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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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Halifax lll
04/05.11.1944 No. 466 Squadron Halifax II NR132 HD-Z F/O.Dodgson

Operation: Bochum, Germany

Date: 4/5th November 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 466 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: NR132

Code: HD-Z

Base: RAF Driffield, Yorkshire

Location: Near Duran, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Charles Norman Roy Dodgson AUS/42851 RAAF Age 26. Prisoner of War No: 13034. Camp Luft III (Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria) (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Francis Caffrey 1892512 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Edward Maxwell Ryder AUS/436485 RAAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Howard Jeffery Tolhurst AUS/433279 RAAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Evered Austin McCasker AUS/425408 RAAF Age 23. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: W/O. Robert Douglas Stopher AUS/415695 RAAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Stirling McLay AUS/434647 RAAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from RAF Driffield at 17:17hrs for a night bombing raid on Bochum, Germany. The aircraft was attacked by a night fighter which set the fuselage on fire. A further attack set the starboard engine on fire and the order to abandon the aircraft was given. The aircraft crashed on to a farmhouse on the Rhine side of a village situated between Koln, Duran and Dusseldorf.

This was a successful attack with severe damage to the centre of Bochum with more than 4,000 buildings destroyed or damaged. The industrial area of the city was also severely damaged including the steelworks. 749 aircraft took part in this raid from Nos 1, 4, 6, and 8 Groups. 384 Halifaxes, 336 Lancasters and 29 Mosquitos with the loss of 23 Halifaxes and 5 Lancasters. Based at RAF Elvington No 346 (Free French) Squadron sent 16 Halifaxes on this raid with the loss of 5 aircraft.

(1) F/O. Charles Norman Roy Dodgson was blown out of the aircraft after an explosion and managed to parachute to the ground. Due to his injuries he was captured within a short time and taken to prison hospital for treatment and later became a Prisoner of War. F/O. Charles Norman Roy Dodgson was repatriated to the UK in May 1945.

(2) P/O. Evered Austin McCasker escaped uninjured from a crash whilst with 82 OTU.

466 Squadron Halifax II NR132 HD-Z crew graves

Burial details:

The 6 crew who lost their lives were first buried in Duran New Cemetery and then in 1949 were re-intered in Rheinberg War Cemetery with full military honours. The service was conducted by a Chaplin of the RAF with a guard of honour from the Belgian Military Police.

Sgt. Francis Caffrey. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Coll. Grave 11. D. 4-6. No further information as yet - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Edward Maxwell Ryder. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Grave Ref. 11. D. 3. Son of William James and Sarah Ellen Ryder. Husband of Joyce Ethel Ryder of Burwood, New South Wales, Australia. Edward was born on the 4th December 1921 in Mortdale NSW and enlisted on the 15th January 1943 in Perth. Edward is remembered on the Sydney Roll of Honour.

Fl/Sgt. Howard Jeffery Tolhurst. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Grave Ref. 3. J. 19. Son of Earnest Albert and Edith May Tolhurst of Normanhurst, New South Wales, Australia. Howard was born on the 11 September 1924 in Sydney, NSW and enlisted on the 2nd March 1943 in Sydney.

P/O. Evered Austin McCasker. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Grave Ref. 11. D. 7. Son of Henry Carr McCasker and Ida McCasker of Goondiwindi, Queensland, Australia. Husband of Rosalie Mabel McCasker of Brighton, Sussex, England. Howard was born on the 11th January 1921 in Goondiwindi, Queensland and enlisted on the 2nd February 1942 in Brisbane. Evered is remembered on the Goondiwindi Roll of Honour.

W/O. Robert Douglas Stopher. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Coll. Grave 11. D. 4-6. Son of Reginald Herbert and Muriel Mildred Stopher of Kalamunda, Western Australia. Robert was born on the 22 June 1918 in Subiaco, Western Australia and he enlisted on the 7th December 1941 in Grants Patch, Perth. He is remembered on Kalgoorlie Roll of Honour.

Fl/Sgt. John Stirling McLay. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Coll. Grave 11. D. 4-6. Son of James Archibald and Sybil Mary McLay of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. John was born on the 22nd October 1924 in Toowoomba and enlisted on the 1st January 1943 in Brisbane. He is remembered on the Toowoomba Roll of Honour

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame for relatives of this crew. Further sources as shown below.

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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