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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 15742
Last updated: 16 November 2021
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Date:27-JUN-1940
Time:night
Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:50 Squadron Royal Air Force (50 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L4078
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:½ km W of Duttenstedt, Rethen, 10 km SSE of Hannover -   Germany
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Narrative:
Handley Page Hampden Mk.I L4078 "VN-E" of 50 Squadron, RAF Waddington. Missing on night of 26-27/6/40 as one of six aircraft on a mission to attack the aerodrome at Langen Hagen. Took off at 22:17 on 26/6/40 and brought down by flak, crashing in the early morning near Rethen, about 10 km SSE of Hannover. The aircraft is believed to have crashed ½ km W of Duttenstedt, Germany. All are buried side-by-side in Hannover War Cemetery, locality of NiedersachsenI.
Crew:
P/O (40628) Anthoney Seton Luxmoore (pilot) RAF- killed.
Sgt (580426) Walter Cecil Harding (obs) RAF - killed.
Sgt (624403) Gerald Nichols (Wop/AG) RAF - killed.
Sgt (550966) Arthur Harry Smith (Wop/AG) RAF - killed.

One of the successful aircraft noted in their report that “numerous accurate whitish-blue searchlight beams picked up and held the aircraft” around Hannover with the “flak fire falling 40-60 Yards astern”; this may be the cause of the two casualties on this night as these searchlights were part of a German ‘Predictive Flak’ system which proved devastatingly accurate in later months and years.

Another quotes that ‘intense heavy and accurate A.A. fire was encountered bursting all around the aircraft, usually about 60 yards away’. The reporting crews may simply have been lucky as the predictive flak batteries adjusted their ranging.

Strangely, the ORB records the cause of death of each crew member as due to a “Flying Accident”. Only one of the remaining five aircraft reported hitting the target. The five others returned safely.

Sources:

1. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?3245-Hampden-L4078-26-June-1940-50-Sqn
2. https://www.backtonormandy.org/component/mtree/air-force-operations/airplanes-allies-and-axis-lost/hampden/25699-L40781940-06-27.html
3. http://www.no-50-and-no-61-squadrons-association.co.uk/app/download/5802508903/50+SQUADRON+ORB+1939+1943+Revision+1.pdf.
4. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ww2images/6902102161


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
12-Mar-2008 14:31 JINX Added
10-Jul-2015 19:41 Gagarin Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
07-Mar-2018 00:17 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Country, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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