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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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100 Squadron Crest
03/04.02.1945 No. 100 Squadron Lancaster III PB569 HW-Y Fl/Lt. Robin Ordell DFC

Operation: Bottrop

Date: 3/4th February 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 100 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB569

Code: HW-Y

Base: RAF Grimsby

Location: 2 km. East of Swolgen, near Venlo

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Robin Ordell DFC 422251 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles Scurr 1077176 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Nav: P/O. Ian Ronald Osborne 424538 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: W/O. John Gordon Treatt Killen 421913 RAAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Keith Kevin Reynolds 424306 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Raymond Kevin McKaskill 431183 RAAF Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. J. Harper RAFVR PoW details not known 

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 16.05 hrs. from Grimsby to bomb the Prosper Benzol Works at Bottrop. 

It is thought "probable" that this Lancaster was shot down after dropping its bomb load on the target. The time listed as dropping its bombs has been recorded as 19.35 hrs. 

     

Above left: Fl/Sgt. Raymond Kevin McKaskill and right: Sgt. Charles Scurr (see credits)

Hptm. Heinz Rökker (1) of 2./NGJ2 intercepted PB569 between 19.51 and 19.56 hrs at 4,500 mtrs. The aircraft crashed into a minefield 2 km. East of Swolgen, near Venlo, which set of explosions that caused the wreckage to be scattered over a wide area. The records of 100 squadron mistakingly listed the loss as possibly due to flak. 

The bordfunker to Hptm. Rökker, Fw. Carllos Nugent recorded that "After one burst of gunfire from our attacking position the fuselage of the adversary started burning and the aircraft plunged down steeply. The crash fire was observed."

PB569 was delivered to 100 Squadron on the 5th of September 1944 and when lost had a total of 79 hours. 

Fl/Sgt. Harper was confined to hospital due to his injuries until liberation. When he returned home he made a point of getting in touch with the crew’s families.

     

Flight Lieutenant Ordell was awarded a posthumous D.F.C. in 1946. Citation (London Gazette 5th April 1946) :

“Flight Lieutenant Ordell has completed as pilot and captain of aircraft numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty”

His father Mr Tal Ordell was presented with his sons DFC by the Governor of New South Wales at Government House, Sydney on the 27th February 1947.

(1) This was the 52nd confirmed claim by Hptm. Heinz Rökker (the third on this operation alone). He was to survive the war with a total of 65 confirmed victories. No further details but was still around in the new millennium.

Above: Mielo War Cemetery with inserts of Fl/Lt. Ordell, Sgt. Scurr and Sgt. McKaskill (We do have photographs of the crews individual graves at a higher resolution if requested)

               

Burial details:

The crew were originally buried near Venray on the 16th February, the crew was later re interred in the Mierlo War Cemetery. Details as shown below.

Fl/Lt. Robin Ordell D.F.C.  Mierlo War Cemetery. Grave VII.A.2. Further information: Son of William Raymond and Ethel May Ordell and brother of Arthur Ordell (chief officer in the merchant navy) of High Road, Vaucluse, New South Wales, Australia. Born on the 16th of June 1920, worked as a radio announcer. His father William Ordell Raymond Buntine aka Talone Ordell (1880-1948) was a well-known film and stage actor and also a writer and artist. Robin first appeared with his father when he was aged six in “The Kid Stakes”. When his mother died, his father remarried Ivy Lillian Smith (nee Dowling) a widow with two children, Joyce D.Smith and Graham D.Smith (a pilot officer in the RAAF). Flight Lieutenant Ordell enlisted at Woolloomooloo on Anzac Day, 25th April 1942. He did some of his training in Canada in January 1943 embarking for the U.K. in June 1943. and continuing to 27 Operational Training Unit in April 1944

               

After the crew had been shot down, the parents of Flight Lieutenant Ordell became good friends with the family of Sergeant Scurr and formed a close friendship, sending them food and clothing parcels. He is commemorated on the School Roll of honour for Old Sydneians who attended Sydney Grammar School.

Sgt. Charles Scurr. Mierlo War Cemetery. Grave VII.A.6. Further information: Son of George Henry and Sarah (Rogan) Scurr of Easington Colliery, County Durham, Egland. Born in 1921 he had three brothers, John Joseph, Alfred and George and one sister, Annie. As a child Charles suffered from ill health originating from a blocked bowel that became infected. However he got a job as a fitter in the local mine and despite it being a reserved occupation, an army doctor passed him as being fit enough to enlist in the RAF where he started off as a fitter, before training as a navigator and joining the crew. He is commemorated on the Memorial Cross 1939-45 in the centre of the Bosnia Cemetery, Easington Colliery.

P/O. Ian Ronald Osborne. Mierlo War Cemetery. Grave VII.A.1. Further information: Son of Ronald Charles and Mabel Isabel Osborne of Killara, New South Wales, Australia.

Left: Newspaper report on the loss of Fl/Sgt. McKaskill

W/O. John Gordon Treatt Killen. Mierlo War Cemetery. Grave VII.A.3. Further information: Son of John Gilliland and Constantine Killen of Tumut, New South Wales, Australia. Born on the 15th of July 1920 at Forbes, New South Wales, enlisted at Sydney.

Fl/Sgt. Keith Kevin Reynolds. Mierlo War Cemetery. Grave VII.A.5. Further information: Son of Clement John and Jessie Tryphena Reynolds of Edgecliffe, New South Wales. Born on the 30th of May 1923 at Marrickville, New South Wales, enlisted at Sydney, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Raymond Kevin McKaskill. Mierlo War Cemetery. Grave VII.A.4. Further information: Son of Donald William and Minnie (nee Henderson) McKaskill and brother of Donald (1923-1994) and Kenneth (1921-1992) of Richmond, Victoria, Australia. Born on the 24th of March 1925 at Morwell, Victoria, he attended Boolarra State School and worked for Crofts Stores, Melbourne before enlisting at Melbourne.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Alan Scurr, great nephew, Sergeant Scurr’s sister Annie Turnbull (nee Scurr) for the family information. Photo credits and information of Flight Sergeant McKaskill to Gary Culver. Grave photo’s courtesy Des Philippet. The information on the loss of PB569 kindly supplied by Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2’. 


Left: A Grave Too Far Away - Kathryn Spurling


There is a 400 page book, published in 2012 by Kathryn Spurling titled - ‘A Grave too far away’ A tribute to Australians in Bomber Command Europe that features the Ordell crew. ISBN 9781742571614. New Holland publishers, Sydney, Australia.

Available direct from Kathryn Spurling.

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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