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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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61 Squadron crest
10/11.09.1942 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster W4111 Sgt. Malcolm C, Davies

Operation: Düsseldorf, Germany

Date: 10/11th September 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4111

Code: QR-?

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: Not known

Pilot: Sgt. Malcolm Charles Davies 1238468 RAFVR Age 19 Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Peter Alec Lashly 1208560 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Obs: Fl/Sgt. John Lawrence Blair R/85445 RCAF Age 32. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr: P/O. Louis Poch J/8611 RCAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frank Wilfred Kidson R/92307 RCAF Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Harold Boston Woolgar R/59555 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Albert Benjamin McLellan R/64893 RCAF Age 27. Killed (3)

We would like to ask for relatives of Sgt. Peter Alec Lashly to contact us - a relative who's father knew him would like to send them the photographs he has.


Took off from RAF Syerston at 20.20 hrs to bomb Düsseldorf. A large force taking off from various bases - a total of 479 aircraft made up with 242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens and 14 Whitleys.

The pathfinders marked the target area successfully using the 'Pink Pansies' (4) in converted 4,000 lb. bomb casings. The city was hit in all areas apart from the north, also hit was the neighbouring town of Neuss.

Reports are that 39 industrial firms in Düsseldorf and a further 13 in Neuss were damaged to the extent that no production could take place for various periods, 8 public buildings were destroyed and 67 damaged. 911 houses were also destroyed, 1,506 seriously damaged and another 8,340 lightly damaged.

Above: Some of Terry’s RAF friends - guests at his wedding - George, Frank Farr, Peter Williams (Cousin and best man) Terry and Pete Lashly (courtesy Chris Hazell)

On the ground 132 people were killed, made up of 120 in Düsseldorf and 12 in Neuss. A further 11 people were classed as "missing" 2 days after the raid. 19,427 people were made homeless.

The raid took it's toll on the RAF though with 33 aircraft lost. (20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters. 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes and 1 Hampden) 60 crewmen were killed, 1 injured and 13 made PoW.

The aircraft and crew failed to return from mission, no further details of the crash site although some reports state that it was near Cologne. There are no nightfighter claims for this aircraft, so it is likely that they were probably hit by Anti-aircraft fire.

The Squadron also lost another crew this night: Lancaster I R5888 Flown by 22 year old, Fl/Sgt. Frank Hobson 912096 RAFVR from Liverpool, England. Killed with all of his crew.

(1) Blair Lake, West of Brabant Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada was named after Fl/Sgt. John Lawrence Blair.

(2) Woolgar Island in Thachuk Lake, Manitoba, Canada was named after Fl/Sgt. James Harold Boston Woolgar in 1995. Sadly the family also lost his brother, 20 year old F/O. William Francis Woolgar J/26712 RCAF - Woolgar Lake west of Tadoule Lake was named after him in 1975. F/O. Woolgar was flying with 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit on Halifax V DK133 on a night circuit training exercise when the aircraft crashed at Crowle in Lincolnshire. All 7 crew lost their lives in yet another training accident!

(3) The family of Fl/Sgt. Albert Benjamin McLellan also suffered the loss of another son, 25 year old, W/O.2. Cyril Cobb Mclellan R/11549 RCAF. Whilst serving with 405 Squadron died on the 02nd August 1943 after being hit by shrapnel during an operation to Essen on the 25.26th July 1943. Treated at Addenbrook hospital in Cambridgeshire, but succumbed to injuries received.

(4) 'Pink Pansies' an incendiary bomb - 2,800 lb.'s. - used as a target marker made up from Benzol, rubber and phosphorous)

Burial details:

Sgt. Malcolm Charles Davies. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 4.B.3-19. Son of John and Georginia Davies, of High Grosvenor, Shropshire, England.

Sgt. Peter Alec Lashly. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.12. Son of Charles Frederick Harry and Nellie May Lashly, of Emsworth, Hampshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. John Lawrence Blair. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 4.B.3-19. Son of George Frederick and Eleanor Blair (née Walker), of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

P/O. Louis Poch. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.11.From Frank, Alberta, Canada, no further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Frank Wilfred Kidson. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 4.B.3-19. Born on the 16th August 1921 at Pentagon, BC. Canada, the son of Ernest Jack and Dorothy Millicent (née Gray) Kidson of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. James Harold Boston Woolgar. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.13. Son of Norman H. Woolgar and Mary E. Woolgar, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Albert Benjamin McLellan. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.14. Son of Albert R. McLellan and Lillian E. McLellan, of River Philip, Cumberland Co., Nova Scotia, Canada.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Chris Hazell for photo shown and also to sources as quoted below. The father of Chris Hazell, Terry, also served, as one of the valuable ground crew - working on aircraft engines. In January 2018 he supplied details for an obituary to his father.

KTY - 09.12.2017

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: 20 January 2018, 21:01

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