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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 225870
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Time:10:00 LT
Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:144 Squadron Royal Air Force (144 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L4127
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Waddenzee near Schiermonnikoog island -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
Airborne 06:40 on mission to bomb German ships moored at Heligoland. Eleven Hampdens were sent in two formations: the first six attacked two destroyers, but missed the target, the second wave of five Hampdens were intercepted by Messerschmitt Bf 109s that were now over the target and were waiting and ready. All five Hampdens in the second wave were shot down. Of the 20 crew in five aircraft (four per aircraft) 16 were killed, and 4 were captured and taken as PoWs

The first RAF victim of World War II to be buried at Vredenhof was 18 year old Wireless Operator/Air Gunner AC.1 Allan Wilson from 144 Squadron, son of Duncan and Jessie Wilson, of Sandyford, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Alan's body was recovered in November 1939, barely two months after the beginning of the war and before the German occupation of Holland. Allan Wilson's aircraft, Hampden Mk. B.1 L4127, was piloted by 28 year old Flying Officer Norman Beck, navigated by Sgt Percy Sprotson (aged 21) and 25 year old Canadian Pilot Officer Roger Turner the gunner. They were shot down by Hauptmann Friedrich-Karl Dickoré of the 1./ZG 26 over the sea between Heligoland and Wangerooge.

Norman Beck was rescued from the sea by a German patrol boat but died before they arrived at Wilhelmshaven.

Percy Sprotson was first interred with a military funeral at Emden (Bolardusfriedhof) but his body, and that of Norman Beck, was reburied at Sage Military Cemetery, near Oldenburg, in Germany after the War.(see page 16)

Pilot Officer Roger Turner has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Crew of Hampden L4127
Pilot Officer Roger Turner (Air Gunner, Service Number 70689, aged 25) - killed in action
Flying Officer N C Beck (Pilot, Service Number 37823, aged 28) - killed in action
Sergeant Percy Edmund Boyce Sproston (Observer, Service Number 580679, aged 21) - killed in action
Aircraftman 1st Class Alan Wilson (Wireless Op/Air Gunner, Service Number 551660, aged 18) - killed in action

The official Air Ministry report into the incident (File AIR 81/86) gives the location as " report of deaths; Hampden L4127 shot down near Heligoland, 29 September 1939"


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 24)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/86:
8.,-alan/ .
9. for location

Revision history:

06-Jun-2019 00:36 Dr. John Smith Added
08-Jun-2019 09:35 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
13-Jun-2019 17:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Source]
11-Sep-2019 10:26 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Source, Narrative]

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