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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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78 Squadron crest
15/16.09.1944 No. 78 Squadron Halifax III LV869 EY-G Fl/Lt. Nelson M. Harding

Operation:  Kiel                                                           

Date: 15th/16th September 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 78 Squadron 

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LV869 

Code: EY-G

Base: RAF Breighton, Yorkshire

Location: No details - lost without trace

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Nelson Maxwell Harding 39519  RAF Age ? Killed.

Fl/Eng: F/O. Martin Malcolm Maguire 148856 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Guglielmo Pesticcio 1654156  RAFVR Age 21. Killed. 

Nav:  F/O. Kenneth John Nethercott 153298 RAFVR Age 21.  Killed  

WOp/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Sydney Quelch 1600345 RAFVR Age 22 Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Joseph Coburn 1797997 RAFVR Age 19. Killed 

Air/Gnr. Sgt. George Alexander Milne Simpson 1824321  RAFVR Age ? Killed

The relative of Sgt. Charles Quelch (1) would very much like to trace his daughter - if anyone can assist please contact us in the first instance and we will forward details.


Took off at 22.25hrs from RAF Breighton to attack Kiel.  Part of a force made up of 490 aircraft - 310 Lancasters, 173 Halifaxes, and 7 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups.  4 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters lost. 

Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. 

The evidence of returning crews and of photographs caused Bomber Command to record this as 'a highly concentrated raid' with 'the old town and modern shopping centre devastated'. 

No claims for heavies on this raid and it is thought that LV689 fell foul of flak over the target area although one was shot down by flak at Sylt. 

This aircraft previously served with RAF 76 Squadron.

Left: Strike photo taken over kiel  (courtesy rcaf 6 group).

Halifax LV869 EY-G. Former 78 Squadron pilot Fl/Lt. Len Broadhurst DFC shown at the rear of the cockpit of LV869 EY G-George of No. 78 Squadron, Breighton July 1944. 

The nose section including the 'crest' which represents four local pubs, the Bowman, the Swan, the New Inn and the Seven Sisters. The 37 beer glasses signify night operations, the six glasses of milk daylight sorties and the bottle of whisky the 21st operation. After 53 operations LV869 was lost over Kiel 15th September 1944. (from the publication ‘Nobody Unprepared’  The history of No.78 Squadron, by Vernon Holland)

Burial Details:

Fl/Lt. Nelson Maxwell Harding. Runnymede Memorial Panel 202. Son of Victor and Florence Harding, husband of Barbara G. Harding, of Edinburgh, Scotland. (pictured left)

Sgt. Pesticcio Guglielmo. Runnymede Memorial Panel 236. Son of Italian parents, Raphael and Maria Pesticcio (née D’Amato), of Cardiff, Wales. Born in Cardiff, 1923.

F/O. Kenneth John Nethercott. Runnymede Memorial Panel 208. Son of Walter John and Edith Ada Nethercott, of East Molesey, Surrey, England.

F/O. Malcolm Martin Maguire. Runnymede Runnymede Memorial Panel 207. Son of James Malcolm and Jeannie Maguire, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.

(1) Sgt. Charles Sydney Quelch. Runnymede Runnymede Memorial Panel 221. Son of Albert William Quelch and Ethel May Quelch (née Jenvey) of Ryde, Isle Of Wight, England. Charles was married, but we have no details of this. They also had a baby girl at the time of his loss. It seems that his wife later married a Canadian and emigrated at a later date. His father was a staff/Sgt, serving in the first World War. Ethel Quelch died on the 1st December 1932. In 1939 Albert married her sister in law (Nellie Dorothy Quelch. Nellie was his brothers wife who was widowed in the 1st World War.

Sgt. Albert Joseph Coburn. Runnymede Runnymede Memorial Panel 227. Son of Christopher and J. Coburn, of Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

Sgt. George Alexander Milne Simpson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 237. Son of George and Jeannie Ann Smith Bell Simpson, of Brechin, Scotland.

Researched by Mike Harrison, for David Peter Quelch (nephew of Sgt. Abert Quelch) and for relatives of the crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Runnymede  Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Runnymede Database, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Vernon Holland ‘The History of 78 Squadron’.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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