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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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Coastal Command badge
26.03.1945 No. 524 Squadron Wellington XIII NB824 7R-F W/O. Brogan

Operation: Box Patrol

Date: 26th March 1945 (Monday)

Unit: No. 524 Squadron (Coastal Command)

Type: Wellington XIII

Serial: NB824

Code: 7R-F

Base: RAF Langham, Norfolk, England

Location: At airfield, Langham, Norfolk.

Pilot: W/O. John Joseph Brogan 655067 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Arthur Harris 1399889 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Shelton Cuthbert 1339638 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leonard Lewis Laming 1603656 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. J. Marston. Survived - no further information. Can you assist?

Air/Gnr: Sgt. D.R. Carter. Survived - no further information. Can you assist?

Air/Gnr: W/O. C.E. Loftus. Survived - no further information. Can you assist?

REASON FOR LOSS:


Updated May 2015 via Patricia Harris (relative of Fl/Sgt. Frederick Harris)

There has been a Commemoration on the afternoon of 28 March 2015 at the Dome at Langham which the Friends of the Dome organised.


It is known that the Wellington crashed on take of from RAF Langham, Norfolk, England at 01.48 hrs on 26th March 1945. The crash card states that the starboard engine failed during take off - cause was crankshaft failure. Pat Harris is seeking further assistance with this, please contact us and details will be forwarded. Pat has established that Sgt Marston came from Hathershaw, Oldham.

It is also known that an Ivy Cross drove her van over fields to the crash site and attempted rescue the crew. She assisted 3 of the crew but the fire prevented her helping the others. For this act of bravery she was awarded the BEM. John Bennett, who during his research into PTSD, discovered that his mother, AC2 Gladys Garret WAAF, and another WAAF also assisted in the rescue of the aircrew. Gladys suffered PTSD all her life from what she witnessed.

If you contact us either through the 'add info' button at the top of this page or the contact us page, we will forward your information on. If you dont wish your details to be passed on and simply just wish to assist, that will be respected of course.

Standing L-R: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Harris, W/O. John (Jack) Brogan. Next 'unknown, then Fl/Sgt. Leonard Shelton Cuthbert Seated left: Sgt. Leonard Laming. In cap, unknown. Believed to be taken in Palestine. Can you name any of the others? (courtesy Patricia Harris)

The son of the CO, Squadron Leader Alan Comfort, Mr David Comfort, was also traced and delighted to attend the ceremony.

Relatives of the lost crew members delivered readings at the church service, which was conducted by the Rev Ian Whittle.

Before the plaque was unveiled Air Vice Marshall Nigel Bairsto, chair of the Royal Air Force Association, said: “There’s a degree of solemnity about these occasions and there’s a degree of celebration.

“We believe just as the navy does, just as the army does, that commemorating our past is quite incredibly important.”

The Air Vice Marshall said it was unusual to see so many people gathered for such a ceremony. Around 100 attended Saturday’s event, which was organised by Patrick Allen, chair of the Friends of Langham Dome. Relatives were traced by Pat Harris, a sister-in-law of co-pilot Frederick Harris, who died in the crash.

Afterwards Mrs Harris, now 82 and from Rutland, said: “It’s simply amazing. I never, ever thought we’d see so many people.

“I traced most of the relatives, that was hours and hours on the internet and quite successful, except I couldn’t trace the relatives of two of the survivors.”

After a bugler played the last post, families drove to the crash site on farmland two miles west of the village. They planted an oak tree, taking turns to throw soil around its young roots.

Burial details:

W/O. John Joseph Brogan. Stamford Cemetery. Sec K. Grave 1B. Son of John and Mary Brogan, of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Frederick Arthur Harris. Romford Cemetery. Grave 2924. Son of Cecil Frank and Alice Harris, of Dagenham, Essex, England.

Fl/Sgt. Leonard Shelton Cuthbert. Salisbury Cemetery. Sec M. Grave 201. Son of Richard Henry and Ellen Adelaide Cuthbert, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.

Sgt. Leonard Lewis Laming. Blackpool (Carlton) Cemetery. Sec B. Grave 1002. Son of Leonard Lewis Laming and Elsie May Laming; husband of Joyce Hilton Laming, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Researched for relatives of the crew with details supplied by Patricia Harris, relative of the co-pilot. Thanks to John Bennett for his contribution.

RS 03.08.2019 - Additional information for the rescue of aircrew


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', 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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