29 April 2016

Photos from the Field Trip with Karel Richter

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote two posts which I hope brought some clarity to the location of Karel Richter's landing site.

The first looked at the possibility that Karel had sheltered at the Cherry Green Leaves camp northeast of London Colney.

The second delved more deeply into determining, with some certainty, the landing site of Karel Richter and the location of his equipment stashes.

A series of photographs taken by Camp 020 psychologist Dr. Harold Dearden during the field trip in mid-May 1941 were of great help. Whilst writing the second post above, it became clear, in looking at Dearden's photographs, that they were taken at two separate locations. One set was taken where Richter stashed his parachute. The second set was taken where Richter stashed his radio gear.

I thought I would try to assign each photograph to the relevant location.

Location 1 - Parachute Stash - just off White Horse Lane
According to a report by Capt. Stimson (May 18, 1941), the first stash included: camouflaged parachute, parachute holder and harness, steel helmet, flying overalls, empty knife sheath, a parcel of food (large salami sausage cut into halves, brown bread, sausage meat and paste sandwiches) and a hand trowel. The knife wasn't found and Richter figured he must have lost it between his landing point and the hedge.

Richter, Lt. Short and a Camp 020 guard walk along the edge of the hedge in the field off of White Horse Lane. One of the isolated trees is visible in the background.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

The group begins to extract Richter's equipment from the hedge. Note that the field furrows go almost up to the hedge.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
National Archives KV 2/32)
Camp 020 guard, Lt. Short and Lt. Goodacre listen to Richter.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Camp 020 guard watches as Richter and Lt. Sampson examine the hedge (note field furrows).
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Richter points out into the field, possibly indicating his landing site. Left to Right are Major Stephens, Lt. Sampson, Lt. Short, Richter, Capt. Stimson and Lt. Goodacre.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Lt. Goodacre and Superintendent Reeves of the Hertfordshire Constabulary spread out Richter's parachute on the field (note the furrows).
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Richter and Stephens after the parachute has been spread on the ground. Object along lower left side of photograph could be Richter's parachute helmet held by one of the party.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)
The group examines Richter's parachute on the ground. The other man dressed as a civilian is Superintendent Reeves. Richter's trench coat appears to be made of a coarse fabric, perhaps wool and his pants are dark. Reeves' trench coat is made of a smoother fabric and his pants are lighter. Richter's coat is belted closed whereas Reeves' coat is open.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

The group looks at Richter's parachute. Slightly different angle from previous photograph.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Party returns to the cars. Furrows may be parallel to camera at this point as there is a hedge just behind Stephens (right side of photo). Pictured are Short, guard, Richter and Stephens.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Group has almost reached the gap in the hedge along White Horse Lane. Camp 020 guard accompanies Richter, while Stephens leads the way.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

At the gap in the hedge along White Horse Lane. Superintendent Reeves and Lt. Sampson hold up Richter's parachute.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Second location - Field off North Orbital Road 

According to Stimson's report, the second stash included: a torch, black leather camera case containing wireless parts and a loaded automatic pistol.

The three poplar trees in the background clearly mark this photograph as coming from the second location (see this blog post). From left to right, Stimson, Reeves, Stephens, guard and Richter. The North Orbital Road would be in the background, beyond the fence and down an embankment.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

The hedge at this location is more irregular with overhanging branches. The field is not furrowed. Left to right - guard, Stephens, Reeves, Sampson.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Harold Dearden, Reeves (note the light-coloured pants) and Lt. Sampson examine the hedge.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Reeves looks deeper in the hedge, beneath the overhanging branches.According to Stimson's report, there was a ditch in the brambles and some of Richter's equipment was covered with a soil and leaves.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)
Stephens and Sampson look on while Reeves crouches in the hedge.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

Reeves exits the hedge while the guard looks on.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)

The party returns to their vehicles from the second site - notice the three poplar trees in the background.
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941 (National Archives KV 2/32)
Karel Richter field trip photos taken by Harold Dearden - May 18, 1941
(National Archives KV 2/32)
Stimson's report also notes that one of the cars belonged to him, while the other belonged to Dearden. One is left to wonder which of the two men had the sporty convertible!

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