Sergeant Navigator John Cooper Havenhand

 John was born to Alexander and Amy Havenhand of Beighton Derbyshire in July 1914.
Regiment:  50 Sqdn Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service No:  1062558
Died:  11 September 1942 Age 28
Buried:  Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 28. A. 13. Germany
Wife:  Gertrude Mary Havenhand

Inscription says:












No. 50 Squadron Royal Air Force in World War Two
The Diary of a WWII Bomber Squadron- Part 1 to Part 4, 1937 to 1942.155

September 1942 based R.A.F. Swinderby

10/ 11 September- BOMBING, DUSSELDORF


Eleven a/c bombed DUSSELDORF, in conditions of good visibility. The results were generally seen by all crews and reported as accurate; R5753 was ‘GEE’ equipped. ‘Pathfinder’ flares were dropped after most crews had bombed. W4155 found it carried defective guns when tested over the sea and subsequently returned to base. One aircraft failed to return, Lancaster R5725 “F” flown by Sgt. P.H. Blaskey and crew. This was Sgt. Blaskey’s third operational trip as an aircraft Captain.


Sgt’s 1062558 John Cooper Havenhand RAFVR (NAV), 1310940 Stanley George Young, RAFVR (AG) and 530247 Lancelot Cyril Cartwright, RAF (AG) were killed (via “Roll of honour” list and CWGC). Sgt’s P.H. Blaskey (Pilot), R.T. Hedley (WT/ AG) and J.A. Kean survived and were taken P.O.W.


NOTE: A discrepancy in the ORB here; The ORB record lists only SIX crew instead of the normal seven- Blaskey, Havenhand, Hedley, Kean, Cartwright and Young. However the ORB SUMMARY lists SEVEN as missing on this mission but omits Sgt. Kean but DOES include a SGT HEMMINGS, FE AND SGT WIDDOWSON AB as “posted to 1 Depot, Uxbridge NE Missing” (along with Blaskey, Havenhand, Hedley, Cartwright and Young) i.e. a complete crew. Also note this same ‘Crew’ of Blaskey, Havenhand, Hedley, Widdowson, Hemmings, Cartwright and Young joined the Squadron from 1654 CU only seven days earlier. The ORB does not record Widdowson as having flown at all with this or any other crew in September from their arrival to going missing.


The Roll of Honour lists only Havenhand, Young and Cartwright as killed in this event. On the 6/7, the crew of this aircraft were Blaskey, Havenhand, Hedley, Hemmings, Kean, Cartwright and Young; they returned safely from Duisburg, and again the same crew list returned safely from Frankfurt the following day.


Sgt Havenhand, Sgt. Young and Sgt. Cartwright are buried in the REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY, Nordrhein-Westfalen, near Kleve.  NOTE: Reichswald is a post-war cemetery; those interred here would have been brought from their original resting places all over western Germany for re-interment.


P.O.W. records now indicate that four survivors were indeed made P.O.W. possibly at Stalag Luft VIIIB/344, LAMSDORFF, (now Lambinowice) Poland.


Sgt. Blaskey was PoW 27013, Sgt. Kean was PoW 26984, Sgt. Hedley was PoW 27038 and Sgt. Hemmings was PoW 26978.

This confirms the aircrafts crew as Blaskey, Havenhand, Young,  /  –  Collated by Linda Taylor MHMG