Crew of Wellington W5519 SM-U and description of operation to Essen



Crew of Wellington W5519 SM-U and description of operation to Essen


Report on operation to Essen by 254 aircraft, 14 aircraft lost and 60 aircrew killed. Gives account of Wellington W5519 SM-U which was damaged and forced to ditch. All crew were rescue by Cromer lifeboat, At the bottom, a photograph of six aircrew wearing flying jackets standing in front of a Wellington.



Typewritten document and b/w photograph


C Mackey






Took off at 22.23 hrs from Lindholme to attack Essen as part of a 254 aircraft bombing raid (167 Wellington’s, 43 Hampden’s, 18 Stirlings, 10 Manchester’s and 8 Halifax’s). The raid was hampered by cloud over Essen and the bombing force became scattered. They suffered heavily from the Ruhr flak defences with 14 aircraft lost. A total of 60 aircrew were killed and a further 19 being made POW’s. The raid was a failure with very light damage to the target area. 12 houses were destroyed and 7 people on the ground killed and 30 injured.

Wellington W5519 SM-U was seriously damaged by German night fighters over the Dutch coast. (No night fighter claims could be found for this loss) But the crew managed to return to England and eventually ditched at 03.10 hrs in the North Sea some 4 mies [sic] off Cromer, Norfolk. They were all rescued by trawler from their dingy [sic] and then picked up by the Cromer lifeboat the H.F. Bailey after being launched at 03.58 hrs. and returned. Some required hospital treatment but all survived this crash. It has not been established if they remained inside the aircraft during ditching or they jumped. Research ongoing.

[black and white photograph of the six aircrew of Wellington W5519 SM-U standing in front of the aircraft]

Above and below crew standing in front of Wellington W5519 SM-U (Courtesy Chris Mackey)


“Crew of Wellington W5519 SM-U and description of operation to Essen,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 4, 2023,

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