Personnel Index - Detail
German pictures of the downed Hampden
Near Pordic, an emergency landed English (plane).
Thanks to Oliver Clutton-Brock we have four additional images of P1347 in the field near Pordic.
The Hampden found the perfect field for a skilful dawn landing.
S J Hitchings is on the RHS (standing)........photographed with Sgt LC Turnbull in Stalag Luft 1
Note from Bob Hitchings:
My father was one of the early PoWs in Stalag Luft 1 and the accompanying photos are from there. He was moved to several other camps including Stalag Lufts 3 and 4 and eventually, after the forced marches of winter 1944, arrived at Camp 357 from which he was repatriated.
A group photo in front of what appears to be stage set. The reverse shows that it was posted from Stalag Luft 1 and I think the postmark is 1942-7-18. S.J.Hitchings is second from left front row
S.J.Hitchings is standing back left (the others are unknown)
A propaganda “Christmas Spread” photo but my father told me all of the items were made of paper!
SJH 3rd from right.
4/5 September, 1940; STETTIN - OIL TARGET:
Five aircraft from 49 Squadron operated from Mildenhall this night. Four were successful in bombing the primary target, whilst the crew captained by F/O Hodges (P1347) failed to return.
In the cold grey light of dawn, F/O Bob Hodges and crew sighted the coastline of what they presumed to be Cornwall. Having been airborne for over 9 hours, shortage of fuel made landing imperative. As they entered the circuit of what they thought to be St.Eval, much to their consternation, they were greeted by light flak. Beating a hasty retreat the pilot gradually climbed to a safe height, and with his engines showing the first signs of fuel starvation, he ordered his crew to bale out.
After holding his aircraft steady whilst his crew escaped, the pilot then elected to crash land the aircraft (there being insufficient height for his own safe escape). A successful crash landing was made, and much to the surprise of the pilot, Sgt Wyatt was still aboard; intercom problems prevented him from receiving the order to jump. The broken wreck of Hampden D-Donald had come to rest in a field near St Brieuc... in Brittany! The crew became prisoners or war, but while in a camp at Toulouse in southern France, F/O Hodges and Sgt Wyatt managed to escape and returned to England via Gibraltar. Over a year later, Bob Hodges, by now a Wing Commander, joined 161 Special Duties Squadron at Tempsford where he participated in many clandestine operations. Happily he survived the war, receiving a Knighthood for his deeds as a mark of gratitude from a thankful nation.