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Successful emergency landing during Market Garden

On September 19th 1944, during a supply mission, a Short Stirling LJ-647 of the 570 RAF Squadron was severely damaged by German anti-aircraft artillery over the drop-off zone near Arnhem. This resulted in a successful emergency landing at the 'Groenendijk' in Haren near Oss.

The crew, consisting of: P/O E.D. Hincks (pilot), F/Sgt  R.L. Huckfield (navigator), F/Sgt  H. Fletcher  (bomb aimer), F/Sgt  J.P. Smith (radio telegraphist),  Sgt  K.E. Johnston (air gunner) and  Sgt  C. Baker (flight engineer), as well as the  air  despatchers  L/Cpl  L. Grantham  and  Dvr  G. Gamgee, returned via Brussels to their base in England.

Civilians with the Short Stirling after the emergency landing near Haren (photo: Leo van den Berg)
Civilians with the Short Stirling after the emergency landing near Haren (photo: Leo van den Berg)

Just a few months before his death, in august 2010, 'Denis' Hincks brought back his memories of this special mission. It was put on paper with the help of his daughter and... agreed to publish them.

The report of Denis Hincks gives a special insight into the experiences of a pilot, who was involved in the liberation of our country. Despite the horrors, it reads like an adventure story!

The Short Stirling after the emergency landing near Haren (photo: Leo van den Berg)
The Short Stirling after the emergency landing near Haren (photo: Leo van den Berg)

Joop Thuring  illustrated the story of Hincks in 2014 and placed it in a framework of his own memories as a very young eyewitness to Operation Market Garden.

Read the full story

A previous version of this story was published on the website of the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum Oosterbeek (Vereniging Vrienden van het Airborne Museum Oosterbeek; VVAM), but is no longer available there.

The author specifically wants to thank Morfeem for the help correcting and translating the text.

Editor's note: This story is a translation of a Dutch version.

Noot van de redactie: Dit verhaal is een vertaling van een Nederlandstalige versie. Het is hier opgenomen, omdat we verwachten dat er ook Engelstalige belangstellenden zijn.

Reacties (4)

Nicholas Fletcher zei op 21 januari 2023 om 21:57
Hi,

My Grandad was F/S Henry Fletcher -Bomb Aimmer. He died in 1970, before I was born. My father has been trying to find more information about his dad’s war service for a number of years as he didn’t speak about his experience much. I have just started on my journey to understand more.

This article has been great to find.

Thank you
j.W.G.M. Thuring zei op 22 januari 2023 om 17:04
Nicholas,
did appreciate your feed back. Hopefully you got already hold of the original text written in English.
There is nothing that I can add as far as this 'case' is concerned. May be you have access to one or more good pictures of your Granddad, still to be considered as a true 'liberator'. My aim is to include it underneath to express our respect and gratitude.
Regards, Joop Thuring
Nicholas Fletcher zei op 22 januari 2023 om 17:43
Hi Joop I have a good picture of my grandad from his time in the RAF I could send you that. Let me know and thanks again Nicholas
Marilou Nillesen
Marilou Nillesen bhic zei op 24 januari 2023 om 09:44
With many thanks to Nicholas and Joop we were able to add this beautiful photo from F/S Henry Fletcher -Bomb Aimmer.


Some more explanation from Joop: 'B-vink' above his left breast pocket is an abbreviation of bomb aimer. This also provided assistance to the pilot of a multi-engine aircraft during the complex take-off and landing procedures.

Many thanks!

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