20/21.10.1943 No. 139 (Jamaica) Squadron Mosquito DZ519 XD-U Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor
Date: 20/21 October 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 139 (Jamaica) Squadron (Motto: Si placet necamos - We destroy at will)
Type: Mosquito IV
Base: RAF Wyton, Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire)
Location: Wijster near Assen, Drenthe, Holland
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor 86666 RAFVR - Evaded. (1)
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Philip Harold Brown 1451938 RAFVR - PoW No. 75 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg, Upper Silesia, Poland. (2)
We would like to appeal to relatives of the crew with further information and/or photographs to please contact us
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Wyton at 18.39hrs on a diversionary mission to Berlin.
This aircraft was armed with the following bomb load: 2 x 500lb MC, 1 x TI Red, 1 x 5 'drip white' flares.
Special Equipment on board: Gee - see abbreviations
Whilst 358 Lancasters were despatched to bomb Leipzig on the night of 20/21 October 1943, 10 Mosquitoes of 139 Pathfinder Squadron were detailed to make a diversionary attack on Berlin. The diversion was successful in drawing off the bulk of the enemy fighter strength but because Berlin was covered by 10/10th cloud no results of the bombing were seen. One of the Mosquitoes aborted the mission and two were lost, the other seven returned undamaged.
The other Mosquito lost was DZ597 and both pilot F/Sgt. T.K. Forsyth and Navigator Sgt. L.C. James were killed. They were reported to have been buried at Wittstock, Germany, by the German authorities but because the area fell into the post war Russian Zone, access to their reported graves for verification of their remains by the British Authorities was not permitted by the Russians. They are therefore, commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as having no known grave.
The fate of Mosquito DZ519 was reported by pilot Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor as follows:
'Outward flight at 28000' and ( fine on course?) but target covered in 10/10ths cloud. Climbed to 30000', dropped bombs (but not Red TIs) 15 minutes after leaving target area all Gyro Instruments became u/s. 10 minutes later starboard engine developed Glycol leak. Engine emitted greenish flames and vibrated badly, partly seized up and feathered immediately. Flying on one engine the aircraft lost height at about 500' a minute but able to keep course. After about 15 minutes oil pressure of port engine dropped slowly - continued to fly on it until pressure was down to 15lbs per square inch. Unfeathered starboard engine and feathered port. Green flames shot out of starboard engine and reverted to port. When it was restarted pressure was 55lbs per square inch but started to fall again. Was at 16000' and over Germany. After 5 minutes, pressure practically zero but for about 7 minutes engine apparently normal. Then oil and coolant temperature started to rise rapidly. Soon after port engine seized completely. Both baled out - pilot from 8000'. Pilot landed about 10 miles inside Holland at Assen.'
Scale: 1" = 12.5 miles
Flight Lieutenant Archibald Albert Mellor
(Photograph, courtesy Ligne Comète Line Remembrance)
Fl/Lt. Mellor landed at about 22.30hrs; his plane crashed and burned a few hundred metres away but there was no sign of his navigator who had jumped a few minutes before him. He buried his parachute and Mae West and began walking in a westerly direction. By 1.30hrs he reached a wood and found a well camouflaged spot, probably a Dutch refractory, in which to hide. There he remained during the 21 October until about 17.00hrs when he was found by a farmer. By gestures and a little French he explained that he was RAF and was then given tea and sandwiches by other farmers then on the scene. At 21.00hrs they returned with a man from Wijster who spoke some English and asked for proof of his identity. This man then took him home to Wijster where he stayed until the following day.
On the 22 October two young resistance workers came to collect him and they took him by cycle to meet a man on a road near Hoogeveen. This man spoke good English and put him in touch with an organisation who would arrange his escape. He subsequently met a man called Van den Hoogan or Van den Hurk who had earlier helped F/O. H.A. Penny of Halifax HR878 shot down on the night of 31 August/1 September 1943. He was then taken by train to Meppel where he stayed at the house of the Minister, Van Noten (or Nooten), where Penny had also stayed. Whilst there he was provided with better clothes and given an identity card. Fl/Lt. Mellor remained there until the 3 November when he went with Van den Hoogan and two of his friends by cycle to Zwolle, from there by train to Tilburg and then by bus to a small village 5km from the Belgian border. Here, he met up with American evader Texan St/Sgt. Elton 'Red' Fred Kevil (A gunner on B17 42-37751 shot down on 8 October 1943). They were taken into a wood (probably near Esbeek) by a Dutch policeman, where they slept. At 0400hrs two or three students who had also been in hiding took them to another Dutch policeman, Karst Smit who directed them across the border into Belgium. Just over the border they met an American navigator and the whole group travelled as far as Tournout. From there they went to Antwerp by steam tram and by electric tram to Brussels, the plainclothes policeman and students still with them. In Brussels they were taken to an apartment, the home of Élise Chabot at 4 Rue Jules Lejeune in Ixelles or Uccle. They were taken into Brussels on the 4 November by Ernest van Moorleghem and, at the corner of a street, handed over to a certain 'UZH' (Alphonse Escrinier) who gave O86B as references. 'UZH' could not speak English and he took the two men to a butcher (probably the fish shop of Prosper Spilliaert). There they were given a meal and were photographed by a man with facial burns (André Duchesnes). There they also met 'Jacques' (Charles Hoste). 'UZH' and 'Jacques' took them to two separate houses. Archibald Mellor was taken to the home of teacher Hector Leplat and Irma Wecksteen at 96 Rue Rubens at Schaerbeek. On the way there Escrinier gave Archibald Mellor two photographs of a man who ran a 'counter-organisation' and told him that the man should be avoided at all cost as he had already handed over many people to the Germans. He was also told that the man was missing the last joint of his little finger. (This was clearly Prosper Dezitter the notorious Belgian collaborator who after the war was arrested in Germany and brought back to Brussels where he was tried and executed by firing squad in 1948)
Archibald Mellor stayed with Hector Leplat and Irma Wecksteen until 3 December being looked after by 'Gaston' throughout this time. Having been received by EVA, the Dutch escape line run by Dutch policeman, Karst Smit he was handed over by Gaston Matthys to Jules Dricot on 3 December and with an American, Carl Smith (2nd Lt. Carl Newton Smith Co Pilot of B17 42-2990 shot down 17 August 1943) who had arrived at the Leplat house the previous Monday, travelled via Mons as far as a farm run by smugglers on the French border. They stayed with a painter Achilles Dupont and his wife Germaine Hennerbert at 173 Rue Trieux del Croix-lez-Saumoy Sivry.
At 0400hrs they were taken into France by two guides, a man and a woman, along with two more evaders (1st Lt. Jack K. Justice Pilot of B17 42-3229 and 2nd Lt. Carl L. Spicer Navigator of B17 42-30818 both shot down 8 October 1943). The woman guide, Amanda Stassart stayed with them as far as Paris.
In France they were taken by van to Mauberge and then by express train to Paris. Archibald Mellor and Carl Smith were sheltered in an apartment owned by the guide's mother Louise Bastin at 8 bis Rue Margueritte in the 17th Arrondisement. There they meet the leader of the organisation who wore glasses and spoke good English. They also met an older blonde woman called Germaine Flachet who was married to a Hindu and who took them to an apartment at a butcher's near the Arc de Triomphe where they stayed from the 4th to the 13th December. Germaine told them that a Belgian had informed the Germans of the organisation and they were trying to get rid of him (this was Jacques Desoubrie). Archibald Mellor, Carl Smith and Belgian resistance leader George Marchand left Paris. Their guide as far as Bordeaux was a very small lady, Marcelle Douard. From there Jean-Francois Nothom took them by train to Dax. In a wood near Dax they found Spicer and Justice and with Denise Houget they all went to a tavern in Bayonne. They were housed at the Restaurant Larre of Jeanne Mendiara at Sutar.
On the night of 15 December they all went to Ustaritz where they met up with two guides and left 'Franco'.
Their's was the 80th crossing by Comete using the Lessorre route with the only guide being Pierre Etchyegoyen. Crossing the Pyrenees alone took seven hours after which they continued until the evening of 19 December when they rested for two nights at a hotel in a small village. On the 21st they were picked up and taken by car to Madrid where they stayed until the 30th December before travelling to Gibraltar on the 31st. On 2 January 1944 Fl/Lt. Archibald Mellor landed back in the UK at RAF Lyneham and the following day was interviewed by Military Intelligence about his ordeal of the previous six weeks.
We would like to thank Brigitte d'Oultremont and Ligne Comète Line Remembrance for allowing us to use the photograph and details of the escape and evasion of Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor. www.cometeline.org
Fl/Sgt. Philip Harold Brown was captured and sent to Stalag Luft Bankau-Kruelberg in Upper Silesia, Poland.
(1) Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor - Born 8 January 1915 at Alsegar, Stoke-on-Trent the son of Harold Charles Mellor and Milly Corfield Mellor nee Pickstock. Lived at 'The Fields' Alsagar, Stoke-on-Trent. Commissioned 9 October 1940 (Announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 12 November 1940)
In 1943 he had married Hazel C. Deans in Canada and in 1945 they had a son William R. Mellor born in Horsham, Surrey. On 12 November 1946 they sailed for Canada from Liverpool on the Samaria and settled there. His occupation at that time was given as Motor Engineer. Archibald Albert Mellor died 16 January 1996 aged 81.
(2) Fl/Sgt. Philip Harold Brown - nothing further known, can you help?
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for relatives of this crew - July 2015. Sources: RAF Loss Card, Bomber Command Report on Night Operations, Bomber Command Database, Ligne Comète Line Remembrance.