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Rookery Farm,Walcott, Norfolk

Crash site

Detailed history

B24 Liberator, 42-7546, "Alfred II", took off at 0727 on the morning of 29th April 1944 on a daylight bombing mission to bomb Germany.
Before reaching their target the plane was intercepted by five Me 109s. Heavily outnumbered the plane was badly damaged. Having suffered damage to the hydraulic system and with ruptured fuel tanks one of the four engines dead and another damaged 2nd Lt. John W. Reed immediately lost height and jettisoned the bomb-load and headed home.
Part of the rudder had been shot away and there was also damage in the bomb bay, and cockpit and radio compartment. Somehow Reed managed to get the crippled Liberator back to England and realising the aircraft would not be able to land safely even if he could find an airfield, he ordered his crew to bale out close to Beccles in Suffolk.

The Liberator flew on, with Reed keeping the North Sea on his right eventually realising all was lost he ordered his co-pilot to bale out over Ingham and after setting the auto pilot to crash in the sea, attempted to bale out, unfortunately it seems he struck the plane or baled out too late and failed to open his parachute. He, and the plane crashed into the ground a few yards south of Rookery Farm, Walcott just before 1:30 pm.
Until recently his story was untold but by exhaustive research by local historian Roger Bean approached the council and 2nd Lt Reed has been recognised for his courage in saving his crew.



  • John Reed

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 392nd Bomb Group
    Reed crew, B-24H, 42-7546


  • 42-7546 Alfred II

    B-24 Liberator
    B24 Liberator, 42-7546, "Alfred II", took off at 0727 on the morning of 29th April 1944 on a daylight bombing mission to bomb Germany. ...


Date Contributor Update
11 March 2020 15:25:00 general ira snapsorter Changes to history, person associations and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
07 October 2017 13:49:02 seasider Created entry with name, latitude and longitude

USAAF B24 Liberator with a crew of 10 left Wendling, Norfolk, base in the early hours of Saturday 29th April,1944, on a bombing raid over Germany,it was badly shot up and had to abort the raid, the captain 2nd Lt John Warner Reed,aged 26yrs, over Beccles Norfolk,he instructed 8 of the crew to bail out, and the co-pilot bailed out over Ingham, Norfolk, the B24 crashed at Walcott-on-Sea, Norfolk, and Reed was killed. In 2016 after 2years of research this member instigated a permanent memorial for 2nd Lt Reed, in the form of a picture/plaque hanging in Walcott Village Hall, and by road near the crash scene renamed Reed Way.