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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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149 Squadron Crest
20/21.04.1943 No. 149 Squadron Stirling III BK698 OJ-O Fl/Lt. Ellis

Operation: Rostock

Date: 20/21st April 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 149 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BK698

Code: OJ-O

Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, England

Location: North Sea off Denmark

Pilot: Fl/Lt. George Ivan Ellis NZ/414269 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed (1)

Fl/Eng: P/O. Ian Allison Mervyn Holloway 147192 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Nav: Sgt. Fred Leslie Cecil Kelly 573042 RAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Nav/Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. David Ian McNarey NZ/405299 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Ernest Booth 139949 RAFVR Age 30. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edwin Robert Ginn 1291765 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Sheppard 1322316 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Banister Mills 1385980 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 22:03 hrs from RAF Lakenheath to attack the town of Rostock 600 miles from England and one of the furthest targets for Bomber Command. Weather was good with a full moon and no cloud so target markers were accurate, resulting in the total devastation of the centre of the town. The attack took place between 00.59 hrs and 01.45 hrs. German reports at the time state that 13 Industrial units and 380 houses completely destroyed. A large chemical plant was also hit halting all production. 586 people were killed on the ground.

It also cost the allies - out of 339 aircraft that left on the raid 22 aircraft were lost, 130 aircrew were killed, 20 made PoW and 7 interned for a short while in Sweden. The majority succumbed to the very heavy flak encountered and others to the Luftwaffe night fighters who had a difficult time locating them, as the allied bombers had been instructed to fly in and out at between 1,000 and 5.000 ft making them difficult for the German controllers to track. This the reason the majority fell easy prey to the flak units operating with co-ordinated searchlights.

During the homebound section of the operation attacked and shot down by Oblt. Günther Köberich of 11./NJG 3 at 03:54 hours West of Ringkobing in Denmark. This was his 4th claim of the war - he went on to become a top night fighter ace with 14 claims before he was killing during a bombing raid on Quakenbruck Airfield by B17’s of 3 BD, 8th USAAF on the 08th April 199434

Right: Pilot, Fl/Lt. George Ivan Ellis.

The Squadron lost another crew on this operation, the other:

Stirling III BK714 OJ-L Flown by Sq/Ldr. Thomas Howell taken PoW with 5 other crew members, 1 being killed in the crash landing.

(1) The brother of Fl/Lt. George Ellis, 21 year old Fl/Sgt. Charles Raymond Ellis NZ/422379 RNZAF was killed the following year. With 228 Squadron on Sunderland III ML762 when lost over the Bay of Biscay.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. George Ivan Ellis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 197. Son of Charles Robert and Jane Ellis, of Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand. 491 flying hours logged and on his 24th operation.

P/O. Ian Allison Mervyn Holloway. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 132. Son of Harold Holloway and of Florence Mary Holloway (née Rayner), of Blackheath, London, England.

Sgt. Fred Leslie Cecil Kelly. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 155. Son of Fred Leslie Kelly and Ellen Kathleen Rose Kelly, of Guildford, Surrey, England.

P/O. Ernest Booth. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 130. Son of Frederick and Elizabeth Booth, of West Hartlepool, Co. Durham and husband of Eva Parsons Booth, of West Hartlepool, England.

Fl/Lt. David Ian McNarey. Lemvig Cemetery. Grave 703. Son of John and Mary McK. McNarey, of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. 443 flying hours logged and on his 22nd operation.

Sgt. Edwin Robert Ginn. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 150. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Frederick Sheppard. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 164. Son of Isaac Samuel Holbrook Sheppard and Sarah Elizabeth Sheppard, of St. George, Bristol, England.

Sgt. Peter Banister Mills. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 159. Son of Thomas Henry and Annie Louisa Mills, of Church End, Finchley, Middlesex, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Olwyn who contacted us in February 2017. Also to sources as shown below.

KTY 05.04.2017

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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