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WADESON, Thomas Edward

Sgt. Thomas Edward Wadeson, RAFVR 1489406 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 21 on the 3rd of August 1943.
Son of John R. and Georgina Wadeson, of Appleby, Westmorland.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 4A. D. 10-12.

02/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb and 4lb. Six of the aircraft returned early owing to severe icing and engine trouble, two failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires and columns of smoke were seen although this attack was not considered to be a successful as the previous one. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which proved to be ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good at the beginning of outward journey, but cloud gathered and was 10/10ths at the target, icing and electrical storms were also encountered. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk. III EH928 captained by Sgt. Baille, P. and BF 557 captained by F/Sgt. Couper, J.A.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. James Arthur Couper, RNZAF NZ417027 – Pilot.
Sgt. George Albert Walker, RAFVR 1332840 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Scott Corlett, RNZAF NZ42289 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Sydney Cecil Oliver Reeves, RNZAF NZ42339 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Wilson Sneddon, RAFVR 1342219 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Thomas Edward Wadeson, RAFVR 1489406 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Ashworth, RAFVR 1529817 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M collided with a German night-fighter (Fw Krauter, II /NJG3), north of the mouth of the River Elbe, crashing on the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog. All on board perished. They are buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Ohlsdorf.


WAEREA, Tame Hawaikirangi

P/O Tame Hawaikirangi Thomas Waerea, RNZAF NZ421300 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 29 on the 28th of September 1943.
Son of Niwa and Emere Waerea, of Nuhaka, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand; Husband of Taku Waerea, of Ellerslie, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Hanover War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Joint grave 8. C. 5-6.

27/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hanover
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. Two aircraft failed to return and one returned owing to its rear turret being unserviceable. The remainder dropped their bombs in the target area. This was an exceedingly successful and well concentrated attack, considered to be even better than the previous one. Numerous large fires and columns of smoke rising to 12,000ft., were seen, and the fires were again visible at the DUTCH Coast. Very moderate and ineffective heavy A.A. fire, numerous searchlights and flares were encountered. Many enemy aircraft were seen and several combats took place. The air craft captained by F/Sgt. HORGAN, D. had a combat with a JU88 which was claimed to be destroyed. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. BURTON, H., sighted a JU88 and the Rear Gunner fired, it was seen to fall in flames and was claimed as destroyed. Two other short combats took place and one of our aircraft received slight damage. The weather was poor on the outward and return journeys, but good with clear visibility over the target. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.III, EF515 captained by Sgt. MARTIN, R., and EH877 captained by F/Sgt. WHITMORE, R.

Stirling Mk.III EH877 JN-C

F/S Richard Charles Whitmore, RNZAF NZ421123 – Pilot.
F/O David Maurice Adamson, RNZAF NZ415052 – Navigator.
Sgt. Hugh Munn, RAFVR 1349759 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Frederick Charles Cowan, RAFVR 1387682 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Bosworth Beresford, RAFVR 1583723 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frederick John Charles Chesson, RAFVR 1336122 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Tame Hawaikirangi Waerea, RNZAF NZ421300 – Rear Gunner.

The Whitmore crew in Stirling MK.III EH877 JN-C, took off between 19:45 and 20:00hrs to join a main force of 678 aircraft attacked Hanover the second time that month. Although the attack was well concentrated, incorrectly forecast wind speeds, used by the Pathfinders to mark the target, resulted in the center of the city being spared – the majority of bombs falling approximately 5 miles North of Hanover city center.

There is little information regarding the exact cause of loss of EH877. Some, sources report seeing it falling in flames, the aircraft apparently breaking up in the air prior to final impact.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/tame-hawaikirangi-thomas-waerea © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/tame-hawaikirangi-thomas-waerea © New Zealand War Graves Project


WAITE, Aubrey Reginald

Sgt. Aubrey Reginald Waite, RAF 575638 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 20 on the 12th of June 1943.
Son of Reginald John and Minnie Rhoda Waite, of Reading, Berkshire.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Coll. grave 9. D. 2-7.
‘Always remembered
With greatest love
Mother and dad’

11/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb.,1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to return and two returned early owing to engine trouble. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Many large fires and huge explosions were seen. Moderate and heavy A.A.fire co-operating with search lights were encountered. One aircraft was coned by searchlights, but violent evasive action eventually avoided them with difficulty. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was clear and the visibility was good except for haze caused by the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stiring Mk.III BK817 captained by Squadron Leader R.H. Laud, (“A” Flight Commander).

Stirling Mk.III BK817 AA-B

S/L Ronald Hugh Laud, RAF 40625 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Herbert Russell, RAFVR 1338131 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Hugh Steel McQuade, RAFVR 1349542) – Navigator.
Sgt. Henry Stephen Mulholland, RAFVR 1332768 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Thomas, Whatmough, RAFVR 1059932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Aubrey Reginald Waite, RAFVR 575638 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frederick John Hawkins, RAFVR 1299618 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. M.K. Matthews, RAFVR 848364 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BK817 AA-B was shot down en route to the target at 01:35hrs by a night-fighter (Oblt Wilhelm Telge, Stab II/ NJG1), crashing at Frodthier (Liège), 6 miles North of Verviers, Belgium. All but the Rear Gunner died and they are buried at Heverlee War Cemetery. Sgt Matthews survived and was taken as a POW.


WALKER, George Albert

Sgt. George Albert Walker, RAFVR 1332840 – Navigator.
Killed age 21 on the 3rd of August 1943.
Son of G. A. and Rosetta F. Walker, of Acton, Middlesex.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 4A. D. 13.
‘Gone from us
But always in our thoughts’

02/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb and 4lb. Six of the aircraft returned early owing to severe icing and engine trouble, two failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires and columns of smoke were seen although this attack was not considered to be a successful as the previous one. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which proved to be ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good at the beginning of outward journey, but cloud gathered and was 10/10ths at the target, icing and electrical storms were also encountered. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk. III EH928 captained by Sgt. Baille, P. and BF 557 captained by F/Sgt. Couper, J.A.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. James Arthur Couper, RNZAF NZ417027 – Pilot.
Sgt. George Albert Walker, RAFVR 1332840 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Scott Corlett, RNZAF NZ42289 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Sydney Cecil Oliver Reeves, RNZAF NZ42339 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Wilson Sneddon, RAFVR 1342219 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Thomas Edward Wadeson, RAFVR 1489406 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Ashworth, RAFVR 1529817 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M collided with a German night-fighter (Fw Krauter, II /NJG3), north of the mouth of the River Elbe, crashing on the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog. All on board perished. They are buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Ohlsdorf.


WALKER, Graham Stuart

Sgt. Graham Stuart Walker, RNZAF NZ401817 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 25 on the 24th of July 1941.
Son of Ernest Graham Walker, and of Mary Jane Walker, of Te Kuiti, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 64.

24/07/1941 – Daylight Attacks Against Battleship Gneisenau at Brest
Six Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out daylight attacks against the above target. One of these aircraft, N.2854 captained by SGT. Streeter failed to return to base. The bomb load consisted of 24 500lbs. S.A.P.
Results were unobserved by DNS.772.
DNS.329 reports bombs overshot aiming point. Direct hits on sheds or warehouses about half mile S.E. of aiming point were observed.
DNS.411 reports that one and possibly two hits were observed on north end of No.1 graving dock.
Results were not observed by P/). Ashworth.
S/L. Lucas reports that bombs were dropped in target area.
Balloons were observed in the harbour.
A.A. fire was very intense and accurate.
Enemy aircraft were numerous and our aircraft were attacked.
The weather was excellent and visibility was good.
Navigation was by D/R, and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic N.2854 AA-U

Sgt. Desmond Frederick Streeter, RNZAF NZ401033 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Owen, RCAF R.58067 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Rodney Patrick Carling, RAFVR 950217 – Navigator.
Sgt. Reginald James Turner, RAFVR 913804 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Samuel Carson Craig, RAFVR 947814 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Graham Stuart Walker, RNZAF NZ401817 – Rear Gunner.

There was no report from Sgt Streeter’s crew. Their aircraft, Wellington Mk.Ic N.2854 AA-U, failed to return and was officially classified as ‘lost without trace’. Numerous enemy aircraft were operating in the area and Squadron aircraft were among those coming under attack. It became clear that these attacks had a profound bearing on the loss of R2854.

One of the other Wellington crews in the same formation as Streeter’s, witnessed the latter’s aircraft being targeted by a number of Me109’s and receiving several cannon shell bursts that caused an engine to fail. They last saw the Wellington going down steeply with two or three Me109’s still attacking it. Their chances of escaping would have been very slim, and it was concluded the aircraft had crashed out of control into the sea.

GS Walker


WALSH, John Arthur Ernest

W/O John Arthur Ernest Walsh, RNZAF NZ401294 – Pilot.
Killed age 27 on the 9th of April 1943.
Son of Arthur Ernest and May Walsh; Husband of D. D. Walsh, of Auckland City, New Zealand.
Buried Newmarket Cemetery, Suffolk, England..
Grave location – Plot O. Grave 378.

08/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks, with bombs of 1000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. Four of the aircraft however were forced to return early owing to severe icing conditions, which prevented the aircraft from gaining height. Four of the remaining aircraft successfully bombed the target through cloud. Large fires were seen glowing below the clouds. A fair amount of heavy predicted A.A.Fire was encountered, some enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was 10/10ths cloud, with electrical storms, rain and severe icing. Which prevented this operation from being a complete success. Navigation was very good. Stirling III, BK770, captained by W/O Walsh, was returning to base at 01.10 hours a message was received from him, but this was the last heard of the aircraft until it was reported to have crashed at Bressingham, Norfolk, soon after this time. The aircraft exploded on impact and burnt out, and unfortunately the whole of the crew were killed.

Stirling Mk.III BK770 AA-L

W/O John Arthur Ernest Walsh, RNZAF NZ401294 – Pilot.
F/S Bertram Augustus Moffatt, RCAF R.802237 – Navigator.
Sgt. Francis Henry Reddicliffe, RAFVR 1030797 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John William Scudder, RAFVR 1291875 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Herbert Worthington, RAFVR 574819 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stanley Arthur Curtis, RAFVR 1386838 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Phillip Gordon Stuart, RCAF R.93568 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BK770 AA-L was returning to base when at 01:10hrs, a brief W/T distress signal was received from the aircraft but nothing more. A ground report was later received advising an aircraft had crashed at Valley Farm, Bressingham, Norfolk. Soon after impact an explosion was observed and the aircraft burst into flames. None of the crew survived. The three Commonwealth airmen, along with Sgt’s Reddicliffe and Curtis, are buried in the Newmarket cemetery.

This was the first Mk III Stirling written off in 75(NZ) Squadron.

WALSH, John Arthur Ernest RNZAF


WALSHE, Desmond James

Sgt. Desmond James Walshe, RNZAF NZ412912 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 25 on the 11th of September 1942.
Son of James and Gertrude M. Walshe, of Wellington City, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 4. A. 20-21.

10/09/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Dusseldorf
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4,000 lb. and incendiaries were dropped in target area, Wellington X.3747 captained by Sgt. Rousseau and Wellington BJ.837 captained by P/O Jacobson were forced to return to base before reaching target area. owing to aircraft failures. Large fires were seen, a few dummy fires were also seen near target. Light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, particularly in searchlight cones, which covered a large area. The weather was good, slight haze at target area. Navigation was by D.R. and T.R. Wellington BJ.828 captained by Sergt. Lees, Wellington BJ.968 captained by Sgt. Burrill and Wellington BJ.974 captained by Sergt. Metcalf, failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III BJ.974 AA-?

Sgt. Thomas Otto Metcalfe, RNZAF NZ414386 – Pilot.
P/O Kevin John Devlin, RNZAF NZ413334 – Observer.
Sgt. Desmond James Walshe, RNZAF NZ412912 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Walter Foch Kelcher, RAFVR NZ411908 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alexander John Locke, RAFVR 928209 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.III BJ.974 was brought down by flak, crashing near Cologne, 20 miles South of the target Dusseldorf. There were no survivors. All five crew are buried at the Rheinberg War Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/desmond-james-walshe © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/desmond-james-walshe © New Zealand War Graves Project


WANSTALL, Richard Fleury

Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAF 656462 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 29 on the 17th of April 1943.
Son of Charles Luther Wanstall, and of Alice A. M. Wanstall, of Eastbourne, Sussex.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 1.
‘Never forgotten
A much loved
Son and brother’

16/04/1943 – Ludwigshaven
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack, with bombs of 2000 lb, 1000 lb and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lb. Seven of the aircraft successfully attacked the target. Large fires and one big explosion were seen. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered co-operation with searchlights. Two of our aircraft were hit and the Navigator of one was hit in the leg. Several enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good on the route, but considerable haze was experienced at the target. Navigations was very good. Stirling Mark III BK.664 captained by F/Lt. D.C.Lowe, which experienced some very accurate A.A. Fire whilst overt the target, found on landing, that this throttle controls were jammed open, he was lucky enough to be able to land, but unfortunately he crashed into a semi built hanger on the aerodrome. The aircraft was an absolute wreck, but all the crew got away safely, although not without injuries. Stirling Mark III W 7469 captained by F/Sgt. K.F. Debenham and Stirling Mark I BF451 captained by P/O K.H.G. Groves failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Oscar Way, RCAF R.102353 – 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z was considered to have been shot down by a night-fighter between Rilly-la- Montange and Chigny-les-Roses (Marne), 6 miles South of Rheims. None of the crew survived. They were laid to rest in Reims, then after the city became liberated by U S Forces in 1944, their bodies were taken to Antilly. After September 1944, their remains were exhumed and transferred to the Choloy War Cemetery, 145 miles south of Rheims.


WARBURTON, Carl Arthur

Sgt. Carl Arthur Warburton, RAFVR 1484107 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 22 on thw 23rd of May 1944.
Son of Carl H. and Nellie Warburton, of Darlington. Co. Durham.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 3. G. 15. 85
‘Thy will be done’

22/05/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund of which eighteen completed their mission successfully. Three aircraft returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke and NZ42354 P/O. C. Armstrong). The raid was well concentrated and carried out in good weather with excellent visibility. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU 88. Otherwise the operation was uneventful.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Carl Arthur Warburton, RAFVR 1484107 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Reports indicate that ND768 was struck by flak on approach to target – with a full bomb load, the aircraft exploded killing all on board. The crew’s remains were buried intially at Hauptfriedhof, Dortmund, but were later reinterred at the Rheinberg War Cemetery.


WARBURTON, Robert Lee

Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front gunner.
Killed age 21 on the 11th of October 1941.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. B. 5-8.

10/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, Z8969, captained by Sgt Curlewis, failed to return to base. Another, X9825, captained by S/Ldr Chamberlain, jettisoned bombs on a road WSW of Cologne, as owing to damage to hydraulics, the aircraft was unable to maintain height with bombs on. Centre of town was successfully attacked and bombs were seen to burst. large fires were started and were seen to be burning twenty minutes later. One aircraft was seen to crash and explode in the city area. A.A. fire was intense at all heights from 12,000 feet, to 4,000 feet. Searchlights were active in two cones, one each side of target. Visibility was good, with large clearing in low cloud over the target area.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.8969 AA-R?

Sgt. Raymond Fullerton Curlewis, RAAF AUS.402230 – Pilot.
Sgt. Colin Maurice Thompson, RNZAF NZ4044237 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

One aircraft was seen to crash and explode in the city area. It is possible that this may have been 75 Sqn’s Z.8969, which failed to return. Two other Wellingtons, from No 57 (Sister) squadron, Feltwell, also were shot down at or near Cologne.

All these crew members perished. Their bodies were recovered and buried at the British WW 1 cemetery in the Zollstock district, South Cologne. At the end of the war, their remains were disinterred and taken to the Rheinberg.War Cemetery, eight miles south of Wessel.


WARD, James Allen

Sgt. James Allen Ward, VC, RNZAF NZ401793 – Pilot.
Killed age 22 on the 15th of September 1941.
Son of Percy Harold Ward and of Ada May Ward (Nee Stokes), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 5A. A1. 9.
‘Victoria Cross’

15/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Two of these aircraft failed to return, one being captained by Sgt J. A. Ward who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 4 August 1941. There was clear weather over the target, and bursts were seen in many parts of the target area. A.A. fire was heavy over and near target area. Searchlights were numerous, working in cones, ans co-operating with A.A. fire and night fighters.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.3205 AA-

Sgt. James AllenWard, RNZAF NZ401793 – Pilot.
Sgt. Horace Gordon Sloman, RAFVR 929627 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. L.E. Peterson, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Robert William Toller, RAFVR 1054292 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H.C. Watson, RAFVR 952162 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Kenneth Hutley Toothill, RAFVR 1114337 – Rear Gunner.

Sgt Ward’s aircraft, Wellington X3205, was hit repeatedly by flak which resulted in catastrophic damage causing the aircraft to come down in flames in the target area. All but two of the crew (the Wireless Operator and Navigator who both baled out), perished.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/james-allen-ward © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/james-allen-ward © New Zealand War Graves Project


WARLOW, William John

Sgt. William John Warlow, RAFVR 1653307 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 30 on the 20th of November 1944.
Son of William Charles and Elizabeth Warlow, of Llanelly, Carmarthenshire.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 7. B. 5-7.
‘Peace, perfect peace’

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.III ND911 JN-V

F/O Patrick Leo McCartin, RAAF AUS.419328 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Miles, RAFVR 845847/ 187426 – Navigator.
F/O Leonard ‘Len’ Arthur Martin, RAFVR 153528 – Air Bomber.
F/S Phillip Francis Smith, RAAF AUS. 427206 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. William John Warlow, RAFVR 1653307 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Dennis George Albert Bryer, RAFVR 1874880 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Gray, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster ND911 took off from Mepal, Cambridgeshire at 12:47 hrs, as part of 3 Group with a force of 183 Lancaster’s, to bomb Homberg (Oil Refinery Plant).   Weather was stormy and many of the bomber stream were not able to maintain formation with the G-H (Radar aided aircraft) on the bombing run and the bombing was believed to have been scattered.   The force met little resistance from Luftwaffe fighters, but suffered very heavy flak.

 On the bomb run at about 15:00 hrs, the pilot was forced to lose height as the starboard outer engine failed and he decided to feather it.   The aircraft was forced to leave the formation, however at 15:15 hrs they bombed the target.   At 15:17 hrs they then received a direct hit in the port wing area from flak and is thought that the fuel tanks exploded.   The Lancaster broke up in mid-air and a very violent spin developed.   Flt Sgt Gray, the rear gunner, was knocked unconscious. When he came to the entire tail unit had broken away during the mid-air explosion and he was able to rotate the turret to enable him to bail out at 10,000 ft.   He stated that he saw no other parachutes during his descent. During his parachute drop at around 2,000 ft. he was shot at by German ground troops but was not hit.


WARNER, John Albert

Sgt. John Albert Warner, RAFVR 2209337 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 19 on the 16th of December 1943.
Buried Bootle Cemetery, Lancashire, England..
Grave location – Sec. 7.
C. of E. Grave 312.

16/12/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500lbs. One aircraft returned early and one crashed on return. The remaining two aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, but the parachutes were not seen to open. No opposition was met. The weather was very poor, low cloud and fog impairing visibility. Navigation was good. The aircraft which crashed wa captained by F/SGT.KINROSS C.J. The pilot F/SGT KINROSS C.J, Nav.F/O R.F.JENKIN, A/B. SGT. EMMERSON R.H., WO/AIR SGT. SAVAGE W.A, F/ENG. SGT. ASKEW R. and R.GUNNER SGT. WARNER J.A. were killed. The Mid Upper Gunner SGT. NEWMAN S.T. was slightly injured.

Stirling Mk.III EF163 JN-L

F/S Colin John Kinross, RNZAF NZ417069 – Pilot.
F/O Ralph Francis Jenkin, RNZAF NZ416119 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ronald Harry Emmerson, RAAF AUS.410330 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Willis Arthur Savage, RAFVR 1503913 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Askew, RAFVR 1477972 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Newman, RAFVR 928207 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Albert Warner, RAFVR 2209337 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EF163 JN-L was attempting to land in poor weather conditions when the pilot lost visual reference at low level and crashed at Biddington Farm, Sutton. The aircraft burst into flames. All crew members, except an injured mid-upper gunner, died.

The cause of the crash may have been due to the aircraft’s centre of gravity being effected by a mine that had failed to release.

This was one of 41 other crashes occurring that night by aircraft returning to England in extremely poor weather conditions. This scale of losses by aircraft in these circumstances was the heaviest ever experienced by Bomber Command in a single night.

Warner John crpd


WARREN, Derek

F/L Derek Warren, RAFVR 151118 – Pilot.
Killed age 20 on the 12th of May 1944.
Son of James William and Amelia Warren, of Chadwell Heath, Essex.
Buried Aardenburg General Cemetery, Holland..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1-7.

11/05/1944 – Attack Against Louvain
Twenty-four aircraft, representing the largest number of Lancaster aircraft so far detailed by this Squadron, were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Louvain. Twenty-three aircraft successfully attacked in good weather. One aircraft (Captain NZ414591 A/F/L. S. Clark) claimed a JU 88 destroyed in combat over the North Sea. Another aircraft (Captain 151118 A/F/L. D. Warren) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III ND919 AA-D

F/L Derek Warren, RAFVR 151118 – Pilot.
P/O Arnold Earle Irving, RCAF J.19819 – Navigator.
P/O Donald Irwin Gage, RCAF R.166183/ J.19996 – Air Bomber.
F/S David Clough, RAFVR 1193544 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Francis Christopher Riley, RAFVR 1584169 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Dewhurst, RAFVR 1094980 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Harold Max Hewett, RAAF AUS.419311 – Rear Gunner.

ND919 exploded in flight and crashed at Castle Elderschans, about 1 mile West of Aardenburg, (Zeeland), Holland. The very brief circumstances suggest the fully armed aircraft probably came under attack by a night-fighter during the early stages of its outbound flight. There were no survivors. All seven crew were buried in Aardenburg General Cemetery.


WARRING, Robert John

Sgt. Robert John Warring, RNZAF NZ411110 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 21 on the 12th of August 1942.
Son of William Robert and Ada May Warring, of Auckland City, New Zealand.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 9. H. 3.

11/08/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Mainz
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack above target. Bomb load of 4000lb, 1000lb, 500lb and incendiaries were dropped in target area. A.A. fire was light, searchlights were scarce and ineffective. One fighter was seen by P/O Horne in Wellington B.J.765 as he was crossing the Dutch Coast homeward bound, no attack was made. The weather was moderate, being cloudy near target. Navigation was good by D.R. and T.R. Wellington BJ837 captain Sgt. Hockaday.N.J., five minutes from the English coast on way to target, fabric stripped off nose of aircraft to port and starboard, the Bomb load was jettisoned and the aircraft returned to base. Three aircraft failed to return, Wellington B.J.767 captained by F/O Dobbin, Wellington B.J.625, Sgt Barclay.T.S., captain, Wellington X.3646 captain Sgt Bradey.G.E.

Wellington Mk.III BJ.625 AA-T

Sgt. Thomas Smith Barclay, RNZAF NZ411358 – Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald George Renauf Hodges, RCAF R.92164 – Observer.
Sgt. Robert John Warring, RNZAF NZ411110 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cyril Ingleby, RNZAF 937625/ 118898 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John William Filda Atkin, RNZAF NZ411057 – Rear Gunner.

Little is known of the circumstances that led to the aircraft being brought down near Dusseldorf, although flak damage was considered to be the main cause. All crew except Sgt Atkin, the Rear Gunner, died.and were initially buried in the Dusseldorf Cemetery. Sgt Atkin escaped with slight injuries and was taken prisoner.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/robert-john-warring © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/robert-john-warring © New Zealand War Graves Project


WATERMAN, Jeffery James

Sgt. Jeffery James Waterman, RAFVR 1312274 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 21 on the 6th of September 1943.
Son of William Alan Rex and Dora Waterman, of Yeovil, Somerset.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 18. B. 13-15.
‘Dulce et decorum
Est pro patria mori’

05/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft had trouble shortly after take-off and was forced to jettison its bombs four miles north of CAMBRIDGE. The attack was well concentrated and large fires together with heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. One aircraft on the return journey when near the FRENCH Coast was hit by A.A. fire. It received considerable damage and two of its engines were made unserviceable. The ENGLISH Coast was reached however, it belly-landed at Hunsden. Many fighters were seen and some combats took, place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.BATGER sighted an enemy aircraft on the port quarter which opened fire on them and our aircraft corkscrewed. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunner then opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground in flames. It was claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received considerable damage and the Flight Engineer Sgt. R. DALKINS was seriously wounded. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. R. WHITMORE sighted an enemy aircraft 100yds. astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft was seen to turn over and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was flowed by another enemy aircraft approaching from starboard to port astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. One minute later an unidentified aircraft was seen firing at a Lancaster aircraft, which was afire. F/Sgt. WHITMORE’s Mid-Upper and Rear Gunners opened fire on the enemy aircraft, which disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up. Some cloud was encountered on the way to the target, but there was a clear sky and visibility was good in the target area. Navigation was very good. One aircraft failed to return, it was captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON, E.S.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

F/S Ernest Stanley Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ417138 – Pilot.
F/S Gordon Noel Simes, RNZAF NZ415376 – Navigator.
F/S Neil Gordon Roy Treacher, RNZAF NZ416418 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jeffery James Waterman, RAFVR 1312274 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Timothy Whatley, RAFVR 1314153 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. E.S. Robson, RAFVR 1810690 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S George Stanley Wilkinson, RAFVR 642538 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N was brought down at Schwanheim, 2.5miles West North West of Bensheim. Only the Navigator, Air Bomber and Mid Upper Gunner survived but were captured as P.o.W’s. The Captain, Flight Engineer, Wireless Operator and Rear Gunner were buried initially at Schwanheim, but later reinterred at Rheinberg War Cemetery.


WATKINS, Stanley

Sgt. Stanley Watkins, RAF 544249 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 26 on the 19th of November 1943.
Son of William John and Minnie Watkins, of Abercynon, Glamorgan.
Buried Chiervres Communal Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Grave 22.
‘For ever in our thoughts.
Sadly missed by all at home’

19/11/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Leverkusen
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 2,000lbs, 1,000 lbs and incendiaries of 30 lbs and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Except for one vivid  red flash seen through the clouds, little results were observed. Heavy and medium A.A. Fire co-operating with Searchlights was encountered, but caused negligible damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and a few combats took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The aircraft  captained be F/S R.Hunt met a J.U.88 which attacked his aircraft, the fire was returned and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft. Our aircraft was then attacked by a FW190, the first was returned but the enemy aircraft disappeared. The weather was poor, being ten-tenths cloud over the target, there was also a fog at base which necessitated the aircraft landing at BRADWELL BAY on return. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was captained by F/Sgt. N. PARKER.

Stirling Mk.III LJ442 JN-F

F/S Noel Norman Parker , RAAF AUS.413240 – Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Griffiths, RAFVR 1457278 – Navigator.
F/S Jack Edwin Hyde, RNZAF NZ416637 – Air Bomber.
F/S William Robert Kell, RNZAF NZ411755 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Watkins, RAFVR 544249 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Gilfillan, RAFVR 1569298 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Michael Irvine Ryder Day, RAFVR 1891503 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III LJ442 JN-F came under attack from a night-fighter (Lt Otto Fries, 5 /NJG1) a short time after take-off while en route to the target over the Belgian coast. After a series of attacks by the fighter causing considerable damage, fire broke out in LJ442’s starboard wing and a crash-landing attempt was made by the pilot at Horrues, North West of Soignies, Belgium. Only the Captain, Navigator and Air Bomber survived. Parker and Griffiths evaded capture but Hyde, who was seriously injured, was taken as P.o.W. The four who died were buried at Chievres, 10 miles from Horrues.

DSC00163


WATSON, Clifford Arnold

F/O Clifford Arnold Watson, RNZAF NZ421946 – Navigator.
Killed age 34 on the 1st of September 1943.
Son of William James Watson and Janet Watson, of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand; Husband of Ivy Mavis Watson, of Nelson, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 10. E. 25.

31/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. Two aircraft failed to take-off and four did not return, the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen, although rather scattered they appeared to be progressing very well. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered and one air craft received slight damage. Enemy night-fighters were in great prominence, the aircraft piloted by F/Sgt. Wilkinson, G encountered a JU88 approaching from astern 500yds away. The rear gunner fired a long burst, the enemy aircraft replied and stalled. The mid-upper gunner then fired three long bursts. The enemy aircraft was seen to fall away and is claimed as probably destroyed. Our aircraft received damage to the rear of the fuselage and had part of the tail plane and fin badly damaged. The aircraft captained by F/O Alexander sighted two Me109’s, the first opened fire from the starboard quarter and the rear gunner replied with a short burst. The enemy aircraft stalled and the mid-upper gunner fired a short burst. The enemy aircraft then dived to the ground and exploded, it was claimed to be destroyed. The second Me109 opened fire with a short burst from the port bow to the port quarter. The rear gunner then fired a short burst and tracer was seen to enter the enemy aircraft, which dived. It was claimed as possible destroyed. The aircraft captained by W/O Moseley, P. sighted a Me110 on the port quarter, the mid upper and rear gunner fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft turned over and dived with smoke pouring from its starboard side. It was claimed as probably destroyed. The aircraft captained by P/O C.Logan sighted a Me109 sixty yards astern, the mid-upper and rear gunner  fired and tracer from the rear gunner was seen to hit the aircraft. The Stirling then corkscrewed and the Me109 disappeared. It was claimed to be damaged. Two other aircraft crash landed away from base due to damage caused by enemy fighters, none of the crews were injured however. 8/10ths cloud was encountered on the outward journey and 9’10ths at the target, visibility, nevertheless, was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings MK.III EE918 captained by F/Sgt. Roberts,E, EE878 captained by F/Sgt. Henley, D, EE905 captained by F/Sgt. Helm,G. and EF501 captained by F/S McGregor, K.

Stirling Mk.III EE878 AA-P

F/S Douglas Charles Henley, RNZAF NZ414622 – Pilot.
F/O Clifford Arnold Watson, RNZAF NZ421946 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Hector Ross Smith, RNZAF NZ421614 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Robert N. Quelch, RAFVR 1319114 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Lewis Patrick ‘Lew’ Parsons, RAFVR 1455528 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Douglas C. Box, RAFVR 1578987 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Sutherland Grant, RNZAF NZ421274 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EE878 AA-P was badly damaged by flak and by night-fighter action near the target area. With the port inner engine out of action, and the port elevator only partially effective, considerable height was lost evading the fighter before control was regained. They were now almost out of fuel and at low level when the captain ordered the crew to bale out. Some of the crew succeeded in clearing the plane before it crash-landed at Ahrbruck, 7miles SW of Ahrweiler. The navigator and air bomber were killed when their parachutes failed to deploy in time. The pilot died at the controls. Those who died were buried at municipal cemetery at Mayschoss, but later re-interred in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, south of Wesel. The other four crew all survived but were captured as POW’s.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/clifford-arnold-watson © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/clifford-arnold-watson © New Zealand War Graves Project


WATSON, Raymond Johnson

S/Ldr. Raymond Johnson Watson, DFC, RNZAF NZ404978 – Pilot.
Killed age 27 on the 5th of March 1944.
Son of Hubert Ernest and Lily May Watson, of Karori, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Clermont-Ferrand (Des Carmes Dechaux) Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Row A. Grave 1.

04/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 124 (RESULT UNKNOWN)
Operation TRAINER 124 (Result unknown).
The m/n. crew in Stirling “M” took off at 20.51 hours. The aircraft failed to return and nothing was heard after take-off.

Stirling Mk.III EF215 AA-M

S/L Raymond Johnson Watson, RNZAF NZ404978 – Pilot.
F/O Hugh William Henderson, RNZAF NZ421713 – Navigator.
F/S Ralph Morley Woods, RAFVR 1386860 – Air Bomber.
F/S Arthur Stanley Jones, RNZAF NZ421977 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Cyril Beech, RAFVR 1584473 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Colin Armstrong, RAFVR 2209010 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Robert James Ian Melville, RNZAF NZ42349 – Rear Gunner.

The wreckage of Stirling Mk.III EF215 AA-M was found on a mountainside at Rochefort-Montagne, 15 miles West South West of Clermont-Ferrand, where six of the deceased crew were buried. The only survivor was Sgt C. B. Armstrong, who escaped with relatively few injuries. He was taken into custody as a POW.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/raymond-johnson-watson © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/raymond-johnson-watson © New Zealand War Graves Project


WATSON, Samuel Miles Mackenzie  MiD

F/O Samuel Miles Mackenzie Watson, RAFVR 77026 – Pilot.
Killed age 27 on the 20th of July 1940.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Watson, of Wellington City, New Zealand.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 21. F. 1.

20/07/1940 – Bombing Attacks on Targets A.70 and A.71
Nine aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out individual attacks on targets above. The Squadron suffered its second loss, since the beginning of Operations in March 1940, when CB.650 (F/O. Watson, Captain) failed to return.

CB.639 reports, two attacks, consisting of two sticks of 5 bombs each were dropped over the target at 00.33 hours. Height 5,000 feet. Previously to this another aircraft had dropped incendiaries in same area. Fires and explosions from other aircraft’s bombs, on target, but few from incendiaries which dropped little to West of actual area. EINDHAVEN flare path bombed with stick of 3 – 250lbs. bombs at 22.35 hours by CB.640. Flare path extinguished and remained so. Target A.70 located and bombed at 00.25hrs. Bursts observed and fires observed to break out and gradually increased.

CB.641 reports, being unable to identify target, bombs were dropped from 9,500ft in one stick on railway junction at KAMEN. Last two bombs observed to burst in railway yards.

CB.648 located target after waiting for cloud to disperse and doing several dummy runs. Believed bombed successfully as four bursts observed on N.E. corner of works and fires started across railway line.

CB.649 reports, the incendiaries seen to burst on Southern extremity of target. The 250lbs bombs were not observed owing to cloud over target.

Level attack from 10,800ft made by CB.651 from N.E. to S.W. on target A.71. Three hits obtained on N side of target, remaining bombs appeared to undershoot. Several small fires started followed by minor explosions.

A high level attack carried out from 14,000ft by CB.652. One large flash observed and number of small fires. One red and two green.

CB.653 reports, the target located without difficulty, being made so by light of moon and excellent landmarks. Bombed from 11,000ft in one stick on straight run over target. Results unobserved.

Balloons seen up to 14,000 feet in many towns over RUHR. Heavy flak experienced over WESEL and all target areas, accurate for height etc./ Searchlights over whole area.

Three H.E. 113’s attacked CB639 over WESEL. (i) above and astern (ii)Starboard qtr and below. (iii) below and astern. No.(ii) shot down in flames, No. 3 assumed disabled. No.1 attacked 3 times afterwards.

Weather fair, visibility good, throughout whole of journey. Navigation by D/R, visual fixes and homing bearings. The moon was quite advantageous in helping to locate the target.

Wellington Mk.1c R.3165 AA-L
Raid No. CB.650 A.70

F/O Samuel Miles Mackenzie Watson, RAF 77026 – Pilot.
P/O Edward Colin Joseph Cameron, RAF 36237 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Gordon Murray Cumming, RAFVR 743076 – Observer.
F/S Ronald Alexander John Anderson, RNZAF NZ36139 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Lewis Owen, RNZAF NZ391332 – Rear Gunner .

There is no record, regarding the details of the loss of Wellington Mk. 1c R.3165 AA-L. The aircraft came down near Weseke, approximately 40 miles North North West of Horst airfield, near Gelsenkirchen. Other crews on the Op noted the presence of three Me.109’s, seen in the moonlight over the target area. Thus, it would be reasonable to conjecturise that the Watson crew succumbed to at least one of these aircraft.


WATSON, Walter Davis

F/S Walter Davis Watson, RNZAF NZ428918 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 30 on the 30th of August 1944.
Son Of Eli And Elizabeth Watson; Husband Of Isabella Muirhead Watson, Of Mornington, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 264.

29/08/1944 – Attack Against Stettin
Fourteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack Stettin and thirteen of these successfully bombed the target with the aid of markers. A good concentration of fires developed and all crews reported a successful raid. A.A. opposition was moderate and enemy fighters were active on the outward route. Three of our aircraft had combats, two being inconclusive but the third (Captain NZ428797 .P/O. J. Scott) claimed one enemy aircraft as probably destroyed. The aircraft captained by 1323677 .F/S. King, D., failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK594 AA-G

F/S Douglas Arthur Severn King, RAFVR 1323677/ 183954 – Pilot.
F/S Walter Davis Watson, RNZAF NZ428918 – Navigator.
F/S John Fitzgerald, RNZAF NZ424777 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Charles Burton Hill, RAFVR 1372387 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. John Patrick Callan, RAFVR 1777282 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Derrick Leonard Desmond Moon, RAFVR 1626105 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Herbert William Causley, RAFVR 1199994 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.I HK594 AA-G was attacked by a night-fighter at 6,500ft while flying on a South East heading over the Swedish coastline, tracking toward Stettin. Cannon shells shattered the tail and rear turret, killing the gunner instantly. The pilot ordered the crew to bale out when the aircraft became uncontrollable and five of them came down in the Baltic but failed to survive. King left the aircraft shortly after and parachuted down not far from Tollarp Village, while the Lancaster plunged into the ground near Svenskop Village, all its bombs exploding on impact causing substantial damage throughout the neighbourhood. A badly injured F/S King was interrogated by the Swedish Military and later interned at Koranas until being repatriated on 10 October 44. Two bodies from the crew were later found in the water and the rear gunner was still in the aircraft wreckage. They were buried at the Hälsingborg (Palsjo) Municipal Cemetery. The remaining crew members were never found and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial


WATTERS, Terrence

F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Killed age 21 on the 31st of August 1943.
Son of Francis and Moya Watters, of Dargaville, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Joint grave 4. A. 13-14.

30/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Munchen-Gladbach
18 Aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All aircraft with the exception of one which failed to return, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires which were well concentrated and spreading, were seen. All crews were of the opinion that this was a good attack. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Batger, H. sighted an enemy aircraft 600 yards away, ahead and the front gunner fired a long and short burst, the enemy aircraft then disappeared and was claimed as possibly destroyed. . The aircraft captained by F/S McGregor,K. sighted an Me110 astern, the rear gunner fired a long burst. The enemy aircraft replied and dived away with smoke pouring from its engines. It is claimed as a possible destroyed. There was 8/10ths cloud at the target approaches although it was clear in the target area. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was  Stirling MK.III EH938 captained by Sgt. Parkin, T.

Stirling Mk.III EH938 AA-F

F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, RAFVR 1545885 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582836 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner.

Based on Val Johnson’s debrief with MI.9, it would appear that that EH938 possibly fell prey to a German night fighter, within a nachtjagd ‘box’. Val was the only survivor of the crew, the rest of the crew being killed when the aircraft crashed at Lommel (Limburg), in Belgium. The airmen were all buried in St-Truiden before being moved to Heverlee War Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/terrence-watters © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/terrence-watters © New Zealand War Graves Project


WATTERS, Ventry

Sgt. Ventry Watters, RNZAF NZ413522 – Pilot.
Killed age 22 on the 13th of October 1942.
Son of Francis and Moya Ventry Watters, of Warkworth, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. F. 5.

13/10/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Kiel
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4,000 lb and incendiaries were dropped in the target area. Large fires were seen particularly on West side of Fiord. Light, medium and heavy A.A. fire was encountered over a large area, searchlights were also seen on the way to the target. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was clear, with no cloud over the target, visibility was good by the light of flares. Navigation was D.R, T.R. visual and pin-points. Wellington X3954 captained by Sergt. Watters failed to return. Wellington BJ837 captained by Sergt. Davey crashed at R.A.F. Station Lakenheath on return owing to shortage of petrol, four of the crew were injured. All taking part considered this to be a very successful raid.

Wellington Mk.III X.3954 AA-?

Sgt. Ventry Watters, RNZAF NZ413522 – Pilot.
Sgt. Lewis Harry Parkinson, RNZAF NZ412518 – Observer.
Sgt. Ellison George Firth, RNZAF NZ412218 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Albert Cyril Orr, RAFVR 1145143 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Edward Goldsack, RAFVR 1250808 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.III X.3954 was disabled by AA fire in the target area at Kiel, then crashed 6 miles North West of Tonning, a town 50 miles due West of Kiel. All five crew were killed. They were initially buried at Brunsbüttelkoog Cemetery, but later reinterred at Kiel.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/ventry-watters © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/ventry-watters © New Zealand War Graves Project


WATTS, David Michael Turner

Sgt. David Michael Turner Watts, RAFVR 1312572 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 26 on the 16th of April 1943.
Husband of Joan Watts, of Cody’S, Queen’S Co., New Brunswick, Canada.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 20. A. 13-14.

16/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Ludwigshaven
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack, with bombs of 2000 lb, 1000 lb and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lb. Seven of the aircraft successfully attacked the target. Large fires and one big explosion were seen. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered co-operation with searchlights. Two of our aircraft were hit and the Navigator of one was hit in the leg. Several enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good on the route, but considerable haze was experienced at the target. Navigations was very good. Stirling Mark III BK.664 captained by F/Lt. D.C.Lowe, which experienced some very accurate A.A. Fire whilst overt the target, found on landing, that this throttle controls were jammed open, he was lucky enough to be able to land, but unfortunately he crashed into a semi built hanger on the aerodrome. The aircraft was an absolute wreck, but all the crew got away safely, although not without injuries. Stirling Mark III W 7469 captained by F/Sgt. K.F. Debenham and Stirling Mark I BF451 captained by P/O K.H.G. Groves failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I W7469 AA-O

F/S Kevin Frederick Debenham, RNZAF NZ412211 – Pilot.
Sgt. Raymond James Barnes, RCAF R.87330 – Navigator.
Sgt. David Michael Turner Watts, RAFVR 1312572 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Peter Braithwaite Pearson, RAFVR 1377412 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. D. Wainwright, RAFVR 1193816 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Leslie Marlow, RAFVR 1353768 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Jim Jack Davis, RAFVR 629241 – Rear Gunner.

The circumstances surrounding the loss of Stirling Mk.I W7469 AA-O are unclear. It crashed at Katzenbach, south of Frankfurt, and all but the Flight Engineer, Sgt Wainwright, were killed. The sole survivor was listed as a P.o.W, suggesting he either baled out or escaped from the wrecked aircraft and was captured. The crew members who died are buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery, south of Wesel.


WAY, James Oscar

W/O James Oscar Way, RCAF 2 R/102353 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 26 on the 17th of April 1943.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Way, of Redvers, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 7.
‘He loved the Empire,
Proud he stood beside
And in its honor, duty,
He died’

16/04/1943 – Ludwigshaven
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack, with bombs of 2000 lb, 1000 lb and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lb. Seven of the aircraft successfully attacked the target. Large fires and one big explosion were seen. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered co-operation with searchlights. Two of our aircraft were hit and the Navigator of one was hit in the leg. Several enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good on the route, but considerable haze was experienced at the target. Navigations was very good. Stirling Mark III BK.664 captained by F/Lt. D.C.Lowe, which experienced some very accurate A.A. Fire whilst overt the target, found on landing, that this throttle controls were jammed open, he was lucky enough to be able to land, but unfortunately he crashed into a semi built hanger on the aerodrome. The aircraft was an absolute wreck, but all the crew got away safely, although not without injuries. Stirling Mark III W 7469 captained by F/Sgt. K.F. Debenham and Stirling Mark I BF451 captained by P/O K.H.G. Groves failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Oscar Way, RCAF R.102353 – 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z was considered to have been shot down by a night-fighter between Rilly-la- Montange and Chigny-les-Roses (Marne), 6 miles South of Rheims. None of the crew survived. They were laid to rest in Reims, then after the city became liberated by U S Forces in 1944, their bodies were taken to Antilly. After September 1944, their remains were exhumed and transferred to the Choloy War Cemetery, 145 miles south of Rheims.


WAYMAN, Stanley John

Sgt. Stanley John Wayman, RAFVR 1391814 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 21 on the 24th of May 1943.
Son of Henry and Emily Wayman, of Brixton, London.
Buried Beesd General Cemetery, Holland..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1-2.
‘To all, peace.
Dad Wayman and family’

23/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dortmund
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Some very large fires were seen, and the bombs were seen to explode amongst large buildings. Medium and Heavy A.A. Fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered. One aircraft was hit whilst over the target, and the port outer propeller was shot off, but the aircraft successfully returned to base. Some enemy aircraft were seen, and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but identification was difficult owing to smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III,BK.783 captained by Sergeant S.M. Tietjens failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BK783 AA-Q

Sgt. Stephen Muir Tietjens, RAFVR NZ415640 – Pilot.
Sgt. George Watson Turnbull, RAFVR NZ421342 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick John Leigh Joblin, RNZAF NZ417063 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Bell, RAFVR 1077692 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley John Wayman, RAFVR 1391814 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Derrick George Amos Storey, RAFVR 1809725 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie R Vale, RAFVR 1235008 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BK783 AA-Q was shot down by an enemy night-fighter over the Netherlands on the return flight home. The aircraft came down in a ditch at Beesd, (Gelderland), 5 miles South South West of Culemborg, All but the Rear Gunner, Sgt L R Vale, died in the crash. They were buried in a collective grave at Beesd General Cemetery. Vale miraculously survived the major crash with an injured leg and temporary memory loss. He was later taken prisoner by German soldiers.

TURNBULL G W WAYMAN S J


WEAVER, Emrys Herbert

Sgt. Emrys Herbert Weaver, RAFVR 1409013 – Flight Engineer.
Lost without trace age 20 on the 3rd of March 1943.
Son of Francis Herbert and Mary Hannah Weaver, of Woodchester, Gloucestershire.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 169.

03/03/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operations, with mines of 1500 lb. Two of the aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, the other aircraft failed to return. No A.A. fire or searchlights were encountered. Sergt. French the Captain of Stirling 1 BF398, met a JU88 on the homeward journey, after a short exchange of firing the enemy aircraft disappeared. The weather was very clear and visibility was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling 1 N6123, captained by Sgt. R.C.Going.

Stirling Mk.I N6123 AA-Q

Sgt. Raymond Cyril Going, RNZAF NZ414278 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Mervyn Bridgman, RNZAF NZ41866 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Arthur William Willis, RAFVR 1382215 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Kenneth Cedric Eyre, RAFVR 1071970 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Emrys Herbert Weaver, RAFVR 1409013 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Francis Barkhouse Stewart, RAFVR 547841 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Clarence Sydney Burton, RNZAF NZ414493 – Rear Gunner.

 

The crew took off from Newmarket to lay mines off the Frisian Islands, off the coast of Denmark, part of the Squadron’s continuing efforts to disrupt German shipping. Mine-laying operations were often given to rookie crews as they were considered slightly less dangerous. Bomber Command code-named all the waterways after vegetables or fruit, hence these op’s became known as “gardening”. Sadly, on their very first operation, the Going crew was lost without trace.


WEBB, John

Sgt. John Webb, RAF 657412 – Pilot.
Killed age 23 on the 11th of April 1943.
Son of John and Isabella M. Webb, of Dundee.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 18. E. 3-7.
‘Until the day break
And the shadows flee away’

10/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Frankfurt
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Three aircraft were forced to return early as they failed to maintain height. Eight of the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was not possible to see the target owing to thick cloud, a large red glow was nevertheless seen. Both light and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, although they were ineffective. Several enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place. There was 10/10ths cloud in the target area, but it was clear and dark above our aircraft. Navigations was excellent. Stirling III, BF455 captained by F/Sgt. Rothschild was hit over the target by A.A. Fire and also chased by enemy Fighters. This caused him to run short of Petrol over the English Channel on the way home, and he eventually crash landed in the sea, 3 miles off Shoreham. The wireless procedure had been perfect, and Spitfires escorted it over the French coast, and a Walrus Flying Boat was waiting for it to crash land. Dingy drill was perfect and all the crew got in safely after an immaculate landing – the Stirling floating for 25 minutes. The final scene was enacted in the Channel as the Walrus collided with the Dinghy and dropped all the crew in the sea. No Ill-effects except for Sgt. Grainger, the Flight Engineer, who suffered from shock. Stirling III BF456 captained by Sgt. Webb failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BF456 AA-J

Sgt. John Webb, RAFVR 657412 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Vernon Jones, RAFVR 1337506 – Navigator.
Sgt. Daniel Thomas Anthony, RAFVR 1315996 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Richard William Lowther, RAFVR 1380534 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Robertson Inglis, RAFVR 979322 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leonard Roy Cunningham, RAFVR 643601 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Edward John Letherbarrow , RAFVR 1315524 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BF456 AA-J crashed some 200 miles South East of Frankfurt near Steeg, a small village at 8,700ft in the Lechtaller Alps, Austria. The aircraft was clearly heading in the wrong direction and flying well below safety height in this mountainous region.


WEBB, Stanley Lawrence

Sgt. Stanley Lawrence Webb, RAFVR 1266998 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 33 on the 23rd of June 1943.
Son of George William and Lily Matilda Webb; Husband of Violet Eileen Webb, of Northolt Park, Greenford, Middlesex.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 19. G. 1.
‘In proud and loving memory
Of our dear Stanley’

22/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim (actually Mülheim)
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs and 4lbs. Four aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen the whole RUHR area was smoke palled. A very heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights was encountered and five aircraft were slightly hit by A.A.fire, some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. There was 3/10ths cloud on the target area but visibility was fairly good, except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.I EF399 captained by F/S Burbidge, Mk.III EF408 captained by Sgt. Wood, MK.III BK810 captained by W/O McKenzie and Mk.III EH889 captained by F/O McCrorie.

Stirling Mk.III EF408 AA-P

Sgt. Benjamin Brinley Wood, RAFVR 656588 – Pilot.
F/S George King Samson, RNZAF NZ402563 – Navigator.
Sgt. Stuart Richard Bisset, RNZAF NZ415738 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Edgar Henry Reader, RAFVR 1331432 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Lawrence Webb, 1266998 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frederick Johns Hobbs, RAFVR 1609558 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Cyril Benjamin Hemmings, RAFVR 1235070 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EF408 AA-P was hit by flak and crashed at Gelsenkirchen. There were no survivors. All were buried in the Bismarck Friedhof, but later reinterred in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Stanley Lawrence Webb


WELCH, Harold Rangi

Sgt. Harold Rangi Welch, RNZAF NZ41709 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 23 on the 16th of December 1942.
Son of Harold Lawrence Vere Welch and May Welch, of Taradale, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Newmarket Cemetery, Suffolk, England..
Grave location – Plot P. Grave 417.

16/12/1942 – Operations. Gardening off Bordeaux
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with 1500lb. vegetables. The take-off was rather cross wind and unfortunately during take-off the wind backed severely so that the flare path was dead cross wind. Three aircraft swung violently on take-off. Then Sergeant Franklin tried to take-off in Stirling I, R9245, it swung as violently as the other aircraft, but went on, straightened and got airborne, only to crash a mile away from the aerodrome. Two mines exploded and all of the crew were killed. It later transpired that the starboard under carriage carried away the oil tank to the starboard inner engine and this is presumed to have seized, causing the aircraft to spin into the ground. No other aircraft took off after this. The three aircraft who successfully took off all planted their vegetables in the allotted area. Some light tracer and a few searchlights were encountered, no enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was variable with heavy rain and hail storms over the garden area, but clear generally. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I R.9245 AA-?

Sgt. Benjamin Allan Franklin, RNZAF NZ414277 – Pilot.
Sgt William Henry Whitcombe, RNZAF NZ41561 – Navigator.
Sgt. Edgar William Harvey, RNZAF NZ41902 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Harold Rangi Welch, RNZAF NZ41709 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Joseph Lawrence, RCAF R.70294 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Eric James Burbridge, RAFVR 1392526 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Tom Pascoe, RAFVR 1308491 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:11 – Landed 22:12
Flight Time crashed after take-off

During take-off at 21:45hrs, three aircraft swung badly but this was promptly rectified and they became airborne. Then R9245 (Sgt Franklin) experienced similar wind effect causing it to swing dangerously, but Franklin kept power on to counter it and continued the take-off attempt. The aircraft became airborne briefly but crashed a mile away from the airfield. Two mines exploded and all the crew were killed. It was later established that the starboard undercarriage had hit Devil’s Dyke (a mound around the perimeter) and broke off the oil tank to the starboard inner engine, causing it to seize.

WELCH, Harold Rangi RNZAF


WELLS, Roy Albert

Sgt. Roy Albert Wells, RAFVR 1802473 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 21 on the 5th of October 1944.
Son of Charles Albert and Evelyn May Wells; Husband of Joyce Violet Wells, of Egham, Surrey.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – Coll. grave 8. G. 10-14.
‘Deep in our hearts
A memory is kept
Of one we loved
And shall never forget’

05/10/1944 – Attack Against Saarbrucken
Thirty one aircraft took off as detailed to attack the railway centre at Saarbrucken. They all reached the target area but only fourteen bombed before the Master Bomber issued instructions to abandon the mission. Bombing appeared scattered, and the raid was unsatisfactory. The aircraft captained by NZ 427481 F/Sgt Galletly, A. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III ND904 AA-B “Target for Tomorrow Night”

F/S Alan Russell Galletly, RNZAF NZ427481 – Pilot.
F/S Stuart Edwin Mosley, RNZAF NZ426106 – Navigator.
Sgt. Roy Albert Wells, RAFVR 1802473 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Samuel Hond, RAFVR 1214443 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Peter Eric Tuthill, RAFVR 2211929 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Arthur Kitchener Sutton, RAFVR 1816276 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Peter Cooke, RAFVR 1816385 – Rear Gunner.

ND904 collided with Lancaster PD344 from 115 RAF Squadron over Wolsfeld, Kreis Bitburg, NW of Trier, Germany. There were no survivors on either aircraft. All crew members were initially buried in the Wolsfeld Churchyard but later re-interred in the British Military cemetery, at Rheinberg (North West of Duisburg)


WELSH, Neville Henry

F/S Neville Henry Welsh, RNZAF NZ391334 – Observer.
Killed age 20 on the 15th of October 1941
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. C. 3-4.

15/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Boulogne
Ten Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 250 lb GP’s and containers of incendiaries. Captains report that bombs were dropped on the target by estimation, but owing to slight haze over the target results were not seen. A considerable amount of heavy AA fire was experienced in and around the target area. Fire was accurate over Aachen. Searchlight activity was intense throughout the route but ineffective in the target area because of the cloud. Weather was fair en route but thick ground haze over all target area. Navigation was by Astro, D/R, QDM. Pinpointing and Lorenz check. Two of these aircraft, Z8945, captained by Sgt Barker, and X9916, captained by Sgt Matetich failed to return to base.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9916 AA-

Sgt. John Anthony Matetich, RAFVR 778235 – Pilot.
Sgt. Frederick Lionel Roy Wood, RNZAF NZ404439 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Neville Henry Welsh, RNZAF NZ391334 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Harry Worledge, RAFVR 755764 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Arthur Service, RAFVR 749347 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Frederick Barkhouse, RCAF R.65416 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9916 was lost over Cologne.The circumstances are unclear as to what caused the aircraft to crash. All the crew were killed and later buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/neville-henry-welsh © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/neville-henry-welsh © New Zealand War Graves Project


WEST, Robert William    MiD

P/O Robert William ‘Bobby’ West, RAFVR 195545 – Wireless Operator.
Lost without trace age 22 on the 21st of March 1945.
Son of Robert William and Lilian West, of West Hartlepool, Co. Durham.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 269.

21/03/1945 – Attack Against Munster Viaduct
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Muster Viaduct. There was hardly any cloud over the target. It is thought that the concentration was good although the formation was broken up just prior to bombing. Three aircraft failed to return from this operation – AA”T”, NZ42451 F/L J. Plummer, AA”R” NZ429139 P/O A. Brown and JN”P” 190947 P/O D.S. Barr. All three aircraft were seen to hit in the target area. Considerable H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I RA564 JN-P

F/O Derek Singleton Barr, RAFVR 1394583/ 190947 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Leslie Archibald Oakey, RNZAF NZ4213810 – Navigator.
Sgt. Dryden Stewart, RAFVR 1673061 – Air Bomber.
W/O Robert William ‘Bobby’ West, RAFVR 195545 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Clifford Isaac Stocker, RAFVR 1587275 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Bruce Henry Nicholl, RAFVR 746205 – Mid Upper Gunner.
W/O Alwyn Amos, RAFVR 1578224 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.I RA564 JN-P was bombing the target at Munster when it was struck by a bomb falling from another aircraft flying above, which exploded. There were no survivors. Only the body of the rear gunner was found and buried at Margraten, Holland. The other crew members have no known graves.


WESTERMAN, Victor Kenneth

F/S Victor Kenneth Westerman, RNZAF NZ41970 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 24 on the 29th of July 1942.
Son of Ernest Alfred and Janet Westerman, of Hastings, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – Coll. grave 14. F. 12-14.

28/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack on the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area and bursts were seen in dock area. A.A. fire was very accurate, light and heavy predicted. There were many accurate searchlight cones in parts but clear over target. Navigation was good by TR and DR. Six a/c failed to return to base

Wellington Mk.III X.3664 AA-X/Q/V

F/L Peter John Wilson, RNZAF NZ402475 – Pilot.
F/S Victor Kenneth Westerman, RNZAF NZ41970 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Hylton Brisco, RNZAF NZ411204 – Observer.
F/S Ronald Fraser Davis, RNZAF NZ403569 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RAF? NZ391857 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Edwin Caitcheon, RNZAF NZ404016 – Rear Gunner.

The Wellington was shot down by AA fire near the target area, crashing at Fischbek, 18 miles SE of Stade. None of the crew survived. They were buried initially in a collective grave at Stade but later reinterred at Becklingen.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/victor-kenneth-westerman © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/victor-kenneth-westerman © New Zealand War Graves Project


WESTON, Albert John

F/S Albert John Weston, RAFVR 1115103 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 29 on the 20th of November 1944.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 29. B. 1-16.

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.I PB689 AA-X
Missing – Heavy Flak

F/O Ronald Gordon, RAFVR 1580245/ 185116 – Pilot.
P/O John Robson Bell, RAFVR 173943 – Navigator.
F/S Albert John ‘Mick’ Weston, RAFVR 1115103 – Air Bomber.
F/O Louis David Sampson, RAFVR 186413 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Carl Robert Freeman, RAFVR 189608 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Sidney George Hone, RAFVR 2221190 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Leonard Forrester, RAFVR 3010665 – Rear Gunner.

PB609 encountered heavy flak after bombing, when approximately 8mls NE of Moers and the aircraft was seen to explode and crash. There were no survivors. All the crew were buried in the Reichswald Forest Cemetery

A J Weston


WESTON, Robert

P/O Robert Weston, RAFVR 111532 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 34 on the 9th of June 1942.
Son of Harold and Gertrude Weston; Husband of May Weston, of Maidstone, Kent.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – 20. A. 9.
‘To live in the hearts
Of those we love Is not to die’

08/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4 lb inc was dropped in the target area. Owing to haze results were not observed. There was a heavy concentration of flak and searchlights in target area. Two unidentified a/c were observed near Dutch Coast by Well.III, X3720 and were eluded. Weather was good no cloud over target but hazy. Navigation was very good. Well.III, X3587, captained by P/O. Smith and Well.III, Z1573, captained by P/O Murdoch failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III Z.1573 AA-T

P/O Graham Edward ‘Stinker’ Murdoch, RNZAF NZ411927 – Pilot.
Sgt. Albert William O’Dowd, RNZAF NZ41544 – Observer.
P/O Robert Weston, RAFVR 111532 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leon Gaston Knight, RNZAF NZ405494 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Lewis Morris, RAFVR 617843 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.III Z.1573 AA-T was shot down, possibly by a night fighter over the Netherlands. It crashed into the Krabbenkreek between St. Philipsland and the Anna Jacobapolder (Zeeland), 20km North West of Bergen-op-Zoom.


WESTWOOD, Reginald Francis

P/O Reginald Francis Westwood, RAAF AUS.416471 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 20 on the 5th of May 1943.
Son of Alphonso Charles and Margaret Amy Westwood, of Brooklyn Park, South Australia.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 191.

05/05/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with Mines of 1500lb. One aircraft, however, failed to take-off and one failed to return. The remaining four aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and all the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A.Fire was encountered, but it was ineffective. No enemy aircraft were seen. There was broken cloud in the mining area, although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. EF.340, captained by Sgt. R.F. Westwood.

Stirling Mk.I EF430 AA-Q

Sgt. Reginald Francis Westwood, RAAF AUS.416471 – Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Henry Waldron Bentley, RNZAF NZ414580 – Navigator.
Sgt. Erwin Henry Reubin Lamb, RNZAF NZ413709 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Harkness, RAFVR 1127681 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Horace Bennetton, RAFVR 1281626 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Gilbert Humphreys Rogers, RAFVR 1382746 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John McLaren Boswell, RNZAF NZ414491 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I EF430 AA-Q was engaged by AA fire while transiting the Dutch coastal area and was brought down in the Waddenzee, South East of Vlieland, at 01:15hrs. None of the crew survived. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WHATLEY, Timothy

Sgt. Timothy Whatley, RAFVR 1314153 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 22 on the 6th of September 1943.
Son of Alfred and Eva Jessie Whatley.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 18. B. 13-15.
‘Proud memories
Of a dear son and brother’

05/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft had trouble shortly after take-off and was forced to jettison its bombs four miles north of CAMBRIDGE. The attack was well concentrated and large fires together with heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. One aircraft on the return journey when near the FRENCH Coast was hit by A.A. fire. It received considerable damage and two of its engines were made unserviceable. The ENGLISH Coast was reached however, it belly-landed at Hunsden. Many fighters were seen and some combats took, place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.BATGER sighted an enemy aircraft on the port quarter which opened fire on them and our aircraft corkscrewed. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunner then opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground in flames. It was claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received considerable damage and the Flight Engineer Sgt. R. DALKINS was seriously wounded. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. R. WHITMORE sighted an enemy aircraft 100yds. astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft was seen to turn over and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was flowed by another enemy aircraft approaching from starboard to port astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. One minute later an unidentified aircraft was seen firing at a Lancaster aircraft, which was afire. F/Sgt. WHITMORE’s Mid-Upper and Rear Gunners opened fire on the enemy aircraft, which disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up. Some cloud was encountered on the way to the target, but there was a clear sky and visibility was good in the target area. Navigation was very good. One aircraft failed to return, it was captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON, E.S.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

F/S Ernest Stanley Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ417138 – Pilot.
F/S Gordon Noel Simes, RNZAF NZ415376 – Navigator.
F/S Neil Gordon Roy Treacher, RNZAF NZ416418 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jeffery James Waterman, RAFVR 1312274 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Timothy Whatley, RAFVR 1314153 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. E.S. Robson, RAFVR 1810690 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S George Stanley Wilkinson, RAFVR 642538 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N was brought down at Schwanheim, 2.5miles West North West of Bensheim. Only the Navigator, Air Bomber and Mid Upper Gunner survived but were captured as P.o.W’s. The Captain, Flight Engineer, Wireless Operator and Rear Gunner were buried initially at Schwanheim, but later reinterred at Rheinberg War Cemetery.


WHATMOUGH, Thomas

F/S Thomas Whatmough, RAFVR 1059932 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 30 on the 12th of June 1943.
Son of Thomas and Mercer E. Whatmough; Husband of Alice Mary Whatmough, of Patchway, Gloucestershire.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Coll. grave 9. D. 2-7.
‘He died
That we might live
Too dearly loved to be forgotten’

11/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb.,1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to return and two returned early owing to engine trouble. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Many large fires and huge explosions were seen. Moderate and heavy A.A.fire co-operating with search lights were encountered. One aircraft was coned by searchlights, but violent evasive action eventually avoided them with difficulty. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was clear and the visibility was good except for haze caused by the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stiring Mk.III BK817 captained by Squadron Leader R.H. Laud, (“A” Flight Commander).

Stirling Mk.III BK817 AA-B

S/L Ronald Hugh Laud, RAF 40625 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Herbert Russell, RAFVR 1338131 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Hugh Steel McQuade, RAFVR 1349542) – Navigator.
Sgt. Henry Stephen Mulholland, RAFVR 1332768 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Thomas, Whatmough, RAFVR 1059932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Aubrey Reginald Waite, RAFVR 575638 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frederick John Hawkins, RAFVR 1299618 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. M.K. Matthews, RAFVR 848364 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BK817 AA-B was shot down en route to the target at 01:35hrs by a night-fighter (Oblt Wilhelm Telge, Stab II/ NJG1), crashing at Frodthier (Liège), 6 miles North of Verviers, Belgium. All but the Rear Gunner died and they are buried at Heverlee War Cemetery. Sgt Matthews survived


WHITCOMBE, William Henry

Sgt. William Henry Whitcombe, RNZAF NZ41561 – Observer.
Killed age 32 on the 16th of December 1942.
Son of Eric Whitcombe and of Jane Morton Whitcombe (Nee Henderson), of Pahiatua, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Newmarket Cemetery, Suffolk, England..
Grave location – Plot O. Grave 399.

16/12/1942 – Operations. Gardening off Bordeaux
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with 1500lb. vegetables. The take-off was rather cross wind and unfortunately during take-off the wind backed severely so that the flare path was dead cross wind. Three aircraft swung violently on take-off. Then Sergeant Franklin tried to take-off in Stirling I, R9245, it swung as violently as the other aircraft, but went on, straightened and got airborne, only to crash a mile away from the aerodrome. Two mines exploded and all of the crew were killed. It later transpired that the starboard under carriage carried away the oil tank to the starboard inner engine and this is presumed to have seized, causing the aircraft to spin into the ground. No other aircraft took off after this. The three aircraft who successfully took off all planted their vegetables in the allotted area. Some light tracer and a few searchlights were encountered, no enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was variable with heavy rain and hail storms over the garden area, but clear generally. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I R.9245 AA-?

Sgt. Benjamin Allan Franklin, RNZAF NZ414277 – Pilot.
Sgt William Henry Whitcombe, RNZAF NZ41561 – Navigator.
Sgt. Edgar William Harvey, RNZAF NZ41902 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Harold Rangi Welch, RNZAF NZ41709 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Joseph Lawrence, RCAF R.70294 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Eric James Burbridge, RAFVR 1392526 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Tom Pascoe, RAFVR 1308491 – Rear Gunner.

During take-off at 21:45hrs, three aircraft swung badly but this was promptly rectified and they became airborne. Then R9245 (Sgt Franklin) experienced similar wind effect causing it to swing dangerously, but Franklin kept power on to counter it and continued the take-off attempt. The aircraft became airborne briefly but crashed a mile away from the airfield. Two mines exploded and all the crew were killed. It was later established that the starboard undercarriage had hit Devil’s Dyke (a mound around the perimeter) and broke off the oil tank to the starboard inner engine, causing it to seize.

WHITCOMBE, William Henry RNZAF


WHITE, Lewis Alan 

Sgt. Lewis Alan White, DFM, RAFVR 626213 – Front Gunner.
Killed age 20 on the 20th of September 1940.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. C. White, of Derby.
Buried Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Coll. grave XII. H. 1-5.
‘Everlasting remembrance
Of our dear son.
Mam, dad and family’

20/09/1940 – Bombing Attacks Against Enemy Territory
Nine Wellington aircraft wee detailed to carry out the above operations. The bomb load was made up of 250lbs. bombs and containers of 4lbs. incendiaries.
CB.157 reports that a large fire was started in docks standing alongside No. 1 basin (with lockgate) and seen to burn for 50 minutes, and grow to size of a hangar. Lockgates were hit with a stick of 10 – 250lbs. bombs.
CB.158 reports that all bombs were dropped in one stick bursting down dock area between the two basins. One large fire started. Still burning 20 minutes later.
CB.159 reports that one stick laid across docks observed to make direct hits. Fires and explosions followed which could be seen on second climb. One stick five N.D.T. and one S.B.C. laid longitudinal across 15/20,000 tone vessel. First bomb 40-50yds astern, remainder either direct hits or very near misses.
CB.160 reports that bombs were dropped in one stick across harbour entrance. Large fires observed on N.E. side of harbour mouth started by incendiaries.
CB.162 reports eight bombs burst in target area though no fires started. A large fire was started in the deck area but was apparently caused by a machine bombing at exactly the same time.
CB.164 dropped one stick of six 250lbs bombs on N.W. heading which was seen to burst in vicinity of tidal basin. One stick of five 250lbs bombs and one S.B.C. dropped on S.E. heading was seen to burst on jetty of fish harbour. Incendiary fires observed to seaward side of fort on north side of harbour entrance.
CB.165 dropped first stick in Nos. 1 and 2 basins heading 180° approximately. A second stick and one S.B.C. was dropped in No.3 Basin heading 045° approximately.
One stick and S.B.C was dropped by CB.163 on Eastern side of outer harbour wharves. Bombs exploded, but no fires observed.
Several large fires were seen and were visible for miles after leaving target area. CB.157 reports that a plane was shot down north of the docks at 22.35 hours. Barge concentration seen on OSTEND-BRUGES CANAL. Submarine or “E” boat observed by CB159 signalling in morse short distances from Belgium coast. This aircraft also encountered flak barrage in mid-channel. Parachute flare dropped and two searchlights and light flak, presumably from British convoy, observed by CB160.
Fairly heavy and accurate A.A. fire encountered in all areas.
Searchlights were fairly active, although not particularly accurate.
One ME.110 was encountered by CB.157 off target coast, but owing to the speed of the former, no contact was made. Two unidentified aircraft were encountered over target area by CB.159 but no attack made.
Weather was good in target areas, although patches of cloud were encountered over North Sea.
Navigation was by D/R, visual fixes, map reading and homing bearings.

Wellington Mk.1c T.2463 AA-E
Raid No. CB.161

P/O Michael Ryves Braun, RAF 42390 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alfred Joseph Green, RAF 741824 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Joseph Edward McCormick, RAF 580801 – Navigator.
Sgt. Norman McDonald, RAF 755134 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Lindsay Douglas Anderson, RNZAF NZ391321 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Lewis Alan White, RAF 626213 – Rear Gunner .

Wellington Mk.1c T.2463 AA-E,  was shot down by coastal anti-aircraft batteries, crashing near Leffinge, Belgium, 8km South South West of Ostend. All crew members were killed.


WHITE, Reginald William Bryant

Sgt. Reginald William Bryant White, RAFVR 755956 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 20 on the 24th of October 1940.
Son of William Herbert and Ethel Ruth White, of Homsey, Middlesex.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 20.

23/10/1940 – Bombing Attacks on Berlin, Potsdam Station, D.148.
Five Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One, CB.362, captained by P/O Sanderson, failed to return. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs. Bomb, delayed action, 500lbs. Bombs delayed action, 500lbs. Nombs fused N.D.T., 250lbs delayed action, 250lbs. bombs fused N.D.T., containers of incendiaries, while CB.359 carried one flash bomb.
CB.358 reports results were not observed owing to two layers of cloud.
CB.359 attacked flarepath probably east of Berlin, bursts unobserved, but incendiaries observed burning 300 yards short of flarepath.
CB361 reports bombs seen to burst in vicinity of NEURUPPIN Aerodrome. No fires started.
NO results were observed by CB.368 due to intensity of searchlights.
EELDE Aerodrome lit with electric flare path and boundary lights. Red beacon at decoy aerodrome. Beacon flashing C.F. 530 3N 0450E. White beacon flashing 5 secs. approximately AMELAND.
A.A. fire was heavy and accurate.
Searchlights were few, and not very accurate owing to cloud. No enemy aircraft were seen. Heavy cloud was experienced in all areas. Navigation was by D/R, Astro and Q.D.M’s.

Wellington Mk.1c P.9292 AA-C

P/O Rex Martyn Sanderson, RAF 42727 – Pilot.
P/O William John Finlayson, RNZAF NZ39911 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Reginald William Bryant White, RAFVR 755956 – Observer.
Sgt. Jack Gibbs, RAFVR 625697 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Grice Hitchmough, RAFVR 653978 – Front Gunner.
P/O Frederick Bernard Cleak, RAF 77961 – Rear Gunner .

Wellington Mk.Ic P.9292 AA-C is known to have crashed into the North Sea off the Danish Coast. Returning from Berlin, it appears that the aircraft might have fallen prey to a number of German night-fighters that were known to be operating in this airspace. All of the crew, with the exception of P/O Frederick Cleak, were lost without trace and are remembered on the Runneymede Memorial. P/O Cleak, whose body was recovered was buried in Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery in Denmark.

RWB White


WHITE, William George Henry

Sgt. William George Henry White, RNZAF NZ41717 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 27 on the 17th of December 1942.
Son of William White and of Sarah Elizabeth White (Nee Nolan), of Kutarere, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 17. A. 13.

17/12/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Fallersleben
Five aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 1,000lb. This was to be a low level flight all the way climbing to 5,000feet to bomb. Four out of the five aircraft unfortunately failed to return. They were the Squadron Commander, Wing Commander V. Mitchell, D.F.C., captain of Stirling I BF396 who took W/O Bagnall and crew who had only arrived a few days previously. Stirling I,BF400 captained by F/O Jacobson, Stirling 1, BK620 captained by P/O R.E. Williams, and Stirling I, R9247 captained by F/Sgt. Rousseau. The one aircraft to return was captained by P/O McCullough who could not find the target owing to rain and bad visibility, and bombed an alternative. This was an aerodrome, the bombs were seen to explode on the flare path and hangars. A.A. fore was fairly heavy and a few searchlights were seen. The aircraft was twice attacked by fighters but they were driven off on each occasion, on return the aircraft was found to have four holes believed due to combat with one of the fighters. The weather was clear to the target but developed to rain and 7/10th cloud on return. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I BF.460 AA-G

F/O Gerald Howard Jacobson, RNZAF NZ41333 – Pilot.
Sgt Walter Duncan McAlpine, RNZAF NZ403551 – Navigator.
Sgt. Eric Lumley Durham Ashwin, RNZAF NZ41563 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Wallace Frederick Stokes, RNZAF NZ412362 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. L.A. Hoff, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Charles Lucas, RCAF 1312083 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William George Henry White, RNZAF NZ41717 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I BF.460 AA-G was shot down over Germany, crashing at Ankum, 20 miles North North West of Osnabruck. This was very near the point where Rousseau crew  crashed on the same night. None of the crew survived. They were initially buried at Ankum but later reinterred at the Rheinberg Cemetery, near Wessel.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/william-george-henry-white © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/william-george-henry-white © New Zealand War Graves Project


WHITEHART, John Herbert

Sgt. John Herbert Whitehart, RAFVR 964185 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Lost without trace age 23 on the 28th of April 1943.
Son of Arthur and Harriet Whitehart, of Ipswich, Suffolk.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 169.

28/04/1943 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Eight aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs. One of these aircraft returned early owing to its compass being faulty and four failed to return. The remaining three aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered which is believed to have come from an A.A. ship in the mining area. No enemy aircraft were seen. Visibility was fairly good, with scattered cloud in the mining area. Navigation was very good. Stirlings Mk.1 R9290, Sgt. A. Lewis, W.7513 – Sgt. K. Halliburton, BF.467 – P/O D. Thompson, Mk.III BK664 – P/O. D.V. Hamer, failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I R9290 AA-Y

Sgt. Alfred Edward Lewis, RAAF AUS.412458 – Pilot.
Sgt. Henry George Corin, RNZAF NZ417269 – Navigator.
P/O Charles John Bickman, RAFVR 49977 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Frederick Arthur Moulton, RAFVR 1292879 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Andrew Graham, RAFVR 1369996 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Herbert Whitehart, RAFVR 964185 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Victor Charles Howes, RNZAF NZ413418 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I R9290 AA-Y was operating in the ‘Radish’ area of the Fehmar-Belt, in the Baltic, and was brought down in the sea off the Danish Island of Lolland, to the West of the Vesternaes. There were no survivors.

The crew is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WHITEHOUSE, Keith Owen

F/O Keith Owen Whitehouse, RNZAF NZ428800 – Pilot.
Killed age 23 on the 25th of July 1944.
Son Of Harold Owen Whitehouse And Fanny Whitehouse, Of Khandallah, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Cronenbourg French National (Mixed) Cemetery, Strasbourg, France..
Grave location – L. 9. Coll. Grave 5-11.

24/07/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Twenty one aircraft took off as detailed to attack Stuttgart. Eighteen aircraft bombed the target with the aid of markers, but the raid appeared to be scattered. One aircraft returned early with engine trouble. Intense A.A. fire was encountered over the target, and fighters were fairly active, two aircraft having combats. Two aircraft failed to return, these were captained by NZ415216 P/O. J. McRae & NZ428800 P/O. K. Whitehouse.

Lancaster Mk.I HK568 AA-K

P/O Keith Owen Whitehouse, RNZAF NZ428899 – Pilot.
F/S Jack Thomas Miliner, RAAF AUS.426367 – Navigator.
F/S Ray Steele Horsford, RAFVR 1387835 – Air Bomber.
W/O Keat Dudding, RNZAF NZ415522 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Bernard Leighton, RAFVR 2209941 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Robert Charles Baker, RAFVR 1624103 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S George Alfred Badge Taverner, RAAF AUS.429835 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.I HK568 AA-K was brought down at 02.10hrs by an enemy fighter near the French/German border, on the northern outskirts of Strasbourg. All crew members were killed. They are buried in a collective grave in the French National Cemetery, at Chronenbourg.


WHITELAW, Clifford James

F/S Clifford James Whitelaw, RNZAF NZ416188 – Air Bomber.
Lost without trace age 22 on the 25th of June 1943.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. M. F. M. Whitelaw, of Whangarei, Auckland, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 199.

25/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Eleven aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets, with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Owing to 10/10ths cloud it was difficult to estimate the effectiveness of the attack, although the glow of fires below the cloud, could be seen over a large area. Both moderate and heavy A.A.fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but were ineffective. Sergt. Burley’s aircraft sighted an unidentified aircraft from astern, the Stirling corkscrewed and the mid-upper-gunner and rear gunners opened fire. The unidentified aircraft was seen to dive to the ground and a fire and flash were seen. The aircraft was claimed to be destroyed. Some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. It was very cloudy in the target area and visibility was poor. Navigation was good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III BK768 captained by F/O Perrott.

Stirling Mk.III BK768 AA-L

P/O William Rosser ‘Ross’ Perrott, RNZAF NZ416155 – Pilot.
F/S Gordon Douglas Thompson, RNZAF NZ42317 – Navigator.
F/S Clifford James Whitelaw, RNZAF NZ416188 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Charles Cyril Mould, RAFVR 1314162 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Webster Hilditch, RAFVR 611325 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Gordon William Colyer, RAFVR 1809432 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Harry Squire , RAFVR 1302829 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BK768 AA-L fell victim to the fearsome German night-fighter defensive system, operating as a radar-controlled ‘box’ along the Netherlands/ Belgium coast. Following a night-fighter attack, the Stirling crashed into the Ijsselmeer. The bodies of both Air Gunners and the Captain were recovered and buried in Amsterdam. The Navigator’s body was washed ashore on the 4th of  July near Harderwijk, where he was buried.

The Flight Engineer, Air Bomber and Wireless-operator are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WHITEMAN, John Charles Lawrence

Sgt. John Charles Lawrence Whiteman, RAFVR 1234862 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 21 on the 26th of May 1943.
Son of Williamson Charles and Evangeline Ethel Whiteman, of Shrewley Common, Warwickshire.
Buried Ostende New Communal Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Plot 9. Row 5. Grave 18.
‘At the going down
Of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember thee’

25/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Four aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and one failed to return. The remaining eleven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and some large explosions were also seen. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered, co-operating with searchlights, which were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. Ten tenths cloud was prevalent in the target area, but visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. This missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. BK602, captained by Sergeant T.W. Darton.

Stirling Mk.I BK602 AA-R

Sgt. Thomas William Darton, RNZAF NZ416465 – Pilot.
Sgt. Dudley Dobson Coates, RNZAF NZ421318 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Milton Patrick Riordan, RNZAF NZ422668 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John Charles Lawrence Whiteman, RAFVR 1234862 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alick McQuater, RAFVR 1369879 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stephen Redpath, RAFVR 1572718 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Philip Wilshire, RAFVR 1170594 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I BK602 AA-R was shot down by a night-fighter off the Belgian/French coast and went down into the sea off IJmuiden. The attack probably took place within the dreaded German air defensive ‘Box’ when BK602 was en route to the target area. Four bodies were recovered and identified as Sergeant’s Coates, Whiteman, Redpath and Willsher. Coates and Whiteman are buried in Oostende New Communal Cemetery; Redpath lies in Dunkerque Town Cemetery and Wilsher in Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

Sergeant’s Darton, McQuarter and Riordan are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WHITING, Norman Edward

Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 27 on the 16th of May 1942.
Son of Charles and Elizabeth Annie Whiting, of Tinwald, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. B. 10.

13/05/1942 – Gardening – Kiel Bay
Eight Wellington aircraft were detailed from this Unit to carry out the above operations. One aircraft, X.3482, captained by F/S. Fraser, failed to return to base. Vegetables were sown successfully and bombs were dropped on shipping in the vicinity. In accurate flak from flak ships was encountered. The weather was fine throughout the whole operation. Navigation was by D/R. Astro, TR, loop.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J

F/S Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RAFVR 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RNZAF 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

The presence of enemy ‘flak’ shipping in Kiel Bay was a clear indication that Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J probably received AA fire of sufficient intensity to cause serious handling difficulties for the pilot and crew. The aircraft subsequently came down in the sea off the North Frisian Islands, near the Island of Sylt. All the crew perished.

Their bodies were later recovered and laid to rest in Westerland Friedhof. After the war their bodies were taken to the Kiel War Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/norman-edward-whiting © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/norman-edward-whiting © New Zealand War Graves Project


WHITMORE, Richard Charles

P/O Richard Charles Whitmore, RNZAF NZ421123 – Pilot.
Killed age 22 on the 28th of September 1943.
Son of Christopher John and Charlotte Whitmore, of Pukekohe East, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Hanover War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 8. C. 1.

27/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hanover
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. Two aircraft failed to return and one returned owing to its rear turret being unserviceable. The remainder dropped their bombs in the target area. This was an exceedingly successful and well concentrated attack, considered to be even better than the previous one. Numerous large fires and columns of smoke rising to 12,000ft., were seen, and the fires were again visible at the DUTCH Coast. Very moderate and ineffective heavy A.A. fire, numerous searchlights and flares were encountered. Many enemy aircraft were seen and several combats took place. The air craft captained by F/Sgt. HORGAN, D. had a combat with a JU88 which was claimed to be destroyed. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. BURTON, H., sighted a JU88 and the Rear Gunner fired, it was seen to fall in flames and was claimed as destroyed. Two other short combats took place and one of our aircraft received slight damage. The weather was poor on the outward and return journeys, but good with clear visibility over the target. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.III, EF515 captained by Sgt. MARTIN, R., and EH877 captained by F/Sgt. WHITMORE, R.

Stirling Mk.III EH877 JN-C

F/S Richard Charles Whitmore, RNZAF NZ421123 – Pilot.
F/O David Maurice Adamson, RNZAF NZ415052 – Navigator.
Sgt. Hugh Munn, RAFVR 1349759 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Frederick Charles Cowan, RAFVR 1387682 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Bosworth Beresford, RAFVR 1583723 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frederick John Charles Chesson, RAFVR 1336122 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Tame Hawaikirangi Waerea, RNZAF NZ421300 – Rear Gunner.

The Whitmore crew in Stirling MK.III EH877 JN-C, took off between 19:45 and 20:00hrs to join a main force of 678 aircraft attacked Hanover the second time that month. Although the attack was well concentrated, incorrectly forecast wind speeds, used by the Pathfinders to mark the target, resulted in the center of the city being spared – the majority of bombs falling approximately 5 miles North of Hanover city center.

There is little information regarding the exact cause of loss of EH877. Some, sources report seeing it falling in flames, the aircraft apparently breaking up in the air prior to final impact.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/richard-charles-whitmore © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/richard-charles-whitmore © New Zealand War Graves Project


WHITTA, Neville Bruce

F/S Neville Bruce Whitta, RNZAF NZ416566 – Pilot.
Killed age 20 on the 16th of August 1943.
Son of Alfred Vivian and Constance Eva Whitta, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Buried Olonne-Sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – I. E. 4.

15/08/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs.. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to inter-communication failure and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and parachutes were seen to open. Some heavy A.A. fire was encountered and one aircraft was slightly hit in the fuselage. The weather was good with clear visibility. Navigation was very good. One aircraft, whilst returning across FRANCE at 200 feet, shot up four trains, the engine of one was seen to explode and the other three appeared hit. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE891 captained by F/Sgt. WHITTA, N.B.

Stirling Mk.III EE891 AA-Q

F/S Neville Bruce Whitta, RNZAF NZ416566 – Pilot.
P/O John George Turnbull, RNZAF NZ42490 – Navigator.
Sgt. Michael Costello, RCAF R.123094 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Frederick Andrews, RAFVR 1263093 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick David Mason, RAFVR 1230433 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Basil George Crisp, RAFVR 1215484 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Jack Edmond Lovewell, RAFVR 1333957 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EE891 AA-Q was brought down off the French coast either by enemy aircraft action or AA ground fire. The bodies of the Captain, Wireless Operator and Mid Upper Gunner were recovered and buried at Olonne-sur-Mer. The body of the RCAF Air Bomber was also recovered and buried at Les Sables-d ́Olonne. The other missing crew members are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WHITTINGTON, Eric Richmond

F/S Eric Richmond Whittington, RNZAF NZ416030 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 22 on the 22nd of November 1943.
Son of Walter Benjamin and Beatrix Nellie Whittington, of Pakowhai, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 9. A. 19.

22/11/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Four aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lbs and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to an Oxygen failure and two failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped its bombs in the Target Area. It was very difficult to assess the results as there was 10/10ths cloud over the target. Little opposition was encountered and no incidents were reported. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III LJ453 Captained by F/S A.Single and EF148 Captained by F/S. J. TURNER.

Stirling Mk.III LJ453 AA-K

F/S Alan Roy Single, RAAF AUS.413144 – Pilot.
F/O Jack Brothwell, RAFVR 135042 – Navigator.
F/S John Edward Stanley Margetts, RNZAF NZ422665 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Eric Richmond Whittington, RNZAF NZ416030 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ivor George Holbrook, RAFVR 937367 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Victor Stanley Hughes, RAFVR 1796312 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Arthur George Bernard, RNZAF NZ424964 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III LJ453 AA-K was brought down over Germany, crashing about a mile South South East of Arlen, between Gemmerich and Dolberg. The lack of AA fire in the target area suggested that a night fighter was probably responsible for the loss of the Stirling.

There were no survivors. The seven crew were buried at Achmer, and later reinterred at Reichswald Forest Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/eric-richmond-whittington © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/eric-richmond-whittington © New Zealand War Graves Project


WHITTINGTON, Harold

P/O Harold Whittington, RNZAF NZ42488 – Pilot.
Killed age 26 on the 21st of July 1944.
Son of John Richard and Minnie Whittington, of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Uden War Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – 3. I. 2. 203

20/07/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty six aircraft took off, as detailed, to attack the oil refinery at Homberg. Nineteen aircraft were successful in bombing the target, with the aid of markers, which seemed well concentrated. Two good explosions were seen and smoke came up from the target area. Heavy A.A. fire was moderate, but fighters were very active, eight combats taking place. Seven aircraft failed to return, the captains were AUS22776 W/O. Gilmour, H., NZ428819 F/S. Howell, E., NZ421829 F/S. Mackay, K., NZ422057 F/S. Davidson, N., NZ42488 W/O. Whittington, H., NZ413219 F/S. Roche, G. & NZ414560 P/O. Burtt, H.

Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R

W/O Harold ‘Dick’ Whittington, RNZAF NZ42488 – Pilot.
F/O Joseph Stevens, RAFVR 125607 – Navigator.
Sgt. Alfred Alexander Simpson, RNZAF NZ425112 – Air Bomber.
P/O Phillip Edwin Tompkins, RAFVR 157922 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Donald W. Gore, RAFVR 1624691 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald John Morton Batty*, RAFVR 548542 – Mid Upper Gunner.
* ORB for this Op lists Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR as Mid Upper Gunner, however the recorded loss of Sgt. Batty clearly identifies this as an error.
F/S Andrew Crawford Fletcher, RNZAF NZ42675 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R was brought down by an enemy aircraft at 01:33hrs beside a road near Veghel (Noord Brabant), 4 miles South West of Uden. All but the Flight Engineer perished in the crash and were buried in the local War Cemetery, Uden. Sgt Gore, survived but was taken as a P.o.W.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/harold-whittington © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/harold-whittington © New Zealand War Graves Project


WILCOCKSON, Walter Frederick

F/S Walter Frederick Wilcockson, RNZAF NZ42314 – Navigator.
Killed age 34 on the 23rd of June 1943.
Son of Albert George and Mabel Maude Victoria Wilcockson, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand; Husband of Reno Anna Wilcockson, of Christchurch.
Buried Markelo General Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – Plot 4. Row C. Grave 17.

22/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim (actually Mülheim)
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs and 4lbs. Four aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen the whole RUHR area was smoke palled. A very heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights was encountered and five aircraft were slightly hit by A.A. fire, some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. There was 3/10ths cloud on the target area but visibility was fairly good, except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.I EF399 captained by F/S Burbidge, Mk.III EF408 captained by Sgt. Wood, MK.III BK810 captained by W/O McKenzie and Mk.III EH889 captained by F/O McCrorie.

Stirling Mk.I EF399 AA-O

F/S Kenneth Alfred Burbidge, RNZAF NZ412200 – Pilot.
Sgt. Walter Frederick Wilcockson, RNZAF NZ42314 – Navigator.
Sgt. Andrew James McEwen, RNZAF NZ417077 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Donald Ernest Martin, RNZAF NZ413872 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Lockey, RAFVR 1142645 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Gibson Cameron, RAFVR 1304742 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Kenneth Fazackerley Shaw, RAFVR 1132866 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I EF399 AA-O was last heard from at 02:25hrs on a W/T message indicating the aircraft had been badly damaged by AA fire. Soon after, the Stirling was engaged by a night-fighter (Hptm Egmont Prinz zur LippeWeissendfeld, III./NJG1) and shot down at 02:47hrs near Markelo (Overjissel) 12 miles South West of Hengelo, Holland. All the deceased crew were buried in Markelo General Cemetery.

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WILDING, Norman Vaughan

Sgt. Norman Vaughan Wilding, RAFVR 1836301 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 19 on the 29th of July 1944.
Son Of George And Elsie Wilding, Of Brockweir, Gloucestershire.
Buried Yevres Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Joint grave.
‘They are in peace
For God proved them
And found them
Worthy of Himself’

28/07/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Twenty two aircraft set out as detailed to attack Stuttgart. Twenty aircraft successfully bombed the target with the aid of markers, but it is thought that several aircraft undershot, as they appeared to be two concentration of fires 2-3 miles apart. Fighters were very active in the target area and also en route, several aircraft having combats. The aircraft captained by NZ413043 A/S/L. L. Drummond, was attacked five times by a JU88, all of which were indecisive, followed by an attack by an unidentified enemy aircraft which is claimed as destroyed, being seen to go down in flames. At the same time as this our aircraft was also being attacked by two JU88s, one of which was damaged by fire from our aircraft. Two aircraft failed to return, they were captained by NZ421403 A/F/L. N. Stokes & NZ421469 F/O. I. Blance.

Lancaster Mk.III NE148 AA-H “Hells Angel”

F/L Noel Alfred Deal Stokes, RNZAF NZ421403 – Pilot.
F/O John Moore Morris, RNZAF NZ422424 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O George Herbert Sanders, RNZAF NZ424242 – Navigator.
F/S Newton Trevor Sampson, RNZAF NZ421774 – Air Bomber.
F/S William George Raynel, RNZAF NZ424998 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Ralph Meanley, RAFVR 1520572 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Maurice Kennett Peter Drummond, RNZAF NZ425389 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Vaughan Wilding, RAFVR 1836301 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.III NE148 AA-H was one of the aircraft intercepted by night-fighters en route to the target. It was critically damaged by such an attack in which the Rear Gunner was killed; Mid Upper Gunner seriously injured, and one engine put out of action. The bomb load was jettisoned and the Captain initiated a return to base. He ultimately was unable to prevent the aircraft losing height and ordered the crew to bale out. Minutes later NE148 crashed close to the village of Yevres, a mile East of Brau. Both the Pilot and Rear Gunner, who died, were buried in the village cemetery. The remaining six who baled out, all successfully evaded capture.


WILKES, Eric Arthur

Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 22 on the 24th of February 1944.
Son of Charles L. and Florence G. Wilkes, of Stoke, Warwickshire.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 240.

24/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed with a large force to lay mines of 1500 lbs in Kiel Bay, and fourteen returned after completing their mission successfully. One aircraft (Captain NZ42367 F/S. Bruhns H.) is missing, and no news was heard after take-off.

Stirling Mk.III EH948 AA-Q

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler, RNZAF NZ421672 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. James William Harry, RAFVR 1601839 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Rear Gunner.

Little is known of the circumstances causing the loss of Stirling Mk.III EH948 AA-Q, although the body of the RAAF Air-Bomber was found washed ashore near Sønderborg, on the south coast of ALS Island, in the NW area of Kiel Bay. It thus seems likely the aircraft was brought down by AA fire from one or more Flak ships known to patrol Kiel Bay. The remaining six crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WILKINSON, Ernest Stanley

P/O Ernest Stanley Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ417138 – Pilot.
Killed age 25 on the 6th of September 1943.
Son of Stanley Milton Wilkinson and Merle Jane Wilkinson, of Brightwater, Nelson, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 18. B. 13-15.

05/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft had trouble shortly after take-off and was forced to jettison its bombs four miles north of CAMBRIDGE. The attack was well concentrated and large fires together with heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. One aircraft on the return journey when near the FRENCH Coast was hit by A.A. fire. It received considerable damage and two of its engines were made unserviceable. The ENGLISH Coast was reached however, it belly-landed at Hunsden. Many fighters were seen and some combats took, place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.BATGER sighted an enemy aircraft on the port quarter which opened fire on them and our aircraft corkscrewed. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunner then opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground in flames. It was claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received considerable damage and the Flight Engineer Sgt. R. DALKINS was seriously wounded. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. R. WHITMORE sighted an enemy aircraft 100yds. astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft was seen to turn over and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was flowed by another enemy aircraft approaching from starboard to port astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. One minute later an unidentified aircraft was seen firing at a Lancaster aircraft, which was afire. F/Sgt. WHITMORE’s Mid-Upper and Rear Gunners opened fire on the enemy aircraft, which disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up. Some cloud was encountered on the way to the target, but there was a clear sky and visibility was good in the target area. Navigation was very good. One aircraft failed to return, it was captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON, E.S.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

F/S Ernest Stanley Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ417138 – Pilot.
F/S Gordon Noel Simes, RNZAF NZ415376 – Navigator.
F/S Neil Gordon Roy Treacher, RNZAF NZ416418 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jeffery James Waterman, RAFVR 1312274 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Timothy Whatley, RAFVR 1314153 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. E.S. Robson, RAFVR 1810690 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S George Stanley Wilkinson, RAFVR 642538 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N was brought down at Schwanheim, 2.5miles West North West of Bensheim. Only the Navigator, Air Bomber and Mid Upper Gunner survived but were captured as P.o.W’s. The Captain, Flight Engineer, Wireless Operator and Rear Gunner were buried initially at Schwanheim, but later reinterred at Rheinberg War Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/ernest-stanley-wilkinson © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/ernest-stanley-wilkinson © New Zealand War Graves Project


WILKINSON, George Stanley

F/S George Stanley Wilkinson, RAF 642538 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 27 on the 6th of September 1943.
Son of Stanley and Mary Wilkinson; Husband of Elsie Wilkinson, of Denton, Gravesend, Kent.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 18. B. 13-15.

05/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft had trouble shortly after take-off and was forced to jettison its bombs four miles north of CAMBRIDGE. The attack was well concentrated and large fires together with heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. One aircraft on the return journey when near the FRENCH Coast was hit by A.A. fire. It received considerable damage and two of its engines were made unserviceable. The ENGLISH Coast was reached however, it belly-landed at Hunsden. Many fighters were seen and some combats took, place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.BATGER sighted an enemy aircraft on the port quarter which opened fire on them and our aircraft corkscrewed. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunner then opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground in flames. It was claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received considerable damage and the Flight Engineer Sgt. R. DALKINS was seriously wounded. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. R. WHITMORE sighted an enemy aircraft 100yds. astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft was seen to turn over and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was flowed by another enemy aircraft approaching from starboard to port astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. One minute later an unidentified aircraft was seen firing at a Lancaster aircraft, which was afire. F/Sgt. WHITMORE’s Mid-Upper and Rear Gunners opened fire on the enemy aircraft, which disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up. Some cloud was encountered on the way to the target, but there was a clear sky and visibility was good in the target area. Navigation was very good. One aircraft failed to return, it was captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON, E.S.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

F/S Ernest Stanley Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ417138 – Pilot.
F/S Gordon Noel Simes, RNZAF NZ415376 – Navigator.
F/S Neil Gordon Roy Treacher, RNZAF NZ416418 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jeffery James Waterman, RAFVR 1312274 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Timothy Whatley, RAFVR 1314153 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. E.S. Robson, RAFVR 1810690 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S George Stanley Wilkinson, RAFVR 642538 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N was brought down at Schwanheim, 2.5miles West North West of Bensheim. Only the Navigator, Air Bomber and Mid Upper Gunner survived but were captured as P.o.W’s. The Captain, Flight Engineer, Wireless Operator and Rear Gunner were buried initially at Schwanheim, but later reinterred at Rheinberg War Cemetery.


WILKINSON, Richard John

F/S Richard John Wilkinson, RAFVR 1585068 – Navigator.
Killed age 21 on the 21st of July 1944.
Son of John and Annie Wilkinson, of Kilmington, Devon.
Buried Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.
Grave location – Coll. grave 4. H. 2-8. 204
‘Into the sunshine
Of Gods love’

20/07/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty six aircraft took off, as detailed, to attack the oil refinery at Homberg. Nineteen aircraft were successful in bombing the target, with the aid of markers, which seemed well concentrated. Two good explosions were seen and smoke came up from the target area. Heavy A.A. fire was moderate, but fighters were very active, eight combats taking place. Seven aircraft failed to return, the captains were AUS22776 W/O. Gilmour, H., NZ428819 F/S. Howell, E., NZ421829 F/S. Mackay, K., NZ422057 F/S. Davidson, N., NZ42488 W/O. Whittington, H., NZ413219 F/S. Roche, G. & NZ414560 P/O. Burtt, H.

Lancaster Mk.III PA967 AA-D

F/S Edward Howell, RNZAF NZ428819 – Pilot.
Sgt. Richard John Wilkinson, RAFVR 1585068 – Navigator.
F/O John Ronald McGeorge, RAFVR 152740 – Air Bomber.
F/S Gerard Henry Redwood, RNZAF NZ425012 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. John James Blundell, RAFVR 2205143 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Robert Douglas McAdam, RAFVR 2210689 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Leonard Charles Hickford, RNZAF NZ426886 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.III PA967 AA-D was brought down by a night-fighter at approximately 01:00hrs in the countryside some 2.5 miles North of Nederweert (Lisburg) and 2.5 miles from the centre of Weert, Holland. There were no survivors. All crew are buried in the Jonkerbos War Cemetery.


WILKS, Ronald

Sgt. Ronald Wilks, RAFVR 1417280 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 21 on the 23rd of September 1943.
Son of Wilfred Thomas Wilks and Jessie Wilks, of Bryn, Port Talbot, Glamorgan.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 21. B. 15-18.
‘Ever remembered
By mam, dad, Joan & Den.
We miss you.
“Rest in peace”
You did your duty’

23/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to carry the above operation with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb.. Three aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was, undoubtedly, a good attack, concentrated fires which were spreading to the West, and large heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a large curtain of searchlights were encountered, but caused no trouble. Enemy aircraft were very active and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by W/O. P. MOSELEY had a combat with a JU88 which was claimed as a probably destroyed. In the action our aircraft received damage the Pilot W/O. P. MOSELEY and the Mid Upper Sgt. C(?) MIDDLETON were slightly injured. The aircraft captained by P/O A. BURLEY had three combats with enemy aircraft, one of which was claimed as destroyed, the two as  damaged. The weather was good with clear visibility. Navigation was excellent. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.111 EF459 captained by P/O C.C. LOGAN, EH946 captained by F/Lt. G. TURNER , and EH935 captained by F/O L. KIRKPATRICK.

Stirling Mk.III EH936 JN-W

F/L Geoffrey Turner, RCAF J.7326 – Pilot.
F/O Kenneth Albiston, RAFVR 136454 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Hall Cleghorn, RAFVR 1493160 – Navigator.
F/O Arthur Douglas Howlett, RNZAF NZ413335 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Malcolm Victor Bloxham, RAFVR 552574 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Smith Thomson, RAFVR 1374282 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Wilks, RAFVR 1417280 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Christopher Frederick McRae, RCAF R.147326 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EH936 JN-W, was brought down near the target Mannheim, crashing at Dirmstein, 5 miles North of Frankenthal. There were no survivors.


WILLIAMS, John Muir

F/S John Muir Williams, RAAF AUS.401341 – Air bomber.
Killed age 23 on the 29th of April 1943.
Son of Ernest Spencer Williams and Jessie Ellen Williams; husband of Kathleen Rose Williams, of East St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia.
Buried Svino Churchyard, Denmark.
Grave location – Grave 14.
‘John,
Beloved husband of Rose’

28/04/1943 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Eight aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs. One of these aircraft returned early owing to its compass being faulty and four failed to return. The remaining three aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered which is believed to have come from an A.A. ship in the mining area. No enemy aircraft were seen. Visibility was fairly good, with scattered cloud in the mining area. Navigation was very good. Stirlings Mk.1 R9290, Sgt. A. Lewis, W.7513 – Sgt. K. Halliburton, BF.467 – P/O D. Thompson, <k.III BK664 – P/O. D.V. Hamer, failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BF467 AA-W

P/O Desmond Lewis Thompson, RNZAF NZ413152 – Pilot.
F/S James Alexander Ramsay, RCAF R.93418 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Muir Williams, RAAF AUS.401341 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ernest Roy Jenkins, RNZAF NZ405780 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Clifford Abbott, RAFVR 1098896 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Phillips, RAFVR 930235 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Thomas Glendinning, RAFVR 1070166 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I BF467 AA-W came under attack by Kreigsmarine (Flak ship) battery MAA508, positioned between the Fehmarn-Belt and the Lolland Islands, in the Baltic. The aircraft crashed into the sea near Nakskov to the west of Lolland at 00.08hrs. There were no survivors.


WILLIAMS, Roy Arthur

P/O Roy Arthur Williams, RAFVR 140912 – Pilot.
Killed age 21 on the 13th of February 1943.
Son of Ernest and Mary Elizabeth Williams, of Ovingdean, Sussex.
Buried Guidel Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Row 5. Grave 19.
‘Well done.
Thou good
And faithful servant.’

13/02/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Lorient
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 1,000 lb. and 4 lb. incendiaries. Nine aircraft are known to have successfully attacked the target, of the other two, one returned early owing to the mid upper and front turrets being u/s and the other aircraft failed to return. Fires were burning fiercely in the target area, although they appeared to be scattered. F/Lt. Trott had his aircraft damaged by flak at the target, the number two tank on the port side was holed, the trimming tab was hit and his aerial was shot off. He preceeded to Middle Wallop and landed safely. Both heavy and light flak was encountered which was intense at first but later spasmodic and appeared to be swamped. Searchlights were seen in the early part of the attack but later went out. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks were made. The weather was very good with clear visibility and no cloud. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling 1 R9316 captained by Sgt. R.A. Williams.

Stirling Mk.I R9316 AA-K

Sgt. Roy Arthur Williams, RAFVR 1332658/ 140912 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Elgin Browne, RCAF R.107928/ J.16846 – Navigator.
Sgt. H. Sawyer, RAFVR 657922 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. T.H. Smith, RAFVR 1178766 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. K. Gudmunsen, RAFVR 569992 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leonard Willis, RCAF R.92498 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Dudley, Harding-Smith, RNZAF NZ405265 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I R9316 AA-K was hit by flak over the target and fire broke out. The Captain ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft and all but himself and the rear gunner parachuted successfully, landing near Plouay, (Finistere), 11 miles North North East of Lorient. Four were captured and taken prisoner but the fifth, Sgt Willis, RCAF, successfully evaded capture.

The deceased, Sgt’s Williams and Harding-Smith, were buried at Guidel, near Lorient. The latter was the son of the Venerable Archdeacon T J Smith, of Nelson, New Zealand.


WILLIAMS, William Iorwerth

Sgt. William Iorwerth Williams, RAFVR 1413546 – Air bomber.
Killed age 23 on the 11th of June 1944.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Williams, of Llanelly, Carmarthenshire.
Buried Tillieres-Sur-Avre Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Coll. grave. 7
‘God has you in His keeping,
We have you in our hearts’

10/06/1944 – Attack Against Dreux
Of the twenty four aircraft detailed to bomb Dreux, twenty two successfully attacked in good weather, the marshalling yards being visually identified until they were obscured by smoke. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU.88. The aircrafts captained by NZ422098 P/O. L. Bonisch and NZ422267 F/S. Donaghy, T. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK553 AA-S

F/S Thomas Rodgers Donaghy, RNZAF NZ422267 – Pilot.
Sgt. Richard Parkin, RAFVR 1567334 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Iorwerth Williams, RAFVR 1413546 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Harry Douglas Mitchell, RAFVR 1395992 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Jack Vernon Lea, RAFVR 1472369 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.E. Jackson, RAFVR 1336192 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Norman Hylton Dew, RAFVR 749538 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.I HK553 AA-S was attacked by a night-fighter to the west of the target and crashed near Tilliers- sur-Avre, where six of the crew were buried. Sgt Jackson, RAF, the Mid Upper Gunner, survived the crash and successfully evaded capture.


WILLIS, Frederick Arthur William

F/S Frederick Arthur William Willis, RAFVR 1382215 – Air bomber.
Lost without trace age 26 on the 3rd of March 1943.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 140.

03/03/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operations, with mines of 1500 lb. Two of the aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, the other aircraft failed to return. No A.A. fire or searchlights were encountered. Sergt. French the Captain of Stirling 1 BF398, met a JU88 on the homeward journey, after a short exchange of firing the enemy aircraft disappeared. The weather was very clear and visibility was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling 1 N6123, captained by Sgt. R.C.Going.

Stirling Mk.I N6123 AA-Q

Sgt. Raymond Cyril Going, RNZAF NZ414278 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Mervyn Bridgman, RNZAF NZ41866 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Arthur William Willis, RAFVR 1382215 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Kenneth Cedric Eyre, RAFVR 1071970 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Emrys Herbert Weaver, RAFVR 1409013 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Francis Barkhouse Stewart, RAFVR 547841 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Clarence Sydney Burton, RNZAF NZ414493 – Rear Gunner.

Took off from Newmarket to lay mines off the Frisian Islands. Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The crew took off from Newmarket to lay mines off the Frisian Islands, off the coast of Denmark, part of the Squadron’s continuing efforts to disrupt German shipping. Mine-laying operations were often given to rookie crews as they were considered slightly less dangerous. Bomber Command code-named all the waterways after vegetables or fruit, hence these op’s became known as “gardening”. Sadly, on their very first operation, the Going crew was lost without trace.

FAW Willis


WILLIS, William Jarvis

P/O William Jarvis Willis, RNZAF NZ421803 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 33 on the 22nd of May 1944.
Son of Thomas Riddiford Willis and Mary Knox Willis, of Greatford, Rangitikei, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 263.

21/05/1944 – Attack Against Duisberg
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Duisburg, of which twenty one attacked the primary target. Three returned early with various technical failures and one failed to return (Captain NZ421803 P/O. W. Willis). Another aircraft (Captain AUS413157 P/O. A. Humphreys) was attacked by an enemy fighter and the navigator 1438903 F/Sgt. Hill, A. was injured, the aircraft also being damaged.

Lancaster Mk.III ND804 AA-K

P/O William Jarvis Willis, RNZAF NZ421803 – Pilot.
F/S Russell Howard Brown, RNZAF NZ425444 – Navigator.
F/S Alan Lister Kay, RNZAF NZ42299 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Albert ‘Hank’ Hancock, RAFVR 1396104 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Donald Rimmer, RAFVR 1495443 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Allister Archibald Ferguson, RNZAF NZ425391 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Ferguson ‘Billy’ Reid, RCAF R.178421/ J.89732 – Rear Gunner.

ND804 was lost without trace. All crew members are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WILLSHER, Frederick Phillip

Sgt. Frederick Phillip Willsher, RAFVR 1170594 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 25 on the 26th of MAy 1943.
Son of George Edward and Florence Marian Willsher, of Croydon, Surrey; Husband of Joan Marguerite Willsher, of East Croydon.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Holland..
Grave location – 33. B. 4.
‘Through cloud and sunshine,
Lord, abide with me’

25/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Four aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and one failed to return. The remaining eleven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and some large explosions were also seen. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered, co-operating with searchlights, which were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. Ten tenths cloud was prevalent in the target area, but visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. This missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. BK602, captained by Sergeant T.W. Darton.

Stirling Mk.I BK602 AA-R

Sgt. Thomas William Darton, RNZAF NZ416465 – Pilot.
Sgt. Dudley Dobson Coates, RNZAF NZ421318 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Milton Patrick Riordan, RNZAF NZ422668 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John Charles Lawrence Whiteman, RAFVR 1234862 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alick McQuater, RAFVR 1369879 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stephen Redpath, RAFVR 1572718 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Philip Wilshire, RAFVR 1170594 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.I BK602 AA-R was shot down by a night-fighter off the Belgian/French coast and went down into the sea off IJmuiden. The attack probably took place within the dreaded German air defensive ‘Box’ when BK602 was en route to the target area. Four bodies were recovered and identified as Sergeant’s Coates, Whiteman, Redpath and Willsher. Coates and Whiteman are buried in Oostende New Communal Cemetery; Redpath lies in Dunkerque Town Cemetery and Wilsher in Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

Sergeant’s Darton, McQuarter and Riordan are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WILMSHURST, John Charles

Sgt. John Charles Wilmshurst, RNZAF NZ411962 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 25 on the 11th of July 1942.
Son of Herbert Edward and Mary Wilmshurst, of Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 118.

10/07/1942 – Daylight Sortie Against Dusseldorf
Four a/c set out to attack the above target. Bomb load of 500lbs was bought back as m/c returned owing to lack of cloud cover. Well.III, X3720(Sgt. Wilmhurst) failed to return. There was no A.A. fire or fighters. Weather was cloudy and navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3720 AA-U

F/S John Charles Wilmshurst, RNZAF NZ411962 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Douglas Gould, RNZAF NZ411233 – Observer.
Sgt. Richard Edwin Sharp, RNZAF NZ405513 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Peter Desmond Lowther, RNZAF NZ403583 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Raymond John Finlay ‘Browny’ Hirst, RNZAF NZ404067 – Rear Gunner.

X3720, AA-U was the first of the four 75 (NZ) Sqdn aircraft detailed to carry out the attack to take off from Feltwell. They left at around 2.30 in the afternoon,  followed by the Jarman, McLachlan and Kearns crews. The four were recalled on the way to the target, near the Dutch coast, due to lack of cloud cover over the target. All but X3720 were safely back on the ground at Feltwell by 5.37pm.

The Wilmshurst Wellington came down into the sea off the German-Netherlands coast, well north of their expected route back to base. Three of the crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The bodies of the wireless operator and front gunner washed ashore a few days later onto the German island of Borkum. They were buried there in the Lutheran Cemetery on the 15th, but later re-interred at Sage, 24km south of Oldenburg.

JC Wilmhurst


WILSON, Eric Glover

F/S Eric Glover Wilson, RNZAF NZ403035 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 27 on the 7th of September 1942.
Son of Arthur James Wilson and Noreen Myrtle Wilson, of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.
Buried Tilburg (Gilzerbaan) General Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Plot A. Row 1. Coll. grave 27-28.

06/09/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Duisburg
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Bomb load of 4,000lb. 1,00lb. 500lb. 250lb. and incendiaries were dropped in the target area, large fires were seen to be growing in intensity. A.A. fire was heavy and intense but was bursting high above aircraft, searchlights were intense, particularly at target area.
Wellington BJ772 captained by F/Lt. Womersley was attacked from rear on return by an enemy aircraft, one bursts was fired by the rear gunner and the enemy aircraft was driven off. No other enemy aircraft was seen. The weather was good, clear over target with slight ground haze. Navigation was good. Wellington BJ.765 captained by Sergt. Sharman G.W> and Wellington X.3867 captained by F/Sgt.Parkes W.R. failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III X.3867 AA-P

F/S William Ronald Parkes, RNZAF NZ403822 – Pilot.
Sgt. Henry Varley Gibb Crawford, RNZAF NZ404339 – Observer.
Sgt. George Heerbert Rose, RNZAF NZ391713 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alpheus Leslie Groves, RNZAF NZ403574 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Eric Glover Wilson, RNZAF NZ404035 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.III X.3867 AA-P was shot down by an enemy night-fighter (Hptm Walter Ehle, Stab II /NJG2), crashing at Riel (Nord Brabant), 5 miles South West of Tilburg, Holland. There were no survivors. All are buried in the Tilburg (Gilzerbaan) General Cemetery.


WILSON, John Stanley

F/O John Stanley Wilson, RNZAF NZ426234 – Air bomber.
Killed age 34 on the 17th of January 1945.
Son of Mervyn and Sarah Wilson, of Auckland City, New Zealand.
Buried Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire, England..
Grave location – Grave 15557.

16/01/1945 – Attack Against Wanne Eickel
Seventeen aircraft attacked Wanne Hickel in ten tenths cloud, tops 6/7000 feet, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P. 500 ANM, 500 M.C. 250 G.P. and Munro bombs. Crews bombed with the aid of instruments and sky markers. Flak was moderate. The general impression was that bombing was concentrated on markers and red glow seen through cloud. The aircraft captained by NZ426235 F/S Wood, J, was attacked by a F.W. 190. The rear gunner opened fire, but no hits were observed and our aircraft suffered no damage. The aircraft captained by NZ414376 F/L T. Blewett unfortunately crashed in this country. The captain and Air Bomber NZ426234 F/O J. Wilson were killed. The Navigator 1398282 F/S Cornell, B.T. died later as a result of severe injuries.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y
Damaged not due to Enemy Action (E) (L) – Landing unknown

F/L Terence Douglas ‘Tim’ Blewett, RNZAF NZ414376 – Pilot.
F/S Bryant Thomas Cornell, RAFVR 1398282 – Navigator.
F/O John Stanley Wilson, RNZAF NZ426234 – Air Bomber.
W/O John Smyrk, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Hunwicks, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Kenneth Hollins, RAFVR 2221435 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry Pridmore, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed –
Flight Time – Crashed on return

Taken from notes written by Felix Bailey, deceased.

“On the night of January 17th 1945, a Lancaster bomber from 75 Squadron 3 group was returning from a bombing raid over Germany. It was in serious trouble, and hit the old Suffolk thatched barn behind Hill Farmhouse. The telephone and electric wires were severed in its wake.

It left one engine in the thatch of the barn, and then veered right, ploughing through the field which was meadow land. Shedding parts of the plane as it went, ammunition, fuel and all sorts of debris was sent tumbling about, knocking down the out-houses behind Hill Cottage and a corner of the cottage. The main fuselage finished up nose across the road, its tail broken off so you could stand on the bank and look into it. One engine was catapulted onto the farm land beyond the road.

A fire started and the people living in Hill Cottage, which was two houses, could not get out. Very flare lights started to go up. Mr Gent leapt out of bed, fumbled for his trousers, as he ran to help. It was dark and he kept falling over little heaps of hedge trimmings that had been piled up after hedge cutting ready for burning.

He was first on the scene. He climbed up the bank beside the cottage and fell over something. It was an airman. As the airman sat up he spoke “My mate’s gone for help”.

His mate was the gunner, who in his turret had got thrown clear. He ran down the road – the first house he came to he could get no help. He then arrived at Hall Farm. Knocking so hard on the door that he smashed a pane of glass. He eventually raised the occupants and was given help. Mrs Savage and her two sons lived in Hall Farmhouse at the time. Her husband was in the army in Italy.

 Back at the crash site, Mr Gent managed to find a torch and he bent down to help the airman on the ground and noticed both his feet were missing. He managed to find a parachute to wrap the airman up in.

WILSON, John Stanley RNZAF


WILSON, John Stephen

Sgt. John Stephen Wilson, RNZAF NZ402530 – Pilot.
Killed age 27 on the 8th of November 1941.
Son of Stephen Anson Wilson and of Christian Wilson (Nee Bremner), of Auckland City, New Zealand.
Buried Rotterdam (Crooswijk) General Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – Grave 15557.

08/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Eleven Wellington Ic aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks from this Unit. Three aircraft, X.9628, captained by Sgt. Smith, X.9977, captained by Sgt. Nunn, and Z.8942 captained by Sgt. Wilson failed to return to base. Many large fires were started with resultant explosions and bursts were observed across a built up area. A railway junction south of target was also successfully attacked. Much heavy and light flak was experienced and heavy concentrations of searchlights were active in target area. Several enely aircraft were seen at target but no attacks were made. Weather was moderately clear to target but haze 5/10ths to 9/10ths over target area. Navigation was very good.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.8942 AA-J

Sgt. John Stephen Wilson, RNZAF NZ402530 – Pilot.
P/O Ralph Owen Foster, RNZAF NZ402443 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Robert Leslie Owen Ryder, RAAF AUS.404626 – Observer.
Sgt. James Henry Reid, RAFVR 997006 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin, RAFVR 1380356 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Lawrence Beresford Hamilton Hope, RNZAF NZ40940 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.8942 AA-J was hit by flak and crashed at 22:15hrs, at Zuidland (Zuid Holland), 13 miles South West of Rotterdam. All except the rear gunner, Sgt Hope, were killed. They were buried in Rotterdam City’s General Cemetery. Sgt Hope was taken Prisoner of War and imprisoned at Stalag 357.

Wilson John Stephen


WILSON, Norman Clarence Bruce

AF/O Norman Clarence Bruce Wilson, RNZAF NZ417139 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 23 on the 4th of November 1943.
Son of Walter Bruce Wilson and Amy Margaret Wilson, of Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 198

04/11/1943 – Mining in the Baltic Sea
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation, with mines of 1500lbs. This was an unfortunate night as three aircraft failed to return and the other aircraft returned early having jettisoned its mines. This aircraft met an enemy night fighter and sustained damage to the port wing, starboard flap, rear turret and many large holes in the fuselage, the rear gunner, Sgt.W. HURDIE, was killed during the combat. The weather was bad and ten tenths cloud made visibility poor. Navigation was good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings MKIII BF461, Captained by P/O.G.K.WILLIAMS, BK778 Captained by P/O.W.S.MASTERS and EE897 Captained by F/O. N.WILSON.

Stirling Mk.III EE897 AA-G

F/O Norman Clarence Bruce Wilson, RNZAF NZ417139 – Pilot.
F/O Thomas Lodge, RNZAF NZ417284 – Navigator.
F/O Alfred Thomas Dance, RNZAF NZ42495 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Walter John Stratton, RAFVR 1166593 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leonard Charles Gaskin, RAFVR 1392668 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Arnold Goodrick Fawcett, RNZAF NZ422698 – Rear Gunner.

EE897 was lost without trace. All seven crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WILSON, Peter John

F/L Peter John Wilson, RNZAF NZ402475 – Pilot.
Killed age 22 on the 29th of July 1942.
Son of Elsie Maud Wilson, of Woodville, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – Coll. grave 14. F. 12-14.

28/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack on the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area and bursts were seen in dock area. A.A. fire was very accurate, light and heavy predicted. There were many accurate searchlight cones in parts but clear over target. Navigation was good by TR and DR. Six a/c failed to return to base

Wellington Mk.III X.3664 AA-X/Q/V

F/L Peter John Wilson, RNZAF NZ402475 – Pilot.
F/S Victor Kenneth Westerman, RNZAF NZ41970 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Hylton Brisco, RNZAF NZ411204 – Observer.
F/S Ronald Fraser Davis, RNZAF NZ403569 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RAF? NZ391857 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Edwin Caitcheon, RNZAF NZ404016 – Rear Gunner.

The Wellington was shot down by AA fire near the target area, crashing at Fischbek, 18 miles South East of Stade. None of the crew survived. They were buried initially in a collective grave at Stade but later reinterred at Becklingen.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/peter-john-wilson © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/peter-john-wilson © New Zealand War Graves Project


WILSON, Wesley William

F/S Wesley William Wilson, RCAF 113265 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Lost without trace age 20 on the 5th of February 1943.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 107.

05/02/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with 1500 lb. mines. Three of the aircraft successfully planted their mines in the allotted area. All aircraft flew in cloud which was 10/10ths. from the English coast to the mining area. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation was very good. Stirling 1 BK617 captained by Sgt. R.E. Redding failed to return. This aircraft took off at 18.10 and at 19.43 a message was received  that they had something to communicate to base, but this was never received. It was later reported that the aircraft was seen to crash in flames just off Cromer. Nothing further was heard of the crew, or the aircraft although a search was made by Air Sea Rescue.

Stirling Mk.I BK617 AA-D

Sgt. Randolph Ernest Redding, RNZAF NZ414678 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur James Douglas Barton, RNZAF NZ413700 – Navigator.
Sgt. Harry Dennis, RAFVR 659116 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Cyril George Phillips, RAFVR 1201720 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Colin Legge, RCAF R.64510 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Wesley William Wilson, RCAF R.113265 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Patrick Paul Deane Freeman, RNZAF NZ413305 – Rear Gunner.

 

At 19.42hrs – 1hr 32mins after take-off – the crew of the third aircraft, Stirling Mk.I BK617 AA-D, despatched a signal to base indicating they had a further message to report, but none was received. It was later reported that the aircraft was seen to crash in flames just off Cromer, on the Norfolk Coast, on track for base. Nothing further was heard of the crew or the aircraft, although a thorough search was conducted by the Air Sea Rescue service. The circumstances seemed to indicate the likelihood of a catastrophic on-board fire resulting from a possible enemy air attack about 50miles from the SW end of the Frisian Islands, necessitating an emergency return to base.

WW Wilson


WINSTANLEY, James Francis

Sgt. James Francis Winstanley, RNZAF NZ412373 – Front gunner.
Killed age 20 on the 27th of July 1942.
Son of Thomas and Angela Adele Winstanley, of Huntly, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Sage War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 4. D. 12.

26/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Fifteen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack against the above target. Bomb load of 34000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and incendiaries was dropped on target area. Numerous fires and bomb bursts were seen. A.A. fire was accurate. Seven searchlights destroyed and others damaged and one m/c gun post silenced by Well.III, X3396, captained by Sgt. Kearns. Searchlights were ineffective owing to moon. One JU88 was seen 30 miles from enemy coast but did not attack. Weather was clear over target but cloudy on route. Navigation was very good by TR and DR

Wellington Mk.III Z.1596 AA-K

P/O Ian James Shepherd, RNZAF NZ404414 – Pilot.
P/O Reginald Sidney Lees, RNZAF NZ404907 – Observer.
P/O Norman Bruce Robertson, RNZAF NZ411101 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Francis Winstanley, RNZAF NZ412373 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Dixon J, RAFVR 613966 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.III Z.1596 AA-K was shot down by AA fire when flying away from the target at low altitude. After dropping its bombs the aircraft was ‘coned’ by searchlights and the pilot carried out a steep dive to escape the beams, leveling out at approximately 500ft  but still in the midst of heavy light flak. The aircraft crashed near the village of Dose and all but the Rear Gunner, Sgt Dixon, who survived the crash relatively uninjured, were killed. Dixon was taken as a prisoner of war.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/james-francis-winstanley © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/james-francis-winstanley © New Zealand War Graves Project


WOLFENDEN, Harold

Sgt. Harold Wolfenden, RAFVR 1237318 – Observer.
Killed age 32 on the 11th of October 1942.
Son of Harold and Mary Elizabeth Wolfenden, of Hull.
Buried Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery, Denmark..
Grave location – AIII. 9. 16.
‘God be with you
Till we meet again’

11/10/1942 – Operations. Gardening in the Kattegat and Little Belt
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation. 1500lb. vegetables were successfully planted in the allotted area. Wellington X.3597 captained by F/Sgt. Curr bombed a bridge near Middlefort with three 500lb. G.P. bombs, the first bomb was just short, others very close and might have hit the edge of the bridge. Light A.A. fire was encountered at Middlefort Bridge. No searchlights or enemy aircraft were seen.
There was no cloud, visibility was good. Navigation was good by D.R. T.R., and visual pin point. Wellington BK341 captained by Sergt. Shalfoon failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III BK.341 AA-?

Sgt. Charles John Shalfoon, RNZAF NZ413897 – Pilot.
Sgt Henry Wolfenden, RAFVR 1237318 – Observer.
Sgt. Algernon Parsons, RAFVR 1196149 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Sydney Posner, RAFVR 1078313 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Roy Harold Scott, RCAF R.137578 – Rear Gunner.

BK341 was brought down at 23.30hrs between the island of Langli and the Skallengen, near the entrance to Esbjerg Harbour on the Danish coast. All five crew of BK341 were killed, three of whom were buried at Fourfelt, near Esbjerg. Two others are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WOOD, Benjamin Brinley

F/S Benjamin Brinley Wood, RAF 656588 – Pilot.
Killed age 24 on the 23rd of June 1943.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 19. G. 4-6.

22/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim (actually Mülheim)
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs and 4lbs. Four aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen the whole RUHR area was smoke palled. A very heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights was encountered and five aircraft were slightly hit by A.A.fire, some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. There was 3/10ths cloud on the target area but visibility was fairly good, except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.I EF399 captained by F/S Burbidge, Mk.III EF408 captained by Sgt. Wood, MK.III BK810 captained by W/O McKenzie and Mk.III EH889 captained by F/O McCrorie.

Stirling Mk.III EF408 AA-P

Sgt. Benjamin Brinley Wood, RAFVR 656588 – Pilot.
F/S George King Samson, RNZAF NZ402563 – Navigator.
Sgt. Stuart Richard Bisset, RNZAF NZ415738 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Edgar Henry Reader, RAFVR 1331432 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Lawrence Webb, 1266998 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frederick Johns Hobbs, RAFVR 1609558 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Cyril Benjamin Hemmings, RAFVR 1235070 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EF408 AA-P was hit by flak and crashed at Gelsenkirchen. There were no survivors. All were buried in the Bismarck Friedhof, but later reinterred in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Benjamin Brinley Wood


WOOD, Frederick Lionel Roy

Sgt. Frederick Lionel Roy Wood, RNZAF NZ404439 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 23 on the 15th of October 1941.
Son of Lionel Gladstone Wood and Laura Ada Wood, of Waimate North, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 1. C. 5.

15/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Boulogne
Ten Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 250 lb GP’s and containers of incendiaries. Captains report that bombs were dropped on the target by estimation, but owing to slight haze over the target results were not seen. A considerable amount of heavy AA fire was experienced in and around the target area. Fire was accurate over Aachen. Searchlight activity was intense throughout the route but ineffective in the target area because of the cloud. Weather was fair en route but thick ground haze over all target area. Navigation was by Astro, D/R, QDM. Pinpointing and Lorenz check. Two of these aircraft, Z8945, captained by Sgt Barker, and X9916, captained by Sgt Matetich failed to return to base.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9916 AA-

Sgt. John Anthony Matetich, RAFVR 778235 – Pilot.
Sgt. Frederick Lionel Roy Wood, RNZAF NZ404439 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Neville Henry Welsh, RNZAF NZ391334 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Harry Worledge, RAFVR 755764 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Arthur Service, RAFVR 749347 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Frederick Barkhouse, RCAF R.65416 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9916 was lost over Cologne.The circumstances are unclear as to what caused the aircraft to crash. All the crew were killed and later buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/frederick-lionel-roy-wood © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/frederick-lionel-roy-wood © New Zealand War Graves Project


WOOD, James Haswell

F/S James Haswell Wood, RNZAF NZ425811 – Air bomber.
Killed age 29 on the 21st of March 1945.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wood, of Cassilis, Victoria, Australia.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 4. G. 1.

21/03/1945 – Attack Against Munster Viaduct
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Muster Viaduct. There was hardly any cloud over the target. It is thought that the concentration was good although the formation was broken up just prior to bombing. Three aircraft failed to return from this operation – AA”T”, NZ42451 F/L J. Plummer, AA”R” NZ429139 P/O A. Brown and JN”P” 190947 P/O D.S. Barr. All three aircraft were seen to hit in the target area. Considerable H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III LM733 AA-R

P/O Alfred Errol Brown, RNZAF NZ429139 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Donald Baker, RNZAF NZ4214043 – Navigator.
F/S James Haswell Wood, RNZAF NZ425811 – Air Bomber.
F/S Arthur Elliott Robson, RNZAF NZ4210853 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R.H. Lawrence, RAFVR 1607264 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Grierson, RAFVR 1593931 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Barraclough, RAFVR 1590144 – Rear Gunner.

LM733 was bombing the target at Munster when it was seen to break into two sections and enter a downward spiral before crashing in flames among trees near Coesfeld at 13.30hrs. The cause of the catastrophic damage was thought to be a combination of flak damage and being struck by a bomb from another 3 Group aircraft flying above. Two crew, the pilot and air bomber, were killed and later buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. The other five crew parachuted to safety and were captured as P.o.W’s.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/james-haswell-wood © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/james-haswell-wood © New Zealand War Graves Project


WOODCOCK, Roy Joffre Desmond

Sgt. Roy Joffre Desmond Woodcock, RNZAF NZ404985 – 2nd Pilot.
Lost without trace age 26 on the 12th of March 1942.
Son of Bernard and Florence Woodcock, of Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 118.

12/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Kiel
Eight Wellington aircraft carried out an attack against the above target, one aircraft, captained by Sgt Bell did not carry out an attack. Three aircraft captained by S/L Kitchin, F/O Sandys and Sgt Parnham failed to return to base. Bomb load consisted of 1,000 lbs, 500 lbs and 250 lbs was dropped in the target area, bomb bursts being observed. There was heavy and light predicted flak and large cones of searchlights in the target area and one twin engined enemy aircraft made one unsuccessful attack on Wellington III X3586 captained by S/L Newton. Weather was clear over the target with 5/10 cloud over North Sea. Navigation was by D.R. and TR1335.

Wellington Mk.III X.3585 AA-V

F/O John Frederick Kelly Sandys, RCAF J.4814 – Pilot.
Sgt. Roy Desmond Joffre Woodcock, RNZAF NZ404985 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O John Earle, RNZAF NZ401756 – Observer.
Sgt. Henry John Price, RNZAF NZ404095 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Joseph Dunn, British Army 1001633 – Front Gunner.
F/L Thomas James Desmond Baber, RNZAF NZ39857 – Rear Gunner.

There are no details regarding the fate of X.3585 and her crew, all being lost without trace.

RDJ Woodcock


WOODFORD, Stanley Alfred George

Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Woodford, RAFVR 922095 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Lost without trace age 29 on the 30th of July 1944.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 241.

30/07/1944 – Attack Against Amaye Sur Seulles
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to take part in an early morning attack on enemy troops and armoured concentrations near Amaye-Sur-Seulles. All crews successfully attacked from a low level and reports indicate that the bombing was well concentrated and ably controlled with a gradual advance southwards as ordered. No results other than clouds of smoke were seen. One aircraft (Captain NZ42117 F/S. Nairne, C.) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK558 AA-D

F/S Colin George Nairne, RNZAF NZ42117 – Pilot.
P/O Lyndon Clifford Perry, RNZAF NZ428925 – Navigator.
W/O Denis Alfred Kidby, RAFVR 1391158 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alfred Richard Stannard, RAFVR 1338510 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Raymond Charles Smith, RAFVR 1235250 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Woodford, RAFVR 922095 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Philip Falkiner, RNZAF NZ425140 – Rear Gunner.

Although formally recorded as ‘lost without trace’, the circumstances of the disappearance of HK558 was more accurately explained in ‘For Your Tomorrow’ by author Errol Martyn. A Royal Navy minesweeper on patrol in the Channel observed two Lancasters collide in mid-air at approximately 08.00hrs while HK558 was flying northwards in the base of heavy low cloud. The other aircraft was a 514 Sqn Lancaster, LL733, probably from the same raid. The Minesweeper steamed to where the two aircraft crashed into the sea, a short distance away. After an hour’s search, only the body of an RAF Air Bomber was recovered, who was buried at sea. All seven crew of each aircraft are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WOODHAM, Henry William

Sgt. Henry William Woodham, RNZAF NZ402449 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 27 on the 28th of February 1942.
Son of Henry and Mary Ann Woodham, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Buried Feltwell (St. Nicholas) Churchyard, Norfolk, England..
Grave location – Row B. Grave 10.

28/02/1942 – Local Air Test
Wellington Mk.III X.3355 AA-Y took off from Feltwell at approximately 13:10 on the 28th of February 1942 for an engine check. During the air test the starboard motor failed, followed soon afterward by the port engine. As the crew prepared for an emergency landing, the aircraft stalled and crashed at 4:00pm , near Lime Kiln Farm, Brandon, Suffolk, 5 miles North West of Thetford, Norfolk.

The Wellington burst into flames on impact.

Army personnel, stationed nearby, along with local inhabitants, helped to pull the airmen from the burning wreckage. The farmer on whose land the bomber had crashed on, a Mr G. F. Harrington was awarded the British Empire Medal, for bravery shown.

Wellington Mk.III X.3355 AA-Y

WOODHAM, Henry William RNZAF


WOODS, Ralph Morley

F/S Ralph Morley Woods, RAFVR 1386860 – Air bomber.
Killed age 29 on the 5th of March 1944.
Son of Charles Frederick and Elizabeth Agnes Woods, of New Milton, Hampshire; Husband of Joan Alice Woods, of Penryn, Cornwall.
Buried Clermont-Ferrand (Des Carmes Dechaux) Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Row A. Grave 3.

04/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 124 (RESULT UNKNOWN)
Operation TRAINER 124 (Result unknown).
The m/n. crew in Stirling “M” took off at 20.51 hours. The aircraft failed to return and nothing was heard after take-off.

Stirling Mk.III EF215 AA-M

S/L Raymond Johnson Watson, RNZAF NZ404978 – Pilot.
F/O Hugh William Henderson, RNZAF NZ421713 – Navigator.
F/S Ralph Morley Woods, RAFVR 1386860 – Air Bomber.
F/S Arthur Stanley Jones, RNZAF NZ421977 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Cyril Beech, RAFVR 1584473 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Colin Armstrong, RAFVR 2209010 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Robert James Ian Melville, RNZAF NZ42349 – Rear Gunner.

The wreckage of Stirling Mk.III EF215 AA-M was found on a mountainside at Rochefort-Montagne, 15 miles West South West of Clermont-Ferrand, where six of the deceased crew were buried. The only survivor was Sgt C. B. Armstrong, who escaped with relatively few injuries. He was taken into custody as a POW.


WOOLCOTT, Douglas George

Sgt. Douglas George Woolcott, RAFVR 1290189 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 23 on the 24th of August 1943.
Son of George and Isabel Woolcott, of Barking, Essex; Husband of Iris Woolcott, of Barking.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 1. J. 7.
‘As we loved him
So we miss him.
Farewell Doug.,
Till we meet again’

23/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb., and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb.. Five aircraft returned early owing to failure and three aircraft failed to return. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area and all of the crews agreed that it had been well and truly hit. The fires were all concentrated and huge columns of smoke together with heavy explosions could be seen. A moderate heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but only one aircraft received damage. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON sighted a JU88 passing above, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners fired and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which was then lost sight of and is claimed to have been damaged. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITEHEAD whilst over BERLIN sighted an enemy aircraft on the starboard quarter, 300yds away. The Rear Gunner fired a five second burst and the enemy aircraft was seen in flames diving to earth, and was claimed as probably destroyed. The same aircraft encountered another unidentified aircraft 300yds away on the starboard quarter. The Rear Gunner fired another five seconds burst and the enemy aircraft exploded and disintegrated. It was claimed to be destroyed. The aircraft captained by F/O. A. Alexander, whilst over the target sighted a ME110 approaching from the starboard quarter above and firing at his aircraft. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunners replied with long bursts and the enemy aircraft was seen to be in flames. A fire was later seen on the ground and the enemy aircraft was claimed as probably destroyed. Scattered cloud was met on the outward route, but it was clear over the target. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BF465 captained by P/O A. RANKIN, BF564 captained by P/O A. Sedunary and EE938 captained by W/O T. Fear.
The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITE, O.H. whilst approaching the target area was coned by searchlights and repeatedly hit by heavy A.A. fire, sustaining considerable damage to port main plane. He continued towards the target though still coned by searchlights and was then attacked by a JU88 sustaining hits in the rear of the fuselage which shattered the rear turret and killed Rear Gunner Sgt. Poole, J.. The aircraft was forced into an uncontrollable dive and the captain warned his crew ‘Prepare to abandon the aircraft’. Unfortunately, in the middle of this order the inter-communication failed, and the Navigator, Air Bomber and Wireless Operator abandoned the aircraft, due to the fact that they were unable to contact their Captain. F/Sgt. WHITE jettisoned his bomb load whilst in the dive directly over the target area, managed to regain control of the aircraft when height had been lost down to 6,000ft. The captain and two remaining members of the crew after taking stock of the damage decided to attempt the long and hazardous return journey to base. This they did successfully and made a perfect crash landing at base without lights, flaps or under carriage, as the electrical leads were shot away.

Stirling Mk.III EE938 AA-X

W/O Trevor Fear, RAFVR 1317167 – Pilot.
Sgt. Brian Hartley Ruddy, RAFVR 1419688 – Navigator.
Sgt. Andrew Bain, RAFVR 658930 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Douglas George Woolcott, RAFVR 1290189 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Charles Munro, RAFVR 1566746 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Joseph Andrew Cletus Holmes, RCAF R.143622 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alexander Davidson, RCAF R.181120 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III EE938 AA-X was brought down at Mahlsdorf, 7 miles East South East of Berlin. There were no survivors. All crew members, except Sgt C Munro, are buried in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. The flight engineer has no known grave.

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WOOLAM, Peter

Sgt. Peter Woolam, RAFVR 1890807 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 19 on the 19th of April 1944.
Buried Gram Churchyard, Denmark..
Grave location – Gram Churchyard
‘With Christ in God At rest within the veil’

18/04/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Seven Stirlings were detailed to lay mines in Kiel Bay, one was withdrawn and one failed to return (Captain NZ415820 F/O. H. Murray). The remaining five successfully completed their mission. On return they landed away.

Stirling Mk.III EH955 AA-K

F/O Henry James Murray, RNZAF NZ415820 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Edward Lithgow ‘Paddy’ McFarland, RAFVR 1503993 – Navigator.
F/S Douglas John Hill, RNZAF NZ415761 – Air Bomber.
F/S Gordon James Irwin, RNZAF NZ415698 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Hyman Chaim Mordecai Kahler, RAFVR 1803280 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Mulligan, RCAF R.195834 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Peter Woollam, RAFVR 1890807 – Rear Gunner.

By John McFarland’s own observation the decision to volunteer for the Gardening Op to Kiel in a Stirling was seen as a soft and easy extra trip to their tour…..Perhaps this decision can be understood – the crew had suffered 3 aborted Ops in a month and it probably felt to them as if their time at Mepal was never going to end – add to this a 10 day hiatus for conversion to Lancasters at Feltwell and the soles of their feet may well have been getting itchy…….

Based on the events of that night, it would appear that their aircraft was fired on from underneath by a ‘Schräge Musik‘ equipped aircraft. Typically, the aircrew would get no warning of the attack until it was too late – John recalls his navigators desk exploding as the cannon shells hit.

“We flew from a remote base near Ely in East Anglia and were engaged mainly in sea and French railway yard mining operations as well as drops to the French Resistance. It was during one of these we were shot down. The Germans had the capability to fire vertically upwards. We were over Denmark and it was around midnight when my navigator’s table shattered and I knew we’d been hit from below. Everything happened so fast. We had to bail out and use our parachutes. The parachute wrappers used to put little notes in with the silk saying things like ‘all the best’!  Only three of us survived that night – the rear gunner’s parachute failed to open. That could have been any one of us for you just grabbed a parachute on your way out to board the aircraft…”

Four of the crew were buried at Gram, Denmark – James Murray RNZAF (Pilot), Haymen Kahler RAFVR (Flight Engineer) Jack Mulligan RCAF and Peter Woolham RAFVR (Air Gunners).

Gordon Irwin RNZAF (Wireless Operator), John and Douglas Hill RNZAF (Air Bomber) became Prisoners or War.

Woolam P


WORLLEDGE, Frederick Harry

Sgt. Frederick Harry Worlledge, RAFVR 755764 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 22 on the 15th of October 1941.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Worlledge, of Bramford, Suffolk.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. C. 3-4.
‘He died
Serving his country’

15/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Boulogne
Ten Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 250 lb GP’s and containers of incendiaries. Captains report that bombs were dropped on the target by estimation, but owing to slight haze over the target results were not seen. A considerable amount of heavy AA fire was experienced in and around the target area. Fire was accurate over Aachen. Searchlight activity was intense throughout the route but ineffective in the target area because of the cloud. Weather was fair en route but thick ground haze over all target area. Navigation was by Astro, D/R, QDM. Pinpointing and Lorenz check. Two of these aircraft, Z8945, captained by Sgt Barker, and X9916, captained by Sgt Matetich failed to return to base.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9916 AA-

Sgt. John Anthony Matetich, RAFVR 778235 – Pilot.
Sgt. Frederick Lionel Roy Wood, RNZAF NZ404439 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Neville Henry Welsh, RNZAF NZ391334 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Harry Worledge, RAFVR 755764 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Arthur Service, RAFVR 749347 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Frederick Barkhouse, RCAF R.65416 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9916 was lost over Cologne.The circumstances are unclear as to what caused the aircraft to crash. All the crew were killed and later buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery.


WORT, Donald Frank

Sgt. Donald Frank Wort, RAFVR 1585034 – Navigator.
Killed age 20 on the 1st of December 1943.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wort, of Parkstone.
Buried Poole (Parkstone) Cemetery, Dorset, England..
Grave location – Sec. K. Grave 60.

01/12/1943 – Mining off the East Coast of Denmark
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lb. Two of the aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, but the parachutes were not seen to open owing to ten tenths cloud. Some heavy A.A. Fire was encountered, but caused negligible opposition. Visibility was poor in the mining area. Navigation was very good. On returning the aircraft captained by SGT. F/SGT.G.J.KERR crashed whilst attempting to land at R.A.F. Station ACKLINGTON. The aircraft crashed into a house and all of the crew were killed, except for the Mid Upper Gunner SGT. K.G.HOOK who was seriously injured. In addition to the crew, five children who were in the house were killed and their parents were admitted to Hospital.

Stirling Mk.III EH880 AA-J

F/S George John Stewart Kerr, RAFVR 1558163 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Frank Wort, RAFVR 1585034 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ronald Smith, RAFVR 1239376 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Derek Arthur Holt, RAFVR 1217087 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leonard George Copsey, RAFVR 1691471 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Kenneth Gordon Hook, RAFVR 1335989 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George William Thomas Lucas, RAFVR 1250557 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:16 – Landed 22:40
Flight Time 07:24

Stirling Mk.III EH880 AA-J diverted to RAF Acklington on return from the above task and crashed into a house a short distance from the perimeter during a landing attempt at 22.40hrs. All of the crew were killed except the M/U gunner, Sgt K Hook, who was seriously injured. Five children in the family living in the house were killed. Their parents were pulled from the wreckage alive but badly injured.


WORTH, Jim

F/S Jim Worth, RNZAF NZ425510 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 24 on the 21st of July 1944.
Son Of Robert Leslie And Ellen Bertha Worth, Of Otorohanga, Auckland, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 264.

20/07/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty six aircraft took off, as detailed, to attack the oil refinery at Homberg. Nineteen aircraft were successful in bombing the target, with the aid of markers, which seemed well concentrated. Two good explosions were seen and smoke came up from the target area. Heavy A.A. fire was moderate, but fighters were very active, eight combats taking place. Seven aircraft failed to return, the captains were AUS22776 W/O. Gilmour, H., NZ428819 F/S. Howell, E., NZ421829 F/S. Mackay, K., NZ422057 F/S. Davidson, N., NZ42488 W/O. Whittington, H., NZ413219 F/S. Roche, G. & NZ414560 P/O. Burtt, H.

Lancaster Mk.III ND800 AA-J

F/S Kenneth McIndoe Mackay, RNZAF NZ421829 – Pilot.
F/S Eric James Quinn, RNZAF NZ4210077 – Navigator.
F/O Roy King Jones, RNZAF NZ425611 – Air Bomber.
W/O William John. Davies, RAFVR 616191 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Ronald Knapton, RAFVR 1681317 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Joseph Dunn, RAFVR 1520456 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Jim Worth, RNZAF NZ425510 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.III ND800 AA-J was lost without trace. All seven crew members are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


WORTHINGTON, Jack Herbert

Sgt. Jack Herbert Worthington, RAF 574819 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 19 on the 9th of April 1943.
Son of Herbert Gerald and Rose Worthington, of Worthing.
Buried Worthing (Durrington) Cemetery, Sussex, England..
Grave location – Sec. 9. Row 8. Grave 42.

08/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks, with bombs of 1000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. Four of the aircraft however were forced to return early owing to severe icing conditions, which prevented the aircraft from gaining height. Four of the remaining aircraft successfully bombed the target through cloud. Large fires were seen glowing below the clouds. A fair amount of heavy predicted A.A.Fire was encountered, some enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was 10/10ths cloud, with electrical storms, rain and severe icing. Which prevented this operation from being a complete success. Navigation was very good. Stirling III, BK770, captained by W/O Walsh, was returning to base at 01.10 hours a message was received from him, but this was the last heard of the aircraft until it was reported to have crashed at Bressingham, Norfolk, soon after this time. The aircraft exploded on impact and burnt out, and unfortunately the whole of the crew were killed.

Stirling Mk.III BK770 AA-L

W/O John Arthur Ernest Walsh, RNZAF NZ401294 – Pilot.
F/S Bertram Augustus Moffatt, RCAF R.802237 – Navigator.
Sgt. Francis Henry Reddicliffe, RAFVR 1030797 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John William Scudder, RAFVR 1291875 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Herbert Worthington, RAFVR 574819 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stanley Arthur Curtis, RAFVR 1386838 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Phillip Gordon Stuart, RCAF R.93568 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BK770 AA-L was returning to base when at 01:10hrs, a brief W/T distress signal was received from the aircraft but nothing more. A ground report was later received advising an aircraft had crashed at Valley Farm, Bressingham, Norfolk. Soon after impact an explosion was observed and the aircraft burst into flames. None of the crew survived. The three Commonwealth airmen, along with Sgt’s Reddicliffe and Curtis, are buried in the Newmarket cemetery.

This was the first Mk III Stirling written off in 75(NZ) Squadron.

WORTHINGTON, Jack Herbert. Sergeant 574819 RAF


WRIGHT, Andrew Roy

P/O Andrew Roy Wright, RCAF 88789 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 21 on the 21st of November 1944.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 253.

21/11/1944 – Mining in Oslo Fjord
Three aircraft took off to lay mines in the Oslo Fjord. Two aircraft planted their mines in good visibility and without opposition. One aircraft captained by NZ417082 A/F/L L. Martyn, failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I NN745 AA-A

F/L Leslie Arthur Martyn, RNZAF NZ417082 – Pilot.
F/O Thomas Issac Elliot, RNZAF NZ421364 – Navigator.
F/O Allan Roy Frank Dunkerley, RAAF AUS.423083 – Air Bomber.
F/S John Calverley Crabtree, RAFVR 1492180 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Charles Ronald Starkey, RAFVR 1863956 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Lindsay, RAFVR 1624589 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P/O Andrew Roy Wright, RCAF J.88789 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.I NN745 AA-A was lost without trace. All seven crew are commemorated on the Runnymeade Memorial.


WRIGHT, John Herbert

F/S John Herbert Wright, RNZAF NZ426209 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 26 on the 12th of August 1944.
Son of Thomas Pape Wright and Whilimina Theresa Wright, of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Buried Hoton War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Coll. grave VI. G. 1-6.

12/08/1944 – Attack Against Russelsheim
Ten aircraft set out to attack Factories at Russelsheim which are engaged in Flying Bomb production. Nine aircraft bombed the target with the aid of markers and good results were reported. A.A. defences were light, but enemy fighters were active on the homeward route, one aircraft having an inconclusive combat with a JU 88. The aircraft captained by NZ428793 .F/S. Mulcahy, C., failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK564 AA-P

F/S Cyril Desmond Mulcahy, RNZAF NZ426783 – Pilot.
F/O Whelan Fallon Hazard, RNZAF NZ429047 – Navigator.
F/S Edward Leonard Thomson, RNZAF NZ4211036 – Air Bomber.
F/S William Elvin, RNZAF NZ426883 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Robert Ronald Smithie Parker, RAFVR 1892552 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Haig Douglas Johnston, RNZAF NZ426320 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S John Herbert Wright, RNZAF NZ426209 – Rear Gunner.

Lancaster Mk.I HK564 AA-P was brought down by a night-fighter, crashing at Ouren (Liege), a small village on the Belgium/German border, 9 mils East South East of St-Vith. Six of the crew were killed in the crash and were buried at Ouren. The body of F/O Hazard, Navigator, was found still in his parachute harness, suspended from the branches of a tree. He was later buried at the Reichswald Forest war Cemetery.

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/john-herbert-wright © New Zealand War Graves Project

nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/john-herbert-wright © New Zealand War Graves Project


WRIGHT, Leslie Charles

Sgt. Leslie Charles Wright, RAFVR 1294453 – Pilot.
Killed age 22 on the 17th of May 1943.
Son of Joseph and Alice Helen Wright, of Charlton.
Buried Charlton (St.John the Baptist) Churchyard, Wiltshire, England..
‘Your task is o’er
Your battle won
So rest in peace
My beloved son’

17/5/1943 – Training Flight
“At 01.00 hours on the 17th May 1943, Sergeant L.C.Wright was carrying out a cross country fight in Stirling Mk.1 BF398, when the starboard outer and port outer engines failed. The aircraft lost height and the Captain ordered the crew to bale out, this included a passenger AC1 BAILEY, R.G. Of the crew who baled out, all landed safely with the exception of Sergeant A.J.Francis, who was reported missing and found four days later. The Captain remained at the controls, as the aircraft was in the vicinity of the Town of STOKE-UPON-TRENT and it appears that rather than crash land over the town, he attempted to land in the nearest field, the aircraft crashed however, and he was killed. The MAYOR of STOKE-UPON-TRENT has been in communication with the Squadron, and expressed his admiration, shared also by the townspeople, for the gallantry displayed by Sergeant L.C. WRIGHT.”

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WRIGHTSON, Cyril Charles

Sgt. Cyril Charles Wrightson, RNZAF NZ411998 – 2nd Pilot.
Lost without trace age 22 on the 22nd of April 1942.
Son of Cyril H. and Florence Mary Wrightson, of Hastings, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 118.

22/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against Targets at Cologne
Ten Well.III a\c were detailed attack the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 100lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in the target area but no results seen owing to cloud. There were only a few searchlights active and A.A. fire was slight. Well.III, X3487 captained by P/O Jarman was attacked by a JU.88 which attacked once and broke away to port. The results of this short attack were however serious the second pilot, P/O Nicol being mortally wounded, the rear gunner Sgt. Harris being killed and the Navigator Sgt. Taylor and W/Op. Sgt. Fernie were wounded. The bomb load was not dropped on the target but was dropped in the sea. The a/c was brought back to base and crash landed. Well.III, X3705, captained by F/S. McLachlan, was also attacked and the second pilot killed (P/O. Fountain) and Sgt. Tutty was wounded. F/Sgt. McLachlan managed to reach base and crash land.

Wellington Mk.III X.3667 AA-J – ? check this designator

F/S Thomas Stanley Mahood, RNZAF NZ404916 – Pilot.
Sgt. Cyril Charles Wrightson RNZAF NZ411998 2nd Pilot.
F/S Sydney Houston Dromgoole, RNZAF NZ402172 – Observer.
Sgt. Reginald Joseph Stephen Kelly, RNZAF NZ403580 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Thomas Owen McMahon, RNZAF NZ403019 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Frederick McLinden, RAFVR 611555 – Rear Gunner.

Wellington X3667 failed to return. Little is known of the circumstances leading to its disappearance, except that it was brought down in the sea near Le Havre. Only the body of the RAF rear gunner was later washed ashore, the remainder of the crew (all RNZAF) being lost without trace.

CC Wrightson


WYKES, Joseph

Sgt. Joseph Wykes, RAFVR 1127228 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 22 on the 13th of May 1943.
Son of Joseph and Elizabeth Wykes; Husband of Florence Wykes, of Welwyn, Hertfordshire.
Buried Dalbeattie Cemetery, Urr, Kirkcubrightshire, Scotland..
Grave location – Grave 879-880.

12/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets At Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Stirling Mk.III. BK.721 captained by F/Lt. E.R.M. Appleton, whilst taking off failed to clear an obstruction at the end of the runway and crashed almost immediately afterwards, all the crew with the exception of the captain and the wireless operator, F/Sgt. Cocks, S.G. were killed. The captain received severe injuries and the wireless was also injured, both were admitted to hospital. As a result of this crash two aircraft were unable to take-off. One aircraft returned early owing to the Captain being sick. The remaining five aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen. Some heavy A.A.Fire, co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but it was ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was very clear in the target area with good visibility except for ground haze which prevented identification. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BK721 AA-Z

F/L Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton, RAF 42475 – Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Frederick Harvey, RNZAF NZ416483 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O John Johnston, RNZAF NZ416198 – Navigator.
P/O Selwyn James Clubb, RNZAF NZ414593 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Gordon Cocks, RNZAF NZ404624 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Samuel Andrews, RAFVR 634968 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Bernard Arthur Riley Moore, RAFVR 1106308 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Joseph Wykes, RAFVR 1127228 – Rear Gunner.

Stirling Mk.III BK721 AA-Z crashed after take-off from Newmarket airfield at 00:37hrs following a failure of the starboard inner engine and collision with Devils Dyke. All but the Captain and W/Op were killed in the crash and are buried in the Newmarket cemetery.


WYLLIE, Thomas Young

Sgt. Thomas Young Wyllie, RNZAF NZ404011 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 25 on the 8th of November 1941.
Son of James Young Wyllie and Florence Wyllie, of Horotiu, Auckland, New Zealand; Husband of Florence Wyllie, of Hamilton East, Auckland.
Buried Doetinchem (Loolaan) General Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Row 1. Grave 6.

08/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Eleven Wellington Ic aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks from this Unit. Three aircraft, X.9628, captained by Sgt. Smith, X.9977, captained by Sgt. Nunn, and Z.8942 captained by Sgt. Wilson failed to return to base. Many large fires were started with resultant explosions and bursts were observed across a built up area. A railway junction south of target was also successfully attacked. Much heavy and light flak was experienced and heavy concentrations of searchlights were active in target area. Several enemy aircraft were seen at target but no attacks were made. Weather was moderately clear to target but haze 5/10ths to 9/10ths over target area. Navigation was very good.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9977 AA-D

Sgt. Geoffrey Sidney Nunn, RAFVR 1252728 – Pilot.
Sgt. Thomas Young Wyllie, RNZAF NZ40401 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Richard Dundas, RAFVR 986084 – Observer.
Sgt. Thomas Edison Elliott, RCAF R.52050 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alfred Hubert Harrison, RNZAF NZ403000 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Massey, RAFVR 1365268 – Rear Gunner.

The aircraft was shot down at 21:36hrs by a night fighter (Lt Werner Rowlin, III./NJG1), crashing to the ground at Ijzevoorde (Gelderland), east of Doetinchen, Holland. All crew members were killed and later buried at the Loolaan General Cemetery.

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