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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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463 Squadron Crest
25/26.04.1945 No. 463 Squadron Lancaster I RA542 JO-Z F/O. Arthur Cox DSO

Operation: Tonsberg

Date: 25/26th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 463 Squadron (RAAF)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: RA542

Coded: JO-Z

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire

Location: Såtenäs, Sweden

Pilot: F/O. Arthur Cox DSO 184305 RAFVR Wounded - Interned

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Wilfred Simpson CGM 1594208 RAFVR Interned

Nav: F/O. John A. Wainwright DSO 176147 RAFVR Wounded - Interned

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Smurthwaite 1500268 RAFVR Wounded - Interned

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Emile Parent 1811416 RAFVR Age 19. Interned (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Fred W.J.H. Logan 1853029 RAFVR Interned

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. ‘Jock’ W.D. Hogg 1834114 RAFVR Interned


Took off at 20:14 hrs from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire to attack the oil refineries at Vallö near Tönsberg in southern Norway. This was one of the last night time operations of Bomber Command in WW2. It also is listed as one of the last air combats between a German night fighter and a Bomber Command 4 engine aircraft.

At 23:00 hrs and at 19,600 ft RA542 was attacked as it approached the target by a Schräge Musik- equipped Ju88 of 4./NJG3 (Upward firing 20 mm canon) flown by Fw. Kurt Gross.

RA542 was heavily damaged with 3 crew members wounded but despite that, returned fire during this combat hit the Ju88 G-6 with all the crew killed when it crashed at Støledalen. The crew being Fw. Kurt Gross, Uffz. Reinhard johnson, Fw. Otto Müller.

The Lancaster continued to fly and despite frostbite the crew managed to set a course for Sweden when they made an emergency landing at Satanäs airfield.

Fl/Sgt. Smurthwaite was taken to Lidköping hospital. On the 27th April the rest of the crew travelled to Korsnäs, where they arrived on the same day and interned and spent the rest of the war confined (some 2 weeks!). Sgt. Smurthwaite recovered from his wounds and was repatriated directly from the Hospital.

After this F/O. Cox and F/O. Wainwright received the DSO while Sgt. Simpson received the CGM. It states in the recommendations for these decorations that 'the coolness, courage and devotion to duty of these officers and airman were an inspiration to their Squadron'.

The Swedish airforce repaired RA542, but it is unknown if it ever flew again - it was subsequently scrapped on 23rd August 1946.

(1) We were contacted by the ex-wife of Fl/Sgt Fred Parent, Shirley, who informed that he had sadly died on the 24th August 2011. Fred was the last member of this crew to pass away.

Left: One of the 'Other Few' - Fred Parent.

Such is the importance that we try and gather as much information as we are able to place in our archives for future generations to remember. Obituary to another one of the ‘other few’.

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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Last Modified: 24 December 2015, 00:01