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Stirling I serial number R9290 crashed in the
Langelandsbælt near Vesternæs of Lolland 29/4 1943.
The aircraft belonged to 75 Sqn (NZ) RAF and was coded AA-X.
The crew were Pilot Sgt Alfred E. Lewis RAAF, Navigator Sgt Henry G. Corin RNZAF, Air Bomber P/O Charles J. Bickham. Wireless Operator/Gunner Sgt Frederick A. Moulton, Flight Engineer Sgt Andrew Graham, Mid Upper Gunner Sgt John H. Whitehart and rear Gunner Sgt Victor C. Howes RNZAF.
The crew with groundcrew
Rear Gunner Sgt Victor C. Howes RNZAF
At 00:08 an aircraft was seen going down in flames and at 00:25 an aircraft was seen to explode in the air over Langelandsbælt west of Vesternæs. Both claims were credited to Marine flak.
From the Kriegstagesbuch Admiral Dänemark:
KTB Marbef. 29.4.43:
Report from Kappel (M.A.A.508) at 04:15:
At 00:08 A enemy aircraft (Stirling) flew over the flak position from 1-5 in 300 m altitude. It was fired at with 2-2 cm Madsen and M.G 08. It was hit in the right hand inboard engine. It started burning and it was seen to crash into the sea in direction 7. Distance 4 km. The enemy answered the fire but did no damage. Ammunition used: 100 rounds of 2 cm (Red) and 123 rounds of machine gun ammo.
At 00:23 Return flight by an enemy Stirling aircraft from direction 6-10. Altitude 300 meters. When opening fire it was hit in the left hand inboard engine and in the fuselage. The searchlight followed the target for three minutes. The aircraft crashed in the sea about 300 meters off shore. It exploded when it hit the water. One dead person and wreckage was retrieved from the sea. Ammunition used: 60 rounds of 2 cm (Red) and 60 rounds mg ammo.
The Abschüsse report from Luftgaukommando XI states that the dead person was from the aircraft that crashed at 00:08. As the flyer was later identified as belonging to Stirling BF467 it must be assumed that the Stirling that crashed at 00:23 was R9290.
The flak unit that claimed the aircrafts was Lei. Flakzug "Kappel" that belonged to 8./M.A.A. 5
On the next morning the beach over a 6 kilometer stretch was found to be littered with debris from an aircraft as well as human remains. No piece of human remains bigger that a hand.
As there were quite a few dogs in the area, shore police hurriedly collected the remains and buried them on the beach in several holes. These were not marked.
On 11/5 Mr Jens Hylstofte of Nakskov found a pair of boots containing parts of legs. These boots were marked “1292879 Moulton”.
The marking was sent to the police and was after the war handed over to the RAF.
The crew members have no known grave and they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Sources: LBUK, Abschüsse report, The National Archives of Australia, KTB Admiral Dänemark via Jens Andersen, KTB Kommandant Dänische Inseln.
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