Halifax L9500 was one of seven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Magdeburg on the night of the 14th / 15th August 1941.
Its seven-man crew comprised:
- Ronald Lisle (Pilot)
- Michael Gerard Garner (2nd Pilot)
- Kenneth Randolph Sewell (Observer)
- John Alfred Arthur Cox (WOP / AG)
- John Johnston Rogers (WOP / AG)
- Wallace Llewellyn Berry (Air Gunner)
- Howard Torrens McQuigg (Flight Engineer)
L9500 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft was not heard of again and did not return to base. It is officially reported Missing”
Wartime activities relating to the loss
On 15th August 1941 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that the aircraft and crew were missing.
A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of each crew member advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 14th / 15th August 1941”.
The crew’s kit and personal belongings were removed from their lockers and catalogued; kit was returned to stores and personal belongings sent to the RAF Central Depository at RAF Colnbrook.
The Air Ministry Casualty Branch, which was responsible for investigating, monitoring and reporting on the status of missing aircraft and airmen, subsequently published the following information regarding the crew:
- Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 82 (Flight 16/10/1941) shows MG Garner and WL Berry as “missing, believed killed in action”. It also shows JAA Cox, R Lisle, HT McQuigg, JJ Rogers and KR Sewell as “missing”
- Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 122 (Flight 02/04/1942) shows MG Garner and WL Berry “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”
- Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 139 (Flight 09/07/1942) shows JAA Cox, R Lisle, HT McQuigg, JJ Rogers and KR Sewell “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
Note: Presumption of death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could then be returned to the next of kin, along with any monies due.
No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the following information was received relating to the crew:
- 16/09/1941: Information received from International Red Cross Society that Sgt Pilot Garner and Sgt Berry (Tail Gunner) missing on operations on 15th August 1941 were killed.
Post War search for the missing crew members
After the war, an investigation officer from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was tasked with locating the remains of the missing crew member(s).
Original German documents, burial records and eye witness accounts were utilised to establish the location of the crash site, the cause of the loss and the initial fate of the crew; information was recorded in a MRES Investigation Report.
As part of the process, any remains that were located were exhumed, identified (wherever possible) and concentrated (reinterred) at one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Cemeteries in the country that they fell, in accordance with Government policy at the time.
Graves were marked with a simple wooden cross, which was replaced by the familiar CWGC headstone during the 1950’s.
Missing airmen who could not be found, or formally identified, had their names commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.
CWGC records show that the remains of all the crew members were located at Lingen New Cemetery, Germany
Note: Rogers and Sewell are on a separate page
Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY on 29th and 30th May 1947 as follows:
- BERRY, WALLACE LLEWELLYN Sergeant ‘R/59127’ Grave 14. D. 16.
- COX, JOHN ALFRED ARTHUR Flight Sergeant ‘648868’ Coll. grave 15. B. 4-8.
- GARNER, MICHAEL GERARD Sergeant ‘1168520’ Grave 14. D. 17.
- LISLE, RONALD Pilot Officer ‘100618’ Coll. grave 15. B. 4-8.
- McQUIGG, HOWARD TORRENS Sergeant ‘575079’ Coll. grave 15. B. 4-8.
- ROGERS, JJ Flight Sergeant ‘966861’ Coll. grave 15. B. 4-8.
- SEWELL, KENNETH RANDOLPH Sergeant ‘751350’ Coll. grave 15. B. 4-8.
P4 Casualty Branch File
The following Casualty File is available at the National Archives:
AIR 81/8342 Pilot Officer R Lisle, Sergeant M G Garner, Sergeant K R Sewell, Sergeant J A A Cox, Flight Sergeant J J Rogers, Sergeant W L Berry (RCAF), Sergeant H T McQuigg: killed; aircraft failed to return from an operational flight over Magdeburgh, Germany, Halifax L9500, 35 Squadron, 14 August 1941.
Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)
Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Heinz-Martin Hadeball, 7./NJG1, 800m S. Andervenne near Freren (5A), 01.10
WR Chorley (Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War)
Crashed at Andervenne, Germany