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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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R.C.A.F. 405 Squadron
14/15.01.1944 No.405 Squadron Lancaster III ND423 F/O Drimmie

Operation : Braunschweig (Brunswick)

Date: 14/15 January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 405 Squadron RCAF (Vancouver)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND423

Code: LQ-K

Base: Gransden Lodge, Cambridgeshire

Location: Uepsen, Diepholz, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Gordon Robert Drimmie DFC J/16306 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Flt/Eng: Sgt. Eric Arthur Lane 651329 RAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Rodger Bingham Jarvie 116797 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. James Frank Gilbey J/17444 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Joseph Waddell 1077103 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Raymond Floyd Peterson R/168827 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Dennis Frederick Smith 1576471 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS

Part of a force of 496 Lancasters and two Halifaxes, Captain Drimmie took off at 16:57 hours for the first major raid on Braunschweig.
Soon after take-off the German controllers locked on to the incoming aircraft and directed the defending nightfighters to intercept the bomber stream over Bremen.

It is believed that between Bremen and Hanover five of the Pathfinders, of which ND423 was one, where shot down before reaching the target. However, a further six Pathfinders were lost during the course of the raid and the exact time and location of the loss of ND423 is unknown.

The majority of the losses occurred between Hanover and in the target area itself. The raid was deemed a failure with little damage reported in Braunschweig most of the bombs having fallen in the surrounding countryside at a cost of 38 aircraft and their crews.



(1) Drimmie Creek in the Kootenay land District, British Columbia, Canada is named after F/O Drimmie.



Burial Details:

F/O. Gordon Robert Drimmie DFC, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 2. Son of Martin and Margaret (nee Ringe) Drimmie of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Further details: After enlisting in February 1941, Drimmie graduated from No. 2 ITS Regina and then from Elementary Flying Training School at Virden, Manitoba that September. By the end of December he had graduated from No.10 SFTS Dauphin, Manitoba being posted overseas in early 1942.
Piloting a Douglas Boston with 88 Squadron, Drimmie participated in his first sortie, a minor raid on the airfield at St.Omer, on 1 November 1942. His next operation would be as part of a 93 aircraft force to bomb the Phillips electrical factory at Eindhoven on 6 December. Following five more daylight raids against targets along the French coast at Cherbourg, St.Omer, St.Malo and Dunkirk in January and February 1943 he was assigned to a conversion unit for training on the Halifax and Lancaster heavy bomber. His first major raid was made on the night of 30/31 July 1943 upon the town of Remscheid. During the balance of 1943 he took part in a further 23 operations against the major German cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Hanover, Cologne and Leipzig. He also took part in the first raid upon the V2 development site at Peenemunde as well as targets in France and Italy. One month after being lost flying his 32 sortie he was awarded his DFC.

Sgt. Eric Arthur Lane, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 6. Son of George Henry and Blanche (nee Kirby) Lane of Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, England.

Fl/Lt. Rodger Bingham Jarvie, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 1. Son of Leslie Reid and Edith May (nee Bingham) Jarvie of Sheringham, Norfolk, England. Further details: Fl/Lt. Jarvie was born in Australia and came to England with his mother at the age of two years in 1923.
After attending Andover Grammar School, Jarvie was employed by the Westminster Bank on Threadneedle Street in the City of London. In May of 1940 he enlisted at Uxbridge and after various stops at training bases throughout the UK he was posted to 75 Air Training School at Lyttelton near Pretoria, South Africa. Upon his return to the UK in early 1942, he was posted to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. It was here that he was forced to bale out with five other crew members of Short Stirling R9309 after fire broke out in the starboard outer engine. The aircraft eventually crash landing at the edge of the Porton Range injuring the pilot Flt. Lt. Russ. Although it is unclear as to the date that Jarvie was posted to Gransden Lodge it would appear from the squadron ORB and his PFF Efficiency Exam that it was late 1943 or very early 1944. Sadly, having been approved as a PFF navigator on 9 January 1944, Fl/Lt. Jarvie was killed five days later on his very first operation. Fl/Lt. Jarvie was an avid photographer and took many photographs during his service in the RAF some of which were provided with his original notations (removed in order to make names locations searchable).

West Kirby 3 PDC May-June 1941

Note to above photo:

Sgt. Harry Kay, DFM. was killed when his Halifax DT694 NP-N of 158 Sqn. was shot down over Holland during a raid on Cologne, 14 February 1943.
P/O. Arthur Henry Childs was killed on his first operational mission when Wellington DV775 XG-O of 16 OTU ditched in the sea off of Holland during a raid on Dusseldorf, 11 September 1942.

Above left: Fl/Lt. F. Bracey O/C. X Wing West Kirby - right, relaxing at the Hoylake Swimming Pool June 1941.

Above: Navigation Course 8A No. 47 Air School, Queenstown, South Africa.

F/O. James Frank Gilbey, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 3. Son of John F. and Annie E. (nee Walker) Gilbey of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Sgt. John Joseph Waddell, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 7. Son of James and Alice (nee Carlin) Waddell of Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Fl/Sgt. Raymond Floyd Peterson, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 4. Son of Leslie Raymond and Mildred Frances Peterson of Bentley, Alberta, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Dennis Frederick Smith, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 5. Son of Charles Frederick and Nellie Smith of Robin Hood, Birmingham, England.

Researched and written by Colin Bamford for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the families of the crew of Lancaster ND423.


References: Dr. Theo Boiten Nachtjagd War Diaries Vol.1. Walton on Thames: Red Kite, 2008. Chorley, W.R. Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vols.4 & 5 1943 & 1944. Hinckley: Midland, 2007. Middlebrook, Martin and Chris Everett. The Bomber Command War Diaries. Hinckley: Midland, 2011. Commonwealth War Graves Commission, www.cwgc.org

Fl/Lt. Jarvie's photograph collection courtesy of his cousin, Carole Fry, with many thanks. To Phil Dent for photograph of Fl/Sgt. Dennis Frederick Smith (his mothers cousin). Phil has been researching this loss for a number of years. Also many thanks to Dave Lane who has also researched this loss and submitted the report from the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit dated 19th March 1948. As the report contains graphic details on the result of their fine research we prefer not to release details within this page as it may prove upsetting for surviving relatives. All the crew were killed during the crash - two were recovered from the main wreckage, one from the rear turret, with the remainder recovered in close vicinity to the crash site.

KTY 30.03.2016 Map and additional photograph added. KTY 26.10.2016 further photograph and information added.

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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