Lancaster ND646 (30/03/1944)

Lancaster ND646 was one of fourteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Nuremberg on 30th / 31st March 1944.

Its seven man crew comprised:

  • Eric Charles Gregory (Pilot)
  • Cyril Thomas John Trott (Navigator)
  • Douglas William Kermode (Air Bomber)
  • Robert Henry Sadler (Wireless Operator)
  • Squire Nuttall (Air Gunner)
  • Wallace John Stewart (Air Gunner)
  • Jack Weaver (Flight Engineer)

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “aircraft hit by incendiary bomb whilst on its way to target”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/A on 31st March 1944; it was repaired and returned to the squadron on 29th April 1944

Halifax W1015 (30/03/1942)

Halifax W1015 was one of thirteen aircraft dispatched by No. 35 Squadron to a forward base at RAF Kinloss on 27th March 1942 in readiness for an attack on the Battleship Tirpitz, which was moored in Fættenfjord, Norway.

On the night of 30th/ 31st March 1942 it was one of twelve aircraft which took part in a raid on the battleship.

Its seven-man crew consisted of:

  • George Henry Steinhauer (Pilot)
  • Peter Gregory Brown (2nd Pilot)
  • Lewis Edward Goodrum (Observer)
  • Douglas Granville Joseph Campbell (WOP / AG)
  • Eric Talbot Meade (WOP / AG)
  • Maurice Cohen [aka Cowan] (Air Gunner)
  • James Black Dunlop (Flight Engineer)

W1015 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft took part in a raid on the Norwegian Coast and is missing; no further details are given”.

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 31st March 1942 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 30th / 31th March 1942”.

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. 134 (Flight 04/06/1942) reported GH Steinhauer, PG Brown, LE Goodrum, ET Meade, DGJ Campbell, M Cohen and JB Dunlop as “missing”

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 ET Meade and M Cohen (*) were located at Kristiansund (Norway)

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at TRONDHEIM (STAVNE) CEMETERY on 9th May 1946 as follows:

  • MEADE, ERIC TALBOT, Sergeant ‘920366’ Grave A IV British. C. 7.
  • COHEN, MAURICE, Sergeant ‘655080’ Grave A IV British. C. 6.

[Courtesy of Linzee Duncan]

(*) It is interesting to note that wartime records show M Cohen’s surname as Cowan

CWGC records show that the remains of GH Steinhauer were located at Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery (Norway)

It is unclear whether his remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) or left in situ at TRONDHEIM (STAVNE) CEMETERY as follows:

  • STEINHAUER, GEORGE HENRY, Flight Sergeant ‘R/70825’  Grave A IV British. K. 3.

[Courtesy of Linzee Duncan]

CWGC records show that the remains of PG Brown were located at Edøy (Norway)

His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at TRONDHEIM (STAVNE) CEMETERY on 9th May 1946 as follows:

  • BROWN, PETER GREGORY, Pilot Officer ‘106502’ Grave A IV British. B. 3.

[Courtesy of Linzee Duncan]

The remains of LE Goodrum, DGJ Campbell and JB Dunlop were not located, or could not be formally identified and, as such, they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • GOODRUM, LEWIS EDWARD, Flight Sergeant ‘954695’  Panel 74.
  • CAMPBELL, DOUGLAS GRANVILLE JOSEPH, Sergeant ‘1173814’ Panel 79.
  • DUNLOP, JAMES BLACK, Sergeant ‘547222’ Panel 82.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

P4 Casualty Branch File

The following Casualty File is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/13071 Flight Sergeant G H Steinhauer (RCAF), Pilot Officer P G Brown, Sergeant E T Meade, Sergeant M Cowan: killed; Flight Sergeant L E Goodrum, Sergeant D G Campbell, Sergeant J B Dunlop: missing believed killed; Halifax W1015, 35 Squadron; aircraft shot down and crashed near Trondheim, Norway, during an attack on the German warship Tirpitz, 31 March 1942.

Post War Research

Post war research carried out by Linzee Duncan and Morten Moe records that the body of Steinhauer was recovered from the crash site at Remmingskjæret, Norway and was buried at Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery on 8th April 1942. The bodies of Brown, Meade and Cohen, were subsequently recovered from the sea, one at Remmingen, one at Hellesfjorden and another at Lauvøya. The bodies of Goodrum, Campbell and Dunlop were never found.

Allied Airmen Memorial

In 1985, a memorial was erected at the head of Faettenfjord in memory of the allied airmen (including those from No. 35 Squadron) who lost their lives in the attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz in 1942.

[Courtesy of Linzee Duncan]

Halifax R9496 (30/03/1942)

Halifax R9496 was one of thirteen aircraft dispatched by No. 35 Squadron to a forward base at RAF Kinloss on 27th March 1942 in readiness for an attack on the Battleship Tirpitz.

On the night of 30th / 31st March 1942 it was one of twelve aircraft which took part in a raid on the battleship which was moored in Fættenfjord, Norway.

Its seven-man crew consisted of:

  • William Bruce Archibald (Pilot)
  • Leslie John Nelmes (2nd Pilot)
  • Geoffrey Hillam Gurr Murray (Observer)
  • Archibald McCulloch McLaren (WOP / AG)
  • James Frederick Staff (WOP / AG)
  • Douglas Francis (Air Gunner)
  • Samuel Palmer (Flight Engineer)

R9496 failed to return and the squadron’s operations record book shows “This aircraft took part in a raid on the Norwegian Coast and is missing; no further details are given”.

War time activities relating to the loss

On 31st March 1942 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 30th / 31st March 1942”.

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. 134 (Flight 04/06/1942) reported WB Archibald, AM McLaren and D Francis as “missing, believed killed in action” and LJ Nelmes, GHG Murray, JF Staff and S Palmer as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 147 (Flight 27/08/1942) reported WB Archibald, AM McLaren and D Francis previously reported “missing, believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 199 (Flight 11/02/1943) reported GHG Murray “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 240 (Flight 10/06/1943) reported LJ Nelmes, JF Staff and S Palmer “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 sent to next of kin, along with any monies due.

Post War search for the missing members of the crew

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 do not show where the remains of WB Archibald, AM McLaren and D Francis were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at TRONDHEIM (STAVNE) CEMETERY as follows:

  • ARCHIBALD, WILLIAM BRUCE, Flight Sergeant, ‘533809’  Grave A IV British. K. 2.
  • McLAREN, ARCHIBALD MCCULLOCH, Sergeant, ‘993204’ Grave A IV British. K. 5.
  • FRANCIS, DOUGLAS, Sergeant, ‘632346’ Grave A IV British. K. 1.

[Courtesy of Linzee Duncan]

The remains of the remaining crew members were not located, or could not be identified and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • NELMES, LESLIE JOHN, Sergeant ‘1152271’ Panel 90.
  • MURRAY, GEOFFREY HILLAM GURR, Flight Sergeant ‘407094’ Panel 111.
  • STAFF, JAMES FREDERICK, Sergeant ‘959971’ Panel 94.
  • PALMER, SAMUEL, Sergeant ‘526215’ Panel 91.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

WR Chorley (Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War)

Shot down in the target area

Allied Airmen Memorial

In 1985, a memorial was erected at the head of Faettenfjord in memory of the allied airmen (including those from No. 35 Squadron) who lost their lives in the attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz in 1942.

[Courtesy of Linzee Duncan]


Notes:

  1. GHG Murray’s service file is digitised in the Australian Archives; there are no details regarding the loss

Halifax R9438 (30/03/1942)

Halifax R9438 was one of thirteen aircraft dispatched by No. 35 Squadron to a forward base at RAF Kinloss on 27th March 1942 in readiness for an attack on the Battleship Tirpitz.

On the night of 30th/ 31st March 1942 it was one of twelve aircraft which took part in a raid on the battleship which was moored in Fættenfjord, Norway.

Its seven-man crew consisted of:

  • Joseph Bryan Bushby (Pilot)
  • Anthony John Peach (2nd Pilot)
  • Geoffrey Noel Edward Powell (Observer)
  • John Peter Burton Buckley (WOP / AG)
  • Moses Lewis Usher (WOP / AG)
  • John Allen Wood (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald Meredith (Flight Engineer)

R9438 failed to return and the squadron’s operations record book shows “This aircraft took part in a raid on the Norwegian Coast and is missing; no further details are given”.

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 31st March 1942 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 30th / 31st March 1942”.

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, published the following information regarding the crew:

  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 138 (Flight 02/07/1942) reported JPB Buckley and ML Usher as “killed in action”.
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 139 (Flight 09/07/1942) reported JB Bushby, AJ Peach, GNE Powell and JA Wood as “missing”.

Wartime search for the missing crew members

On 31st March 1942, the wreckage of the aircraft, along with the bodies of some of the crew, was found at Fitful Head, Shetland.

A search for the missing airmen was carried out and the bodies of JPB Buckley and ML Usher were located and identified.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) records show the following burial details:

  • BUCKLEY, JOHN PETER BURTON, Flight Sergeant, ‘R/56144’, LERWICK NEW CEMETERY Terrace 7B. Grave 7.
  • USHER, MOSES LEWIS, Pilot Officer, ‘J/15861’, LERWICK NEW CEMETERY Terrace 7B. Grave 5.

It is also understood that the body of AJ Peach was located and buried on the cliff face where it was found. In addition,  further remains were located at the crash site in 1943; these were placed in an unmarked grave at Lerwick New Cemetery (see additional information below)

[Courtesy of Linzee Duncan]

Post War search for the missing crew members

It is not known if any further searches were carried out after the war to locate the missing crew members.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s records show that the remains of JB Bushby, R Meredith, AJ Peach, GNE Powell and JA Wood were not found, or could not be formally identified and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • BUSHBY, JOSEPH BRYAN Flight Sergeant ‘1057442’ Panel 73.
  • MEREDITH, RONALD Sergeant ‘937585’ Panel 89.
  • PEACH, ANTHONY JOHN Sergeant ‘1268062’ Panel 91.
  • POWELL, GEOFFREY NOEL EDWARD Sergeant ‘922976’ Panel 91.
  • WOOD, JOHN ALLEN Sergeant ‘901160’ Panel 97.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Crew Memorial

DSC_2607

Memorial to the crew at Fitful Head [Courtesy of John Winterburn]

Linzee Duncan Article

The following is extracted from an article about the recovery process written by Linzee Duncan:

“The next day, two local crofters, John Mainland and George William Leslie from Brake, Quendale, were out on Fitful Head checking their sheep. They rounded a corner and were taken by surprise to find two airmen who at first glance appeared to be alive since they were in a seated position. However, as the men approached the airmen they realised that they were dead and that an aircraft must have flown into the cliff. The crofters returned home and telephoned the RAF at Sumburgh to report the crash and the discovery of the bodies. The two airmen were identified as Flight Sergeant Buckley and Sergeant Usher who were the Wireless Operators, both were Canadian. With the help of Magnus Burgess of Quendale Farm, Tammie Flaws of Gord and Willie Aitken of Hillwell, the bodies were recovered and taken for burial in Lerwick Cemetery.

Also on the morning of March 31st the body of Sergeant Peach, the Second Pilot, was discovered hanging 200 feet above the water by his parachute on Fitful Head. Tom Warner was the RAF Padre at RAF Sumburgh, and despite the obvious danger to himself, decided that an attempt to recover the body must be made. He gathered a small party of men, a friend Flight Lieutenant Taylor, RAF driver LAC Finney and local John Mainland and together they went to Fitful Head to see what they could do. LAC Finney and Tom Warner descended the cliff until they were able to reach the body of Sergeant Peach. It was impossible to recover the body to the top of the cliff and so they no alternative other than to pull the body into a fissure in the cliff where they covered it with the parachute and some rocks. They were able to positively identify it as being that of Sergeant Peach from his identity disc. Prayers were said from the Burial Service and three shots were fired over the grave.

The following day Johnnie Eunson and some others went to look for possible survivors. During the search, Johnnie Eunson was lowered down the cliff face on a rope where he discovered some aircraft wreckage and another body. It was impossible due to the precipitous nature of the terrain to recover the body up the cliff face. The airman was identified as being Sergeant Meredith, the Flight Engineer. His body was wrapped in his parachute and a grave was made for him on the cliff using a natural fissure in the rock and the wreckage from the aircraft.

Over one year later, in May 1943, an unidentified body of a Sergeant was recovered from the wreckage which still lay on the cliff face. The body was taken to Lerwick Cemetery where it was buried on 14th June 1943 as “An airman of the 1939-1945 War”. The three airmen who were not recovered at the time of the crash were the Pilot, Flight Sergeant Bushby, the Navigator, Sergeant Powell and the Tail Gunner, Sergeant Wood. It must be assumed that the ‘unknown’ grave is that of one of these three men”


Halifax L9486 (30/03/1941 [Non Op])

Halifax L9486 was participating in the Air Fighting Development Unit (AFDU ) trials at Duxford on 30th March 1941.

Its crew comprised:

  • EG Franklin
  • Others?

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “L9486 experienced hydraulic failure of the undercarriage and it returned to Linton-On-Ouse, making a sad but beautiful landing on the belly of the aircraft, causing only the minimum amount of damage”.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The Movement Card suggests that the aircraft was off strength until 20th August 1941 (but this may have been when it was returned following a subsequent undated incident)

AM Form 1180

The Accident Card shows “Undercarriage failed to lower; landed undercarriage retracted


 

Bristol Blenheim P4900 (30/03/1940)

Bristol Blenheim P4900 was being utilised for a Bombing Exercise at RAF Upwood on 30th March 1940.

Its crew consisted of:

  • F/L J Paine (Pilot)
  • Others?

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “J Paine got caught by a strong gust of wind when landing a Blenheim on the aerodrome and damaged a wing and the undercarriage”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

AM Form 1180 shows “Landing in gusty winds – heavy * wheel landing; Checked angle of glide at too high altitude in view of wind conditions. Weather experienced as forecast by Met. Office”