R.E. Redding crew 5.2.43 †

05/02/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with 1500 lb. mines. Three of the aircraft successfully planted their mines in the allotted area. All aircraft flew in cloud which was 10/10ths. from the English coast to the mining area. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation was very good. Stirling 1 BK617 captained by Sgt. R.E. Redding failed to return. This aircraft took off at 18.10 and at 19.43 a message was received  that they had something to communicate to base, but this was never received. It was later reported that the aircraft was seen to crash in flames just off Cromer. Nothing further was heard of the crew, or the aircraft although a search was made by Air Sea Rescue.

Stirling Mk.I BK617 AA-D

Sgt. Randolph Ernest Redding, RNZAF NZ414678 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur James Douglas Barton, RNZAF NZ413700 – Navigator.
Sgt. Harry Dennis, RAFVR 659116 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Cyril George Phillips, RAFVR 1201720 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Colin Legge, RCAF R.64510 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Wesley William Wilson, RCAF R.113265 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Patrick Paul Deane Freeman, RNZAF NZ413305 – Rear Gunner.

t/o 1943 Newmarket for mine laying duties off the Frisians. Outbound, caught fire in the air at 1,500 ft and dived into the sea some 2 miles off Cromer, Norfolk. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

At 19.42hrs – 1hr 32mins after take-off – the crew of the third aircraft, Stirling Mk.I BK617 AA-D, despatched a signal to base indicating they had a further message to report, but none was received. It was later reported that the aircraft was seen to crash in flames just off Cromer, on the Norfolk Coast, on track for base. Nothing further was heard of the crew or the aircraft, although a thorough search was conducted by the Air Sea Rescue service. The circumstances seemed to indicate the likelihood of a catastrophic on-board fire resulting from a possible enemy air attack about 50miles from the SW end of the Frisian Islands, necessitating an emergency return to base.

Sgt. Randolph Ernest Redding, RNZAF NZ414678 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 30.
Son of Harold George and Hilgharde Kathleen Redding, of Roseneath, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 199.

F/S Arthur James Douglas Barton, RNZAF NZ413700 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 23.
Son of Richard John and Georgina Barton, of Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 198.

Sgt. Harry Dennis, RAF 659116 – Air Bomber.
Lost without trace age 31.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Dennis, of Liverpool.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 147.

Sgt. Cyril George Phillips, RAFVR 1201720 – Wireless Operator.
Lost without trace age 29.
Son of Frederick and Violet Beatrice Phillips; Husband of Florence Vera Phillips, of Southend-On-Sea, Essex.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 161.

Sgt. Robert Colin Legge, RCAF 64510 – Flight Engineer.
Lost without trace age 22.
Son of Percival J. and Alice H. Legge, of Renforth, New Brunswick, Canada.
commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 186.

F/S Wesley William Wilson, RCAF 113265 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Lost without trace age 20.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 107.

Sgt. Patrick Paul Deane Freeman, RNZAF NZ413305 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 22.
Son of George Herbert Freeman and of Patricia Freeman (Nee Pryce).
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 119

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