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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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35 Squadron Crest
08/09.07.1941 No. 35 Squadron Halifax I L9521 TL-Z Sgt. Bovington

Operation: Merseburg

Date: 08/09th July 1941 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 35 Squadron

Type: Halifax I

Serial: L9521

Code: TL-Z

Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire

Location: 187 Rijksweg, Mook

Pilot: Sgt. Lionel William Bovington DFM. 566881 RAFVR PoW No: 39258 Camp: 357 - Stalag Kopernikus

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Arthur Parkes 526677 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Archie Kiddey 1389004 RAFVR PoW No: 270051 Camp 4B - Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe) (1)

Air/Bmr: W/O. George Donald Barry 580820 RAFVR Age 23 PoW No: 39259 Camp: 357 - Stalag Kopernikus (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Albert Edward Hammond 535641 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry Septimus Bradbeer 805520 RAFVR PoW - Seriously injured - hospitalised

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Noel Eric Henry Coleman 1107286 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire at 22:33 to bomb the oil plant at Leuna, together with 7 others from the squadron and 7 other aircraft from various bases.


During the return trip they were intercepted over Mook by Lt. August Geiger (3) of 9./NJG1 at 03:32 hrs. The Halifax came down on a house at 187 Rijksweg in the village of Mook. Tragically, 4 of the Dutch occupants the Arts family also lost their lives.

4 of the crew managed to bale out of the aircraft but it is understood that 3 went down with the Halifax. Sgt. Bradbeer was hospitalised, seriously injured - the German surgeons had to amputate his left leg.

Left: Hptm. August Geiger (Courtesy Kracker archives on this website)

(1) 96 year old, Archie Kiddey passed away on the 08th January 2015 at his home in Wilford, Nottinghamshire, following a short illness.

(2) During the 'Long March' (the moving of PoW away from the Russian advance) W/O. George Donald Barry was one of between 30 + allied prisoners hit by a strafing attack from Typhoons who mistook them for Germans on the retreat. This happened just outside the village of Gresse on Thursday 19th April 1945. W/O. Barry died from his wounds on the 25th April 1945.

(3) This was the 1st claim by the future nightfighter ace Oblt. August Geiger (a total of 49 kills) who was later shot down and killed by W/Cmd. Bob Braham from 141 Beaufighter squadron after a fierce dogfight on September 29th 1943.

Above taken at Stalag Kopernikus: T. Humphrey Ball 518234 RAFVR (PRU Spitfire), Neil Campbell (Hampden 61 Squadron), Gordon F. Bottomley 647964 RAFVR (AD924 Hampden 144 SQD), A.L. Brown (Air Sea Rescue), Archie Kiddey (35 Squadron Halifax L9521 Sgt Pilot), Will Bennett (WOP/AG). (courtesy of Frederick Thiede)

The town of Merseburg an important target for the allies as one of the largest synthetic oil plants and second most extensive chemical operation in Nazi Germany - the IG Farben Leuna works was situated just out of the town. After 23 air raids, 6,200 dwellings were completely or partly destroyed.


The historic town centre was almost completely flattened during the war. The area was protected by 600 radar controlled anti-aircraft guns - manned by workers from the factory. After the war became part of the Soviet Union and gradually went into decline. After reunification of Germany the factory was split into smaller units with the less profitable ones sold off.

The son of the navigator Sgt. Archie Kiddey Mr. John Kiddey recorded his memories:

Video 1: Sgt. Archie Kiddey recalls in 2000 his World War 2 experiences including being shot down over Holland, spending 4 years in PoW camps before escaping and getting home to England.

Video 2: Speaking in 2000 about his experiences during WW2 when he was a PoW.

Video 3: Part three of a long interview he did with his son in 2000.

Video 4: Here he remembers the latter stages of the war when food was short and it was becomg clear that Germany would, eventually, be defeated and Archie might finally get home to his wife and his baby son.

Video 5: In this last section, he talks about how he and others managed to escape and survive as Germany collapsed and British tanks rolled in from the west. He also regrets seeing fellow prisoners stealing silverware from German women who had helped them in their escape.

Burial details:

Reinterred on the 19th June 1946 in the CWWG Cemetery in Uden.

Sgt. Thomas Arthur Parkes. Uden War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.5. Son of Richard and Tamar Parkes- no further details. Grave inscription reads: "Resting Where No Shadows Fall".

Fl/Sgt. Albert Edward Hammond. Uden War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.4. Son of Sgt. Major A.E. Hammond of Cleethorpes, Yorkshire, No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Noel Eric Henry Coleman. Uden War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.3. Son of Edward Henry and Mary Ann Coleman, of Starbeck, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England and husband of Ruth Coleman. Grave inscription reads: "Always Remembered By All Who Loved Him".

Later:

W/O. George Donald Barry. Hanover War Cemetery Grave: 6.G.16. Initially buried at the Diepholz Cemetery, Germany. Reinterred on the 07th June 1947. Son of George and Mary Barry and husband of Freda Barry, of Liverpool, England. Grave inscription reads: "May He Find In God's Haven Of Rest, The Joys He Missed In Life. Ever In Our Thoughts".

Researched for John Kiddey, son of the observer, Sgt. Archie Kiddey and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Frederick Thiede for PoW photograph, other sources as shown below.

KTY - 30.01.2018

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 (both 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', 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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Last Modified: 06 February 2018, 14:38

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