Hampden L4055, Holme, West Yorkshire

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Hampden L4055

Near the village of Holme, West Yorkshire, Handley Page Hampden L4055 crashed on May 23rd 1940 with the loss of all crew members. The wall above is totally demolished off to the left. This broken wall and two craters nearby (where the Danger UXB chaps from the Royal Engineers detonated some remaining bombs) are the only evidence now of the crash.

L4055 was returning from a bombing raid on railway targets in M√∂nchengladbach, only the crew couldn’t identify the target and they returned still carrying the bomb load. At this early stage, before the tactics of total war were employed, it was routine for crews not to ditch their bombs just anywhere.

On the return leg, L4055 overshot their base at RAF Scampton in foul weather, and Sgt Jenkins descended through cloud thinking he was over Lincolnshire, not Yorkshire.

Crew
from PDAAR;
Sgt Stanley William Jenkins, pilot
Sgt Alan Marsh, observer
Aircraftman William Thornton, wireless operator
Sgt Peter W Josse, air gunner

Pat Cunningham (Peakland Air Crashes – The North, 2006) states that Sgt Josse was the observer, and that Sgt Marsh was the airgunner.

Aviation Safety Network gives this crew list;

Pilot:Sgt 580289 Stanley William Jenkins 23 RAF killed.
Nav:Sgt 359518 Peter William Josse RAF killed.
Obs:Sgt 580966 Alan Marsh RAF killed.
Wop:A/Gnr:AC1 625669 Willie Thornton 19 RAF killed.

EDIT SEPTEMBER 2016
Comment below from Russell Ives

Sgt Alan Marsh was flying w/op, a/g. Sgt Peter Josse was Navigator. Bill Thornton was a/g a ground tradesman.
I am on possession of Sgt Marsh,s Flying Log Book and he his not navigating this operation.

22 comments on “Hampden L4055, Holme, West Yorkshire
  1. andyholmfirth says:

    This one’s pretty low down Ian ? Is there still any wreakage on site ?

  2. SolarScot. says:

    its sad to think they returned home and so near to safety they lost their lives.such brave lads

  3. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    Hampdens as a heavy bomber at the beginning of the war…incredible what they had to use for the first few years of the bomber offensive isn’t it!

  4. Neal. says:

    If I remember rightly, the Hamden had an unusual tail and looked a bit front heavy, that’s just my observation, seems such a small looking plane for such a dangerous job.

  5. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/andyholmfirth/]
    There’s no wreckage now. low down as you say, well ploughed over.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/31878512@N06/]
    As Colin says, early on they had to put up with things like the Hampden. Great to fly apparently, and in my opinion they look great too, but bugger all use against flak and night fighters. They were so cramped, the Hampden was known as the Flying Suitcase. Your description is spot on.

  6. pasujoba says:

    Well found Ian. Losses like these are the most tragic . To go on a raid and come back only to die like this is so cruel.

  7. het broertje van.. says:

    Such a beautiful side………………sad story!!!

  8. sidewinder54 (Closed For Business) says:

    I feel like I have learnt a lot by reading your excellent narrative & the comments from your contacts.

    Excellent series!!

  9. seansonofbig says:

    You had nicer weather than us, by the looks of it. It’s normally filthy every time we go to Holme Moss

    peakwreckhunters.blogspot.com/2007/12/handley-page-hampde…

  10. sandramox says:

    wow this pic is such an important one for me as one of the men who died in this crash was my uncle Willie Thornton. He died at a very young age and my mum has told me all about him. i have been researching him for ages and cant wait to show my mum what i have found. I feel quite emotional about it after seeing the site were he was killed.

  11. Ian D B says:

    Very pleased to hear from you, glad you found some detail about your Uncle. 19 years old? They were just lads, incredibly brave and adventurous. He died very early in the war. It was a tough life in Bomber Command and statistically someone joining as early as Aircraftman Thornton hadn’t much chance of surviving the war. No matter how much I read, visit museums, speak with veterans and photograph these crash sites, I still cannot get a handle on the mettle of that generation.

    Thank you again.

  12. pasujoba says:

    Is this worth a trip with the Metal detector to see if anything may survive?

  13. Ian D B says:

    Sorry for delay Paul. This site is on farmland, the field will have been well turned over. Doubt it would be worth the effort, getting permission etc.

  14. seansonofbig says:

    There’s plenty of stuff left in the crater, but it’s mostly bomb casings: peakwreckhunters.blogspot.com/2007/12/handley-page-hampde…

  15. Ian D B says:

    Hi Sean, nice to see you again. It does look like a dog egg! Was this stuff on the surface…?

  16. wreckhunter says:

    Of course Ian, we didn’t have a licence to excavate…Should still be there if the magpies haven’t had it away

  17. Ian D B says:

    no, indeed. a revisit is needed then!

  18. sueryan66 says:

    Hi Reading Guy Gibson’s account of things, see (enemy coast ahead") they were probably badly shot up as they had been attempting to blow up railway tunnels to help the B.E.F. – (British expeditionary force). I’m related to Peter Josse Chris

  19. James says:

    My nan was married to Stanley Jenkins, she re-married and that’s when she met my grandad. My nan was in the Waaf and adored Stan during their short marriage. She divorced my Grandad but never forgot Stan.

    When my nan died in her 70’s she was cremated in Dorset but we had permission to bury her ashes with Stan in his war grace. A serving officer from Scampton attended the burial of the ashes. A very welcome and wonderful,gesture from the RAF. Thank you. That would have meant the world to my nan, Stan and the rest of th family.

  20. Russell Ives says:

    Sgt Alan Marsh was flying w/op, a/g. Sgt Peter Josse was Navigator. Bill Thornton was a/g a ground tradesman.
    I am on possession of Sgt Marsh,s Flying Log Book and he his not navigating this operation.

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