on the 13th of june 1941 at 01.15 at night large fragments of an english bomber crashed at de Wagenpad in the Wieringermeer polder more than 75 years ago. together with historic society Wieringermeer and eyewithnesses we have tried to reconstruct waht happend that night. The wreckage came from a Whitley bomber with a crew of five airmen who all died. Thiscrew belonged to the 77 squadron and had taken of on the 12th of frome the Topcliff airbase Yorkshire England.
In the night of te twelth the targed of the Whitley bomber was the shuntingyard of the german city Schwerte. That evening in totaal 227 bombers of different types had taken of to bomb targets in Germany.The German cities Hamm, Osnabrück, Soest and Hüls were targets. The 77squardon lost in 1941 during mission and accidents 36 bombers. In that year 112crewmembers lost their lives.
The Whitley and its complete crew never made it to Schwerte. They were shot down by a German nightfighter. Because the bomber was going to Germany with fuel and incendiares, it is higly possible it exploded in the air. The German nightfighter was first luitenant Prinz Egmont zur Lippe-Weissenfeld.
The crew existed of 5 men:
Pilot: Sergeant Donald Keith Mc. Farland 2 years born in Dublin
Pilot: Sergeant Kenneth Rowland Wainwright 21 years from Toronto Canada.
Observer: P/O Geoffrey Vivian Heslop 22 years from Cardiff.
Wirelessoperator/gunner: Sergant Lawrence Stanly Dyer 20 years from ?
Wirelessoperator/gunner: Sergant Douglas Howerd John Pingel. age unknown.
The complete crew was buried by the Germans on the cemetary at Huisduinen. After the war the graves were moved to Bergen op Zoom that is where the Whitley crew rest with 1296 Allied soldiers.
There is a report of the Defence Wieringermeer written by mr. Haarsma, it says: The plane went on flying while on fire before it came down in parts. Policeman Haarsma went to the crashlocation at the Wagenpad Kavel 54, the farm of family G.B.M. Smit when he gat there, about 12German soldiers arrived. The wreckage of the plane was spread in many places. Later that night 2 crewmembers wher found near the plane. The next morning others bombs were f Smit has ound at the farms of famJ.P.J. Hopmans. Germans found the bodies of the other crewmembers the next morning. On the land of the family Smit has now Agriport greenhouses built.
We most not forget the story of these young men and their “Whitely”. Those who tragically lost their lives in our Polder. These men fought and died for our freedom.