Halifax W7877

(from archives of the Local History Foundation of Markelo)

In the night of March 1 to 2, 1943 (at 00.45 a.m.) a bomber crashed after a raid to Berlin near the farm of Kooymans, Tichelweg 5. (in a corner of the Tichelweg and Stokkumerweg).

This aircraft, the Halifax BII W7877 TL-O, had taken off at 18.24 pm (English time) from airbase Graveley. It belongued to 35 Squadron, which was part of the Pathfinder Force. 
Pilot was Squadron Leader Peter C. Elliott, who was awarded with a Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.), a high distinction for pilots.

Pathfinder Force was a kind of elite-group, which located and marked targets with flares, which a main bomber force could aim at.
The bombers normally perfomed their tasks in formation, but when hidden by German fire a plane had to leave the formation and was fated to find the way home at his own.

The Halifax W7877 was hidden heavily by the German nightfighter Geiger and crashed at Stokkum. Unfortunately the high secret ground scanning radarset H2S felt almost intact at German hands, who sent it to the Telefunken Works in Berlin for research and evaluation. (This played an ernormous part in assisting the Luftwaffe develop of a counter-measure called the Naxos radar detector.) 
The plane was totally shattered by the crash, pieces of the plane and the crewmembers were hanging in the trees and one of the engines landed 500 meters away.

Only one man, navigator Flight Sergeant G.C.H. Chandler survived thew disaster. He was arrested by the Germans and was sent to Camp Kopernikus.
The other six crewmembers were killed. Five of them could be identified by means of their portfolio and notebooks.
Bomb-aimer Sergeant R.V. Ledger was considered as missing. Probably his remains were put in the remaining 5 coffins unnoticed.

At the funeral the coffins were carried by the neighbours of the Stokkumerweg, the Germans were present with a 4 men firing squad to bring a tribute and many dignataries, i.a. Mayor Korthals Altes, showed their condolences by their presence.

Supplement: In the extended report of the funeral, received from relatives of Flight Sergeant Sankey (see further on this website), is stated, that at the funeral two airmen were not identified yet. Further research learned in 1946 they were excavated and still identified by a special RAF identification team.