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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 212916
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Date:12-APR-1940
Time:morning
Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:50 Squadron Royal Air Force (50 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L4083
MSN: VN-T
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Mandal, Vest-Agder county, district of Sørlandet, near Kristiansand -   Norway
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Waddington
Narrative:
Handley Page Hampden Mk.I L4064 (VN-T) 50 Squadron, RAF Waddington: 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 L4083, which was shot down by an ME 109 and crashed near Mandal, in Vest-Agder county, district of Sørlandet, Kiristainsand, Norway (at approximate coordinates: 58°02′45″N 07°29′44″E). Acording to local accounts, the aircraft dropped two(?) bombs before crash-landing in a shallow bay at Tregde, a village 7km from Mandal). One of the engines can still be seen on site, and the bomb-craters are still visible.

Pilot Flying Officer M. Wilson-Donaldson RAF, pilot, survived became PoW
Flight Lieutenant F D Middleton, survived became PoW
Warrant Officer A C Henry, survived, became PoW
Observer, 580696 Sgt. John Greet RAF, (Observer, aged 26) killed in action

F/O Wilson-Davidson and two crew survived becoming Prisoner Of War (POW’s). Sgt. John Greet is buried in MANDAL CHURCHYARD, Grave I.2.8, near Kristiansand, Norway.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 23)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/129: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14141964
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.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2186685/greet,-john/
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandal,_Norway
6. http://www.newmp.org.uk/article.php?categoryid=99&articleid=1231&displayorder=11
7. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19027062/john-greet


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
05-Jul-2018 20:25 Dr. John Smith Added
12-Nov-2018 09:24 Nepa Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]
07-Jun-2019 20:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
07-Apr-2020 19:17 Bjorn Are Stolen Updated [Narrative]

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