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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 212910
Last updated: 11 November 2021
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Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:50 Squadron Royal Air Force (50 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L4081
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sea off Lister Fjord/Kristiansand Harbour -   Norway
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Handley Page Hampden Mk.I L4081 (VN-Z) 50 Squadron, RAF Waddington: One of five Hampdens of 50 Squadron Lost on combat operations 12/4/1940 along with all four crew on board. On the morning of the 12/4/40 an ambitious and hazardous day-light mission to attack shipping in the Lister Fjord, Norway was launched, with 50 Squadron contributing five Hampden’s and 44 Squadron contributing seven Hampden aircraft.

The Primary target was enemy warships off the Norwegian coast around the Lister Fjord; secondary target was to attack warships in Kristiansand harbour. The attacking force was divided into four flights as seen before in the Bergen mission three days ago. 50 Squadron made up No. 3 and No. 4 Sections, while 44 Squadron made up No.1 and No.2 Sections. The flight across the North Sea was made at around 300 Feet due to low cloud; this time the crews were determined not to lose contact with each other.

In a feat of remarkable Navigation the formation entered clearer weather a few miles from the Norwegian Coast almost exactly on target at Lister Fjord. However as cloud was considered too low for safe bombing by the formation leader, the formation turned south and followed the coastline making for Kristiansand harbour. Climbing to 8,000 feet two cruisers and other shipping were spotted in the harbour. Approaching in line astern from inland the formation attacked the two cruisers. All aircraft were loaded with four 500 lb General Purpose bombs internally. It is believed that all twelve aircraft dropped their bombs but no hits were reported. Anti-Aircraft Fire was reported as ‘intense’.

The leader dived to sea level at full speed for the escape with the formation following. Two aircraft of No. 4 Section were reported as being seen going down into the sea in flames (L4073 and L4083)

Immediately after the get-away the formation was set-upon by enemy fighters (believed to be Messerschmitt Bf.109E’s of II/JG.77) and one further (in fact the final) aircraft of No.4 Section, L4081 was seen to crash in flames. Two further aircraft were reported to have been shot-down (thought to be the two 44 Squadron machines). The Hampden’s gunners shot down two enemy aircraft and crippled a third in response.

All but two Hampden’s received damage of varying degrees. The combat lasted for 25 minutes after which the formation of seven remaining aircraft set course for base. Of these seven, only five made it to Base. One aircraft force-landed at Acklington while L4064, escorted by L4168 (Sqn Ldr. D.C.F.Good) ditched into the sea 120 miles East of Newcastle having run out of fuel at around 14.20 hours. L4168 circled the stricken aircraft sending an S.O.S message; the crew were seen to escape the downed aircraft and get into the dinghy. None of the surviving crew was injured.

Hampden’s L4081, L4099, L4064, L4083 and L4073 failed to return from Southern Norway (together with other aircraft from No. 44 Squadron). Crew of Hampden L4081;

550995 Corporal Alexander Scougal Gibson Barrass,
550598 Sgt. John Robert Jopling,
40648 Pilot Officer Mervyn Thomas RAF and
580261 Sgt. Stanley Vernon Vart RAF

All K.I.A. The entire crew were never found and are commemorated at Runnymede


1. Royal Air Florce Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britiain, 1978 p 23
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/126:

Revision history:

05-Jul-2018 19:23 Dr. John Smith Added
02-Nov-2018 20:10 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
07-Jun-2019 19:21 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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