Newspaper article "Le Courrier Picard" 6 th april 2013


Newspaper article "Le Doullennais"
17th april 1943


After a first cleaning


The hub processed and restored


The device

The fuselage was built up from a number of steel channel-beams that were formed into a large network, made of duralumin . To form the outer shell of the aircraft, wooden sticks were attached to the surface of the aluminum and then the whole was covered with "Irish textile", covered in turn with many layers of plaster. It is this metal braiding that gave the plane its very high resistance. Even if the side beams were torn off, the structure of the plane remained intact. Wellingtons with heavily damaged fuselages returned to the base unlike other types of aircraft.The Wellington Bomber Command conducted 47,409 missions, dropped 41,823 tons of bombs and 1,332 of them were lost.

Source photo Imperial War Museum

Main features

Wickers-Wellington Mk III, medium bomber twin engine, commisionned in 1938.

Two Bristol Hercule XI  1500 hp each.
Lenght :             19,68m
Height :                5,33m
Weight :                 8.417Kg unloaded weight 11.703Kg  maximum charge
Maximum speed :       410Km/h
Ceiling :              6.710m

The mission

In the night of April 8 to 9, 1943, operation above DUISBURG -392 bombers (156 Lancaster, 97 Wellington, 73 Halifax, 56 Stirling and 10 Mosquito)- are dispatched on this objective. 19 aircrafts will be lost during this mission.One of them, the Wellington Mk III BK361 AS - F of 166 Squadron (RAF) gets lost on the way back and drifts on the north of France. The gauges indicate that the fuel level is very low. Fearful of being unable to cross the Channel, the radio sends an SOS and sets the position in 50 ° 30 'N - 02 ° 06' E. The crew parachutes, but three of them will be captured and will end the war in a camp. The navigator who is Canadian and speaks French manages to get help near Mezerolles, supported by the Comet network, he crosses the Spanish border on May 10, 1943. The gunner escaped at first but will be caught in Perpignan.

Comet Escape Report (in French)

The crew

SgtG. S.BARCLAY(RNZAF)PilotPrisonner
Camp L6
P/OB. M.MARION(RCAF)NavigatorEscaped
SgtR. W.HART(RAF)BomberPrisonner
Camp L6
SgtA. H.CONRAD(RAF)Wireless operatorPrisonner
Camp 357
SgtR. F.LIMAGE(RAF)GunnerPrisonnier
Camp 4B
Last April the owner of the Quesnel farm near OUTREBOIS, discovered a propeller hub while he was working on his property. He then appealed to one of the members of the Association Somme Aviation 39-45 and informed him of his discovery. After a quick consultation of our archives, it is obvious that this propeller hub belonged to a British bomber, fallen on the night of April 8 to 9, 1943. This aircraft was a Wellington Mk III belonging to the 166 Squadron of the Royal Air Force

Translation of
"Le Doullennais" article.

A British Bomber Crashed by a farm in the Quesnel district between Outrebois and Boisbergues

During the night of April 8/9, a three-engined* bomber crashed in flames near the farm belonging to Mr Haudron in the Outrebois area. Luckily the farmhouse was not damaged. The crew bailed-out after the aircraft was hit by flak and the bomber was totally destroyed and burnt out in the subsequent crash. It hit the ground with such tremendous force that some of the wreckage was found 100 metres from the crash point.
* Three engined bomber is a mistake written by the journalist in 1943, the Wellington bomber was a twin-engined one. We translated word for word to keep the authenticity.

Translation of "Le Courrier Picard" article.

In 1943 Godefroy Handron, teenager was witness of the fall of a RAF Bomber. Lately, the propeller of the engine was found in his homestead.

In 1943, Godefroy Handron was 19. He was living then in the mansion of the village with the other members of his family, about 12 persons.
He will never forget the night of 8 to 9 april 1943 with good reason. « My father told me : Quick my boy the avenue of the mansion is on fire, go and fetch the firemen in Outrebois . So I ran accross the fields and i met the Mayor, Mr Alfred Laigle. » A twin engined bomber has just fallen, at about 50 meters for the Quesnel farm, in the Outrebois hamel.
A discovery has just plunged the octogenarian into his old memories. Almost seventy years later quite day for day, Daniel Sara, one of his nephew has unearthed the hub of the propeller and the license plate of the aircraft.
The aircraft was a Wellington, 166 Squadron of the RAF. The following day, the German came to pick up the aircraft, but they forget to take everything away.

« It was one of the 392 bombers coming back from Duisburg »

This discovery was done at the Quesnel farm. It belong nowdays to Godefroy Handron, 89. The farmerquickly called Ghislain Lobel from Somme aviation 39-45, based in Warloy Baillon.
This association is investigation about historical researchs according to the aircrafts of all nationalities which crashed in the department of Somme and the surrounding departments in WWII.
For the passionates of this association, the call of Godefroy Handron was lucky : « Some aircraft’s spare parts wich were found like this hub, will be sand and attests of our researchs and are sometimes exposed after restoration.
Here this is our first Wellington to be found. Not a lot of them crashed during 39-45 explains Ghislain Lobel.
Thanks to another passionate, doctor Jean-Pierre Ducellier now retired, we perfectly know the history of this crash. Author of many books about the aerial war in the north of France, he found at the British archives the navigator’s report, the « Pilot Officer » Bernard Marion.
He translated :  « It was one of the 392 bombers coming back from their target : Duisburg in Germany » detailled Jean Pierre Ducellier. This 1943 night they came together at the north of Holland on their way to Germany. Their way back to England passed through the Somme bay after they bombed Duisburg. Unfortunately, on their way back 19 of them were lost, including the Quesnel’ s one. His story is interesting noticed Jean Pierre Ducellier, they normally used to be shot by the German nightfighter or the flak.
The five crew members, the pilote, the flying engineer and the three gunners knew another fate. This very night was very cloudy.
Lost and probably out of petrol they sent an SOS to England at 0.29 (English time) to ask for their precise position. A message was sent back but they didn’t recived it. « Afraid to fell in the middle of the sea, they turned back to the Est to be sure to reach the firm ground. Not knowing where they were, they bail out in parachute leaving their aircraft wich exploded a short time later » said the retired doctor.
The four crew members were taken prisonners while the pilot officer Bernard Marion escaped. This story he knows for a long time will be written in his 22th book.

From our correspondant Eric Sapa

George Barclay in 1942

1942 March 27th - NZ413369 Sergeant Pilot George Stanley Barclay - on graduation RCAF Saskatoon-1 (2).jpg

The George Barclay' s story

NZ423369 Warrant Officer George Stanley Barclay RNZAF (Retired)
New Zealander, George Stanley Barclay joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) on 15th June 1941 and began his flying training in Tiger Moth aircraft at New Plymouth, New Zealand (NZ), on 6th September 1941. He left Auckland, NZ on 17th November 1941 on the Matson Line ship SS Monterey and, having crossed the Pacific Ocean, arrived in San Francisco on 1st December 1941. He then travelled by train via Vancouver to RCAF Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada where he joined No 44 Pilots course on 5th December 1941. He completed his flying training on Cessna Crane aircraft at No 4 SFTS, was awarded his pilot’s ‘wings’ and was promoted to Sergeant on 27th March 1942. He then travelled by train to Halifax, Nova Scotia before boarding the RMS Andes to travel in a convoy of ships across the Atlantic Ocean, departing Canada on 3rd May 1942 and arriving in Liverpool, UK on 11th May 1942. He reported to No 3 Personnel Reporting Centre at Bournemouth on 13th May 1942 and joined Number 16 Course at 12 (P) Advanced Flying Unit (AFU) based at RAF Grantham, Lincs, on 21st July 1942 where he flew Airspeed Oxford aircraft. The AFU course was completed on 15th September 1942 at which time he was posted to No 43 Course at the No. 16 Operational Training Unit of RAF Upper Heyford to learn to fly the Vickers Wellington medium bomber. Having completed his training at 16 OTU on 23rd December 1942, he was posted to the Home Echelon of 150 Squadron to fly Wellington bombers operationally from RAF Kirmington, Lincs, on 12th January 1943. In turn, the Home Echelon of 150 Squadron merged with the remains of 142 Squadron to form 166 Squadron on 27th January 1943. George flew operationally with 166 Squadron until he and his crew of five bailed out of their aircraft over Mezerolles, NW France, after an 'Op' on Duisburg on the night of 8/9 April 1943. He was interned by the Germans as a POW until he escaped on 6th April 1945 and subsequently returned to UK on 17 April 1945. George married Joan May Wither from Limpsfield, Surrey, on 16th June 1945. The couple returned to New Zealand to raise a family. Joan died in January 1989. George turned 94 years of age on 2nd May 2017.

We received last september 2017  some good news from  George Barclay throught his son Jim. George Barclay celebrated his 94th birdthday last 2nd of May 2017, we send  him our best wishes from France.
ce site a été créé sur