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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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103 Squadron Crest
15/16.05.1941 No. 103 Squadron Wellington Ic R1494 P/O. Eccles

Operation: Hannover

Date: 15/16th May 1941 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 103 Squadron 1 Group (motto: Noli me tangere - 'Touch me not')

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: R1494

Code: PM-?

Base: RAF Newton, Nottinghamshire

Location: Oude Pekela, Netherlands

Pilot: P/O. Raymond Gordon Eccles NZ/40759 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Pilot: P/O. H.J. Sellers 60074 RAFVR PoW No: 1622 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen

Obs: P/O. A.W. Sulston 84022 RAFVR PoW No: 3723 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. E.C. Easton 1259167 RAFVR PoW No: 23 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. S.E.T. Hamblin 543883 RAFVR PoW No: 23 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Maclean 976194 RAFVR Age ? Killed


100 aircraft taking part on this operation - 3 failed to return.

Taking off at 22:45 hrs and last heard of over the W/T advising that the port engine had failed after being hit by flak over Emden (north of the Emse) - shortly afterwards the aircraft crashed at location shown.

R1494 was one of three that was hit and brought down by anti-aircraft units. Claimed and confirmed by M. Flak Abt. 236 Battery between 01:15 - 01:20 hrs with the Wellington crashing at 01:40 hrs. at Oude Pekela, Netherlands. 4 of the crew managed to bale out and subsequently taken PoW at camps shown.

Burial details:

P/O. Raymond Gordon Eccles. Groningen General Cemetery (Esserveld). Plot RW. Row Class 2. Joint grave 3. Born on the 10th April 1915 at Dunedin, the son of Thomas Eccles and of Rebecca Eccles (née Wilson), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. A garage attendant for Todd Moors Ltd prior to service. Learnt to fly with Otago Aero Club, gaining his licence on the 21st February 1938. Joined the RNZAF on the 12th March 1940. Trained with 20 OTU on the 11 March 1941. 328 flying hours logged and having completed 11 operational sorties.

Sgt. Gordon Maclean. Groningen General Cemetery (Esserveld). Plot RW. Row Class 2. Joint grave 3. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 04.11.2019

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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