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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 228275
Last updated: 3 December 2021
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Date:25-MAY-1940
Time:night
Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:49 Squadron Royal Air Force (49 Sqn RAF)
Registration: P1318
MSN: EA-L
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North Sea, off East Flanders -   Belgium
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Handley Page Hampden Mk.I P1318 (EA-L) 49 Squadron, RAF: Written off (presumed destroyed) when lost (failed to return) from combat operations on the night of 25-26 May 1940. All four crew killed, but only two bodies of crew members were recovered. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/584): "Hampden P1318 assumed crashed at sea, 25/26 May 1940. Sergeant J Harrison and Flying Officer P S Butler - missing presumed dead. Leading Aircraftman G R J Parsons and Pilot Officer J K Bennett - report of deaths".

According to the 49 Squadron ORB (Operations Record Book - Air Ministry form 540):

"25/26 May, 1940; KREFELD/AACHEN:
At 06.00 hrs, 12 aircraft were ordered to stand-by at one hours notice...by 13.30 hrs this was cancelled. Then at 16.00 hrs the operation was 'on' again...10 aircraft required for bombing, the first getting away just after 21.00 hrs. The Hampden flown by Flying Officer Peter Butler and his crew failed to return from this operation and it is thought they were victims of flak over the target area; none of the crew survived".

Crew of Hampden P1318:
Pilot Officer (Pilot) John Keith Bennett, RAF 40664, killed in action 25/05/1940, buried at Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Oost-Vlaanderen (East Flanders), Belgium
Flying Officer Peter Saumarez Butler, RAF 33182, age 23, posted 25/05/1940, as missing in action, presumed killed
Sergeant (Observer) John Harrison, RAF 580653, posted 25/05/1940 as missing in action, presumed killed
Leading Aircraftman (Wireless Op./Air Gunner) George R.J. Parsons, RAF 547309, age 19, killed in action 25/05/1940, buried at Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Oost-Vlaanderen (East Flanders) Belgium

Note that various unofficial published sources give the crash location of Hampden P1318 as being either over the target area (Krefeld/Aachen, Germany) or into the North Sea off the Belgian coast, off East Flanders. The fact that two of the crew were recovered and buried in East Flanders, Belgium (possibly after being washed ashore) would indicate that the latter is more likely.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft P1000-P9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 7)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/584: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14502222
3. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2082776/bennett,-john-keith/
4. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1530982/butler,-peter-saumarez/
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1799518/harrison,-john/
6. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2083437/parsons,-george-rene-joseph/
7. http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/49_squadron.html#2505
8. http://www.49squadron.co.uk/personnel_index/detail/Bennet_JK
9. http://www.belgians-remember-them.eu/crash-ovl-zz1.php
10. https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adegem


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-Aug-2019 00:35 Dr. John Smith Added
19-Aug-2019 17:56 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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