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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 53856
Last updated: 17 November 2021
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Time:04:10 LT
Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:50 Squadron Royal Air Force (50 Sqn RAF)
Registration: P4383
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Location:North Sea, 50 km East of Flamborough Head, North Yorkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Lindholme, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Handley Page Hampden Mk.I P4383 (VN-W) of 50 Squadorn, RAF. Took off at 21:13 local time on 31/7/40 from RAF Lindholme, North Yorkshire on a "Gardening" (Mine-laying) operation. Last reported position was over the North Sea, 50 km east of Flamborough Head, North Yorkshire at 04:10 local time on 1/8/40. Aircraft failed to return to base, and is presumed to have ditched into the North Sea, with the loss of all four crew:

Pilot P/O. B.S. Bell 40663 RAF Bergen op Zoom 30 A 4 From Canada
Navigator Sgt. W.E. Miller 742485 RAF Runnymede Memorial 17
WOp/ag Sgt. C.D. Evans 617444 RAF Runnymede Memorial 14
WOp/ag Sgt. D. Tailford 526290 RAF Runnymede Memorial 20

According to the following extract from the 50 Squadron ORB (Air Ministry Form 540) for the period:

"31 July/ 1 August- GARDENING
Tonight, a large force of 12 squadron aircraft set out on Gardening missions to the “RADISH” and also the “FORGET-ME-NOT” areas (six per area). Of the first group, three aircraft successfully dropped sea-mines while two failed to locate the target area, all five returning safely to Waddington as Base weather was unfit.

The sixth, Hampden P4383 failed to return, with Pilot 40663 P/O Brian Stallard Bell, W/OP 617444 Sgt. Christopher Douglas Evans, Observer 742485 Sgt. William Elliott Miller and Air Gunner 526290 Sgt. Donald Tailford all missing. At 04.10 hours, information was passed to Base that the aircraft was returning on one engine.

It was hoped they had force landed in the sea and had taken to their dinghy. Subsequently an air and sea search was initiated.

Further details: aircraft airborne 21.13 hours local time 31 July, contact lost 04:10 hours local time 1st August; presumed to have ditched into the North Sea. Six weeks later (15/9/1940) the body of Pilot Officer Bell was washed up on the Dutch Coast and he is buried in Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery. The remaining crew were never found and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial"



Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
24-Feb-2011 14:00 Anon. Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Damage]
30-Jun-2018 21:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Jun-2018 21:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
12-Nov-2018 19:07 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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