamberlain, as from some source you have his name associated with this number!)
    3 Little photographic evidence is associated with144 Squadron during 1941. Rules frowned on the use of personal cameras at RAF bases at this time. Canadian Hampden squadrons got a way with it and Scampton was visited by official photographers. There are a few photos at North Luffenham but none I have found of AD965. I have only one Hampden photograph in my fathers collection, taken while training at 16OTU.
    4 Others have given you possible leads to follow.

    Good Luck, John
     
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  13. Hello John,
    Thank you for your information, yesterdays date. I did reply to you earlier but think I may have used the wrong method of reply. My apologies.
    Brian.
     
  14. Remko de Jong

    Remko de Jong New Member

    Hello John; May I introduce myself. I am Remko de Jong from the Frisian town of Makkum where many airmen are at our cemetery. Also Herbert Edward Chamberlain of 144sqn. I have been working for several years now to give a face to these heroes who have given their lives for our freedom. If I read your story like that, is the pilot Herbert Edwerd Chamberlain your father? Or your grandfather? I have been researching these pilots for some time by getting their flight schedules birth place and photos. Could you help me if you want or can. I would be very grateful. Kind regards,
    Les we forget.
    Please look also at 2018...
    Remko
     
  15. Geoff Raebel

    Geoff Raebel New Member

    John, I'm a little late on this. My specialty is Hampdens and 455 Squadron. At the end of 1941 the Aussies seemed to have camera's with them, though my dad did get into bother for having taken a photo of a new "top secret" Beaufighter that arrived at Leuchars in late 1942. Hope you're still there, I'm doing some work on 144 before Coastal
     
  16. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    The CWGC entry for Chamberlain doesn't have any other details of a previous burial, and as Wonseradeel is on the shore of the Ijselmeer, then he could have floated ashore close by. There should be some local records or memory of his airman being brought ashore.
     
  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Geoff

    John last on forum in 2017 I have sent him a message on your behalf

    regards
    Clive
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019 at 12:17 PM
  18. Geoff Raebel

    Geoff Raebel New Member

    Thanks, I have to come up with a quick history of 144 from 1936 - September 1942. The only Australian member, I have found so far died in 1941!
     

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