On the night of 2/3 August 1941, Bomber Command sent 80 bombers to Hamburg, 53 to Berlin and 50 to Kiel, alongside 25 other operations. Eleven bombers were lost that night.
David Hodge of RAF 104 Squadron was onboard Vickers Wellington W5580 (EP-K) when it was lost over the North Sea and ditched off the coast of the Isle of Sylt, Germany. Two of the crew managed to get in their dingy but died from exposure.
Pilot Officer Robert Hugh McGlashan RAFVR (103491) pilot, age 24
Sergeant David Gall Hodge RAFVR (1152494) 2nd pilot, age 20
Sergeant Arthur Ernest Simpkin RAFVR (957726) wireless operator, age 21
Flying Officer Peter Bernard Verver RAFVR (43380) observer, age unknown
Sergeant Earle John Stevenson RCAF (R/59110) air gunner, age 20
Sergeant Hugh Peter Stuart White RAFVR (1253786) position unknown, age 19
Hodge was the son of William and Davina Hodge, Craigie, Perth, and is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.
McGlashan and Simpkin were in the dingy which washed up onshore on 10 August 1941. Verver’s body washed up on 17 August 1941. They were buried in Sylt, and later re-interred in war graves at Kiel.
Hodge was also the observer on Vickers Wellington Mk. II, W5331 of RAF 104 Squadron on the earlier night of 14/15 July 1941. The aircraft and crew undertook an operational flight to bomb Hannover in Germany. Take off was from RAF Driffield, west of York. They took off at 2245 hours and successfully released their bombs over the target from a height of 7,500 feet. Approximately 30 miles south of Hamburg on the return journey, they were attacked by what they believed was a Heinkel He111 night fighter. Damage was caused to both the Wellington’s turrets, a wing was stuck which holed fuel tanks and that caused a main undercarriage leg to drop down.
Despite this, the crew were able to bring the aircraft back to the skies over Yorkshire. The pilot ordered the crew to bale–out at 5,000 feet when it was discovered that the undercarriage legs would not lock into position. Despit thinking that he was making a belly landing, the pilot managed to land the aircraft safely – at 0535 hours. It was later assessed that electrical sensing equipment for the landing gear was damaged, it was in fact locked down correctly.