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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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RAF Crest
25/26.06.1942 No. 15 OTU Wellington IC DV737 P/O. David Evans

Operation: Bremen

Date: 25/26th June 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 15 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: DV737

Code: - ?

Base: RAF Harwell, Oxfordshire (1942 - Berkshire)

Location: Sebaldsbruck, Bremen

Pilot: P/O. David Christopher Evans 118100 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Ronald Idris Coffin 1216731 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Thomas Phillip Morgan 656079 RAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred George Leyland 1311606 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael Sweeney 1118157 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. J. McRewin Kennedy 632065 RAF Age ? Killed

We would appreciate other relatives contacting us as the researcher of this page and the house owner would like to hear further from you. 


Took off from RAF Harwell, Oxfordshire (then Berkshire) at 22.41 hrs. The targets included the Focke-Wulf factory, A.G. Wesser shipyard, Deschimag shipyard and general areas within the town and other dock areas.

Left: Pilot, P/O. David Evans

Damage to the factory was not as successful as had been planned with just one assembly shop destroyed, a further six building within the complex seriously damaged eleven others less so.

Another Wellington from 15 OTU was also lost on this operation - all crew killed. Details described on this website.

RAF records state that DV737 had been hit by flak at around 7,000 ft. at 01.45 hrs with the aircraft exploding. Parts of the Wellington hit a house on Stoevesand Strasse in Sebaldsbruck, Bremen, with the loss of all six crew members on board.

Christopher Pegler, nephew of the pilot, wrote to the current owner of the house, now 82 years, then 12, remembers it well. He sent us a newspaper cutting that his father had, and some photos from the German records, showing the house after the crash.

                 Photographs of the crash site and also German report at the time. (courtesy Christopher Pegler and friends in Bremen) 

The photo from the front where a parachute (apparently covering the crew) can be seen and from the rear showing a rose trellis, part of the forward turret and machine gun. The cutting shows the tail and engine. The tail was about 100 metres away, indicating the plane must have exploded in mid-air. The cockpit portion (with 4 of the crew) was on the house, and another crew member was found in a neighbouring garden. 

                 Area of operations (courtesy Google and Christopher's contacts in Bremen) 

                 Crew graves at Becklingen War Cemetery (courtesy Christopher Pegler and friends in Bremen)

Burial details:

The crew were originally buried by the Germans with full military honours at the Waller Cemetery, near Bremen, Germany.

P/O. David Christopher Evans. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 25.G.13. Youngest son of Charles and Rose Evans of Ewhurst, Surrey, England. 

Sgt. Ronald Idris Coffin. Becklingen War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.H.7A-10A. Son of Albert and Mary Coffin, of Chester, England.

Sgt. Thomas Phillip Morgan. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 25.H.6. Son of James Morgan, and of Florence Morgan, of Margam, Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt. Alfred George Leyland. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 26.H.7. Son of John Hornby Leyland and Cissie Leyland; husband of Nellie Leyland, of Rock Ferry, Cheshire, England.

Sgt. Michael Sweeney. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 26.H.5. Son of Michael and Mary Sweeney, of Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland.

Sgt. J. McRewin Kennedy. Becklingen War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.H.7A-10A. Son of Roy McKewin Kennedy, and Elsie Kennedy, of Tottenham, Middlesex, England

Researched with information from Christopher Pegler, nephew of the pilot, together with his friends living in Bremen. Christopher has informed us that his contacts in Bremen provided much of the information.

With thanks to Christopher Pegler, nephew of the pilot, P/O. David Christopher Evans for information and superb series of photographs, Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 7", Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries", National Archives, Kew, Commonwealth Graves Commission.

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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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