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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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149 crest
149 Squadron Wellington Ic L7858 Sgt. Leslie Richard Hawley

Operation: Gelsenkirchen

Date: 14/15th March 1941 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 149 Squadron (Fortis Nocte - 'Strong by Night')

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: L7858

Code: OJ-A

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: Sevenum, Limburg, Netherlands

Pilot: Sgt. Leslie Richard Hawley 742914 RAFVR Age? Killed

Pilot: Sgt. Charles Barrie Rogers 900955 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Edward Guy Prettyman 749386 RAFVR Age 34. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest White 618714 Age 19. RAFVR Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Wiliam George Marett 639154 RAFVR Age 23. Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford Godfrey Harry Ward 751296 RAFVR Age 23. Killed (1)


Four of this crew escaped serious injuries on the 17th December 1940 after the pilot overshot the runway at RAF Mildenhall on Wellington P9265 (Some sources state PP9268)/

Taking off at 19:50 hrs to bomb the Gelsenkirchen oil refineries.

106 explosive bombs and 1370 incendiary boms were dropped in the district Scholven Buer-Mitte Hassel, according to 'Gelsenzentrum, portal für Gelsenkirchener Stadtgeschichten'.

Above L-R: Sgt. Charles Rogers, Sgt. Leslie Hawley, Sgt. Edward Prettyman, Sgt. Wiliam Marett and Sgt. Clifford Ward (courtesy Robert Whymark)

L7858 was tracked by the ground radar and caught in a searchlight cone. Once coned, it was intercepted by Hptm. Werner Streib (shown left) of Stab I./NJG 1, who was flying a Bf 110 from the Eindhoven airfield. This was his 11th confirmed kill. The aircraft crashed in Sevenum near the border with Helenav een in a swamp area at 22:34 hrs.

In the exchange of fire Streib's Bf 110 was badly damaged by a burst from the rear gunner of the Wellington, Sgt Ward. Streib's radio operator, Oblt. Josef Schauster was seriously injured in the leg.

Werner Streib already an ace at this stage of the war went on to claim 65 victories. He survived the war passing away on the 15th June 1986 in Munich. Further details on the KrackerArchive database.

(1) These members survived an overshoot of the runway - see archive report.

Burial details:

Sgt. Leslie Richard Hawley. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Collective grave 12. B. 9. No further details, are you able to assist?

Sgt. Charles Barrie Rogers. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Collective grave 12. B. 9. Born in Sheffield on the 29th January 1918. Son of Charles Pearson and Sarah Ellen Rogers (née Bell) and husband of Edna M. Rogers (née Hil) of Sheffield England.

Sgt. Edward Guy Prettyman. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Collective grave 12. B. 9. Son of Edward Guy and Grace Prettyman, of West Hartlepool, Co. Durham and husband of Mabel L. Prettyman, of West Hartlepool. Grave inscription: 'Peace, Perfect Peace, With Loved Ones Far Away? In Jesus' Keeping, We Are Safe And They'.

Sgt. Ernest White. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Collective grave 12. B. 9. Son of Ernest and Ada White, of Leeds, Yorkshire. Grave inscription: 'Without Farewell, You Left Us, But In God's Garden We Shall Meet Again'.

Sgt. Wiliam George Marett. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Collective grave 12. B. 9. Son of Mr and Mrs W. G. Marett, of St. Heliers, Jersey, Channel Islands. Grave inscription: 'In Loving Memory Of Billy. His Father, Sister & Friends, Jersey. The Channel Islands.

Sgt. Clifford Godfrey Harry Ward. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Collective grave 12. B. 9. Son of Henry Payne Ward and Lily Ward, of Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent. Grave inscription: 'Years Pass By But Memories Stay As Near And Dear As Yesterday'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Robert Whymark, Kracker Archives, Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd Combat Diaries' The early years part 1, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 10-01-2022

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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