Accident Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk V N1405,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 196536
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Date:Tuesday 19 March 1940
Type:Silhouette image of generic whtl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk V
Owner/operator:51 Sqn RAF
Registration: N1405
MSN: AWA.1559
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Waddensee, in the tidal area north of Morsum, Sylt and west of Rømø -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:
In the evening of 19 March 1940, 50 RAF bombers attacked the German seaplane base at Hornum, at the southern end of the North Sea island of Sylt. The raid, publicly disclosed in the Commons by the Prime Minister as it was happening, was a reprisal for the German bombing of Scapa Flow three days ago which killed six sailors and one civilian.
4 Group RAF sent eight aircraft from 10 Sqn, 7 from 51 Sqn, 7 from 77 Sqn and 8 from 102 Sqn. 5 Group sent 20 Hampdens, to form the greatest number of RAF aircraft to concentrate on a single German target to date. All aircraft claimed to have attacked the target as briefed, with the exception of a crew from 102 Sqn which returned early. One crew from 51 Sqn successfully evaded an attack from an Arado float plane (Ar 196) but encountered severe Flak and the tail gunner was wounded. Another aircraft of 51 Sqn, Whitley V N1405, failed to return.
This aircraft took off at 20:35 hours from Dishforth. At 23:30 hours it had just dropped its bomb load when it was caught by searchlights and hit by flak from 2,3,4 and 5./111 detachments. It continued unsteady and burning towards north to the Danish island of Rømø and then turned out over the sea and finally at 23:35 hours crashed and exploded in the tidal area north of Morsum, Sylt and west of Rømø.
The body of Newton was washed ashore on the Danish island of Rømø on 26 May. On the 28th he was given a military burial by the German Wehrmacht in Kirkeby cemetery. The parish minister of Kirkeby R. Jørgensen officiated at the graveside ceremony.
Flt Lt Baskerville was initially buried in List (Sylt) Cemetery.
Reinterred 9 July 1947.
Plt Off Fennell and LAC Close were initially buried in Westerland (Sylt) Cemetery
Reinterred 1 July 1947.
Pilot: 37537 Flt Lt John Edward Baskerville (Canada) - Kiel War Cemetery Plot 4 Row F Grave 16.
2nd Pilot: 40293 Plt Off Emery Orville Fennell (Canada) - Kiel War Cemetery Plot 3 Row E Grave 3.
Observer: 561926 Sgt Bertram David Shepperson - Runnymede Memorial Panel 19.
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: 548536 LAC Leslie Close - Kiel War Cemetery Plot 3 Row B Grave 20.
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: 551758 LAC William George Newton - Kirkeby Churchyard Grave 261.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/102:

Revision history:

06-Jul-2017 11:26 Laurent Rizzotti Added
06-Jun-2019 17:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Jun-2019 19:48 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
25-May-2022 07:11 Anon. Updated [Narrative]

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