Charles Kenneth Fielder was born circa 1920,(there is a birth registered in Liverpool, Vol. 8b, Page 93), for a Charles K. Fielder with the mother’s maiden name as Hamer.
There is also a marriage on West Derby between a Charles A. Fielder and a Sarah L. Hamer in the March Quarter of 1920 (W.Derby Vol. 8b, Page 1055) and according to the Lancashire BMD’s, it was a Civil Ceremony.
Charles Kenneth married Geraldine Margaret Neville on the 28th October, 1944 at St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton. Charles was 24, a Bachelor and Sgt in the R.A.F., his father was Charles Arthur Fielder a Fitter by trade. Geraldine Margaret, was 19 years old and her father was Charles Clarence Neville, a M.T. Driver. Both resided at 38, King Edward Street, Shotton.
I do not know when Charles Kenneth joined the R.A.F. as I have been unable to find his Service Records, but I do know what happened to him and his crew on the night he died. I was able to find his Operational Records for the 2nd March and the list of the crews from 640 Sqn. that flew that day on a raid to Cologne (Operations Order No. 644). (Downloaded from the National Archives)
Halifax Aircraft 111 (14) NP. 965 Y
“Up” at 07.40
F/L. K ROBINSON Pilot & Captain
P/O B.F. O’NEIL (Aus.) A/Bomber
P/O F.E. WATKIN (Aus.) Navigator
P/O H.H. WOLFSON (Aus.) W/Operator
F/S C.K. FIELDER R/Gunner
F/S J.H.W. TURNER MU/Gunner
F/S. D.N.J. TILEY F/Engineer
This Aircraft took off at 07.40hrs.
It is believed to have crashed in France.
No definite news available.
Time over target 10.06 hrs.
No Cloud over England – 2-5/10 Cloud over France – 5/10 Cloud, tops 8-9,000 ft around Target but Target was clear. All Aircraft were able to identify the Target by Visual means.
A few ground-markers but most Aircraft bombed the Edge of Smoke as ordered by Master-Bomber.
The attack was well concentrated but appeared to be drifting to the South slightly.
14 minutes before E.T.A. several crew heard the M.B. advise main force to 2 minutes late.
This was evidently to let the cloud clear away from the Target Area.
Flak was moderate but accurate. No enemy fighter activity
All Aircraft carried cameras.
I received an email sent to the flintshirwarmemorial.com website to ask about Charles Kenneth on the 31st March 2018 from Vincent Pécriaux in France, who asked me if I had any details of Charles Kenneth’s life and Service Records as he wanted to pay tribute to the crew of NP965 and as he said in his email, ”I am currently investigating the crash of Fielder’s aircraft just behind my house. Any info about the crew and their background will certainly help me in my search. Thank you for your help.”
I replied that I had only just started my research , but my friend Wendy Williams, from Connah’s Quay , who had been so invaluable with details of the Tuck brothers from Hawarden, who sadly died in WW1 and to whom Wendy was related, was also related to Charles Kenneth Fielder and also Cyril Kettle, who lost his life in WW2, as did Charles Kenneth (Please click on the links) and I said to Vincent that I would send what I had, which was a photograph of the wedding of Charles & Geraldine in 1944. Many thanks to Wendy and Gary, her husband for their unstinting generosity with information and photographs etc.
Since then Vincent and I have communicated and it seems that he is almost there as far getting the service records of the other crew members and the family have sent for Charles Kenneth’s records . It seems that Vincent’s dream of erecting a memorial to the men who died that day in their aircraft behind his house may soon be realised.
An excerpt from one of Vincent’s emails:-
I have now a fairly clear idea of what happened that day, even though nobody can say that the aircraft was shot down (improbable because there is no report in the Luftwaffe’s archives) or hit by flak above Cologne. The reasons of the crash remain a mystery.
Since I would like to pay tribute to the crew of NP 965, I am particularly interested in their military careers and also personal lives. I hope that I can get the service records of the four British crew members (I have those of the three Australian crew members).
I am still gathering all the data I have about the crash and I shall share with you what I have found.
The latest, from which I publish an excerpt:-
I informed our new mayor about the research and our project of memorial. He did not know anything about the crash and was very interested. We’ll now discuss the project with the Tourist Office (they deal with historical issues regarding the village) and set up a group to make things move on. Everything should become more concrete next year as the project will normally be part of our commemorations of the end of WW2.
As I see it, the project should be threefold:
- Memorial + ceremony (to be discussed next month)
- Exhibition with the artifacts (to be discussed next month). I’m still gathering data
- Publication (web or paper). I have written most of the articles in French and translated them in English. I’ll have them reread by a native speaker to be sure everything is OK.
That’s all so far. I’ll send an update to all the families after our first meeting with the Tourist Office. I’m looking forward to your next mail.
According to Vincent his nickname was “Deadshot.”
Charles Kenneth Fielder and Geraldine were married only 4 months when he was killed in France, age 25 years.
O’Neill, B.F., Turner, J.H.W., Tiley, D.H.G. and Charles Kenneth were all buried together circa 2nd March 1945 in Neuville-En-Condroz Military Cemetery (American) K/31, Belgium and then they were reburied on the 20th January 1947 in Heverlee War Cemetery in a collective grave I believe.
The CWGC website initially gave wrong information on Charles Kenneth’s nationality:-
FIELDER, CHARLES KENNETH
Flight Sergeant, 2206034, 640 sqd
Royal Australian Air Force, Australian *
Buried: Coll. grave 10. A. 2-5., HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY
Killed in action
Incident: on Halifax NP965-C8Y fallen to Floreffe on 2/03/1945
*I wrote to the website to correct them about Charles’s Nationality. 8/12/2018, this has now been done.
Likewise the rest of the Crew – Robinson, K, Watkin, F.E. and Wolfson H.H. were buried circa 2nd March 1945 in Neauville-En-Condroz Cemetery and then reburied on the 19th April 1947 in Heverlee in separate graves.
Please also see :- :- http://www.belgians-remember-them.eu/crew-nam-flor.php where there is a tribute to the crew of NP965.
Charles Kenneth Fielder is also remembered on the Hawarden War Memorial.