Personnel Index - Detail
Part of the panel at Runnymede
25/26 April, 1940; MINELAYING - BALTIC:
This would prove to be the squadron's most costly and saddest nights of the war so far; 8 Hampdens fought their way through terrible weather to the now familiar gardening areas in Kiel Bay. Only one aircraft dropped vegetables successfully, the remainder failed due to the bad conditions. Returning home the squadron was diverted to Montrose where 4 aircraft landed and a fifth landed at Leuchars. 3 aircraft and crews were missing. The reason why two of the aircraft failed to return will never be known, but the third gained the unenviable distinction of being the first bomber to be shot down by a German night fighter.
Hampden P1319, flown by P/O Arthur Benson fell victim to Fw Förster, a member of IV[N]/JG.2, the very first German night fighter unit. This unit operated Messerschmitt Bf 109D's which had the cockpit hoods removed. The Hampden came down in the North Sea off Sylt. The body of Sgt Robert Mackenzie was washed ashore on 30 May near Rantum, and now rests in the Kiel War Cemetery; the rest of the crew were never recovered.
P/O A.H. Benson (Missing)
P/O A.P.B. Hordern (Missing)
LAC J.D. Openshaw (Missing)
Sgt R.I.L. MacKenzie (Killed)