Posts Tagged ‘“Bomber Command”’


Alan Birley Bateman’s Ex prisoner of War questionaire, part 1

October 17, 2009

Below is Alan Bateman’s Ex Prisoner-of War questionaire, completed by Alan upon his release, detailing the POW camps and hospitals he was held captive in, and information that could be used to bring War Crimes prosecutions against the enemy. Until recently, these documents were Top Secret, and the originals are held in the National Archives at Kew, London.

Many, many thanks to Soren Flenstead who hosts an excellent site, Airwar over Denmark ;

This site has a vast amount of information cataloguing the crews of British and American airmen that flew over Denmark during World War 2 and in many cases lost their lives in Denmark and the surrounding seas. Soren’s site is certainly worth a look.

Alan Birley Bateman’s Ex prisoner of War questionaire, part 1


Alan Birley Bateman’s ex prisoner of war questionaire, part 2

October 17, 2009

Below is Alan Bateman’s Ex Prisoner-of War questionaire, completed by Alan upon his release, detailing the POW camps and hospitals he was held captive in, and information that could be used to bring War Crimes prosecutions against the enemy. Until recently, these documents were Top Secret, and the originals are held in the National Archives at Kew, London.

Many, many thanks to Soren Flenstead who hosts an excellent site, Airwar over Denmark ;

This site has a vast amount of information cataloguing the crews of British and American airmen that flew over Denmark during World War 2 and in many cases lost their lives in Denmark and the surrounding seas. Soren’s site is certainly worth a look.

Alan Birley Bateman’s ex prisoner of war questionaire, part 2


RAF list of lost Bomber aircraft during World War 2

October 11, 2009

Stirling W7514 Information

Type Stirling
Serial Number W7514
Squadron 15
Operation Rostock
Date 1 25th April 1942
Date 2 26th April 1942

Further Information

“Serial Range W7500 – W7539. 40 Stirling Mk.1. Part of a batch of 150 Short S.29 Stirling Mk.1. W7426-W7474; W7500- W7359; W7560-W7589; W7610-W7639. Delivered by Austin Motors Ltd between Feb42 and May42. Contract No.B982939/39. Delivered to No.15 Sqdn 28Mar42. Airborne 2150 25apr42 from Wyton. Abandoned after being attacked at 0105 be a Me110 from 5.NJG3. Sgt East was killed during the engagement and Sgt Surridge was mortally wounded in the stomach although he managed to bale out. He died from his injuries 28Apr42, while being treated in Tonder Hospital. Of those captured following the crash at Kravlund, 3 km SW of Tinglev, Denmark, Sgt Stephen was killed by a lightning strike in captivity 29Jul44 and he is buried in the Old Garrison Cemetery at Poznan in Poland. It is also reported that the night-fighter crew were obliged to force-land at Bylderup-Bov and although they escaped injury, their Me110 (Werk No.2276) was wrecked. F/O J.E.M.Conran PoW F/O A.B.Bateman PoW Sgt R.T.Stephen PoW P/O A.H.H.Young PoW Sgt R.R.Lawson PoW Sgt G.H.Surridge Inj Sgt R.A.J.Skinner PoW Sgt D.J.East KIA F/O A.B.Bateman was interned in Camp 9C/L3. PoW No.39647. F/O J.E.M.Conran in Camps L1/L3, PoW No.766. Sgt R.A.J.Skinner in Camps L3/L6/357, PoW No.274 with Sgt R.T.Stephen, PoW No.184. (See above). P/O A.H.H.Young in Camp L3, PoW No.217. “


Alan and fellow RAF colleagues

October 11, 2009

Alan and fellow RAF colleagues

Back row ; Sgt Howland. Sgt Readhead. SGT Seabrook. Sgt Morris. Sgt Coleman

Front row ; P/O Mahoney P/O Coldwell P/O Bateman P/O Shoemaker P/O Newport-Tinley

I believe this photo was taken during training, and according to Margaret Bateman, all the gentlemen in this photo, apart from Alan, died during the war. I would dearly love to hear from anyone who may have any information on any of these individuals, as Alan mentions many of them by name in his letters and diaries.


Alan Birley Bateman – his place in our family

October 8, 2009

Alan Birley Bateman

6 October 1915 – 23 February 2001

The wartime story of this brave man deserves to be told. In order to place him within my family, I need to introduce the following ;

Alan was married to my mother’s cousin, Margaret Bateman. My Grandmother and Margaret’s mother were sisters, making my mother and Margaret cousins.

My many conversations with his wife, Margaret Bateman, have been incredibly revealing, and important to record, as so much history is lost when family members die. The following is a record of Margaret’s memories of Alan and his family, and her connection with them.

Alan was born on the 6th October 1915, in Isleworth, Middlesex, England. Alan’s father, whom he refers to in his war letters as Bill, was one of five children, but of these 5, only he had children; Constance, who was killed in a car crash, Alan, and Betty.

Margaret met Alan on the 21st January 1949, as she worked in the local council housing department, and he was the Deputy Town Clerk. They married at St Peter’s Church, Woodmanston, Surrey on the 17th February 1960.

Margaret and Alan tried hard for a family for many years, and eventually the couple were blessed with a daughter, Mary, born in 1968, only six months before I was born. There are several photos in existence of Mary and I together in infancy, but tragically Mary died, aged 5 years old, of Leukaemia. At about the same time, an agreement was made between my parents and Margaret and Alan, whereby should anything happen to my parents, my brother and I would be placed in the care of Margaret and Alan as guardians, to be brought up as their own.. The care and interest that Margaret in particular has shown towards me and my family has been fantastic and much appreciated, and I know my children count her as a Grandparent.

Alan died in 2001, and I remember him vividly as a true gentleman, kind, calm and generous, with a gentle sense of humour, and an utter devotion towards Margaret. Indeed I can still see the two of them cuddling in the kitchen, and the love and respect shown between them was deep and mutual. To this day, the wooden chair that he used to sit on in the kitchen still has pride of place, and to see it reminds me of him with a smile.

Margaret and Alan in 1988
Margaret and Alan in 1988

It is in the above context, that I write about Alan, a cherished, loved and fondly remembered  Gentleman, and his wartime experiences as a brave bomber pilot and prisoner of war in Stalagluft 3.


On “operations” and the night Alan was shot down

October 8, 2009

Alan flew Stirling 1 W7514, belonging to 15 Squadron and was coded  LS-B.

Alan flew many missions as a pilot of Stirling Bombers,and had had three successive nights on operations, when on the 26 April 1942, after agreeing to fly that night as the officer on rota had broken his arm in a horse riding accident, he was shot down over South Denmark, with several members of the crew killed. The bomber left Wyton at 21;50 hrs, and was attacked over Jylland, falling to ground near Kravlund at 01;15 hrs.

A full account of what happened can be found at

His mission on that night had been to target the factory at Rostock where the Germans were making 4 engined bombers. (They never did make these bombers, due to the British raids on this factory). After baling out, having destroyed vital documents inside the plane, he tried to walk to North Denmark, where he had a contact who could arrange safe passage for him into Sweden, but gangrene set in in his toes, forcing him to hand himself over to German forces. I have the telegram and subsequent letter that was sent to Alan’s parents on the 27th April 1942, informing them that Alan had been shot down.
The list of POW camps that Alan was confined in, can be found on this blog, under the category “ex prisoner of war questionaire”, which Alan completed in May 1945.
Alan was transferred through several transit camps including Dulag Luft near Frankfurt, where he was interrogated,  kept in solitary confinement and had his gangrenous toe removed without anaesthetic, in order to extricate information from him about his plane and missions. After spending several months in Stadt Roda and Egendorf hospitals,  Alan eventually arrived in Stalagluft 3 later in 1942, a large POW camp near Sagan, in modern day Poland.

One of  the camps Alan was transferred through was Stalag IXC, Mulhausen, which can be read about here ;
I have many documents about Stalagluft 3, and much has been written and photgraphed about the camp, which was run by the Luftwaffe, the “least Nazi” of all German organisations, and whose commanders had a degree “respect” for the allied airmen they were in charge of. It does need pointing out, at this stage though, that this camp was not run along the lines of those run by the SS or the Gestapo, and conditions, although sparse and unpleasant, were not as brutal as others.


Alan’s notebook, written during RAF training

October 8, 2009
Alan kept a notebook during his time of training with the RAF, which gives an invaluable first hand insight into everyday life as a trainee bomber pilot.
I have transcribed his notes exactly as he wrote them.

Transcription of Alan Bateman’s note book

Page 1

Home Address ; 21 Avenue Road, Isleworth, Middx. Tel Hov. 0480

RAFVR – No. 1284073

    1. No – 781060

Date attested ; 9/8/40 call up dating from 12/8/40

Medicals ; 9/8/40 Air Crew medical at Uxbridge

2/1/41 ditto – remustered from Air observer to Pilot

Reported at Stratford-on-Avon 15/3/41- Flight 1/12 sec 2 – Shakespeare Hotel

Page 2

29.3.41 – posted to Aberystwyth No 6 I.T.W flight D Squadron 4

-/5/41 air t …. – medical

7.6.41-Posted to No. 4 EFTS Brough Flight A Sec 1 Instructor P/O Woolley 2nd Instructor Sgt Howitt

19.7.41 Leave

30.7.41 No 15 SFTS Kidlington 1st instructor F/O Spading 2nd Instructor Sgt Rogers

9.9.41 Medical exam following interview and commission

Page 3

layout for kit inspection and diagram

Page 4

Gas exam april 1940 89%

Maths exam april 1940 94%

Law test april 1940 94%

Page 5

Saturday 30/8/41

First cross country in Oxford. Weston-Oundle-Cranwell. Dirty weather and no sign of Cranwell on ETA. Circled for 20 minutes and pin-pointed over Grantham getting somewhat mixed up in right hand circuit. Map-… Cranwell. Duty pilot was Billy who shared my billets at Brough. Finally arrived Weston 1.5 hours after ETA. Ground crew practically stoked their aircraft apparantly dubious about its return.

Sunday 31/8/41 ;

Due for 36 hour pass but this did not materialise owing to …… parade.

Thursday 2/9/41

No flying as

Page 6

duty pilot under instruction owing to bad weather D.P took day off. So much for the “instruction”. …… landed at Kid. On cross-country elsewhere. Had twice tried to find Kid. On cross-countries and unable to do so.


Weather too misty for flying. Lectures by instructors. Sgt …… spoke from first hand experience of night-fighters – the goal of most pupils here. Mentioned that when his night flights squadron was tested for night-vision the majority of pilots failed. The pilot with most ….. to his credit was assessed as “unfit for any night flying duties”. Interviwed by CGI re commission (presumably). All the usual questions

Page 7

turned up “school, OTC, sports etc. The main qualification for commission in CGI’s view is clearly rugger.

6.9.41 Saturday. 36 hours pass – not issued until 18.30 owing to station sports! Hitch hiked home – army band – private cars – covered van to Uxbridge. Returned Sunday by train and met 2 W.A.A.F’s, Mimi and Dreda (or some similar name) who had interesting experiences in occupied and unoccupied France during summer and were lucky to escape. They now work on C.O’s office at the station!

8.9.41 My room mate – Tony Croft set out cross country to Cranwell? At 14.30 – no sign of him all afternoon and evening. News arrived 9.9.41 that he has landed and

Page 8

is awaiting weather. 9.9.41 – interviewed by board consisting of C.O, C.G.I, Squad leader, Group 6 commander and another, re commission. I thought up an answer to each question and it now remains to see whether these were the desired answers.

12.9.41 – did first night flight successfully

13.9.41 – sent to SSQ Shipton Manor as cough worrying M.O

18.9.41 – Released from SSQ just in time for exams

22.9.41 – Recommended flying dual with F/Lt |Adams, Flight Commander, am some 15 hours behind course, but hope to catch up without being unflighted.

28.9.41 – Set off on cross-country flight – Kidlington – Market Deeping-…… Fenton –

Page 9

South …… Shortly after Northampton forced down to 600 – by cloud and turned back. On return … met Croft, who was following 30 minutes behind, head on. Godd navigation! Shortly after landing at Weston Croft landed and likewise the 5 of them who had attempted the trip.

29.9.41 ; made second attempt at No.2 cross country. Again forced down by weather and landed at Moulesworth? An operation aerodrome in the heart of nowhere. When weath. Cleared received instruction to return to Weston.

30.9.41 Third attempt to complete No.2 cross country. Weather good as far as Rugby……flew through

Page 10

storms to ETA south …… No sign of S.C and eventually pin-pointed ours by Coventry? (2). Set course for S.C which never appeared and in view of state of petrol tanks and weather, decided to hold course and land at first aerodrome. Eventually landed at Farnborough. No 100 octane fuel here and Kidlington phoned instruction to continue to White Waltham and repeat then ‘phone for further instructions. Landed at W.W and Kidlington instructed return to Weston. As it was already dark, was not disappointed when o.c/W.W decided to hotel me for night. Spent pleasant evening at all services club and returned

Page 11

to Weston following morning. This was counted as a “pass” as I completed circuit under my own steam.

1.10.41 ; did No.3 cross country Kidlington-Leominster-Devizes_Reading_Kidlington. Met wind (self-assessed) proved perfect and courses exact. Missed Reading on 3rd lap owing to believing Newbury to be Reading. Soon found error and pin-pointed at Didcot where followed railway to Reading and set course Kidlington. A good aircraft and a satisfying trip.

Page 12

6.10.41 ; went home to collect birth certificate. Hitch hiked from camp to home in 2 hours

10.10.41 ; had flight commanders test. Fortunately taken by F/O……..

Page 13

instead of F/Lt Adams. Did precautionary instrument take off. Flapless landing. Precautionary and operational low flying and single engine landing.

11.10.41 Had “Wings Test”. Flew Banbury normally, thence instrument to pin-point Stony Stratford thence map-read to Aylesbury and so to Weston. Taken by F/O…… of K flight.

13.10.41 Had C.F.I test by …… macho? Did some single engine flying (rather badly) and a circuit and bump. Quite a good circuit and certainly a good bump!

15.10.41 ; Did first formation flying. Finally broke off and made a somewhat erratic course home

Page 14

including steep turns, dives etc. Was surprised to be overtaken by instructor – F/O Eccles who had not given signal to break off!

I hope he enjoyed pulling alongside me during this somewhat erratic proceeding!

28.10.41 ; Posted to Abingdon. Have at least two weeks of ground subjects before flying. 11.11.41 ground subjects to continue for further week as weather has held senior courses up.

Page 15

15.12.41 ; Flew with Ron …… an uneventful trip except for …… effort in taxying when he knocked a wheel barrow and an oil drum for six with the rear turret which unfortunately put the aircraft, as well as drum and barrow, U/S.

16.12.41 ; Night flying with Sgt Howland. Very near thing to a collision with another Whitley in the dark, subsequently found other plane flown by Sgts Seabrook and Coleman.

17.12.41 ; Sgt. Coleman resigned his stripes and wings.

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