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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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50 crest
26th April 1945 50 Squadron Lancaster I PD339 F/O. Evans

Operation: 'Exodus'

Date: 26th April 1945 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 50 Squadron (motto: Sic fidem servamus - 'Thus we keep faith') 5 Group

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PD339

Code: VN-J

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire

Location: Hardingstone Lodge Farm, Hardingstone

Pilot: F/O. Cedric John Evans NZ/425740 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Sgt Denis Harold Millichamp 1817207 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Richard Thwaite NZ/4215760 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Ralph Franklin Carrodus NZ/425688 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ian James Loveridge NZ/425580 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward R. McRae RAFVR Age 19. Survived - injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. G. A. Fuller RAFVR Survived - injured


Taking off from RAF Wing in Buckinghamshire at about 16:45 hrs to return to RAF Skellingthorpe. Just 15 minutes later struck a tree whilst turning steeply to avoid some cables.

The aircraft crashed and burnt out at Hardingstone Lodge Farm, Hardingstone killing 5 of the crew with two air gunners serving injured.

We understand that a newspaper reported that it crashed just yards from several farm workers who rushed to help, one of these a Mr. W.E. Brown was later awarded the British Empire Medal for his gallantry in trying to save the crew members.

Operation 'Exodus' involved the repatriation of some 75,000 recently liberated prisoners of war from various continental airfield to England. This was the first day of the 12 day operation and PD339 were returning to base after transporting one of the first batch of prisoners.

Burial details:

F/O. Cedric John Evans. Oxford Cemetery (Botley) Plot H/3. Grave 81. Born on the 19th June 1922 at Rawene - name registered Cedric John Fleming Evans. A farmer on his fathers farm prior to service. Enlisted on the 30th May 1942 at Whenuapai. Trained in Canada before being awarded his pilots badge and promotion to sergeant on the 01st October 1943. Received his commission on the 12th February 1945. Joined 50 squadron on the 21st January 1945. Son of Henry John and Ellen Evans (nee Morrow), of Inglewood, Taranaki, New Zealand. 603 flying hours logged with 152 solo on the Lancaster. Completed 15 operational sorties.

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Richard Thwaite. Oxford Cemetery (Botley) Plot H/3. Grave 94. Born on the 26th May 1924 at Frankton Junction. Worked as a farmer on his fathers farm at Kaipaki prior to service. After serving with the ATC he enlisted on the 04th December 1942 at Levin. After training in Canada awarded his navigators badge and promoted to sergeant on the 25th February 1944. Joined 50 squadron on the 21st January 1945. Son of Thomas Thwaite and of Josephine Thwaite (nee Coyle) of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand. 402 flying hours logged. Completed 14 operational sorties.

Fl/Sgt. Ralph Franklin Carrodus. Oxford Cemetery (Botley) Plot H/3. Grave 93. Born on the 18th February 1923 in Sydney, Australia. Moved to New Zealand in 1937. Prior to service worked as a sales assistant for F.L. Bone and sons in Hastings. Enlisted on the 30th May 1942 at Whenuapai. After training in Canada awarded his air bombers badge and promoted to sergeant on the 23rd December 1944. Joined 50 squadron on the 21st January 1945. Son of Claude Balfour Carrodus and Cara de Nipo Carrodus (nee Bone), of Hastings, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. 530 flying hours logged. Completed 14 operational sorties.

Fl/Sgt. Ian James Loveridge. Oxford Cemetery (Botley) Plot H/3. Grave 82. Born on the 05th December 1920 at Wellington. Enlisted on the 30th May 1942 at Whenuapai. After training in Canada awarded his wireless operator badge and promoted to sergeant on the 23rd December 1943. Joined 50 squadron on the 21st January 1945. Son of Norman William and of Myrtle Frances Loveridge (nee Marley - later Yokavitch), of Rongotai, Wellington, New Zealand. 345 flying hours logged. Completed 12 operational sorties.

Sgt. Sgt Denis Harold Millichamp. Arnold Cemetery. Class C. Grave 2528. Son of Joseph and Elsie Millichamp, of Nottingham and husband of Joan Millichamp. Grave inscription: 'An Unblemished Life Sacrificed For An Ideal'.

Sgt. Edward R. McRae. Passed away on the 30th May 2019, age 93. Buried at St Christopher’s church. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. G. A. Fuller. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive 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 22-03-2021

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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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