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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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61 Squadron crest
03/04.06.1942 61 Squadron Lancaster I R5627 Fg.Off. Ronald E. Archibald

Operation: Bremen

Date: 3rd/4th June 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 61 Squadron (motto: Per purum tonantes - 'Thundering through the clear air')

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: R5627

Code: QR:?

Base: RAF Syerston, Northamptonshire

Location: Bad Zwischenahn aerodrome, Germany.

Pilot: Fg.Off. Ronald Earle Archibald 87451 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Peter Holmes 1292767 RAFVR Age? PoW No: 509, Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug

Nav: Sgt. Ian Frank Pratt 1254955 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. David Lorimer DFM. 552531 RAF Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Jack Lewis Wallis 928617 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air Gnr: Flt.Lt. George Liddell Carruthers Beattie 84878 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Maurice Hamilton Denison 938703 RAFVR Age 36. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Syerston, Northamptonshire at 23:15 hrs, joining 170 aircraft taking part in this operation on the first large raid to Bremen.

Returning crews described the bombing with indifferent results.

The German reports state however that the attack was heavy - housing areas heavily hit with 6 streets affected by serious fires. The damage to the U-Boat contraction yards and the Focke-Wulf factory was also described as "of no importance".

The harbour area was hit which damaged a pier and some warehouses, also a destroyer Z25 was hit. (shown left) 83 people killed on the ground with a further 258 injured.

Claimed by Lt. Hans-Heinrich König (Koenig), his 3rd confirmed Abschuss, from 8./NJG3 at Zwischenahn near Oldenburg at 01:38. Note: also claimed shot down by flak of 8.Flak Div. As a "Short Stirling" near Zwischenahn at 01:40 hrs in cooperation with Nachtjagd. There is no confirmation date known for Lt. König’s claim. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (30 May - 31 December 1942) The Early Years Part 3 - Theo Boiten))

Oblt König (Koenig) was killed flying with I./JG11 at the Kommandeur, in an Fw190 on the 24th May 1944 near Kaltenkirchen during air combat with a B-17. This was to be his 24th confirmed Abschuss, The American bomber was also lost colliding with his aircraft. It is possible, although not confirmed, that the B-17 was B-17G 42-102648 from the 100th Bombardment Group (H), 349th Bombardment Squadron (H). Six of the crew were KiA and four became PoWs.



Burial details:

Originally buried at the Evangelical Friedhof at Bad Zwischenahn, since moved after hostilities to Sage War Cemetery.

Fg.Off. Ronald Earle Archibald. Sage War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.E.13-15. Son of Wilbert Earle Archibald and Clara Jennie Archibald, of Rosedale, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription: 'Till We Meet Again, Beloved'.

Ronald Archibald (shown above) was born in Chilliwack in September 1920 and at school became a prominent athlete. In 1939, he decided to join the Royal Air Force and was trained as a pilot. Ronald served as an instructor after graduation and on one occasion he and his student crashed in a storm and Ronald suffered a fractured spine. Upon recovery he returned to instructing but had applied for a transfer to an operational squadron. He was posted to Bomber Command and served for nine months prior to being reported missing. Before his death Ronald had flown on raids against the German battleships, Prinz ugen,Gneiseau and Scharnhorst and participated in the '1000 Bomber Raid' against Cologne.





Sgt. Ian Frank Pratt. Sage War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.E.13-15. Born on the 22nd October 1920 in Romford, Essex. Son of Frank Percy and Olive (née Goode) Pratt of Ivy Hill, Chelmsford, Essex, England. Grave inscription: 'A Treasured Memory'.

Flt.Sgt. David Lorimer DFM. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.12. Son of Mr David Lorimer and Alexina Smart. He had married Irene Merrill of Leicester on the 2nd of April 1942 in Broughty Ferry.

Flt.Sgt. David Lorimer DFM survived an earlier incident on the 9th January 1942, after the Avro Manchester I R5789 crashed following an engine fire. He baled out along with 5 other crew. The pilot and co-pilot were killed choosing to remain with the aircraft to attempt a landing.

DFM awarded to Sgt. David Lorimer whilst with 44 Sqn, gazetted 17th January 1941.

Sgt. Jack Lewis Wallis. Sage War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.E.13-15. Son of Charles and Florence Wallis, of Wood Green, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription: 'God Takes Our Loved Ones From Our Homes, But Never From Our Hearts'.

Flt.Lt. George Liddell Carruthers Beattie. Sage War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.E.13-15. Born in 1902 the son of Sir J. Carruthers Beattie of Cape Town. He had married Winifrede Jean Laird in 1931 in Marylebone, they had no children.

Flt.Sgt. Maurice Hamilton Denison. Sage War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.E.13-15. Born on the 13th April 1906 in Bradfords, Yorkshire. Son of George Ellis and Katherine Myfanwy (née Jones) Denison. Husband to Lucy Mary Alice (née Featherstone) Denison of Bradford, Yorkshire, England.

Researched for Kenneth Peterson, relative of the pilot Fg.Off. Ronald Archibald and dedicated to all the relatives of this crew. thanks to climbers of Mount Archibald, Chilliwack War Museum of British Columbia, Canada. Thanks to Robert Moffitt for the Next of Kin details for Flt.Sgt Lorimer and Flt.Lt. Beattie (Feb 2021). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Feb 2021).

RS 09.02.2021 - NoK details for the crew and narrative detail updated

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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