Flight Sergeant Victor Marks took off from RAF Middleton St George (now Teeside Airport) at 2303 hrs on the night of 18/19 June 1941. He was commanding a 78 Squadron Whitley Mk5 bomber (Z6560 EY-?) and the target was Bremen.
Most Whitleys carried a crew of 5, but Marks’ aircraft and another Whitley (Z6661 EY-?) which went missing on the same night only carried 4. The crew of Z6560 were:
- Pilot: Flt/Sgt V H Marks 748016. Age 21, son of William George & Hetty (Ethel) Marks of Little Green, Milton Malsor
- Nav/Bomb aimer: Sgt J G Woolley 754953. Age 26, son of Clarence & Lucy Margerie Woolley of Guarlford, Worcestershire
- Wireless Op: Sgt W P Herman 940628. Age 20, son of Howard William & Rose Herman of Westminster, London
- Rear Gunner: Sgt J H Harris 746915. Age 21, son of Arthur Lake & Clarice Jane harris of Harrow Weald, Middlesex
At 0319 hrs an SOS was received at RAF Bircham Newton which identified the aircraft’s position as 59°33’N, 05°22’E. Two further fixes were received: 53°24’N, 04°24’E at 0345 hrs, and 53°24’N, 04°24’E at 0408 hrs. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft which was therefore assumed to have ditched in the North Sea with the loss of all crew.
Shortly after the end of WW1, an ever growing number of small wooden crosses with a poppy have been laid each November in the “Field of Remembrance” at Westminster Abbey to commemorate those who died in defence of this country. In 2007 a Family Poppy Cross was placed in this “Field of Remembrance” in memory of Flt Sgt V Marks RAF of Milton Malsor.
The Whitley V shown here served with 78 Squadron at Croft in Yorkshire, and bears the identification Z6640 – very close to that of Victor Marks’ machine.
78 Squadron Movements
78 Sqdn operated from RAF Linton-on-Ouse from 6th April 1940 to the end of July 1940 when they moved to Dishforth. They moved again to Middleton St. George on 15th April 1941 under Wing Commander B V Robinson operating 16 Whitley Mk 5s (Rolls Royce Merlin engines). No 76 Sqdn joined them at Middleton St george that same year.
In October 1941, 78 Sqdn moved again – this time to Croft and began to convert to Halifax Mk 2s. It returned to Middleton St George in June 1942 with their new Halifaxes. In September 1942 both 76 and 78 Sqdns moved back to RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
Above details taken from “Losses of RAF Bomber Command 1939-45”