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Remembrance Events November 2018

Marking The Battle of Heligoland Bight 1939 Land Graves

Of the 57 RAF airmen who lost their lives on the 18th December 1939, only 11 were buried in land graves. The other 46 went missing in action and are presumed to be lost at sea. They are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.

As a mark of respect, members of The Heligoland39 Project marked the land graves in time for Armistice Day 2018.


F/O W.S.F. Brown's grave can be found in Norwich Cemetery. He was lost when Wellington N2961 of 149 Sqdn. ditched about 50 miles off the Norfolk Coast

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Cromer lifeboat and other naval vessels put out to search. Squadron Leader Paul Harris piloting N2980 followed N2961 down and attemped to deploy his dingy in flight without success.The winter of 1939 was the coldest for 45 years and all crew members knew that if they were exposed to the cold waters of the North Sea their likely survival time would be little more than 15 minutes.


AC2 A.G. Foster was also in Wellington N2961 and suffered the same fate. His grave can be found in St Catherine's churchyard, Leconfield, Yorkshire. Like F/O Brown he was found washed up on the East Anglian coastline some days after the ditching.

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H39 Project leader Jack Waterfall

Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany


Sgt. J.A. Brister and L.A.C. A.G. Goodenough were both in Wellington N2941 of IX Squadron when it was shot down into the sea. They were the only two of six crew members to be recovered and given a land burial.

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F/O A.R. Vaughan Williams was in Wellington N2904 of 37 Squadron when it was shot down off Wilhelmshaven. His body was the only one recovered from this crew.

This cemetery can be found 2 hours North of Bremen and only

16 kilometers from the site of Belsen Concentration Camp

Sage War Cemetery, Sage, Germany

P/O M.I. Drawwater, Cpl. W. Robinson and Sgt. A.J. Tilley were all in Wellington N2935 of 37 Squadron which was shot down into the sea beyond the island of Borkum where it was seen to break apart and sink. There were no survivors. It is known that Sgt.Tilley's body was recovered and buried with full military honours in the cemetery on Borkum before being re-interred at Sage after the war. It is possible that P/O Drawwater and Cpl. Robinson were also initially buried on Borkum after being recovered from the sea.

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Sgt. T.W. Holley and Cpl. F.J. Taylor were both in Wellington N2936 when it was attacked and badly damaged by a Messerschmitt 110 and eventually crash landed into sand dunes on the island of Borkum. Their three fellow crew members survived the landing and were taken prisoners of war. They reported that Sgt.Holley and Cpl. Taylor had both died from wounds prior to the aircraft crashing. They were buried with full military honours in Borkum cemetery before being later re-interred at Sage.

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AC1 G.W.Geddes was in Wellington N2889 when it was shot down over the island of Wangerooge with the wreckage being visable for several days afterwards in the mud flats off Spiekeroog. AC1 Geddes was the only crew member to survive and was picked up from the water alive. Unfortunately he succumbed from his wounds the following day and he was given a military funeral at Borkum Cemetery. later being re-interred at Sage.

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This cemetery can be found just outside the small village of Sage, approximately 56 kms west of Bremen

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