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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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23 Squadron Crest
18/19.09.1944 No. 23 Squadron Mosquito VI PZ177 YP-A F/O. Kenneth Eastwood

Operation: Bremerhaven. B.S (Bomber Support)

Date: 18/19th September 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 23 Squadron

Type: Mosquito VI

Serial: PZ177

Code: YP-A

Base: RAF Little Snoring, Fakenham, Norfolk

Location: Gütersloh

Pilot: F/O. Kenneth Eastwood 136429 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Griffith Gilbert Rogers 121119 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Take off at 20:42 hrs. from Little Snoring in Norfolk. Joining 206 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes to attack the German city of Bremerhaven. Mandrel jamming began at 19:30 hrs and 21:05 hrs.

Above left: F/O. Kenneth Eastwood (courtesy Audrey Baker via Linda Ibrom) Right: Fl/Lt. Griffith Rogers (courtesy Susan Butt via Linda Ibrom)

10 Heavies from 100 Group dropped large quantities of window which began to simulate a large force of bombers crossing Denmark en route to a target in Germany. This kept the Luftwaffe night fighters in the area of Schleswig and Denmark and away from the target area. The result a total success and the force was not able to be plotted until 21.20 hrs and only giving the German controllers some fifty minutes to sort any interception.

Mosquito PZ177 is thought to have been intercepted by Lt. Kurt Welter (1) of 10./JG300 at 23:05 hrs. Combat taking place at 8,000 mts west of Bad Münder, Holzminden. The Mosquito crashing at 23:30 hrs. onto the Reich Autobahn, some 6km South of Gütersloh.

Above right Fl/Lt. "Griff" Rogers with unknown piano player and left in flying suit. (courtesy Susan Butt via Linda Ibrom)

23 Squadron showing Fl/Lt. Griff Rogers centre row fifth from left, F/O. Kenneth Eastwood is shown at rear on extreme left - recognised by Ken baker August 2017. (courtesy Susan Butt via Linda Ibrom) Can you name others shown here?

Left: Lt. Kurt Eller (courtesy Kracker Archives)

(1) Lt. Kurt Welter, born in Marienbad, Czechoslovakia, a Luftwaffe ace with 53 (2) night kills, including 33 Mosquitos. He also went on to score more aerial victories from a jet fighter than anyone else in WW2. He survived the war, but was killed in 1949 on March 7th at Lech, Schleswig-Holstein, whilst waiting at a level crossing when logs fell onto his car from a passing train.

(2) A figure that has been widely debated in several circles, some have his total victories as over 60. No one can dispute his skills as a pilot (also trained as a flight instructor) and his abilities with the latest fighter jet, the Me262.


Burial details:

F/O. Kenneth Eastwood. Hanover War Cemetery. Joint grave 12E. 1-2. Further information: Son of Harry and Margaret Eastwood and brother of Audrey Eastwood of Upton, Cheshire. Born on the 20th June 1922,Kenneth Eastwood attended Birkenhead Public School, joining Sloman’s House, twice being commended as best boxer in his class. He left school in July 1939 to join the Clan Shipping Line before volunteering for the RAF.

Fl/Lt. Griffith Gilbert Rogers. Hanover War Cemetery. Joint grave 12E. 1-2. Further information: Son of James and Elizabeth Rogers of 45 Byron Street, East Ham, London, brother of George, May, Rose and Olwen. He met Marjorie Pilton at a dance in 1929 and after a long engagement they married in 1934. They had a daughter, Fleurette Elizabeth and lived in Stanford le Hope, Essex. Known as “Griff” he was an avid reader and attended East Ham Polytechnic where he was studying to become a chartered secretary. On the 1st of July 1940 he enlisted as an aircraftsman second-class observer, and was sent to commence his training at the bombing and gunnery school at Mount Hope in Canada from the 20th May 1941 to the 7th December 1941, staying with the Santes family who had connections to Firestone Tyres. On the 10th November 1941 he qualified as a pilot.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Special thanks to Audrey Baker (nee Eastwood) sister of Flying Officer Eastwood for the uniformed photo and family information and to Susan Butt, granddaughter of Flight Lieutenant Rogers for the personal information and wonderful photographs of her grandfather. Also to Ken Baker for identification in squadron photo of F/O. Kenneth Eastwood - August 2017.

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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