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Coastal Command Hudson lost over ┼ndalsnes, Norway

Updated 9 September 2004

On 23 April 1940 Pilot Officer Hector Garmen Webb was killed when his Hudson was shot down by the HMS Curacoa in a tragic friendly fire incident near ┼ndalsnes. An airman "known unto God" is buried at ┼ndalsnes Cemetery. No other RAF staff was lost in this area, no other airmen are buried here. In spite of this one-to-one match, proving that Webb is resting in the unnamed grave has been surprisingly difficult. We need your help.



   

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On Monday 6 September 2004 construction work near the crash-site of the Hudson uncovered this Browning machine gun.

Photo by Tor Christian Jevanord

 

In April 1940 the 224 Sqdn RAF Costal Command was based at Leuchars, Fife. The three aircraft in the mission to Romsdal were possibly a detachment based at Wick, Caithness.

It has been suggested that Hector Garmen Webb may have been an American volunteer. How can we learn more? We only know (from the London Gazzette) that Flight Sergeant Webb was commissioned as Pilot Officer on 1 APR 1940.

Lt-Col Simpson, the Commander of "Operation Primrose", writes about the friendly fire incident in this report. What else do we know -

Registration
 

#1
QX-Q
N7264

Emergency landing at Wick. See picture below.
Crew:
P/O Hugh O'Neill, pilot, read O'Neill's own account of the mission (PDF file)
P/O Talbot Rothwell, copilot (1916-1981, known from the "Carry On" films)
AC Court
LAC McGhie

#2
N7249 or
N7285

Crashed on the northern shore of the Romsdalsfjord on a croft called Toklegjerdet, about 2 miles NE of ┼ndalsnes.
Crew:
P/O Hector Garmen Webb, pilot, killed in the crash, record at CWGC.
P/O AGJ Pearson, parachute, landed in the fjord, returned to UK on HMS Galatea
??, parachute, landed on the northern shore, identity unknown
??, parachute, landed on the southern shore, identity unknown

#3
N????

This plane also made it back to Wick.

Sergeant A. James, pilot


 

† Both registration numbers have been quoted with reference to Ross McNeill's "RAF Coastal Command Losses Volume I: Aircraft and Crew Losses 1939-1941".

Romsdal April 23 1940 at about 1600 hours

Hudsons over Romsdalsfjorden. ┼ndalsnes is the white area in the lower left corner. The HMS Curacoa must have opened fire minutes, if not seconds, after this photo was taken.

This picture was printed in an article by Hugh O'Neill in "Aeroplane Monthly", August 1985.

Emergency landing at Wick

Against all odds this Hudson (N7264) made it back to Wick. The escape hatch was released when the plane passed the hedge.

N7264 crew on the airfield at Wick

The crew is (left to right): AC Court, LAC McGhie, Pilot Officer Talbot Rothwell og Pilot Officer Hugh O'Neill.

P/O Rothwell was later known as the writer of the twenty or so "Carry On" films.

┼ndalsnes Cemetery, July 2003

We would like to see a name on this headstone.

Any information even remotely related to the flight of the three Hudsons may be helpful.

Please help us.