RCAF Wellington MKX HF-542, the crash in the night of 11 on June 12, 1943, near Westendorp, a small village east of Doetinchem.
The ARGA carried out a full investigation regarding the crash of RCAF Wellington MkX HF-542 of 429 squadron october 30, 2004. This aircraft crashed during the night of June 11/12, 1943 at Westendorp, a small community east of Doetinchem. It was intercepted and shot down en route to the target area Düsseldorf by a German nightfighter. The crew had no change to bale out and all were killed.
The RAF dispatched 783 bombers to Düsseldorf in the German Ruhr that night and lost 38 bombers in this raid. Wellington MkX, HF-542 of 429 squadron RCAF(Bison Squadron) was one of them. 429 squadron took part in this attack on Düsseldorf with 18 a/c and lost three which didn't return to their airfield East Moor.
Wellington HF-542 took to the air at 23.08 hours and never returned again! Its crew had just arrived from 23 OTU and was just a couple of weeks with 429 squadron. They were intercepted en route by a German Messerschmitt 110G-4 nightfighter flown by Hauptmann Manfred Meurer of 3./NJG1 and shot down. He took of that night from Venlo airbase. The Wellington crashed at 01.10 hours at Westendorp killing all on board. Two of its 500 Lbs bombs exploded one hour after the crash and this is the reason why 2 crewmembers never were found and still are MIA to this day! Pilot, navigator and tailgunner were recovered and burried with military honours at 07.00 hours on June 16, 1943 at the Algemene Begraafplaats Varsseveld. The bomb-aimer and wireless-operator have no known grave and their names are mentioned on the Runnymede Memorial.(panel 180 and 186)
The crash area was investigated with deep ground metal detecting equipment. Immediatly small parts of the bomber were found. A large area was marked in were Wellington parts were found. Within this area only two large objects were detected. This "dig" was carried out by hand. Several a/c parts were discovered just one meter beneath the surface. It became clear during the dig that this was a "dumphole"
The first parts to be recovered were two oilcoolers. Next to be recovered was large section of probable the aileron with the canvas still remaining after 61 years! It was remarkable to see how well the parts were preserved regarding the fact that two 500 pounders exploded after the crash! After these parts were removed one of the containers for the 4 and 30 Lbs Incendiaries was found, also in a remarkable condition. There were no a/c parts discovered after the recovery of the container. It was time to recover the other object which was detected. This proved to be a 30 Lbs incendiary bomb! The ARGA had this possibility taken in account for the fact that the bomber was still en route to the target and had a plan allready in case of finding an explosive. The dig was stopped and local authorities were warned. The police warned the Army Disposal Unit. The bomb was exploded on site.
This investigation is finished. Most of the wreckage was recovered during the war and there were no clou's found regarding the two missing crewmembers. The field is now free of aircraft parts and explosives.