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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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460 Squadron Crest
03/04.05.1944 No. 460 Squadron Lancaster III ND860 Fl/Lt. William E. Hull DFC

Operation: Mailly-le-Camp

Date: 3/4th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 460 Squadron (101 Squadron Crew)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND860

Code: AR-?

Base: RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire

Location: St. Remy-sous-Barbuise, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. William Edgar Hull DFC. 125522 RAFVR Age 21. Killed 

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Joseph Bell 1115113 RAFVR Age 28 Killed 

Nav: F/O. Ronald Douglas Wilson DFM. 149138 RAFVR Age 26. Killed 

Air/Bmr: F/O. William Henry Widger DFM. 158672 RAFVR Age ? Killed 

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Cyril Atkinson (Reed) 169678 RAFVR Age 27. Killed 

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Eric Bailey 1060826 RAFVR Age 23. Killed 

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Charles Earl DFM. 1415516 RAFVR Age ? Killed 

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire at 22:03 hrs. to join an attack on a German tank training and repair facility near the town of Mailly-le-Camp, France. Seventeen aircraft from 460 (RAAF) Squadron were briefed. 17 x 4000 lb. bombs and 270 x 500 lb. bombs were carried. ND860 was one of six 460 Squadron Lancasters lost on the Mailly operation.

Above: F/O. Ronald Douglas Wilson DFM

The other five: 

Lancaster ME728 AR-F2 Flown by 30 year old, P/O. Norman David Livingstone Lloyd AUS/414050 RAAF, from Queensland, Australia - killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster ME740 AR-E Flown by 26 year old Fl/Sgt. Herbert James George Fry AUS/416945 RAAF from Walkerville, Australia - killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster LM531 AR-R Flown by 29 year old W/O. George Kenneth Gritty 1375424 RAFVR from Enfield, Middlesex, England - killed with 3 other crew, 3 evaded capture.
Lancaster ND630 AR-G Flown by 21 year old P/O. Joseph William Smart AUS/409760 RAAF of Victoria, Australia - killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster JB741 AR-J Flown by P/O. Francis William Baker 54076 RAF - killed with all 6 other crew.

The attack destroyed 114 barrack buildings, 47 transport sheds, several ammunition buildings and 102 vehicles that included 37 tanks. 218 German soldiers were killed and 156 injured. Most of the casualties were Panzer NCO’s.

Although owned by 460 Squadron this aircraft was on loan to 101 and was crewed by 101 Squadron personnel.

This crew was very close to being screened as tour completed. Some reports are that this aircraft was hit by bombs from another aircraft, however we understand that ND860 was shot down shortly after leaving the target area, although we are unable to confirm a claim by a Luftwaffe night fighter crew. We remain, of course, open to alternative research results.

F/O. Ronald Wilson DFM. awarded in October 1943. Citation reads:

“This airman has shown a very high degree of skill and courage in the performance of his duties as navigator his outstanding efficiency has had its results in many exceptionally successful sorties completed by his crew against a great variety of targets.”

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. William Edgar Hull DFC. St. Remy-sous-Barbuise Churchyard. Coll. grave 2-4. Son of William and Minnie Ella Hull, of Hertford, England, husband of Eileen Susan Hull.

Fl/Sgt. Frederick Joseph Bell. St. Remy-sous-Barbuise Churchyard. Coll. grave 2-4. Son of John Joseph and Alice Bell, of Chorley, Lancashire, husband of Mary Florence Bell of Chorley, England.

F/O. Ronald Douglas Wilson DFM. St. Remy-sous-Barbuise Churchyard. Coll. grave 2-4. Son of William Richard and Gladys Maud Wilson, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. Prior to service Ronald worked for the War Office. Grandson of Mr and Mrs John Rees of 34 Arthur St Pembroke Dock, Wales.

F/O. William Henry Widger DFM. St. Remy-sous-Barbuise Churchyard. Coll. grave 2-4. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

P/O. Cyril Atkinson (Reed). St. Remy-sous-Barbuise Churchyard. Coll. grave 2-4. (Chose to use the name of Reed during his service). Husband of Margaret Atkinson, of Netherton, Maryport, Cumberland, England.

Fl/Sgt. Eric Bailey. St. Remy-sous-Barbuise Churchyard. Coll. grave 2-4. Son of Norman Edgar and Emily Bailey, of Wilsden. Yorkshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. James Charles Earl DFM. St. Remy-sous-Barbuise Churchyard. Grave 6. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

Researched by: Owen Vaughan for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to relatives and friends of the crew.

KTY/OV 03.07.2015 Map updated

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.
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