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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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90 Squadron Crest
26/27.04.1943 No. 90 Squadron Stirling I BF383 WF-T F/O. Ian F. Mackenzie

Operation: Duisburg

Date: 26/27th April 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 90 Squadron

Type: Stirling I

Serial: BF383

Code: WF-T

Base: RAF Ridgewell, Essex, England.

Location: IJsselmeer, Netherlands

Pilot: F/O. Ian Fraser Mackenzie 123952 RAFVR Age 31. Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Joseph Wilson 1372169 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: F/O. Philip Alsop Walker 127545 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ronald Francis Cocking 1312110 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor George Leak 1194348 RAFVR Age 23. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Riby Boyes 1101061 RAFVR Age 25. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Edward Hardingham 927795 RAFVR Age ? Killed


561 aircraft left to bomb the city of Duisburg between 02:17 and 03:12 hrs. This Stirling took off at 00:37 hrs from RAF Ridgewell in Essex, England.

The operation was a partial failure - the pathfinders claimed to mark the target accurately - later recognisance revealed that most of the bombing had fallen to the North-East of the City. The city still suffered with more than 300 buildings destroyed with on the ground death toll of between 130 - 207.

The Luftwaffe night fighters engaged the bomber stream both on the outbound and homeward part of the journey.

There are reports that Stirling was shot down by both Hptm. Husemann (1) and Uffz. Vine (2). But we believe that it was more likely that Hpt. Werner Husemann of Stab/NJG1 shot the aircraft down (his second abschüsse of the war) which crashed into the IJsselmeer approximatly 4 km North West of Lelystad at 03:37 hrs.

On November 6th 1965 parts of the aircraft (mainly the tailplane assembly) were salvaged out of IJsselmeer due to the snagging of nets from the various fishing vessels in the area. No human remains were recovered.

Left: Uffz. Heinz Vinke Right: Hptm. Werner Husemann (courtesy Kracker archive)

(1) Hptm. Werner Husemann - Born on the 10th November 1919 the holder of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He went on to claim a total of 32 night abschüsse surviving the war. Awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross - 250 combat operations. Died 2nd February 2014.
(2) Heinz Vinke (total of 52 abschüsse) went missing on the 26th February 1944 some 15 km. north west of Dunkirk after being shot down by two typhoons from 198 Squadron (Fl/Lt. Cheval L'Allemand and F/O. George Hardy)

Left: Sgt. Robert Edward Hardingham (courtesy Victoria Wakefield)

Burial details:

F/O. Ian Fraser Mackenzie. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 126. Son of James Purves Mackenzie and Catherine Mackenzie, husband of Christina Graham Mackenzie, of Uddingston, Lanarkshire, Scotland. M.A., LL.B.

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Joseph Wilson. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Coll. Grave 6. Son of George and Catherine Wilson, father to Vivienne and David of Hebburn-On-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England.

Nav: F/O. Philip Alsop Walker. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Coll. Grave 6. No further details, are you able to assist?

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ronald Francis Cocking. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Coll. Grave 7. Son of William Terrell Cocking and Florence Kate Cocking, of Plymouth, husband of Lilian Winifred Cocking, of Keyham, Plymouth, England.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor George Leak. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 156. Son of George Alfred and Mary Henrietta Leak, of Parkstone, Dorsetshire, England.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Riby Boyes. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 143. Son of Robert Riby Boyes and Sarah Boyes, of Scarborough, Yorkshire, England.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Edward Hardingham. Amersfoort (Oud Leusden) General Cemetery. Plot 13. Row 6. Grave 106. Husband of Dorothy May Hardingham, of Downham Market, Norfolk, England.

For further details our thanks to Victoria Wakefield - relative of Sgt. Robert Hardingham. Also to Vivienne Tucker (née Wilson) who contacted us with further details on her father. With information from various sources as quoted below.

KTY 22.03.2016 - Page update with details of Sgt. Joseph Wilson, following contact with relatives.

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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Last Modified: 22 March 2016, 21:07

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