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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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139 Squadron Crest
02/03.04.1945 No. 149 Squadron Mosquito XX KB185 XD-R Fl/Lt. Nicholls DFC

Operation: Berlin

Date: 02/03rd April 1945 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 139 Squadron

Type: Mosquito XX

Serial: KB185

Code: XD-R

Base: RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire

Location: Unknown

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Amos Nicholls DFC. 115343 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Jack Evelyn Dawes DFC. 148397 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

We are anxious to try and place a location to the crash site of Mosquito KB185 - relatives would like to visit the area - can anyone advise? (February 2016)


Took off at 22:35hrs from base at RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire. A total of 54 Mosquitoes sent to bomb Berlin. This was the only allied casualty of the operation and sadly listed as lost without a trace. The route shown on the map below is according to the night fighter tracking on the night.

It is thought possible that this Mosquito was shot down by the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace Oblt. Kurt Welter (1) of 10./NGJ11, flying an Me 262. 5 were scrambled and a single confirmed Abschüss (shooting down/kill) of a Mosquito.

Right: Oblt. Kurt Welter (courtesy Kracker Archives)

Brief details of the RAF career of Fl/Lt. Jack Evelyn Dawes DFC:

Joined Bomber Command training at RAF Upwood, starting his air observer course on the 29th of November 1939 and qualifying as a Flight Sergeant on the 4th of May 1940 and as a qualified navigator started his flying duties on Wellingtons.

On one occasion the aircraft suffered a shell burst ripping the fabric from the side of the plane and spinning it in a spiral, leaving him floating weightless inside and trying to catch his charts and instruments.

As the aircraft settled down, Jack went to assist the pilot and managed to bring the plane home using his knowledge of the stars and remembering the route of the outward flight, aiming to cross the coast at Bournemouth.

He was some six miles out but remembered an American base to the North of Bournemouth and managing to keep on course they incredibly managed an emergency touchdown.

Promoted to P/O. on the 12th May 1943 (755310). After a period of being stood down, he attended Unit 10 Bombing and Gunnery School under Squadron Leader G.E. Macdonald but returned to flying duties with Pathfinders and onto Mosquito’s on the 20th of July 1944 with his first op on the 6th of August 1944 to Essen. His total flying hours including Ops were 157:32 hours.

Family legend has it that Jack had already completed two full tours of duty and only volunteered for his final mission as his Pilot Fl/Lt. Nicholls DFC. had two missions left before he to completed two full tours. Apparently Jack said - “Why break up a good team now?”

Fl/Lt. Dawes DFC. Citation 13th of April 1945. Page 1963 of the London Gazette. He was added a bar to the DFC. but was shot down before he could receive it and his mother attended Buckingham Palace to receive it in his place.

Fl/Lt. Nicholls - DFC. Citation 22nd May 1944. Page 2291 of the London Gazette.

(1) Oblt. Kurt Welter survived the war with a total of 53 night kills and a further 6 daytime. He was killed in 1949 on March 7th at Lech Schleswig-Holstein, whilst waiting at a level crossing when logs fell onto his car from a passing train.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Amos Nicholls DFC. Son of George Henry and Elizabeth Nicholls and husband of Nancy Nicholls of Gillingham, Kent, England. Fl/Lt. Nicholls had flown 65 sorties.

Fl/Lt. Jack Evelyn Dawes DFC. Son of Victor Stanley and Dorothy Dawes of Wood Green, Middlesex, England. Further information: Born on the 23rd of August 1918. He attended Tottenham grammar school and excelled in all branches of mathematics, continuing to higher maths until leaving school when he was sixteen. A small, slim boy who was very sporty, enjoying gymnastics and all forms of sports as well as fly fishing, he abhorred any form of bullying and moral aggression, a stance which inspired him to seek his fathers permission to join the RAFVR after leaving his job as a clerk to a firm of solicitors in the City.

Researched by: Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to relatives of this crew. Special thanks to Ray Dawes (brother), Hazel Dawes (sister) for the information and photographs of Fl/Lt. Dawes. Also to Robin Fewster, who's mother was the only daughter of the pilot - contacted us in February 2016.

LI - KTY 03.03.2016 New photos added.

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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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