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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.
Further data available at Allied Losses & Incidents database

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207 Squadron
24/25.07.1942 207 Squadron Lancaster I R5632, Flt.Sgt. William George Hawes

Operation: Duisburg, Germany

Date: 24th July 1942 (Friday)

Unit: No. 207 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: R5632

Code: EM:N Nuts

Base: RAF Bottesford, Leicestershire-Lincolnshire county border, England

Location: North Sea

Pilot: Flt.Sgt. William George Hawes 402504 RAAF Age 27. Missing

Pilot: Sgt. Percival James Hooper 404366 RNZAF Age 21. Missing

Air Observer: Sgt. Harold Frank Clarke 1183538 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Air Bomber/Air Gunner: Flt.Sgt. Timothy Clayton Blair R75117 RCAF Age 33. Killed

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. Eric Cartwright 1208967 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

Air Gunner: Flt.Sgt. John Charles Chiasson R65313 RCAF Age 24. Missing

Air Gunner: Sgt. William Robert Smith 1307055 RAFVR Age 27. Missing

Crew Photograph standing in front of R5632: L to R: Flt.Sgt. Bill Blair, Sgt. Percy Hooper, Sgt. Frank Clarke, Sgt. Eric Cartwright, Sgt. Bill Smith, Flt.Sgt. George Hawes (Credit: Denise Rope/C. Hawes)

Above: Flt.Sgt. Bill Blair – Polishing the Nose Gun Turret Perspex (Credit: Denise Rope/C. Hawes)

Above: Flt Sgt George Hawes (Credit: Denise Rope/C. Hawes)

Above: (Left) Sgt. Eric Cartwright. (Credit: Brian Hutchings); (Right) Sgt. Bill Smith (Credit: Denise Rope)


Above (Left) Sgt. Percy Hooper. (Credit: Ivan Hooper/Denise Rope); (Right) Flt.Sgt. John Charles Chiasson (Credit: Tracy Chiasson)

Photograph taken in Niagara Falls in June 1941 whilst on leave after graduation from the No. 4 SFTS training course at RCAF Saskatoon, Canada.L to R: Sgt. Hilary E. Birk, Sgt. Edward A. Hudson, Sgt. George Hawes, Sgt. Reginald W. Hopkins, Sgt. Alexander L. Cox and photographer Sgt. Alfred W. Hedge (All except Sgt. Hudson gave their lives during the War) (Credit: Denise Rope/C. Hawes)

Flt.Sgt. Hilary E. Birk flying 99 Sqn Wellington IC X9761 was shot down by fighters just on the Belgium side of the border with France. Flt.Sgt. Birk along with two of his crew successfully evaded capture and returned to England in March 1942. Flt.Sgt. Birk returned to operations and was shot down near Benghazi flying 159 Sqn Liberator II AL566 on the 15th July 1942, all of the crew perished.

Flt.Lt. Edward Arthur Hudson DFC & Bar, MiD survived the war and returned to Australia. He famously flew Lancaster B.Mk I W4783 AR-G for George back to Australia, which is now on display in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Plt.Off. Reginald W. Hopkins perished on a training sortie along with the crew of No 5 (C) OTU Beaufort I N1044 on the 1st December 1941.

Sgt. Alexander L. Cox perished along with the crew of 458 Sqn Wellington IV R1775 on a mission to Emden on the 15th November 1941.

No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS), Course 8c - New Plymouth, Canada. L to R: 1st, AC2 William Earl Houston; 2nd, AC2 Percy Hooper; 6th, AC2 Brian P. Hoare; 7th AC2 Trevor Hedley Gray. (Credit: Brian Hooper)

Sgt. William Earl Houston 402473 RNZAF. Killed whilst flying 112 Sqn Tomahawk IIB, AN413, GA:K. Shot down and claimed by Oblt. Erbo Graf von Kageneck 9./JG 27, west of Tmiimi, Libya on 12th December 1941.

Flt.Sgt. Brian P. Hoare 404365 RNZAF. Killed whilst flying 112 Sqn Kittyhawk I, AK585. Shot down and claimed by Otto Schulz 4./JG 27, near Derna, Libya on the 8th February 1942.

Sgt. Trevor Hedley Gray 404356 RNZAF. Killed along with the crew of 75 Sqn Wellington IC, X9976. Shot down and claimed by Oblt. Helmut Lent 4./NJG1, near Akkrum in Holland on 7th November 1941.

No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) New Plymouth, Canada: LAC Percy Hooper; 2nd from left. (Credit: Brian Hooper)

'Johnnie' Atkinson’s crew circa December 1941/January 1942 (Credit: Brian Hooper)

Standing L to R: Sgt. George Hawes, Flt.Sgt. John 'Johnnie' Atkinson DFM, Sgt. 'Mike' Barnett, Bob ???; Front L to R: Sgt. D. L. Worthington, Sgt. Arthur Roddom, Sgt. Timothy 'Bill’ Blair

Pilot: Flt.Lt. John Charles 'Johnnie' Atkinson DFM 120725 RAFVR. 50 Sqn Lancaster I W4382, VN:? Killed 18th December 1942. Runnymede Memorial

Wop/AG: Sgt. D. L. Worthington 759163 RAFVR. 207 Sqn Lancaster I, R5867, EM:T. Killed 24 July 1942. Reichswald Cemetery.


AG: Sgt. Arthur Roddam 1378871 RAFVR. 207 Sqn Lancaster I, R5509, EM:N. Lost without trace 16/17 August 1942. Runnymede Memorial.

Wop/AG: Sgt. A R 'Mike' Barnett 1100816 RAFVR. 207 Sqn Lancaster I, L7571, QR:S. Shot down 16 September 1942. PoW No. 271175 Stalag 344 Lamsdorf.

Sqn.Ldr. Beauchamp and crew (Credit: Tracy Chiasson)

L to R: Sgt. Martin, Sgt. Chiasson, Plt.Off. Oliver, Sgt. Paul, Sqn.Ldr. Beauchamp, Sgt. Barnes, Sgt. Whiteman.

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Sydney Martin 1104290 RAFVR. 207 Sqn Lancaster I ED601 EM:N. Killed on the 2nd December 1943. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

Pilot: Sgt. Thomas Keith Paul 41525 RNZAF. 207 Sqn Lancaster I R5617 EM:T. Seriously injured during a training mission on the 24th May 1942. Pilot Instructor: WO. T.K. Paul. 1 OTU Wellington Ic Z8793. Killed during a night cross-country training mission on the 4th January 1944. Durham (St. Oswald’s) Burial Ground

Lancaster R5632 N 'Nuts' of 207 Squadron and its crew on dispersal, RAF Bottesford, Summer 1942 (Credit: Denise Rope/C. Hawes)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Early on the morning of the 24th July 1942 at 00:48 hrs the Lancaster I, R5632 along with nine other aircraft from 207 Squadron (Sqn) took-off from RAF Bottesford on a mission to bomb their primary target of Duisburg in Germany. The formation arrived over the target at about 02:30 hrs and dropped their bombs. The Sqn records for the mission recorded that R5632 was one of two aircraft that failed to return to base but no further information was available at the time. The second aircraft was R5867 EM:T which crashed near Krefeld. Plt Off J.J.N. McCarthy RNZAF and his crew were laid to rest at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany.

From an analysis of Sqn records, aircraft performance and timings it appears probable that R5632 did not reach Duisburg and had to turn back for home for reasons yet to be determined. At some point, either before crossing the coast or over the North Sea R5632 was attacked by Oberleutnant Sayn-Wittgenstein’s JU-88 resulting in the aircraft crashing into the sea killing the crew.

It was later established that Oberleutnant (1st.Lt.) Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein of 9./NJG2 claimed R5632 at 03:10 hrs over the North Sea some 30 km west of Scheveningen, Holland. This was his 13th victory. (Nachtjagd War Diaries, Volume 1 - Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten).


From German records it was originally reported that Maj. Sayn-Wittgenstein’s Ju-88 was shot down by Plt.Off. Snape and Fg.Off. Fowler on the 21st/22nd January 1944. However, modern day research has established that Maj. Sayn-Wittgenstein was in fact shot down by his fifth aircraft claim that night and was attributed to Flt.Lt. T.R. Thompson, the rear gunner, aboard 156 Sqn Lancaster JA912. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 15 March 1944) Part 1 - Theo Boiten)..


The body of Flt.Sgt. Blair came ashore near IJmuiden, about 48 km north of The Hague in Holland.

This photograph was taken during August 1941 at No. 23 Operational Training Unit (OTU), RAF Pershore (Wellington night flying/bombing training).

Left hand group, back row L to R: 1st, Flt.Sgt. George Hawes; 3rd, Sgt. Eric Cartwright.
Right hand group, back row L to R: 1st, Sgt. Geoff E. Allen (Co-Pilot Manchester I L7309 EM:O, shot down over Hamburg 15th Jan 1942, PoW Stalag Luft 7).

The photograph shows 4 groups of airmen, each group typically represents the crew complement for a Wellington, which was carried over to the Avro Manchester. Each group comprises a Pilot, Observer, two Wireless Operator/Air Gunners and an Air Gunner.(courtesy: Brian Hutchings)

From left to right - Telegram informing Sgt. Cartwright’s brother that he was Missing in Action. Letters informing Sgt. Cartwright’s brother and father that he was presumed dead. (Credit Brian Hutchings)

Burial details:

Runnymede Memorial Panels, L to R: Flt.Sgt. Hawes W.G., Sgt. Hooper P.J., Sgt. Clarke H.F. (Credit: Andrea Ruddick)

Flt.Sgt. William George Hawes. Runnymede Memorial Panel 111. Born on the 8th March 1915 in Adelong, New South Wales. Son of Herbert Hollingworth and Sarah Annie Margaret Hawes, of Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia.

Above: New Zealand Air Department Notification (Credit: Brian Hooper)

Sgt. Percival James Hooper. Runnymede Memorial Panel 117. Born on the 23rd May 1921. Son to Mr. & Mrs. J. Hooper of Aurora, Taranaki, New Zealand.

Sgt. Percy Hooper - Summary of Service (Credit: Brian Hooper)

Sgt. Harold Frank Clarke. Runnymede Memorial Panel 80. Born on the 31st May 1921. Son of Harry and Annie Clarke, of Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England.

Above: Flt.Sgt. Blair. (Credit: The War Graves Photographic project)

Above: Memorial stone remembering Flt.Sgt. Blair and his brother Maj. Gilbert Thompson Blair serving with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment who fell in Italy on the 18th September 1944. (Credit: Joanne Hammond/Doug McLean)

Flt.Sgt. Timothy Clayton Blair. His remains were recovered from the shore near IJmuiden, Netherlands on the 14th October 1942. He was buried at the Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Plot 69. Row D, Joint Grave 15. Born on the 23rd December 1908. Son of Timothy Sidney and Elizabeth Lindsay Blair of Drake, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Above: Lt. Gilbert T. Blair with his brother Sgt. Timothy C. Blair. (Credit: Joanne Hammond/Doug McLean)

Above: Major Gilbert T. Blair Memorial Service. (courtesy: Joanne Hammond/Doug McLean)


Runnymede Memorial Panels, L to R: Sgt. Cartwright E.,Sgt. Smith W.R. (Credit: Andrea Ruddick)

Sgt. Eric Cartwright. Runnymede Memorial Panel 79. Born on the 1st June 1920. Son of Edward Robert and Dorothy Eleanor Cartwright, of Nottingham, England

Above: (Credit: Andrea Ruddick and Tracy Chiasson)

Flt.Sgt. John Charles Chiasson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 103. Born in 1920. Son of Peter Felix and Mary Chiasson, of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sgt. William Robert Smith. Runnymede Memorial Panel 94. Born in 1915. Son of William Robert and Emily Jane Smith, of King's Cross, London, England

(Left) The life and times of William George Hawes 1915-1942 – Author Denise Rope


Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with contributions from Brian Hutchings on behalf of Harold Cartwright, Sgt. Cartwright’s brother, and Doug McLean on behalf of Flt.Sgt. Blair’s niece, Joanne (née Blair) Hammond. Thanks also to Denise (née Hawes) Rope, the niece of Flt.Sgt. Hawes and the author of ‘For the Duration’, for her invaluable and much appreciated contributions. Thanks also to Brian Hooper for providing photographs and details for Sgt. Percy Hooper. Thanks also to Vincent Holyoak for his kind assistance. Vincent’s book ‘On the Wings of the Morning’, the story of RAF Bottesford can be read here. Thanks also to Tracy Chiasson for the photographs and information for Flt.Sgt. John Charles Chiasson. Thanks also to David Middleton from 'Bottesford Living History' for his introduction to Denise Rope and for his permission to include a link to Vincent Holyoak’s book. Other sources listed below.

RS 01.02.2020 - Correction to German fighter loss

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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