Effect of tide/currents/wind on those lost at sea

Living History

This is an RAF matter but I think those on this forum will be better able to answer.

On the night of 2nd August 1940 6 Wellingtons of 115 Squadron set out from RAF Marham on a mission to bomb oil refineries at Hamburg. The 6 included Wellington Mk.1C serial number R3202 coded KO-J which took off at 2124hrs. The Squadron Operations Record shows that at 0145 the following morning SOS messages were received by Marham from this aircraft ‘… for about half an hour which seemed to indicate that aircraft was losing and gaining height as engines cut out. Last signal received about 100 miles from coast NE of Marham’. 17 to 20 days later the bodies of 4 of the crew were washed ashore in northern Holland within a few miles of each other.

It is not certain if the last position was 100 miles from the coast of England or Holland. However this does not seem important as this position was probably approximately equidistant between the 2 coasts. Given the time of the SOS it would appear that the aircraft was on the return journey to Marham. Unless for some unknown reason they turned around and headed for Holland when they got into difficulties it would seem that the tide/currents/wind took them at least 100 miles in the 17 to 20 days to all arrive within a few miles of each other on the north coast of Holland.

Could anyone comment on this? Is the scenario presented possible or is it likely that some of the facts are wrong?

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