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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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No 9 Squadron
21/22.12.1940 9 Squadron Vickers Wellington 1C L7799 WS-D Sgt. Harrison

Operation: Porto Marghera, Venice, Italy

Date: 21/22nd December 1940 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: 9 Squadron

Type: Vickers Wellington 1C

Serial: L7799

Code: WS-D

Base: RAF. Honington, Suffolk

Location: Lullington Court, near Alfriston, Sussex

Pilot: Sgt. Robert Norman Harrison. 741615. RAFVR Age ? Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: Sgt. James Frederick (Jimmy) Gapp. 745876. RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav/Obs: Sgt. Leslie William Nichols. 902486. RAFVR Age 32. Killed (2)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Maurice Holker. 968318. RAFVR Age 19. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. William Riley. 966315. RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. John Docker. 938826. RAFVR Age 30. Killed


Wellington L7799 took off from RAF Honington at 20.15hrs for an operation on the industrial area of Porto Marghera, Venice.

The aircraft was returning to its base at RAF Honington when it crashed at Lullington Court, SE of Alfreston, Sussex.

The cause of this accident is not known. The aircraft may have run out of fuel, been hit by flak or attacked by an enemy night fighter

(Above) Photograph of L7799 with a Code of WS-Y prior to it being change to WS-D.

(Courtesy of Mike Bull whose late grandfather was ground crew with 9 Squadron for a period of time. The image was amongst his possessions as a negative)

Vickers Wellington 1c

Sgt. R N Harrison (courtesy Iain MacFarlaine) Sgt. J Docker, Carlisle (Upperby) Cememtery (courtesy CWGC)

Sgt. J F Gapp and Sgt. L W Nichols (courtesy Geoffrey Gillon) Sgt. M Holker. Sgt. W Riley (courtesy Beverly Lewis)

Left: Sgt. Jimmy Gapp. Right: Sgt. Jimmy Gapp far right. Are you able to identify the other two airmen? (both courtesy of David Gapp)

Burial details:

Sgt. Robert Norman Harrison. Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium, London. Grave Ref: Sec. 1.9 Grave 50868. Son of Herbert Norman Harrison and Bertha Augusta Alice Harrison. (1) Born in 1917 Robert Norman Harrison was on his 21st flying operation with No. 9 Squadron when he lost his life. At the time of his death Robert's address was 5 Spencer Drive, Finchley, Middlesex

Sgt. James Frederick (Jimmy) Gapp. St. Mary Cray Cemetery, Kent. Grave Ref: Plot E. Div. 3. Grave 124. Son of George Percy and Mary Gapp of Le Havre, France

Sgt. Leslie William Nichols. Willesborough Cemetery, Kent. Grave Ref: Sec. T. Grave 2330. Son of John James William and Ellen Emma Nichols. Husband of Marjorie Nichols of Ashford, Kent. (2) At the time of his death Leslie's address was 319 Hythe Road, Ashford, Kent

Sgt. Maurice Holker Deane (St. Mary) Churchyard, Lancashire. Grave Ref: Sec. K. Grave 6X. Son of Edwin William and Elizabeth Holker of Bolton

Sgt. William Riley. Oystermouth Cemetery, Glamorgnshire. Grave Ref: Sec. M. Grave 188. Inscription: “To the memory of my brave son William till we meet again, Mother”. Son of William Riley and of Gertrude Mary Riley of Newton, Mumbles, Wales. Dedicated page at Mumbles War Memorials.

Sgt. John Docker's headstone (courtesy of Barry Docker)

Sgt. John Docker. Carlisle (Upperby) Cemetery, Cumberland. Grave Ref: Ward 5. Sec. A. Grave 17. Son of Frederick and Maggie Docker of Carlisle. Husband of Anne Docker of Aspatria

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew

Acknowledgements: With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, National Archives Air 27/131 and Air 27/125, W. R. Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1939-1940 including Prewar Losses July 1939-September 1939, Imperial War Museum, Beverly Lewis, Peter Lucas, Iain MacFarlaine and Barry Docker. Also to David Gapp, the nephew of Jimmy Gapp who contacted us in December 2016. Thanks to John Powell for the link to the Mumbles War Memorial for Sgt. W Riley.

RS 02.05.2020 - Addition of image for the aircraft

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'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
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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