CRASHSITESLIMBURG

 

Stirling-EE917-EX-L

 

 

SHORT STIRLING MK III,  Serial Number EE917, Squadron 199, Radio Code EX-L

 

Serial Range EE871 - EE918. 48 Stirling Mk.111

Part of a batch of 260 Short S.29 Stirling Mk.111/1V. EE871-EE918; EE937-EE975; EF114-EF163; EF177-EF217; EF231-EF277; EF289-EF316 Mk.111; EF317-EF323 Mk.1V.

EE889; EE900; EE960; EE962; EE966; EF141; EF213; EF214; EF234; EF237; EF241-EF244; EF248; EF256; EF260; EF261; EF263-EF265;

EF267-EF270; EF272-EF277; EF292; EF293; EF295-EF298; EF303; EF305; EF306; EF309; EF311; EF314; EF316 were converted to Mk.1V.

 

Delivered by Short & Harland between May 1943 and July 1943

Contract No.  774677/38

 

Delivered to No.199 Squadron, Lakenheath, 6 July 1943

 

Airborne 00:40 hours, 31 August 1943, from Lakenheath, on a bombing operation to Monchengladbach - Rheydt

 

Crashed in Nederweert, The Netherlands, at Vlakwater, at 03:56 on  31st August 1943

 

Crew (Squadron 199)

F/S A.A.Harlem RAAF  (Pilot)

Sgt J.T.Smith

F/S W.B.Julian

F/S I.N.Mclaren

F/S F.E.Gee RAAF

Sgt H.E.Elphick

Sgt R.H.G.Ellis

W/O A.D.Finlayson DFM RAAF

W/O Finlayson gained an immediate DFM, Gazetted 4 June 43, for destroying a night- fighter during an operation to Dortmund in May 1943.

 

 

To locate an exact crashsite after a long period of time is no easy job, not to mention crashsites where little of the wreckage remains.  

However, undaunted, we kept on searching to find out where the RAF  Short Stirling MKIII Bomber, Serial: EE917, Code: EX-L, crashed at 01:40 on 31st August 1943.

 

We spoke to many people and we eventually found out that the bomber was shot down over Nederweert, The Netherlands:  

at the time a forest, now a cleared field.  There is also a police report that confirms the crashsite was at Nederweert.

 

There was not much to be seen, however we started to search for pieces of wreckage. 

Eventually we found several items, amongst which was the bomber’s rear gun turret. 

According to the farmer who witnessed the crash (a young boy at the time) the gun turret broke during its descent and landed 500 metres away in the forest. 

The farmer told us that the bomber descended as a fireball onto his father’s land and that the crew’s remains were badly burned.  

Phosphorous bombs were burning everywhere, which has lead me to believe that the bomber was on its way to raid Mönchengladbach – Rheydt, Germany.

The Short Stirling MKIII bomber was shot down by Ofw. Bruno Eickmeier, a German "Luftwaffe Ace", and crashed at 03:56 at Nederweert (Limburg)

http://www.cieldegloire.com/njg_001a.php#victoires1943

The crew are buried in a section of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission within Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, The Netherlands.

In 2007 I was contacted by the neice of the late Flt Sgt A A Harlem, Jane Beaulieu, and we have planned to meet and visit the crash site together in Nederweert

 Meanwhile, I was delighted to send Jane several items of the wreckage from her uncle’s ill-fated sortie which occurred 65 years ago. . .

 

*******

Pilot Athol Asher Harlem.

The Crew,

Raidinformation from pilot Athol Asher Harlem,

   

The crashsite,

Found relics,

 

               

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