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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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50 Squadron Crest
12/13.05.1943 No 50 Squadron Lancaster I W4762 P/O. Francis H. Huntley DFM

Operation: Duisburg

Date: 12/13th May 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 50 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4762

Code: VN-?

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe

Location: IJsselmeer, Holland

Pilot: P/O. Francis Hindmarch Huntley DFM. 143453 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Michael Bates 570468 RAF Age ? Killed

Nav: P/O. Charles William Clarke 144446 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

Nav 2: F/O. Geoffrey Douglas Priestley 111118 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Edward Hough 145180 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Harold Moseley Ivatt J/17654 RCAF Age 21. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alan Stott DFM. 985652 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Charles Greening 1317229 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Relatives of the crew are appealing for any further information and in particular photographs of the crew / aircraft.

Update: Thanks to Diana Elizabeth Halstead crew photographs now added!


Took off at 23:58 hrs from RAF Skellingthorpe to bomb the German city of Duisberg. 572 aircraft taking part (238 Lancasters, 142 Halifaxes, 112 Wellingtons, 70 Stirlings and 10 Mosquitoes) the fourth raid on the city so far with the others only partially successful. The marking on this raid was near perfect resulting in the bombing well concentrated.

Above and below: Crew as submitted by Diana Elizabeth Halstead - April 2018

The centre of the city and the port area just off the river Rhine (the largest inland port area in Germany) suffered enormous damage.

1,596 buildings totally destroyed, 273 people on the ground killed, 4 steel factories were damaged. In the port area, 21 barges and 13 other ships (18,921 tons) were sunk with a further 60 ships (41,000 tons) damaged) Duisberg was considered not necessary to attack again for awhile!

Right: Rear gunner, Sgt. Frederick Greening (courtesy Julie Taylor)

It didn't go all well though with Bomber Command losing some 38 aircraft during this operation. A total of 214 aircrew killed, 32 being made PoW.

Lancaster I W4762 was shot down by Lt. Robert Denzel of 12./NJG1 at 01:38 hrs 6 km North West Nijkerk - crashing into the IJsselmeer, Holland.

This was the 7th abschüsse for 22 year old, Lt. Robert Denzel (3 during this night) These were his last claims - he was killed on the 25/26th June 1943 at Vollenhove after combat with a 141 Squadron Beaufighter flown by F/O. Kelsey and Sgt. Smith as his navigator.

Above: Lt. Robert Denzel (courtesy Kracker Archive)

During 1972/1973 during partial draining of the Polders in the South Flevoland area, the Royal Netherlands Airforce were called in to identify / salvage wreckage found. Identification led by the Salvage officer Mr. Gerrit J. Zwanenburg with his team, recovered items such as the twin tail wheels, engines and propellers as well as many pieces of alloy.

Some Of Our Airman Are No Longer Missing’ was made covering various losses in this area. (Directed by Douglas Stanley and narrated by Leo McKern)

Note: Dutch researcher Johnny de Groot, who has investigated various losses, felt that it had collided with Stirling III BF523 WP-G from 90 Squadron - Bill Chorley (Bomber Command Losses Vol. 4) and Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten / Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie (‘Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2’) both report that these aircraft were both shot down by night fighters.

Burial details:

The grave of P/O. Huntley is shared by Sgt. Reginald William Conuel 571115 of 7 Squadron lost on the 5th May on Stirling III BK773 MG-T.

P/O. Francis Hindmarch Huntley DFM. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Coll. Grave 7. Son of Albert Huntley, and of Dora Huntley, of Broomicknowe, Midlothian.

Sgt. Michael Bates. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 7. Grave 136. No further details - are you able to assist?

P/O. Charles William Clarke. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 7. Grave 134. Son of Charles and Johan Clarke, of Southampton, England. Husband of Kathleen Mary Clarke, of Bitterne, Southampton, England. A former pupil of King Edward VI School, Southampton (Watts House, 19.09.1922 - 29.07.1927)

F/O. Geoffrey Douglas Priestley. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 7. Grave 135. Husband of Winifred Mary Priestley, of Lightcliffe, Yorkshire, England. (MA. Cantab).

The grave of Sgt. Hough is shared with Sgt. John William Avent 1336690 of 10 Squadron - lost the following day - Halifax II DT732 ZA-X, whilst the grave of Sgt. Greening is shared by Sgt. Eric John Charles Howard 1260589 from the same 10 Squadron Halifax.

P/O. Edward Hough. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Coll. Grave 12. Son of Edward and Elizabeth Hough, husband of Dorothy Margaret Hough, of Levenshulme, Manchester, England.

P/O. Harold Moseley Ivatt. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 176. From Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - only son of Frank Moseley and Edith Florence Ivatt of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Born 20th August 1918.

Sgt. Alan Stott DFM. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 7. Grave 133. Son of Ernest and Mary Jane Stott, of Burnley, Lancashire, England. Husband of Isobel Stott, of Burnley, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Frederick Charles Greening. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Coll. Grave 13. Son of May Greening (née Weston) of Gelli, Rhondda, Wales. Frederick was one of 13 children.

Researched for Mr. Ian Clarke - relative of P/O. Charles William Clarke. Ian also supplied some details on some of the crew. Also thanks to Julie Taylor for submitting further details of Sgt. Greening - May 2016. Julie's father was his cousin. Diana Elizabeth Halstead for wonderful crew photographs - April 2018. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

KTY 15.05.2016 further details and photo added. 22.04.2018 further photographs 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', 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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