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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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170 Squadron Crest
01.02.1945 No. 170 Squadron Lancaster I NG202 P/O. Virgil J. Fernquist

Operation: Ludwigshafen

Date: 1st February 1945

Unit: 170 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NG202

Coded: TC-?

Location: Mid-air collision over France

Pilot: F/O. Dixie RCAF Survived - with all other crew

Air/Gnr: P/O. Virgil John Fernquist J/95301 RCAF Age 20. Killed.


On the night of February 1st 1945 Lancaster NG202 was involved in a mid-air collision, the crew were on the Homeward leg of a mission to Ludwigshafen when they were struck from behind by a second Lancaster RA502, BQ-Z, of 550 Squadron, which then fell away out of control.

5 of the crew from RA502 were able to abandon the aircraft before it crashed at 20:02 hrs at Fleville-devent-Nancy, some 5km south south east from the centre of Nancy, sadly two of her crew were killed, Sgt. N Tinsley, and Sgt A James, their bodies were never found and they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, both were aged 20. The pilot of NG202, F/O. Dixie DFC was able to regain control of the aircraft and return safely to RAF Hemswell, but sadly his tail gunner, P/O. Fernquist had sustained mortal injuries.

Damage to NG202 photographed the next morning

Reporter, Greg Van Moorsel of the "London Free Press" Ontario, Canada covered the passing of the mid upper gunner from this crew, Fl/Sgt. William Crabe in the September 19th 2009 publication. Following kind permission they have agreed to allow us use of the article on our website. (We would be honoured to forward the article at a higher resolution to relatives)


P/O. Virgil John Fernquist. Harrogate, Stonefall, Cemetery. Sec G. Row. F. Grave. 2. Son of Victor and Viola Christina Fernquist, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Right: Grave of P/O. Virgil John Fernquist at Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery.

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 (both 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', 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 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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Last Modified: 28 December 2015, 00:22

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