23.07.1941 No. 15 Squadron Stirling I N6038 LS-R F/O. Robert B. Campbell
Operation: La Pallice
Date: 23rd July 1941 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 15 Squadron
Type: Stirling I
Base: RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire
Location: North Sea
Pilot: F/O. Robert Balmain Campbell AUS/400025 RAAF Age 27. Missing believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Arthur John Mitchell 902867 RAFVR Age 23. Missing believed killed
Nav: Sgt. George Thomas Friend 549040 RAF Age 20. Missing believed killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Donald Alfred Lewis NZ/40193 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Cockburn 614847 RAF Age ? Missing believed killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. John Henry Eric Warner 102984 RAF Age ? Missing believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Ronald Norman Whitcher 751366 RAFVR Age 22. Missing believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire a 18:05 hrs to attack the battle cruiser, Scharnhorst with 5 other aircraft.
They encountered heavy flak and were attacked repeatedly by Me109s from JG2 which forced the bombers to dive to low level to make good their escape. One Stirling (N6038) was fatally damaged and it crashed into the sea claiming the lives of the crew. (From the book "Short Stirling Units in World war 2" - Jonathan Falconer)
Initial reports stated that the aircraft came down 50 miles off Milford Haven - but after the Missing Research Enquiry Service after lengthy investigations discovered the body washed up at Anrum and buried at Nebel was that of P/O. Donald Lewis - so very likely the aircraft came down in the North Sea.
F/O. Robert Balmain Campbell. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 62. Son of Robert Balmain Campbell and Edith Jessie Campbell, of 28 Sunnyside Avenue, Camberwell, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Born on the 18th May 1914 at Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. Enlisted in Melbourne.
Sgt. Arthur John Mitchell. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 48. Son of Arthur and Hannah Mitchell, of Penylan, Cardiff, Wales.
Sgt. George Thomas Friend. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 43. Son of Herbert John and Nora Friend.
P/O. Donald Alfred Lewis. Kiel War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.1. Son of Vincent Lewis, and of Isabelle Marie (neé Campbell), of Levin, Wellington, New Zealand.
Fl/Sgt. William Cockburn. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 35. No further details - are you able to assist?
P/O. John Henry Eric Warner. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 35. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. Arthur Ronald Norman Whitcher. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 54. Son of Arthur and Amy K. S. Whitcher, of Southampton, England.
A simple cross placed at the Remembrance Sunday service in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk prompted the webmaster to place a page to Fl/Sgt. Cockburn and crew. Thanks to John Jones for the aircraft loss information. or further details our thanks to the sources shown below.