04/05.10.1944 No. 40 squadron Wellington X MF845 BL-A P/O. Mayers
Date: 04/05th October 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 40 Squadron
Type: Wellington X
Base: RAF Foggia Main, Italy
Location: River Danube, South Bratislava
Pilot: P/O. Arthur Leslie Mayers 185925 RAFVR Missing - believed killed
Obs: Fl/Sgt. Vallance McCall 1348808 RAFVR Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Charles Herbert Gunby 1200320 RAFVR Age 32. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harry Walker Hesketh 1580730 RAFVR Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Cummin Robson Johnson 1366007 Age 29. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
During a Gardening operation (1) on the Danube understood to have been shot down by Kriegsmarine flak unit. The aircraft came down in the Danube south of Bratislava, the only body recovered was that W/O. Charles Herbert Gunby. The remainder of the crew are remembered on the Malte Memorial.
It is understood that Sgt. Harry Walker Hesketh was no the usual W/Op for this crew, he had been selected as a stand-in at the last moment.
In 2003 a memorial was unveiled near the dam at Cunovo, the ceremony was attended by many of the crew relatives. (courtesy William Booker)
(1) Gardening - the RAF term given to the dropping of mines from aircraft into the sea. The mines were "sown" near ports and harbours, inland waterways, estuaries and in busy shipping lanes.
Above L-R: Malta memorial panel to some of the crew. W/O. Gunby and grave at Prague.
Burial details:Very few next of kin details on the majority of the crew - perhaps relatives could contact us to complete details?
P/O. Arthur Leslie Mayers. Malta Memorial. Panel 13. Column 2. Born on Dec 10th 1920 at Brocco Bank Sheffield, the son of William Henry Mayers (1886-1934) and Mary Winifred Mayers nee Perry (1890 – 1938), the fourth of six children.
Fl/Sgt. Vallance McCall. Malta Memorial. Panel 14. Column 1. No further details - see note above.
W/O. Charles Herbert Gunby. Prague War Cemetery. Grave II.A.3. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gunby and husband of Ruth M. Gunby, of Canterbury, England. Grave inscription reads: "Tell England, Ye Who Pass This Monument, We Died For Her And Here We Rest Content".
Sgt. Harry Walker Hesketh. Malta Memorial. Panel 15. Column 1. Understood to be from Crew, Cheshire, England.
Sgt. Robert Cummin Robson Johnson. Malta Memorial. Panel 15. Column 1. Son of William George and Catherine Clynes Johnson, of Ayr, Scotland.
Many thanks to Peter Mayers and family who contacted us in November 2018 with details of the pilot. For further details our thanks to the following sources.