Date: 1941 Aug 28/28 A/C Type: Blenheim IV SN: Z7447 Code: YH-A A/C Nickname:
 File: 179 Airforce: RAF Sqn/Unit: 21 Sqn Mission/Raid: Rotterdam docks
1 Pilot Sqn Ldr Richard A. Shuttleworth        Amsterdam 9    
2 Obs F/Sgt. Dennis J. Mackan              Hook of Holland 10    
3 WO/AG F/Sgt. George Brittain                  Hook of Holland 11    
4     12    
5     13    
6     14    
7     15    
8     16                    

Crashed in the sea off Hook of Holland. F/Sgt Mackan and F/Sgt. Brittain KIA, buried in Hook of Holland on 4 and 13 Sept.


According to the website Aircrew Remembrance Society (see link underneath), Squadron Leader Shuttleworth was still alive when a rescue boat found him on the North Sea. The Germans brought him to Amsterdam, to their section of the Wilhelmina Hospital (Luftwaffe-lazarett). 'But he died shortly after being admitted'. In the CWGC-database and on his headstone, his date of death is 28 August 1941, the day of the raid, confirming the story. However, we have found as burial day 16 September 1941. 

Because Sqn Ldr Shuttleworth was buried 16 September 1941 in Amsterdam. His date of death can only be 28 August when he died in the crash at sea and washed ashore later at Zandvoort. The washing-ashore of this two crew members and burial on 4 and 13 September in Hook of Holland, and the standard sea-current plus time-elapse, point into this direction. Shuttleworths body can have been washed ashore on 15 September at Zandvoort, which is 25km more north than Hook, and subsequently buried 16 September at Amsterdam (Zandvoort meant burial in Amsterdam).

Another and darker option is that Shuttleworth was still alive when found at sea, wounded or suffered hypothermia, but considered a prize because he was a Squadron Leader. Fact is the Germans not brought him to 'near-crash-site'-hospitals in Rotterdam, The Hague or Leiden, but to the Amsterdam Wilhelmina Gasthuis Hospital ('WG'), of which we know that the German military intelligence 'Abwehr' (mis-)used the Luftwaffe-lazarett section to gather information. Did Shuttleworth died of wounds on approx. 15 September? Or was he interrogated, died 15 September and was his actual death date covered up and made 28 August? Or did he try to escape and was shot? Escape-attempts occurred regulary and shots were heard.   

Squadron Leader Richard Shuttleworth (21 years old) was buried alone, in the last empty grave in the old plot 72, grave 39, deep 1. Group burials of airmen were already done on another plot. After the war he was moved to plot 85 and added on the outer side of row D. Later this grave was re-numbered 85 - D - 1.


- website CWGC
- 2012 research of the Amsterdam cemetery files and reconstruction of the war graves burial plan 1940-1945.
- Our file on Hook of Holland:

© ZZairwar (Zuyder Zee Air War)