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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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15 Squadron Crest
23/24.08.1943 No. 15 Squadron Stirling III EH875 LS-S P/O. Eric R.I. Cornell

Operation: Berlin

Date: 23/24th August 1943

Unit: No. 15 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EH875 (Thornaby-on-Tees)

Code: LS-S

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: Döberitz Suburb of Berlin, Germany.

Pilot: P/O. Eric Raymond Ivan Cornell 149530 RAFVR. Age 21. Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Frederick Thomas Morris 578187 RAF Age 19. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Norman Pine Collins 1333918 RAFVR Age ? Missing

Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Steel Frame 1392756 RAFVR Age 29. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Gorbert 1028923 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Handel Bottomley 1256133 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Charles Thomson 1710027 RAFVR Age 19. Killed (1)

We would like to invite any relative of the crew to contact us and perhaps supply further personal details - we have placed appeals such as this on other pages of remembrance, at times have managed to place all the relatives in contact with one another.


Took off from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk. Part of a huge raid on Berlin on which 710 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Stirlings took part plus a further 17 Mosquitoes. A total of 56 Aircraft failed to return, 31 came down over the target area. 4 claimed by German Flak and 51 claimed by the German night fighters.

Pilot of Stirling EH875, P/O. Eric Raymond Ivan Cornell (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

It is believed that EH175 was attacked and shot down by a night fighter but we are unable to place a name to this loss claim. All the crew were buried at first in the crash area of Döberitz when after the war the three crew that could be identified were moved to the Berlin War Cemetery.

Friends of P/O. Eric Cornell - are you able to recognise any? (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

Left: Newspaper report on Sgt. Handel Bottomley and right: The Wings to victory Campaign poster (Andrew Bottomley)

This aircraft was also named "Thornaby-on-Tees" as in the Wings for Victory campaign during this year the residents of this district raised a huge amount of £100.920 which in this case, used to buy this Stirling and seven Spitfires.

(1) His brother, Peter Frederick Thomson 1254913, RAFVR. Age 22 was also killed serving with 353 Squadron on 16th December 1942 - buried at the Madras War Cemetery, Chennai, India.

British Flying Training School Course No: 3 at Miami, Oklahoma, USA. P/O. Cornell shown centre row, extreme left. This is available in a higher resolution if relatives of other pilots shown would like a copy, please contact us. (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

C. Flight No1 Squardron 4th Initial Training Wing. 15th October 1941 Paignton, Devon. Are you able to place names to these? (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

18/7 Flight Stockley Park. Can you assist to name any of these lads? (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

Burial details:

P/O. Eric Raymond Ivan Cornell. Runnymede Memorial Panel 131. Son of Richard William Cornell, and of Hilda Rose Cornell, of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England.

Sgt. Frederick Thomas Morris. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. 4.E.8. Son of Thomas and Daisy Margaret Morris, of Portsmouth; husband of Peggy Doreen Emily Morris, of Milton, Portsmouth, England.

Sgt. Norman Pine Collins. Runnymede Memorial Panel 145. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. William Steel Frame. Runnymede Memorial Panel 150. Son of Daniel and Agnes Frame, of Carluke, Lanarkshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Edward Gorbert. Runnymede Memorial Panel 136. Son of John and Annie Elizabeth Gorbert, of Hull, England.

Sgt. Handel Bottomley. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. 4.F.7. Further information: Son of Mr and Mrs John Handel Bottomley of 21, Pickford Road, Bexley Heath, England. Born at Walney Island, Barrow-In-Furness. Educated at Bexley Heath Central School, worked at Vickers Armstrong as a clerk - Joined the RAFVR in 1940. This was his 21st Operation.

Sgt. John Charles Thomson. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. 4.E.10. Son of Frederick James Thomson and Dorothy Thomson, of Kilburn, Middlesex, England.

Researched for Sandy Tarling, Andrew Bottomley and 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', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

15 Squadron (courtesy Sandy Tarling)
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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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