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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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115 Squadron Crest
22/23.04.1944 No. 115 Squadron Lancaster III ND753 KO-K P/O. Robert E. Chantler

Operation: Dusseldorf

Date: 22/23rd April 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 115 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND753

Code: KO-K

Base: RAF Witchford, Ely, Cambridgeshire

Location: Unterrath, Dusseldorf.

Pilot: P/O. Robert Edward Chantler 172981 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: P/O. John Burns Tweedie 175327 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Nav: F/O. Douglas Drew 145376 RAFVR Age 35. Killed

Air/Bmr: W/O II Robert Lewis Francis R/162649 RCAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Percy Nash 1575026 RAFVR Age 22. Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Farmer 636504 RAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. William Norman Waldron Brown AUS/17786 RAAF Age 32. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23:02 hrs from Witchford, Ely to join 595 aircraft to bomb Dusseldorf. 2,150 tons of bombs were dropped between 01:15 - 01:29 hrs causing widespread destruction with over 1000 people on the ground killed with 56 very large industrial premises, over 2,000 homes destroyed. Crews returned to speak of extremely heavy night fighter activity. They recorded that fires could be seen as much as 110 miles away.

Losses to the allied bombers on this raid were huge with 29 aircraft being shot down resulting in 133 aircrew killed and a further 68 being made PoW.

Lancaster ND753 was lost over the target area, hit by flak and crashed at Unterrath a small borough of Dusseldorf in the northern outskirts. The aircraft burst into flames on impact.

Photo submitted to Aircrew Remembered by Michelle De Winter (see credits) We decided to list all the names, in case other relatives can identify and contact us with further details.

Left to right, back row: 417464 Arthur Ronald Giles (pilot, died 12 September 1944 on operations over Germany); 417471 Hugh Malcolm Foreman (pilot); 422357 Kenneth Roderick Fraser (pilot); 417453 William Frederick Brenton (observer, died 27 January 1944 on operations over Italy); 417450 Peter Le Rey Boucaut (pilot, accidentally killed 7 June 1945 in India while flying with No. 215 Squadron, RAF); 417181 Ronald Walter Allen; 417466 Mark William Edgerley (observer); 417447 Henry Trevor Bennett (pilot); and 417465 Norman Alic Duthie (wireless air gunner).
Second row, from left to right: 417467 Douglas Travers Edwards (pilot); 417337 Arthur Raymond Christian (pilot); 17786 William Norman Waldron Brown (air gunner, died 23 April 1944 on operations over Germany); 417459 Hugh Leslie Cormier (pilot); 417456 Bruce Ernest Butler (observer); 417472 Keith Herbert Freeman (pilot, died 21 July 1944 on operations over Germany); and 417468 Thomas Vance Emes (pilot).
Third row, from left to right: 417441 William Henry (Bill) Baker (observer); 417445 Wilson Hugh Barrett (wireless air gunner); 417462 Gilbert James Duggin (wireless air gunner); 418623 John Howard Bell (pilot); 417442 Dick Sheppard Bampton (pilot); 417448 Edmund Hughes Berry (wireless air gunner, died 11 October 1943 in an accident in Scotland); 417457 Colin Clare (observer); 417463 Allen Ross Durdin (pilot); 417451 Frank Edgar Bowering (observer, died 26 January 1944 in an accident in England); 417443 Ronald Rex Banks (wireless air gunner).
Front row, from left to right:417469 Ian Ormond Evans; 417444 Edgar James Barker (pilot); 417449 Henry James Blackwell (wireless air gunner); 417452 Kingsley Norman Brandwood (pilot); 417461 Vivian William Duffield (wireless air gunner); 253320 Pilot Officer (P/O) Lambert Gordon Hamilton; 417440 Ralph McPherson Bairnsfather (pilot, died 7 March 1945 on operations over Germany); 417455 Lewis Donaldson Burgess; 417454 Ronald William Brown (pilot, died 19 October 1944 on operations over France); 417458 Peter John Cook (pilot).

(1) Listed as Donald Percy Nash on the CWGC website - correct name is as we have listed.

Burial details:

P/O. Robert Edward Chantler. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Joint Grave 7.D. 1-2. Son of William and Mary Chantler, of Jarvis Brook, Crowborough, Sussex, England.

P/O. John Burns Tweedie. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 7.C. 18. Son of James and Janet B. Tweedie, husband of Dorothy Ethel Tweedie, of Kensington, London, England.

F/O. Douglas Drew. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Joint Grave 7.D. 1-2. Son of James Lawson Drew and Mary Walker Drew, of Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire. B.A. (Oxon.) Scotland.

W/O II Robert Lewis Francis. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 7.E. 4. Son of James Henry and Anne Jane Francis, of Steveston, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. Ronald Percy Nash. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 7.E. 3. Son of Henry Nash, brother of Gladys Drummond (Née Nash) of 28 Colebrook Road, Greet, Birmingham, England. (Shown left)

Sgt. Kenneth Farmer. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 7.C. 16. Son of Charles and Alice Farmer, husband of Isley May Farmer, of Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, Co. Durham, England.

P/O. William Norman Waldron Brown. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 7.C. 17. Son of John Joseph Waldron Brown and Grace Agnes Brown, husband of Frances Gertrude Brown, of Alicia Street, Albany, Western Australia. Born on 28th January 1912 in town as listed. (Shown right)

Researched for Sue Morris - Granddaughter of Sgt. Ronald Nash, Michelle De Winter who’s husband is a relative of P.O. William Brown and for all relatives of the crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Australian National Archives. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), 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 UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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