AR banner
search tips advanced search

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the AddInfo button, or send us email from the Helpdesk.
156 Squadron Crest
3/24.11.1943 No. 156 Squadron Lancaster III JB293 W/O. Gordon W. Fordyce

Operation: Berlin

Date: 23/24 November 1943

Unit: No. 156 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JB293

Code: GT-?

Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire

Location: Manor Farm, Harpley, Norfolk

Pilot: W/O II Gordon William Fordyce R/116865 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Johnson 1511990 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Nav: Sgt. L.J. Collins RAFVR Survived - injured

Air/Bmr: Sgt. R. Harries RAFVR Survived - injured

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Albert Edward Egan 169665 RAFVR Survived - injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Horace Hodges 754928 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Steel Minogue R/69302 RCAF Survived - injured (1)


The daughter of Sgt. Harries is keen to find any further information on him and to hear from any other relatives. In the first instance contact us and details will be forwarded.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 17:23 hrs from RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire on an operation to Berlin.

On the inbound trip the aircraft flew into the ground at Manor Farm, Harpley near Fakenham, Norfolk.

In January 2017 Mr. Trevor Sherwood contacted us with this further information:

In 2005 a Kings Lynn Newspaper reported the following meeting. “In April 2005 Beryl Wagg and her husband, Bill, met 84-year-old Lawrence Collins, from Staines, in Middlesex, (the navigator), who was badly burned after the Lancaster bomber plane crashed into High Acre House in Harpley in November 1943.

Thanks to the quick-thinking efforts by her late father, Reginald Tipple, known as Reggie, rescued an airman trapped in the burning nose of the plane and another stuck under the wing, were helped out. He also helped a third member of the crew who had been flung from the plane, and the rear-gunner trapped in the broken tail of the machine.He was awarded the British Empire Medal in the following year for his bravery.

Mr Tipple, then a 35-year-old lorry driver, Home Guard sergeant and special constable, was in his cottage in Back Street, Harpley late at night when he heard the crash and rushed out to find the plane had smashed into a house only 200 yards away.

Entering the burning building, he broke the cabin of the plane with bricks so he could rescue navigator Mr Collins, before searching the wreckage to find another survivor with his clothes on fire pinned under one of the plane wings. After putting out the flames, he moved to help two other members of the air crew, and helped the occupants of the house, Miss Marjorie Morton and her mother, escape”.

(1) Fl/Sgt. Minogue (later W/O) received the DFC gazetted on 27th june 1944:
Warrant Officer Minogue has completed 32 operational sorties, fourteen of which have been with the Pathfinder Force against heavily defended targets in Germany and Italy. This Non-Commissioned Officer is a keen and determined Air Gunner who has always displayed tenacity and great coolness in the face of enemy opposition. He has always shown a marked enthusiasm for operations, and it may be mentioned that he was one of four survivors when his aircraft crashed in this country in November 1943 when returning from Berlin. After he had recovered from his severe injuries he carried on operational flying and elected to continue for the full Pathfinder Force tour. He has always shown a high example in tenacity and devotion to duty and I have no hesitation in recommending him for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Burial details:

W/O II Gordon William Fordyce. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14518. Further information:

Son of Gordon William Sr. and Janet Wright Fordyce (née Marshall) Brothers George and John, and one sister Margaret (Mrs. Kenneth Buxton) of 309 Maxwell Sreet, Sarnia, Canada. Born on June 13, 1920. Employed for two years at Kingston Brothers Service Station prior to enlisting, as a clerk and as a service station attendant. Gordon Fordyce enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in London, Ontario on August 12, 1941. He received his training in Quebec (Valcartier, St. Hubert, Victoriaville and Windsor Mills), in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and in Halifax. He gained his pilot’s flying badge on September 11, 1942. He became a member of RCAF 156 Squadron attaining the rank of Warrant Officer Class II-Pilot. Gordon went overseas just one year prior to his death, and participated in several raids over Germany.

Sgt. George Johnson. Leeds (Armley) Cemetery. Sec. G. Grave 59. Husband of Elsie Johnson, of Armley, Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Ronald Horace Hodges. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14718. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

For further details our thanks to the following, Andy Smith for bringing this loss to our attention and his contact with one of the crew. Michel Beckers for pilot photo sent August 2016. Trevor Sherwood who contacted us with new information - January 2017. Other sources as quoted.

KTY - 01.08.2016 Pilot photo added, courtesy Michel Beckers. KTY - 24.01.2017 further information added.

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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2017
Last Modified: 24 January 2017, 14:37

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor