Photo Details

A photo of Leslie Barker.
Handley Page Halifax ll
Serial HR692
Call code ZA-R
Left from: Melbourne – Yorkshire UK
Date: March 12th 1943
Time of departure 19.21h
Destination: Essen
Cause of crash: Shot down by: Oberleutnant Manfred Meurer 6NJG1
Time of the crash: 21.40h.
Place of the crash: Horst (L) The Netherlands.

The city of Essen and especially the factory complexes of steel company Krupp, one of the centers of the German war industry, was the target of a bomb attack that was to be carried out by 457 British bombers on the night of Friday 12 on Saturday 13 March 1943, of which 12 Halifax aircraft from the 10th Squadron that was stationed at RAF Melbourne. Shortly after 8.30 pm the forefront of this attack wave flew over Holland and from that moment on the crews had to deal with the German night fighters. On the outward and return route between the Dutch coast and the Ruhr area no less than 23 bombers would be lost this time. The Halifax II HR692 ZA-R with a seven-men crew was intercepted above Horst by Oberleutnant Meurer of 6 NJG1 at 21.12 hours. The aircraft caught fire, exploded in the air and ended up about 100 meters west of the provincial road Horst-Venray, near café "De Oude Lind". The entire crew died, including Flight Sergeant Leslie Barker. The seven were buried on 23 March 1943 in Venlo. In 1947, their remains were transferred to Jonkerbos War Cemetery in Nijmegen.
During his fall, the bomber lost part of his load. One of the bombs fell down on a farm on the Gastendonkstraat in Horst and exploded there. Two children of the family, who were outside the house at the time of the explosion, were initially missed, but after the fire brigade and “Luchtbeschermingsdienst” arrived and had started an investigation on the terrain of the explosion, their remains were excavated and transferred to the morgue of the local hospital. The mother of both victims, was taken into in the sick ward of thehospital with wounds on her head.
In the wider area of the crashed plane, so many unexploded explosives were found the next day that all roads in the area were closed by order of the Feldgendarmerie. Also seven houses were evacuated. All bombs were detonated on Saturday 20 March at 3 pm by a military expert from Fliegerhorst Venlo, after which the local residents could return to their homes

Source: Book Vliegveld Venlo Part 2 by Jan Derix

Crew:

Flight Sergeant Leslie Barker
Service nr. 968735, RAF Volunteer Reserve
Age:26

Sergeant Air Gunner James Freel
Service nr. 1126762, RAF Volunteer Reserve
Age: 21

Sergeant Air Gunner George Albert Hyatt
Service nr. 1318574, RAF Volunteer Reserve
Age: Unknown

Sergeant Navigator Kenneth Alfred Mills
Service nr. 1440297, RAF Volunteer Reserve
Age: 22

Flying Officer*Navigator Ronald James Paul
Service nr. 125563, RAF Volunteer Reserve
Age:21

Sergeant Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Leonard Evan Thomas
Service nr. 1291773, RAF Volunteer Reserve
Age: Unknown

Sergeant Flight Engineer William Lloyd “George” Thompson
Servicenr. R89257, Royal Canadian Air Force.
Age: 21

LEST WE FORGET
REST IN PEACE YOU BRAVE MEN.
YOU GAVE YOUR LIVES FOR OUR FREEDOM

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