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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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102 Squadron Crest
08/09.09.1939 No. 102 Squadron Whitley III K8950 DY-M Sq/Ldr. Murray

Operation: Knickel (leaflet dropping)

Date: 8/9th September 1939 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 102 Squadron

Type: Whitley MkIII

Serial: K8950

Code: DY-M

Base: RAF Driffield

Location: near Kassel, Germany

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Sydney Stuart Murray 26117 RAF PoW No: 60 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria (3)

2nd Pilot: Fl/Lt. Alfred Burke Thompson 39585 RAF PoW No: 59 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria (3)

Obs: Sgt. Charles A. Hill 580896 RAF PoW No: 2 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug (6)

Air/Gnr: AC1. Sam A. Burry 524802 RAF PoW No: 1 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)

Air/Gnr: AC1. Peter Frederick Pacey 567315 RAF PoW No: 2 Stalag Kopernikus (357)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23:55 hrs, one of 12 aircraft tasked to drop leaflets over the Rhur (6 from 77 Squadron, 6 from 102 Squadron.

Understood to have been shot down by Flak over Thuringia, crashing near Kassel, Germany. All survived and became the first complete bomber crew to be taken into captivity.

Alfred Thompson right with Squadron Leader Sydney Murray with Luftwaffe guards.

Sq/Ldr. Sydney Stuart Murray received the OBE on the 28th December 1945, he was then a W/Cdr. Retired from the Airforce on the 06th April 1957 as a Group Captain.

Fl/Lt. Alfred Thompson joined the RCAF in 1936. Canada was not officially at war with Germany until the following day of their loss. Alfred was taken to Berlin and made to pose in propaganda photos with Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goerring. Those pictures may later have saved his life. Alfred was sent to several POW camps before ending up at Stalag Luft III near Sagan. There, he was recruited for the Great Escape. Thompson made it through tunnel "Harry" but was recaptured soon after. As a single man with no children, Thompson was vulnerable to execution, but he carried with him the propaganda photo. Commission relinquished on the 24th November 1944 on appointment to the RCAF as Fl/Lt. He returned to university after the war. He became a lawyer, and later a Crown prosecutor, in Simcoe County, Ontario. He died on the 01st January 1985 at his home town of Penetanguishene at the age of 85.

AC 1 Peter Frederick Pacey 14th November 1946 - promoted to Warrant Officer - 567315. All the crew that were not commissioned officers were promoted to Warrant Officer after their release.

Burial details:

None - crew all survived as PoW.

Researcher: Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - February 2017. Photographs from the collection of Michel Beckers.

MB - 08.02.2017

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 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: 08 February 2017, 16:07