Crash information W4256 Waddenzee

During World War II more than 40 different bombers and jet fighters have crashed within de county borders of Hollands Kroon. The crashes were mostly on land, in the Ijssel lake and the Wadden sea.

Few crew members were arrested after using their parachute to reach the ground, others could flee with the help of the Resistance. However, the majority lost their lives and did not return home safely to their family and loved ones.

Information about the remembrance post

This remembrance post was unveiled on June 17, 2023

Location of this remembrance post

Avro Lancaster Mk.I

Crash information

On 25 June 1943 at 23:00 the Lancaster bomber had taken off from Syerston Airport (Nottinghamshire) in England with seven crew members on board. The Lancaster was on a mission to the German city of Gelsenkirchen to bomb the Scholven-Buer synthetic oil refineries. In the night 106 squadron lost four aircraft in one mission.

The heavy bomber W4256 had completed fifty-three missions until it was shot down by a German night fighter at 02:31 on 26 June. The pilot of the night fighter was Hauptmann Rudolf Sigmund of the 10./NJG 1. Sigmund had taken off from Leeuwarden airfield in his Messerschmitt Bf110. The Lancaster bomber crashed into the Wadden Sea about 2 km east of Hippolytushoef. All seven crew members died in the crash and are buried in the Zandburen cemetery in Hippolytushoef.

The crew

Stephen George White



20 years old

United Kingdom

Eric Charles Crook


Flight engineer

21 years old

United Kingdom

Gerard William Board Enright

Pilot Officer


30 years old

United Kingdom

James Edgar Donald Craigie

Pilot Officer

Bomb aimer

25 years old


John Frederick Bates


Radio officer

21 years old

United Kingdom

Edwin Thomas Harding



20 years old

United Kingdom

Maxwell Birdwood Watt

Flight Sergeant

Tail gunner

25 years old


Photos of the unveiling

Reports and press

19th and 20th remembrance post unveiled at the Wadden Sea

On June 17, 2023, two remembrance posts for crew members who crashed into the Wadden Sea in 1943 with their aircraft were unveiled. Eighty years ago, on June 26, 1943, the Lancaster bomber W4256 was shot down by a German night fighter. All seven crew members from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom were killed. The youngest was 20 years old, the oldest only 30. The Halifax MKII JD149 also crashed after an attack by a German night fighter in the Wadden Sea. On May 28, 1943, seven young men from Canada and the United Kingdom were also killed.

Gerard Numeijer of Nubo Motors had made his museum in Hippolytushoef available for the reception of the guests. Over a cup of coffee, our chairman, Mark Hakvoort, talked about the events in 1943. In her speech, Deputy Mayor Mary van Gent reflected on the fourteen young men who gave their lives for our freedom. Sgt Nicole Mitchell represented the Canadian Embassy and Mr. Alex Keighley was a delegate from the British Embassy. Dirk Bak was honored today for his services rendered, Dirk and his wife Jetty are present at every unveiling and provide the musical accompaniment as a trumpet player.

The unveiling of the remembrance post for the crew of the Lancaster W4256 took place on the dike at Recreatiepark Wiringherlant at the Noordstroeërweg. Sgt. Nicole Mitchell expressed her admiration for the way in which the Second World War is commemorated in the Netherlands. There has never been war within Canada's borders, but Canada played an important role in our liberation. The unveiling of the remembrance post was also performed by Sgt. Mitchell. Dirk Bak played the national anthems of Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom under the watchful eye of the veterans present.

The second unveiling of the day, the twentieth of our foundation, was for the crew of the Halifax MKII JD149. mr. Alex Keighley of the British Embassy addressed the visitors and unveiled the remembrance post. Here too, Dirk Bak blew the national anthems of the United Kingdom and Canada.

The 14 crew members are buried at the Zandburen cemetery. These heroes were commemorated here by playing The Last Post. The sounds of Dirk's trumpet gave an atmosphere of reverence and respect. The saluting veterans, who are well represented at every ceremony under the leadership of Dick Doornik, made the ceremony complete and impressive. The minute of silence that followed also contributed to this. Wreaths were laid at both the remembrance posts and the graves. The Wartena-Kok family has adopted the graves of the fallen crew members. Sandra and her son Nick placed crosses at the graves on behalf of the 102 squadron.

Click here for all information and all photos of the unveiling of JD149

The whole story

The story of the Lancaster W4256 ZN-V bomber

Little is currently known about the crash, location, wreckage and crew recovery. The story is therefore unfortunately only a brief representation of what is known.

On June 25, 1943 at 11 p.m., the Lancaster bomber took off from Syerston airfield (Nottinghamshire) in England with seven crew members on board. On this mission, the Lancaster W4256 ZN-V, together with 473 other bombers, was on its way to the German city of Gelsenkirchen, to bomb the synthetic oil refineries of Scholven-Buer. On this night the “106 Squadron” lost 4 of the 14 aircraft taken off, all in one mission. There were seven crew members in each aircraft. Of the 28 airmen who crashed that night, 18 were killed (KIA, Killed in Action). 9 crew members are still missing (MIA, Missing in Action). Only one airman survived the crash, he was later captured and imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp by the occupying forces. This airman was made a prisoner of war (POW, Prisoner of War).

The heavy Lancaster bomber with code W4256 ZN-V had flown 32 missions until it was shot down by a German night fighter at 02:31 on June 26, 1943. The pilot of the night fighter was Hauptmann Rudolf Sigmund of the 10./NJG 1. Sigmund was with his Messerschmitt Bf110 took off from Leeuwarden airport. The Lancaster bomber crashed in the Wadden Sea approximately 3 km east of Hippolytushoef. All 7 crew members died in the crash and were buried at the Zandburen cemetery in Hippolytushoef.

Mr. Jan Wessels from Den Oever shared the following information with us.

On the internet he found a photo of Flight Officer J.E.D. at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Craigie. After various training as a bomb aimer and navigator in Canada, Craigie was posted to a Lancaster bomber squadron in England in October 1942 under the command of the famous Wing Commander Guy Gibson. The legendary Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross during the war after the daring attack on the Möhne dam in Germany. This attack by Gibson was with 617 Squadron in May 1943.

In the 106 Squadron, Craigie took part as a navigator in at least 15 missions before his Lancaster W4256 ZN-V was shot down near Wieringen on 26 June 1943. His grave has been visited annually since 2007 by his cousin Bil Lowry and wife from Canada. In recent years they stayed in Wieringen with members of the Wieringen Historical Association, Mr. and Mrs. Helder. Mr. Wessels has lent several books about the air war to the Helder family. One of the books contained a photo of J.E.D. Craigie, this gave this fallen airman a face.

With the help of, among others, Mr. Dick Doornik from Hippolytushoef (chairman of veterans contact), we as the Foundation have been able to find out a small unconfirmed part of the story.

Mr. Doornik spoke with several former Wieringers in April 2023 about the crash location of this Lancaster W4256. Eyewitness Mr. Joop Visser, he is now 93 years old (June 2023) from Hippolytushoef has various memories from his youth. It is NOT entirely certain whether Mr. Visser was in the Lancaster W4256 or in the plane wreckage of the Halifax JD149. He may have been in the Lancaster wreck as a teenage boy. He remembers the wreckage being relatively intact. And he says that the crash site of the Lancaster bomber was about 200 meters behind the sea wall on the mudflats. That is probably north of the Recreation Park - Camping Wiringherlant, Noordstroeërweg 5 Hippolytushoef. Mr. Visser sat in the cockpit in the pilot's seat. This of course after the bodies had been recovered by the occupying forces. All 7 crew members were killed in the crash. The names of the crew members were already determined by the occupying forces during the war. It was also known that J.E.D. Craigie was from Canada. And that M.N. Watt was an Australian.

The occupying forces found the bodies on June 30, 1943 on the Wadden Sea. The circumstances and details of the recovery are unknown to us. The crew was buried on July 2, 1943 at the general cemetery in Zandburen on behalf of the occupying forces.