- Contributed by
- BBC Open Centre, Lancashire
- People in story:
- Robert Hollinrake
- Location of story:
- English Channel
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 13 August 2004
Halifax ZA - 'N' of 10 Squadron RAF left Melbourne, Yorkshire at 21.38 on 10 August 1943 as part of a 1,000 bomber raid on Nuremburg, Germany.
It's route to the target was long and arduous ... down to Beachy Head ... across to Dieppe ... across Paris and on to Germany.
The aircraft suffered damage prior to the target, but still managed to drop it's full load of bombs on the target. Further damage was inflicted as the stricken aircraft limped towards home at reduced speed - gradually losing height in order to maintain flying speed on two engines.
The final blow was the loss of a third engine and part of a wing due to ack-ack fire over Dieppe, making the aircraft uncontrollable in level flight.
With considerable skill, the captain - Sgt Bob Dibben - ditched "N fer Nuts" on a very rough sea ... in the dark ... at 0410 on 11 August 1943 after a flight of seven-and-a-half hours.
The crew all survived the impact, despite significant damage to the fuselage nose that shattered allowing sea water and fuel into the aircraft, before it came to rest ... much to the discomfort of the crew.
Squadron records for 10 August 1943 state:
Halifax JD198 "N" failed to return from this mission ... nothing being heard from it after it left base.
The crew were:
Sgt Dibben AR ... Capt
Sgt Parsonson E ... Navigator
Sgt Tomlin RLM ... Air Bomber
Sgt Ure IL ... Wirelss Op
Sgt Hollinrake R ... Flight Engineer
Sgt Agnew A ... Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt Finnie J ... Rear Gunner
The crew wathced from a badly punctured dingy as "N" sank approximately 40 miles from the French coast ... 17 hours later being picked up by a German-manned French fishing vessel and landed at Le Treport ... we were all POW until 1945.
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