Daily Archives: July 24, 2014

Rotterdam (Crooswijk) General Cemetery – Netherlands.

crew comp

Many thanks to Maaike for supplying these photographs of the gravestones of the Wilson crew.

At approximately 17.00hrs on the 8th of November 1941, 13 Wellington Bombers of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF took off from Feltwell to join another 41 bombers from other Squadrons to bomb Essen. At approximately 22.15 hrs Wellington Ic, 78942, Captained by John Wilson, crashed at Zuidland, 13 miles South West of Rotterdam. All of the crew were killed apart from the Rear Gunner, Sgt Lawrence Hope.

Sgt John Stephen Wilson, RNZAF NZ402530 – Pilot. Age 27
P/O Ralph Owen Foster RNZAF NZ402443 – (2nd) Pilot. Age 29
P/O Robert Leslie Owen Ryder RAAF AUS.404626 – . Age 25
Sgt James Henry Reid RAF 997006 – Wireless Operator. Age 21
Sgt Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin 4th Baronet of Thornbury, RAF 1380356 – Front Gunner. Age 32

Sgt Hope was taken Prisoner of War and imprisoned initially in Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft III, Luft VI and finally Stalag Luft 357. After remaining captive for the rest of the war, Lawrence Hope was tragically killed, with 30 other Allied Prisoners of War, when, while undertaking a forced march away from the prison camp to Lubeck, they were mistaken for German soldiers and straffed by RAF Typhoons.

Sgt Lawrence Beresford Hamilton Hope, RNZAF NZ40940 – Rear Gunner
Whilst initially buried at Gresse, with the rest of the dead from the attack, he was later re-interred at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.