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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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207 Squadron Crest
11.07.1942 207 Squadron Lancaster I L7543 EM:Z Flt Sgt. George H. Duke

Operation: Danzig - U-Boat Pens

Date: 11th July 1942 (Saturday)

Unit No: 207 Squadron

Type: Lancaster 1

Serial: L7543

Code: EM:Z

Base: RAF Bottesford, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire

Location: Target area, Danzig.

Pilot: Flt Sgt. George Henry Duke 1163246 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Pilot 2: Flt Sgt. Kenneth Harry Hart 1154131 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Obs 1: Sgt. Frank Routledge 929946 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Obs 2: Sgt. Harold Arthur Storey 1072974 RAFVR Age 35. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Plt Off. Kenneth James Shirley 127160 RAF Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. David Adrian Boldy 923995 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. Allan Percival Cullerne 924150 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 16:41 hrs from RAF Bottesford with the plan for 44 Lancasters to fly at low level over the North Sea and in formation. Then to split up, using the cloud as cover fly independently over Denmark, then the Baltic leading to Danzig.

Cloud cover was expected to clear over the target - the U-Boat yards at Danzig, the aircraft was then to climb to normal bombing height returning to England during darkness. This amounted to a round trip of 1,500 miles, the most distant target the RAF had yet attempted to reach.

The plan worked well apart from some of the aircraft not identifying the target and bombed the general town.

Two aircraft were lost to flak during the raid with the remainder making it safely back to England. The other aircraft lost being the 97 Squadron Lancaster R5696 OF:H flown by Flt Lt. Charles Miller DFC.

Research conducted by Piotr Urban, M.Plichta and M.Wegner has determined the location of the crash site of L7543. Piotr personally made the poppy crosses that were set near the crash site.

Above: Map of modern Danzig depicting the location of the crash site. The aircraft was shot down by the very strong air defences of Langfuhr Airport (currently Wrzeszcz-Zaspa) (courtesy Piotr Urban)

Above: a clipping from The Times newspaper describing the actions of one of the crews on the raid just after returning from Danzig (Courtesy Piotr Urban)

Burial Details:

Flt Sgt. George Henry Duke. Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery. Coll grave 3.B.12-14. Grave inscription: "LOVINGLY REMEMBERED BY FATHER, MOTHER AND MARIE". Son of Henry James Duke and May Duke; husband of Marie Duke, of Sherwood, Nottingham, England.

Flt Sgt. Kenneth Harry Hart. Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery. Coll grave 3.B.12-14. Grave inscription: "AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM". Son of Harry and Ada Hart; husband of Barbara May Hart, of Dalton, Huddersfield, England.

Sgt. Frank Routledge. Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery. Coll grave 3.B.12-14. Grave inscription: "AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER HIM". Son of John A. Routledge and Elizabeth Routledge, of Wembley Park, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Harold Arthur Storey. Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery. Coll grave 3.B.12-14. He was born on 18th October 1907 in Fulham, Middlesex. Son of Frederick Arthur and Harriet Edith Storey of Hampton, Middlesex.

Plt Off. Kenneth James Shirley. Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery. Coll grave 3.B.12-14. Grave Inscription: "IN GOD’S KEEPING". Son of Earnest Staley and Jessie Constance Shirley, of St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England.

Flt Sgt. David Adrian Boldy. Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery. Coll grave 3.B.12-14. Grave inscription: "AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM". Son of Amerkan David and Lily May Boldy.

Flt Sgt. Allan Percival Cullerne. Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery. Coll grave 3.B.12-14. Grave inscription: "TO THE DEAR MEMORY OF ALLAN WITH LOVE AND GRATITUDE". Son of Arthur Stanley and Jessie Constance Cullerne, of Pinner, Middlesex, England.

Researched for relatives/friends of the crew. Acknowledgments: Leanne Saunders from Australia. Thanks to Piotr Urban for the poppy tribute, map and clipping. Thanks to Derek Patience, nephew of Sgt Storey, for his Next of Kin details (Mar 2021).

Other sources as quoted below.

RS 26.03.2021 - NoK details added for Sgt Storey

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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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