HE164 Wellington X HD-B
14th February 1943
Pilot Bomb Aimer Navigator Wireless Operator Air Gunner 2nd Pilot  
  F/L W J R Kirk Sgt R E Bentley F/S W E Smith Sgt N A Leonard Sgt T W Reynolds P/O J E Mason  
    P.o.W.   P.o.W. P.o.W.    
  Take Off :- 18:32   Base :- RAF Leconfield Mission :- Cologne  
  Details :- HE164 crashed at 20:30 after being shot down by a night-fighter, 2km South East of Meerhout (Antwerpen). F/S Smith died during the attack. F/L Kirk and P/O Mason died whilst trying to crash-land the aircraft and avoid housing, they were unable to bale-out as their parachutes had caught fire which extended from the main wing spar to the tail.  
  243 aircraft including 85 Wellington's detailed to attack, 3 Wellington's lost including HE164 and HE153 from 466 squadron. local records suggest that the target marking had only a limited success.  
  Those who died are buried in Schoonselhof Churchyard at Antwerpen.  
  The tail of this aircraft (minus fabric) is mounted on a stone plinth with a memorial plate inscribed with the crews names.  
  Sgt Bentley - PoW number is 27559 in camps 8B/344.  
  Sgt Leonard - PoW number is 27647. He spent several weeks in a Brussels Hospital then onto camps 8B/344.  
  Sgt Reynolds - PoW number is 27579 in camps 8B/344.  
  Photo's of F/L W J R Kirk and F/S W E Smith kindly donated by Jenny Green
  Photo of P/O J E Mason kindly donated by Gordon Lambert
  Photo of Sgt R E Bentley kindly donated by Denise Hood

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