September 16, 1944 CRASH AT STRIJEN-SAS
Late in the evening at about 22.30 p.m. 14 Lancaster bombers of RAF No 90 Squadron take off from air base Tuddenhem in England, heading for their target the bridge at Moerdijk in Holland. After a flight in darkness they arrive at just before 24.00 p.m. and bomb the bridge and its approaches. The target is lit by flares dropped from planes accompanying the Lancasters. These were 24 Lancasters from No 115 Squadron and 10 Lancasters from No 75 Squadron. During the circling around over the target Lancaster LM 169 of No 90 Squadron , piloted by F/O Paul W.Tooley, clashes with a Lancaster of No 115 Squadron and both planes break up, the remainders falling to the ground. Paul Tooley’s plane comes down in the Stoope polder, which was completely flooded at the time, near the village of Strijen-Sas.
All 7 members of the crew are killed. After the war Burgomaster Bolman tells an American officer that outside the village there must be another plane wreck from which the bodies were never recovered. The officer with a number of men went to that wreck, recovered the bodies of another 7 men and transported the coffins to the cemetery “Essenhof” at Dordrecht. Here the graves can be visited
Het museum in Strijen heeft foto’s van Selwyn Thomas te zien, samen met de citaten over het moedig optreden van de Lancaster bemanningen.
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David Selwyn Thomas – wireless operator
James Edward Brown – bomb aimer
Wing Commander John Stuart Hocknell OBE RAF(Ret’d)
(Nephew of Flying Officer David Selwyn Thomas RAFVR)