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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 badge
25/26.06.1943 No. 90 Squadron Stirling III EH900 WP-Y Fl/Lt. McKenzie

Operation: Gelsenkirchen

Date: 25/26th June 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 90 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EH900

Code: WP-Y

Base: RAF West Wickham, Cambridgeshire.

Location: Legden, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Frederick Charles McKenzie 415087 RAAF Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ernest Wilson 995196 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Nav: F/O. Alec Victor Ibbetson Cook 130588 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Edward Walter 1385752 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Colin Desmond Harry Campbell 1333017 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick William Ealden 1397129 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Charles Davidson 984107 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

At 23:59 hrs. Stirling EH900 took off from RAF West Wickham on an operation to bomb Gelsenkirchen with 217 Lancasters, 190 Halifaxes and 10 Mosquitoes.

The raid was not at all as had been hoped. Weather was cloudy and no moon until about 03:00hrs. Equipment failure in half of the Mosquitoes and another dropping target markers 10 miles off target!

The bombing as a result of this, made the Germans think that the raid was actually on Bochum. However some industrial targets were hit in the town.

Delivered to 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force on 9th June 1943 by the constructor, Austin Motors Ltd, Stirling bomber EH900 WP-Y was virtually a brand new aircraft when it was lost.

Left: Sgt. Frederick William Ealden (courtesy Ron Ealden)

Burial Details:

Crew initially buried at Legden where they crashed, subsequently after war end re-interred in Reichswald Cemetery.

Fl/Lt. Frederick Charles McKenzie. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 23.E.18. Son of Nathaniel and Hilda Muriel McKenzie, of Three Springs, Western Australia. Grave inscription: "A Life So Nobly Given. Far From His Home He Is Sleeping, Our Son".

Sgt. Ernest Wilson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 23.E.10. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wilson, of Wigan, Lancashire and husband of Beatrice Elizabeth Wilson, of Scale Hall, Lancaster, England. Grave inscription: "He That Loseth His Life... Shall Find It".

F/O. Alec Victor Ibbetson Cook. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 23.E.5. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Victor Cook, of New Malden, England.

Sgt. William Edward Walter. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.E.6-8. Son of Edward George Walter, and of Caroline Emma Walter, of Bexleyheath, Kent, England. Grave inscription: "Nobleness Walks In Our Ways Again; And We Have Come Into Our Heritage".

Sgt. Colin Desmond Harry Campbell. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.E.6-8. Son of Leslie Norman Thomas Stuart Campbell and Helen May Campbell, of Tulse Hill, London, England. Grave inscription: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them".

Sgt. Frederick William Ealden. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.E.6-8. Son of William and Selina Ealden of 10 Widred Rd. Dover, husband of Jean Marion Ealden (née Hibbert), of 6 Bushy Ruff, Kearsney, Dover, Kent, England. Grave inscription: "Age Shall Not Weary Them, Nor The Years Condemn".

Sgt. John Charles Davidson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 23.E.9. Son of Joseph and Martha Davidson; husband of J. C. Davidson, of Edgware, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription: "May His Sacrifice Not Be In Vain. I Will Always Remember Him Smiling".

Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 4, 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.

KTY 06.09.2019 Map 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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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