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* Ceremony of solemn tribute at Rebecq on September 29th 2021 *
Monument "The Hive" at Zedelgem: A need for every citizen to examine their conscience

RAF aircraft's crash sites in Province of West-Vlaanderen:
Off the Belgian coast

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Last update: 31/07/21

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* To the 49 Squadron *
* To the crew of P1318 *
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* Cemetery where rest the crew *
* Cemetery where rest the crew *

Crash site of Hampden P1318
26/05/1940

aircraft
cest raf squadron
Unit: 49 Squadron
Aircraft: Hampden
Code: P1318
Base:
Mission: Krefeld
Crew officer: P/O John Keith Bennett
Incident: Not specified

Location: (Prov. West-Vlanderen)

crash

Facts

Handley Page Hampden Mk.I P1318 (EA-L) 49 Squadron, RAF: Written off (presumed destroyed) when lost (failed to return) from combat operations on the night of 25-26 May 1940. All four crew killed, but only two bodies of crew members were recovered. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/584): "Hampden P1318 assumed crashed at sea, 25/26 May 1940. Sergeant J Harrison and Flying Officer P S Butler - missing presumed dead. Leading Aircraftman G R J Parsons and Pilot Officer J K Bennett - report of deaths".
According to the 49 Squadron ORB (Operations Record Book - Air Ministry form 540):
"25/26 May, 1940; KREFELD/AACHEN:
At 06.00 hrs, 12 aircraft were ordered to stand-by at one hours notice...by 13.30 hrs this was cancelled. Then at 16.00 hrs the operation was 'on' again...10 aircraft required for bombing, the first getting away just after 21.00 hrs. The Hampden flown by Flying Officer Peter Butler and his crew failed to return from this operation and it is thought they were victims of flak over the target area; none of the crew survived".
Note that various unofficial published sources give the crash location of Hampden P1318 as being either over the target area (Krefeld/Aachen, Germany) or into the North Sea off the Belgian coast, off East Flanders. The fact that two of the crew were recovered and buried in East Flanders, Belgium (possibly after being washed ashore) would indicate that the latter is more likely.

Sources:
Aviation Safety
The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Aircrew Remembered
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