17.09.1939 No. 22 Squadron Beaufort I L4508 OA-K P/O. Thomas Atherton
Operation: Cherbourg Harbour, France
Date: 17th September 1940 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 22 Squadron (Coastal Command)
Type: Bristol Beaufort MkI
Base: RAF Thorney Island, Sussex, England
Location: Digosville, France
Pilot: P/O. Thomas Atherton 43763 RAF Age 28. Killed
Nav: P/O. Ruthven Arnold MacFarlane 33546 RAF Age 19. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Leslie Feather 641705 RAF Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cyril James Harvey 751693 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
After take off at 13:30 hrs from RAF Thorney Island in Sussex L4508 together with 5 others from the Squadron and 12 Blenheims from 53 and 59 Squadrons proceeded to take part in a night torpedo attack against shipping in the outer Harbour of Cherbourg.
Understood to have crashed into a house at Digosville in France - killing all the crew, a further 7 civilians killed on the ground.
Digosville Memorial to the crew (see credits)
P/O. Thomas Atherton. Bayeux War Cemetery, Basse-Normandie, France. Grave XXIX.J.4. Son of Thomas Atherton and of Nellie Atherton (née Standish), husband of May Edie Atherton, of Rosyth, Fife, Scotland.
P/O. Ruthven Arnold MacFarlane. Bayeux War Cemetery, Basse-Normandie, France Grave XXIX.J.1. Son of W/Cdr. Ruthven Montgomerie Chase Macfarlane, 05073 MC., RAF (died on active service through illness - 10th March, 1943), and of Muriel Macfarlane (née Atkinson), of South Kensington, London. Scholar of Haileybury College and of RAF College, Cranwell. Grave memorial inscribed: “Sursum Corda.” (Lift up your hearts)
Sgt. John Leslie Feather. Bayeux War Cemetery, Basse-Normandie, France. Grave XXIX.J.3. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Feather, of Liverpool, England. Grave memorial inscribed: “In Loving Memory Of Our Dear Son Les. Sadly Missed Mum And Dad. Duty Well Done.”
Sgt. Cyril James Harvey. Bayeux War Cemetery, Basse-Normandie, France. Grave XXIX.J.2. Son of Thomas John and Alice Emily Harvey, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.
Researcher: Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - August 2016. With thanks to Régis Beaux for memorial at Digosville, Woose for grave photographs - others from the Michel Beckers collection.