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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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12 Squadron Crest
11/12.06.1943 No. 12 Squadron Lancaster I W4373 PH-F Fl/Lt. Ford

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 11/12th June 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 12 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4373

Code: PH-F

Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire

Location: Target area - Düsseldorf

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Patrick Raymond Ford AUS/414132 RAAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Reginald Arthur Charles Avery 1336681 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. James Albert Osborn 657839 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Geoffrey William Twitty 1235304 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Myer Harris 953174 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Anderson 626653 RAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Marcus Walter Stone 1308435 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

12 aircraft from the squadron were sent, a total of 782 other aircraft from various squadrons to bomb Düsseldorf.

Although initial marking was spot on for the first wave a backup marker Mosquito dropped target indicators 14 miles (23 km) off target to the north-east, with the effect that part of the bombing fell there. 130 acres (0.53 km2) of Düsseldorf claimed as destroyed.

No night fighter claims for this aircraft and it is thought that they were brought down by anti-aircraft fire in the target area.

Above: some of the crew of W4373 (courtesy Suzanne Moody and Patrick Ford's nephew)

12 Squadron suffered heavily on this operation, losing 5 crews. The others:

Lancaster I W4791 PH-W Flown by 29 year old Fl/Sgt. Horace Shepherd 1114117 RAFVR from Flintshire, Wales - killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster I ED357 PH-S Flown by 26 year old, Fl/Sgt. Daniel McNicol Thomson AUS/409256 RAAF from Victoria, Australia - killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW.
Lancaster I ED522 PH-U Flown by 20 year old, Sgt. Robert Highet 1048176 RAFVR from Crewe, Cheshire, England - killed with all 7 other crew.
Lancaster III DV157 PH-Z Flown by 25 year old, Fl/Lt. Alfred William Doel NZ/39907 RNZAF from Wellington, New Zealand - killed with 5 other crew, 1 taken PoW.

Burial details:

Initially buried on the 15th June at the Municipal Military Cemetery in Düsseldorf - buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery after the end of the war.

Fl/Lt. Patrick Raymond Ford. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.G.14. Born on the 07th January 1921 at Tenterfield, New South Wales, the son of Edward James Ford and Ethel Rose Ann Margaret Ford, of Callandoon Street, Goondiwindi, Queensland, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "He Died That We Might Live".

Sgt. Reginald Arthur Charles Avery. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.G.9. Son of William Henry and Bessie Avery, of Ramsgate, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: "We Thank God For The Beautiful Memories Of You, Dear Reg."

Sgt. James Albert Osborn. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.G.10. Son of George and Harriet Dorothy Osborn, of Old Basford and husband of Annie Osborn, of Old Basford, Nottingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "Loved, Remembered Always".

Sgt. Geoffrey William Twitty. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.H.14. Son of John Howard Twitty and Sarah Jane Twitty, of Malvern, Worcestershire, England. Grave inscription reads: "I Bare You On Eagles' Wings, And Brought You Unto Myself" Ex.Xix.4".

Sgt. Myer Harris. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.G.13. Son of Samuel David and Rose Harris, of Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Treasured Memories Of A Dear Son And Brother. God Rest His Dear Soul".

Sgt. Frederick Anderson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.G.12. Husband of B. Anderson, of Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

Sgt. Marcus Walter Stone. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.G.11. Son of Walter George and Elsie Mace Stone, of Wood Green, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Proud & Everloving Memory Of Our Dear Son, Sadly Missed. Mother And Dad".

Researched for Suzanne Moody and the family of Sgt. James Albert Osborn and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below. Also to Jacqueline Panayiotidis via Michel Beckers for photograph of Sgt. Myer Harris.

KTY - 14.08.2017 - crew photo added 17.08.2017

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, 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', 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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