Smilde (Hoogersmilde) General Cemetery

Historical Information (Source: CWGC)

There are now five 1939-1945 war casualties commemorated in this site.  The war graves are in the south-western part.


On March 9 1942, the British Manchester R5779  beloning to 83 squadron bomber command, was on a bombing mission against Essen. The plane was commanded by pilot Robert Cooper. Above Drenthe it was attacked by a German night fighter flown by Oberleutnant Paul Gildner and shot down.

The aircraft was hit in its lower fuselage and caught fire. Shortly afterwards the twin engine bomber was hit again, this time in the rear. Over Witten the bomber dropped its load (or simply lost the bombs as during the second hit also the bomb hatches were hit), which caused a farm house to go up in flames.


Flying Officer R. Cooper ordered his crew to abandon ship. He himself and four other crew did however unfortunately not succeed and died in the following crash. Two crewmembers, George Rex and Alfred Key survived, they managed to bail out with their parachute and were subsequently taken prisoner by the Germans.  This was the 5th mission of the Manchester, the previous 4 had been completed successfully.


Pilot: Robert Ward Cooper, 24

Co-pilot: James Thomas Heggie, 18

Observer: Michael John Carlton, 22

Wop/Airgunner: George William Dalby, 21

Mid Uppergunner: Charles Broad, 21

Served with

  • United Kingdom (5)

Served in

  • Air Force (5)