Personnel Index - Detail

First Names
John William
Service Number
Crew Position
Air Gunner
Date of Death


Sgt Wilkinson flew 8 operations with P/O Allsebrook and was lost on his 3rd operation with F/O Worthy.

Image courtesy of Reg Woolgar

Photographed by Bjørn N. Skogen

10/11 April, 1942; ESSEN:

Despite forecasts of clear weather conditions over the target, a main force consisting of over 250 bombers, found Essen covered in cloud. 49 Squadron had 13 Hampdens airborne of which 8 attacked the primary target but were unable to see the results.
Bomber Command suffered the loss of 14 aircraft on the Essen raid, mainly due to the heavy flak defences in the Ruhr. Of the 5 Hampdens reported missing, 2 were from 49 Squadron: F/O Reg Worthy (AE421) and crew were shot down by a night fighter flown by Reinhold Knacke of 2/NJG.1. The combat took place over Holland, with the doomed Hampden falling into the Ijsselmeer. The body of F/O Worthy was recovered from the water’s edge on 22nd May and that of Sgt Anthony Considine, at Laaxum four days later; his watch had stopped at 02.16hrs. Sgt John Wilkinson is buried in Stavanger, Norway whilst the body of the fourth crew member, Sgt Tom McGrenery was never found; he is remembered at Runnymede.

Hampden AE421 (EA-P)
F/O R.P. Worthy Pilot (Killed)
Sgt A.T.P. Considine A/OB (Killed)
Sgt J.W. Wilkinson A/G (Killed)
Sgt T.H. McGrenery W/Ag (Missing)

In 2012 a new memorial was established at Harderwijk to commemorate all crews lost in the Ijsselmeer.

Earlier in his tour he was flying with a different pilot and, on the 14th February 1942, whilst returning from operations against Bremen on one engine, his Hampden AE397 (EA-G) was forced to ditch when the second engine cut out over the English Channel.

On the day of the ditching, his crew were.......
Pilot:      P/O R Allsebrook
W/Op:   Sgt RLA Woolgar
Nav:      Sgt P Stanbridge
AG:       Sgt JW Wilkinson

P/O Allesbrook's nail clippers saved the this link to view/download details of this incident.

To view a video description of the ditching, follow Sgt Woolgar's link.