Personnel Index - Detail
Images courtesy of Yvonne Chatfield nee Fournier (sister of Bernard)
28/29 August; DUISBERG:
The eight aircraft sent from 49 Squadron encountered haze and flak at the target.
It soon became clear that 2 of the squadron's aircraft had failed to return. P/O Bernard Fournier (AE126) and P/O Thomas Pratt (AD971). At 03.30hrs their aircraft fell in flames into the Waddenzee just south of the Isle of Ameland; there were no survivors. The 21 years old pilot and his crew are buried in Nes Cemetery, Ameland, Holland.
The above is the copy of a paper found in a little tube some days after the crash. It was found on a farm-land by a farmer. He kept it till the end of the war and then handed it over to the police. Due to this paper the other crewmembers (Barrett, Palmer and Watson) were identified.
The above information supplied by Rene Metz.
Colin Cripps (49Sqn Researcher) adds the following:
I believe Rene's father Willi, is the man on the barge who, under German supervision fished the wing of AE126 out of the Waddensee after it was shot down. The aircraft that was flown by P/O Fournier.
The document shown above is a "berichtenkoker" or memory box and was found by Willi Metz. It was in a tube 2.5cms in length and contained a form of loss report if the aircraft came down. Judging by its size, I believe that it was attached to a homing pigeon.
The above image, is a typewritten copy of the original RAF Form 1326 ("Pigeon SOS message",) from a Dutch police report. Hence having both languages.
AFSCHRIFT is Dutch for 'COPY'
Voorzijde is Dutch for 'Front'
Achterrzijde is Dutch for 'Back'
They are describing what is written on the front and on the back of the form.
Report, drafted by J. Draaisma, Wachtmeester (Sergeant) of the Royal Dutch Military Police stationed at Nes on Ameland Island on 12 October 1945:
"On the night of 28-29 August 1941, a burning aircraft, probably English, crashed into the Waddenzee south of the Island of Ameland. The research and recovery of the aircraft was done by German military personnel, no Dutch police personnel were allowed to participate. A few parts of human remains were collected and brought to the cemetery at Nes. The airmen onboard the twin-engined bomber were burnt and not a single corpse could be positively identified.
Sometime later I was informed that a civilian had found an item stemming from an English aircraft, which may serve the purpose of establishing the identity of the crew of the aircraft that had crashed in flames. The man who had found the item, which was a small message cylinder measuring just over 2 1/2 cms in length, painted white and with a blue screw cap with an orange dot in the middle, was Willem Metz. He lives in Buren (Ameland), and declared to me that he had found the item in a meadow belonging to P. Mosterman who lives near the village of Nes on Ameland. He could not remember the exact date when he found it, but said that it was 1 or 2 days after the aircraft had crashed into the Waddenzee south of the village of Nes. Almost certainly one can assume that this item, which contained a small letter, a copy of which is attached to this report, was thrown out of the above mentioned aircraft. W. Metz had not handed over the cylinder as he feared that it would fall into German hands. I then decided to keep the cylinder myself (it is in my possession to this day), because I wanted to make sure that it would end up in the right place, so that the British authorities could firmly establish the fate of the crew of the above mentioned aircraft. This is why I send it to the Dutch Red Cross, together with a copy of this report plus a copy of the letter from the cylinder."
This is the wing of Hampden AE126 being recovered from the Waddenzee