Accident Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B Mk V P4980,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 227729
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Date:Wednesday 22 May 1940
Type:Silhouette image of generic whtl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B Mk V
Owner/operator:51 Sqn RAF
Registration: P4980
MSN: AWA. 1701
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:47877 Willich Anrath -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V P4980 (MH-L) 51 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) when lost (failed to return) from combat operations on the night of 21-22May 1940. All five crew survived, but one died much later. According to the official Air Ministry file on the incidnet (File AIR 81/470): "Whitley P4980 crashed near Krefeld, Germany, 22 May 1940. Sergeant T W Bowles: report of death. Aircraftman 1st Class J E W Stainer, Leading Aircraftman L J R Barber, Sergeant F C Collard and Sergeant G Raper, prisoners of war".

Whitley P4980 was airborne at 20:30 on 21 May 1940 from RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire. Target reported as railway stations and junctions at Jülich, and/or Rheydt, Germany. Crashed at Krefeld, near the Rhine West of Mönchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany in the early hours of the following morning (May 22). All five crew survived the incident, were captured and taken as PoWs.

Crew of Whitley P4980:
Sgt Thomas William Bowles (Pilot, RAF 564563, aged 26) survived injured; captured, taken as PoW. Confined to Hospital due to injuries sustained (No PoW number allocated)
Sgt Geoffrey.Raper RAF 525318; survived, captured, and taken as PoW. Became PoW No.13062.
Sgt Trank Charles Collard RAF 580892 survived, captured, and taken as PoW; Interned in PoW Camps 8B/L6/357 as PoW No.16784
LAC Lionel John Richard Barber RAF 546762 survived, captured, and taken as PoW; Interned in PoW Camps L1/L6/357 as PoW No.37.
AC.1 James Edwin William Stainer RAF 626519 survived, captured, and taken as PoW; Confined to Hospital due to injuries sustained (No PoW number allocated)

Sgt Thomas William Bowles, injured in the action, developed tuberculosis and died in captivity 26 April 1941. He is buried in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery in Berlin, Germany.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft P1000-P9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 27)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/470:
7. Rob Davis Bomber Command Losses Database


Fam Sehbrock Anrath where the plane crashed behind the horse stable

Revision history:

29-Jul-2019 22:28 Dr. John Smith Added
30-Jul-2019 10:31 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
27-Oct-2020 07:20 Anon. Updated [Location, Photo]
16-May-2024 12:31 Rob Davis Updated [Source, Narrative]

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