Flight Sergeant Albert Bates  -  166 Squadron  
   

Flight Sergeant Albert Peter Bates- RAFVR

 

 Flight Sergeant Albert Bates was piloting Wellington Mk.X HF596 coded AS-A  during a mining operation in the Nectarine region of the Frisian Islands on August 15/16, 1943. The aircraft left Kirmington at 2049hrs but was shot down by Lt.Heinz Grimm of 1V Gruppe NJGI, Aircraft Bf11OG-4 5346 G9 +CE. The entire crew was lost and is commemorated on the Runnymede memorial.

The crew consisted of:

Name

Service

Trade

Hometown

Age

F/Sgt Albert Bates

RAFVR

Pilot

Blackpool, Lancashire

22

F/O Robert Swallow

RCAF

Navigator

Ingersoll, Ontario

23

Sgt Ronald Carlon

RAFVR

Bomb Aimer

Northwich, Cheshire

23

Sgt Arthur Bromby

RAFVR

W/Op/AG

Wawne, Yorkshire

21

Sgt Gordon Dean

RAFVR

Rear Gunner

Four Marks, Hampshire

20

 F/Sgt Albert Peter Bates RAFVR was the second oldest of seven children of Albert Peter and Gertrude Bates of Blackpool, Lancashire. An accomplished pianist, he also excelled at languages and prior to volunteering for the RAF at the start of WWII, served in the Grenadier Guards. However, he had a strong desire to become a pilot and his parents had to re-imburse the Guards quite a sum of money in order for him to be released to join the RAF. 

The Crew L to R: Sgt Carlon, F/O Swallow, F/Sgt Bates, Unknown, Sgt. Bromby, Sgt Dean.

 Albert, known as "Bert", earned his wings in Southern Rhodesia. While returning home to the UK, both of the transport boats were torpedoed and he was fortunate to be rescued from the sea. He declined a commission in the RAF for financial reasons as he thought that he would be more able to make an allotment home as enlisted due to the extra expense of being an officer. He was promoted to W/O but had not put on the rank at the time of his death. His death had a devastating impact on his parents and family. They lived in hope that he would return home but his elder brother Walter, an Air Gunner in 630 squadron visited the base at Kirmington, where returning crews confirmed that they had seen the Wellington go down in flames, a fact that he kept to himself rather than cause his parents more pain. Albert would have celebrated his 23rd birthday in November 1943.

 The Luftwaffe pilot that shot down Albert's aircraft, aged 23, was later mistakenly shot down by German flak over Bremen on 16th of June 1943,he parachuted from his plane but later died from severe burns. He is buried in Bergen op Zoom War cemetery

Photos and information courtesy of Margaret Simpson, research by Linda Ibrom