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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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75 Squadron Crest
11/12.09.1944 No. 75 Squadron Lancaster I LM268 AA-D F/O. Hadley

Operation: Gardening

Date: 11/12th September 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (NZ)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LM268

Code: AA-D

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Location: Orslev, Denmark

Pilot: F/O. Wilson Orchard Hadley NZ/426041 RNZAF Age 30. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Colin Richard Fowler 1874701 RAFVR Evaded capture (2)

Nav: P/O. John Bernard Gudgeon NZ/428786 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. David John Robert Wilcox NZ/421244 RNZAF PoW No: 966 Camp: Stalag Luft 7 (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles NZ/425836 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William James Victor Boyd NZ/428303 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Matthew Biggar NZ/427945 RNZAF Age 22. Killed


Taking off at 19:35 hrs together with 7 others from the Squadron on a Gardening operation to the Kattegat area. All aircraft delivered their mines and commenced the return journey. A further 68 aircraft from other units also took part in the operation.

At 22:52 hrs the Lancaster was intercepted and shot down by Oblt. Arnold Brinkmann (4) of 8./NJG3. The Lancaster crashed at Orslev - sadly, it hit a farmhouse killing five members of a family.

Two of the crew managed to bale out - Sgt. Fowler managed to evade capture but Fl/Sgt. David Wilcox was badly hurt in the fall and although locals provided him with assistance and treatment, he required special care and consequently handed over to the Germans.

Above left: Fl/Sgt. William James Victor Boyd with his parents. Right: Fl/Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles with friend, Fl/Sgt Aubrey Charles Kirk (courtesy Kirk family) Further details on Fl/Sgt. Kirk can be read here.

(1) The family of F/O. Wilson Orchard Hadley also suffered the loss of another son. 22 year old, LAC. John Ross Hadley NZ/422944 RNZAF. On a training solo flight in Harvard II DG413 when it crashed during low flying near Delta Airfield in the Wairau river bed at 14:50 hrs on Tuesday 06th April 1943. Buried at Balcairn Cemetery, Canterbury, New Zealand. (map of incident shown above)

(2) Sgt. Colin Richard Fowler returned via Stockholm on the 27th September 1944.

(3) Fl/Sgt. David John Robert Wilcox released from captivity on the 26th May 1945.

(4) This was the 12th claim for Oblt. Arnold Brinkmann who survived the war with 16 known victories. For further details please see the Kracker Archive entry.

Burial details:

F/O. Wilson Orchard Hadley. Orslev Churchyard. Joint grave IIB. Son of Charles Hadley and of Ellen Hadley (née Hawke), of Amberley, New Zealand and husband of Esme Elizabeth Hadley, of St. Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 587 Flying hours logged and on his 17th operation.

P/O. John Bernard Gudgeon. Svino Churchyard. Collective grave 88. Son of John Edmund Gudgeon and of Mildred Gudgeon (née Trolove), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 293 Flying hours logged and on his 16th operation.

Fl/Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles. Svino Churchyard. Collective grave 88. Son of George R. Giles and of Isabella Giles (née Bayne), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 327 Flying hours logged and on his 17th operation.

Fl/Sgt. William James Victor Boyd. Svino Churchyard. Collective grave 88. Son of James Benjamin Boyd and of Lucy Eileen Boyd (née Westley), of Mapua, Nelson, New Zealand. 262 Flying hours logged and on his 16th operation.

Fl/Sgt. John Matthew Biggar. Orslev Churchyard. Joint grave IIB. Son of Peter and Ivy Biggar, of Nakirikiri, Wellington, New Zealand. 267 Flying hours logged and on his 20th operation.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the Kirk family (Fl/Sgt Aubrey Charles Kirk was good friends with Fl/Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles), Auckland Museum Cenotaph, for details and images, Erroll Martyn “For Your Tomorrow Vols 1-3”, Erik Skytte, Finn Halling Larsen for grave photographs. Thanks to Lydia Randewijk for identifying the airbase name error. Also to Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand for crew images - April 2019. Image of Fl/Sgt. John Matthew Biggar used under licence No: Auckland Library Heritage Collection : 6 December 1944 : AWNS19441206-26-35.

RS 22.03.2019 - Correction to airbase name

JL/KTY 20.04.2019 - Further images 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, 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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