Type: Vickers Wellington Mk. III
Part: 424 Squadron RCAF
Crash date: 12th March 1943
Crash location: Voorstraat, Echteld
Commander: P/O R.G. Caldwell
A Vickers Wellington Mk. III, number BK-348, departed from the Topcliffe RAF airport during the evening of 12th March 1943. On board were pilot P/O Robert Caldwell, navigator Gordon Cory, observer William Topping, radiographer Alfred Larson and gunner Leslie Parker. All from Canada. They were about to bomb a number of industrial complexes in Essen together with 23 Halifaxes and 87 Wellingtons. But things didn't quite go according to plan.
It all went wrong around 22:15 hours in the evening. A German Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter aircraft, occupied by Oblt. Manfred Meuer from the 3./NJG 1, took off from Venlo airport and shot down the Wellington.
The aircraft crashed in the Voorstraat in Echteld. One wing of the burning aircraft hit the verger’s home, resulting in it burning to the ground. Verger widow De Greef was able to escape via the back door with her two daughters and found refuge with the Ommerstein family.
None of the crew survived the crash. All five of them are buried in a common grave at the War Cemetery in Uden. Pieces of the Wellington’s wreckage are still underground in the Ooisestraat.
You can find more details about this crash here.
A Vickers Wellington Mk. III in full flight.
Postcard of the centre of Echteld from the beginning of the twentieth century. The first building on the right is the rectory. Mrs. De Greef and her two daughters lived in the house next door.
The memorial plaque in the church garden in Echteld.
Logo of the RCAF’s 424th squadron.
Oblt. Manfred Meuer of the 3./NJG 1.
Eyewitness report of the crash from former minister of the church of Echteld ds. H. J. van Achterberg.
The Echteld crash site from the air.