Traces of World War 2 
RAF - 49 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 24 June 2008

49 SQUADRON - Bomber, Handley Page Hampden

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When war came again No.49 was flying Hampdens from Scampton, Lincolnshire, and in April 1940, helped inaugurate the RAF's sea-mining campaign. Soon afterwards it began to drop bombs as well as mines, and in August 1940, one of the squadron's pilots, Flight Lieutenant RAB Learoyd, won the first Bomber Command VC for his part in a joint low-level attack by Nos. 49 and 83 Squadrons on the Dortmund-Ems Canal.

Wing Commander Peter Ward-Hunt

Peter Ward-Hunt (1916-2005) was one of the pilots of 49 Sqdn. in May 1940 - his obituary in The Times

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

11-12/05/1940: Mönchengladbach, D. 1 Plane lost
15/05/1940: Ruhr, D
25/05/1940: ? - 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA, 2 MIA
08-09/06/1940: Amiens, F. 1 Plane lost, 4 WIA
26-27/06/1940: Gardening, D. 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA, 2 POW

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Losses 01/01/1940 - 09/05/1940 (incomplete)

Pilot Officer (Air Gnr.) Anthony Bryan-Smith, RAFVR 76003, 49 Sqdn., age 28, 15/04/1940, Hylton (Castletown) Cemetery, UK

Pilot Officer Arthur H. Benson, RAF 43131, 49 Sqdn., age 29, 25/04/1940, missing
Leading Aircraftman Thomson Hogarth, RAF 543524, 49 Sqdn., age 22, 25/04/1940, missing
Pilot Officer Alfred P.B. Hordern, RAF 41418, 49 Sqdn., age 22, 25/04/1940, missing
Sergeant (Obs.) Arthur F. James, RAF 580961, 49 Sqdn., age unknown, 25/04/1940, Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany
Sergeant (Obs.) Robert I.L. Mackenzie, RAF 580459, 49 Sqdn., age 23, 25/04/1940, Kiel War Cemetery, Germany
Leading Aircraftman John D. Openshaw, RAF 551751, 49 Sqdn., age 19, 25/04/1940, missing
Flying Officer Derrick P.W. Rowan-Robinson (served as Robinson), RAF 39173, 49 Sqdn., age 22, 25/04/1940, missing
Pilot Officer Courtenay A. Weeks, RAF 40494, 49 Sqdn., age 21, 25/04/1940, missing

Leading Aircraftman (W. Op.) Norman Horsnby, RAF 551285, 49 Sqdn., age 19, 26/04/1940, Hamburg Cemetery, Germany
Sergeant (Obs.) Percy J. Hurst, RAF 525267, 49 Sqdn., age 27, 26/04/1940, Hamburg Cemetery, Germany
Sergeant (Pilot) Ninian L. Jones, RAF 518847, 49 Sqdn., age 24, 26/04/1940, Hamburg Cemetery, Germany
Flying Officer (Pilot) David White, RAF 39090, 49 Sqdn., age unknown, 26/04/1940, Hamburg Cemetery, Germany

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11-12/05/1940: Mönchengladbach, D

3 Hampdens bombed exits of Mönchengladbach, 1 a/c subsequently crashing in France due to engine failure (none of crew injured). 2 other Hampdens aborted. The first big attack on the German mainland, with 18 Sqdn., 51 Squadron, 58 Sqdn.. and 77 Sqdn..

Hampden Mk.B.1
Serial number: L4068, EA-?
Operation: Mönchengladbach, D
Lost: 12/05/1940
P/O Drakes
P/O Fox
Sgt Fennell
AC1 Watson
Airborne from Scampton. Crashed near Ault, 3 miles N of Le Tréport (Seine Maritime), 20 km NW of Dieppe, France. The crew were unhurt and were soon returned to their Sqdn.

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15/05/1940: Ruhr, D

In the first large-scale Bomber Command attack on German industrial targets, 99 aircraft bomb 16 targets in the Ruhr area. This raid effectively marks the start of the Strategic Air Offensive against Germany. No aircraft are lost to enemy action, however, a Vickers Wellington of No.115 Squadron is blown off course and crashes into high ground near Rouen in France and the five aircrew aboard are killed.

49 Squadron takes part in this operation.

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25/05/1940: ?

Type: HP52 Hampden Mk.B.1
Serial number: ?, EA-?
Operation: ?
Lost: 25/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) John K. Bennett, RAF 40664, 49 Sqdn., age unknown, 25/05/1940, Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, B
Flying Officer Peter S. Butler, RAF 33182, 49 Sqdn., age 23, 25/05/1940, missing
Sergeant John Harrison, RAF 580653, 49 Sqdn., age unknown, 25/05/1940 - missing
Leading Aircraftman (W. Op. [Air]) George R.J. Parsons, RAF 547309, 49 Sqdn., age 19, 25/05/1940, Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, B

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08-09/06/1940: Amiens, F

Type: HP52 Hampden Mk.B.1
Serial number: L4044, EA-R
Operation: Amiens, F
Lost: 09/06/1940
P/O Edward D. Parker, GC, RAFVR 76465,- Inj
P/O Lockhead - Inj
Sgt Lloyd - Inj
Sgt Robinson - Inj
Airborne from Scampton but crash landed on the top of Carlton Hill near North Carlton, 4 miles NNW of Lincoln. All four crew members sustained injuries of varying severity. P/O Parker was awarded the George Cross for his efforts in saving the life of his wireless operator, and, having risen to the rank of Sqdn Leader was destined to lose his life 17Jan43.

The following details are given in the London Gazette of 6th August, 1940: On the night of 8th June, 1940, this officer was first pilot of an aircraft loaded with four 500-lb. bombs, detailed for bombing operations. Just after taking off the port engine failed, and P/O. Parker could gain neither height nor speed on only one engine. Reducing speed to 80 M.P.H. he switched off his engine and 'felt' the aircraft into the nearest field in complete darkness. The aircraft crashed, however, and immediately burst into flames. P/O. Parker got clear to find that his navigator and air gunner were safe, but the wireless operator was lying stunned near the burning aircraft. With complete disregard for his own safety, and knowing that the bombs might explode at any moment he returned and carried his wireless operator to safety. While he was doing so a bomb exploded but P/O. Parker saved the airman further injury by throwing him to the ground. This officer displayed exceptional coolness, resourcefulness and courage throughout, and in face of extreme danger undoubtedly saved the life of his wireless operator.'

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26-27/06/1940: Gardening (mine laying)

Type: HP52 Hampden Mk.B.1
Serial number: P4305, EA-?
Operation: Gardening
Lost: 27/06/1940
F/L B.A. Mitchell PoW
Sergeant (Pilot) William A. Spickett, RAF 516666, 49 Sqdn., age 26, 27/06/1940, Kiel War Cemetery, D
P/O L. Reavell-Carter PoW
Sergeant (W. Op. /Air Gnr.) Ronald L.J. Dutton, RAF 547594, 49 Sqdn., age unknown, 27/06/1940, Kiel War Cemetery, D
Airborne from Scampton. Hit by Flak and crashed into the Kaiser Wilhelm Kanal. F/L B.A.Mitchell was interned in Camps L1/L3, PoW No.105 with P/O L.Reavell-Carter, PoW No.107. 75th out in The Great Escape. MBE 10Dec46.

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The 49 Squadron Association
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Lost Bombers - Handley Page Hampden
RAF History - Bomber Command
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
War over Holland


C Chandler 'Tail gunner'
W.R. Chorley, Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume 1, 1939/40, Midland Counties Publications, ISBN 0 904597 85 7
John Ward 'Beware the dog at war' (Jote Publications c/o 4 Cottage Close, Heage, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 2BS ISBN 0 9532252 0 8)
Chris Ward '49 Squadron' (Bomber Command Profile no. 14)
John Ward 'The Dunholme Lodgers' 2005


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This page is dedicated to the men of 49 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2007-2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to