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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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576 Squadron Crest
20/21.02.1945 576 Squadron Lancaster I NF975 UJ:J2 Fg.Off. R.S. Bastick

Operation: Dortmund

Date: 20/21st February 1945

Unit: 576 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NF975

Code: UL:J2

Base: RAF Fiskerton

Location: Not known - target area?

Pilot: Fg.Off. Richard Stanley Bastick 184678 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Frederick George James Martin 1324045 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Flt.Sgt. William Gordon Frost 428286 RAAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. William Victor Bibby 1579109 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Jack Coates 1622241 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Henry Alfred Sargent 1474901 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Robert Leslie Swaffer 1898320 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 21:41 hrs. from RAF Fiskerton to bomb the Rhenania Ossag oil refinery in the Reisholz district. 514 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes took part in this final operation of the war on Dortmund.

The object was to destroy the southern part of Dortmund which according to Bomber Command was achieved. No reports are available from the local archive on the damage caused to the city.

It has not been possible to attribute the loss NF975 at this time. However, against the 25 certain and 2 probable Abschüsse claimed by night fighters on this night, only around 20 of the actual RAF bombers that were lost can be attributed to night fighters; an over-claiming by some 7 aircraft. Flak was most likely responsible for 2 losses. (Nachtjagd War Diaries Volume 2 (April 1944 - May 1945) - Dr Theo E.W. Boiten & Roderick J. Mackenzie).

Note: Flt.Sgt. Jack Coates, a standby for this operation and not with his usual crew, survived an earlier incident on the 25th July 1944 on Lancaster III PB265 UL-V2.

Burial details:

Fg.Off. Richard Stanley Bastick. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 266. Son of Horace Gordon and Rose Lilian Bastick, of Woolwich, London, England.

Sgt. Frederick George James Martin. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 276. Son of Frederick Richard and Lily Maud Martin, husband of Esther Martin, of Sacriston, Co. Durham, England.

Flt.Sgt. William Gordon Frost. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 284. Son of Lindsay and Elsie Frost, of Willans Street, Narrandera, New South Wales, Australia. Born on 2nd December 1921 at Albury, New South Wales, Australia.

Flt.Sgt. William Victor Bibby. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 270. Son of William Victor and Catherine Jane Bibby, of Narberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Bio for Flt.Sgt. William Victor Bibby. (Courtesy Mike Baker on behalf of the Derbyshire Constabulary)

1st Class Constable 170 William Victor Bibby.

William was born on 24 Aug 1919 to William Victor & Catherine Jane Bibby and lived his early life in the village of Robeston Wathern in Pembrokeshire. His short life ended whilst serving as a RAF Flight Sergeant in the late evening of 20th February 1945 after his plane was shot down over enemy territory.

It is not currently known what brought this unmarried Welshman to Derbyshire but on 4th July 1938 he was appointed a probationer constable in the County Constabulary. After 3 months training at the Iron Gate HQ, Derby he was posted to Dronfield in the Eckington Division. He remained there a year until being moved to Renishaw (1939 register shows he was in lodgings at Wood View, Renishaw) to act as a clerk to the superintendent. He was obviously a good administrator for shortly after being promoted to 1st Class Constable he was transferred to Alfreton in January 1941, there to act as a standby clerk. He hardly had time to settle in to his new lodgings before a clerk's vacancy became available at Bakewell. This was to be his last police posting in mid February 1941.

William's police career ended on 8th March 1942 when he volunteered for active service and joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve eventually attaining the rank of Flight Sergeant Bomb Aimer (service number 1579109).

Flt.Sgt. Jack Coates. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 270. Son of William and Elizabeth Coates, of Accrington, Lancashire, husband of Margery Coates, of Accrington, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Henry Alfred Sargent. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 276. Son of John F. and Florence M. A. Sargent, of Dagenham, Essex, England.

Sgt. Robert Leslie Swaffer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 277. Son of Frederick William James Swaffer and Florence Ellen Swaffer, of Chiddingstone Hoath, Kent, England.

With thanks to Simon Weir for crew photograph. Thanks to Mike baker for the Bio for Flt.Sgt. Bibby. Other sources as quoted below.

RS 02.07.2020 - Addition of Bio for Flt.Sgt. Bibby

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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