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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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44 Squadron Crest
03/04.05.1944 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster III EE185 KM-A P/O. Allan W. Nolan

Operation: Mailly-Le-Camp (1)

Date: 04/05th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 44 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: EE185

Code: KM-A

Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire

Location: Neron, France

Pilot: P/O. Allan William Nolan AUS/412660 RAAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Eric Howard Charlton 1188067 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Brice Milton 1394305 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Eric George Blake NZ/429027 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford John Boreham 1390575 RAFVR Age 24. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Derek Crook 1762053 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Patrick Higgins 1109234 RAFVR Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Mailly-Le-Camp, a German military camp situated close to the French village of Mailly some 140 km east of Paris. 

The bomber stream of 346 Lancasters crossed the French coast at around 23.15 hrs but control of the raid filed as although the initial low level marking made by 2 pathfinder Mosquitoes was accurate and backed up by Lancaster marker aircraft, the signal from the ‘Market Leader’ W/Cdr. Cheshire to come in and bomb was lost when the ‘Main Force Controller’ W/Cdr. Deane as his radio set was being drowned by American forces broadcast and his transmitter was incorrectly tuned.

However, the attack eventually started with over 1,500 tons of bombs dropped on the target area - with great accuracy.

114 barrack buildings were destroyed, 47 transport sheds and some ammunition buildings also hit. 

The night fighters attacked over the target and continued during the homeward bound bombers.

Some 42 Lancasters were lost this night - all contributed to the Luftwaffe night fighters. Lancaster EE185 was attacked and shot down by Hptm Martin Drewes (3) with his air gunner Ofw. Georg Petz of Stab of III./NJG1 at 01.18 hrs over Eure-et-Loir with the Lancaster crashing near Néron.

Crew of Lancaster EE185: Top Row left to right: Fl/Sgt. Milton, Sgt. Boreham, Sgt. Charlton, P/O. Blake. Front Row left to right: Sgt. Crook, P/O. Nolan, Sgt. Higgins

(1) The publication ‘Battle Under the Moon’ covers the operation on Mailly-Le-Camp in great detail. Published by Crecy Publishing 1995 ISBN 978-0859791090. Shown right.

(2) The brother of Clifford Boredom was also killed. Pte. Leslie Charles Boreham 6404070, 1st Bn., Royal Sussex Regiment was involved in the latter stages of the East African campaign at Asmara Eritrea where he was killed in action on the 8th April 1941. Buried at Asmara War Cemetery, grave 2.G.4. His other brother, Robert George also served in the army during the war they also had a sister who served in the WAAF for several years.

Left: Hptm. Martin Drewes

(3) Hptm. Martin Drewes  - born on 20th October 1918 near Hannover - became a night fighter ace in the Luftwaffe - claiming 5 abschusse on the Mailly-Le-Camp alone. Eventually claiming a total of 43 allied aircraft flying mainly the Bf110. He survived the war emigrating to Brazil where he married a Brazilian woman. His wife died in 2010 and he died later on the 13th October 2013.

Burial details:

P/O. Allan William Nolan. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Son of William and Ethel May Nolan, of Homebush, New South Wales, Australia. Born on 14th February 1915 at Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. Prior to service employed as a clerk at State Abattoir Homebush. Joined in Sydney 12th October 1940. Previously flown the Anson aircraft and obtained his wings on 27th August 1943. Trained with 28 OTU. 2 previous operations 28th April 1944 - Oslo. 1st May 1944 - Toulouse. 

Sgt. Eric Howard Charlton. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Son of Howard Edwin and Jane Charlton, of Northfield, Birmingham, England.

Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Brice Milton. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Son of Thomas B. Milton and Florence L. Milton, of Lymm, Cheshire, England.

F/O. Eric George Blake. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Son of George Stanley Blake and of Mabel Frances Blake (née Nuttall), of Waihi Beach, Auckland, New Zealand. This was his 2nd operation but had a total of 331 hrs on his log book in training etc.

Left: Asmara War Cemetery-last resting place for Pt. Leslie Charles Boreham.

Sgt. Clifford John Boreham. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Son of George and Beatrice Maud Boreham, of Hollington, St. Leonards-on-Sea. Sussex, England.

Sgt. Ronald Derek Crook. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 18. Son of William and Gladys Crook, of Harrogate, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Patrick Higgins. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 17. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Researched by Trevor Boreham - relative of Sgt. Clifford John Boreham. For further details our thanks to sources quoted.44 Squadron, earlier in the war with Lancaster I's (IWM)

Below: Crew graves at Dreux Communal Cemetery (courtesy Trevor Boredom)

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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