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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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RAF
07/08th June 1944 302 Ferry Training Unit Sunderland III ML858 W/O. Osborne

Operation: Training

Date: 07/08th June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 302 Ferry Training Unit. 17 Group. Coastal Command

Type: Sunderland III

Serial: ML858

Code: P

Base: RAF Oban, Argyllshire

Location: Gleann Mhor, St. Kilda

Pilot: W/O. Cecil Charles Osborne NZ/416200 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Pilot 2: F/O. Richard Dillicar Ferguson NZ/424552 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Roy Lewis 1608033 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. William Alexander Thompson NZ/412767 RNZAF Age 30. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Oliver George Reed NZ/404114 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Bryan Bowker 760351 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. John Raymond Lloyd NZ/41187 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Matthew Robertson NZ/428045 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. David John Chubbin Roulston NZ/428043 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Scoular Thomson 1572878 RAFVR Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off on a operational training air-sea rescue exercise.

They transmitted a position signal an hour after take off but since that nothing further was heard from ML858.

The wreckage was not discovered until a few days later. They had hit the hillside of Gleann Mhor, St. Kilda which was uninhabited.

The crews remains were given full military honours by an RAF Guard of Honour and were committed to the sea between St. Kilda and the island of Boreray. Rev Macleod read the burial service. (Reference: Wartime wrecks on St. Kilda - Rt. Rev. Monsignor John C. Barry, DCL, MA; Chairman of the St. Kilda Club)

Burial details:

Memorial to this and other crew killed (see foot of page), located in a small chapel on the isle of Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago of the Outer Hebrides.

W/O. Cecil Charles Osborne. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 263. Born on the 16th June 1922 at Ashburton. Worked as a clerk for Atlantic Unison Oil at Ashburton prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 09th November 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 08th March 1942. Awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 03rd July 1942. Embarked for England on the 28th October 1942. Served with various units flying both the Catalina and Sunderland before joining 302 Ferry Training Unit on the 22nd May 1944. Son of Sidney and Mary Ann Osborne (nee Capon), of Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand. A total of 806 Flying hours logged with about 50 of these on the Sunderland. Completed numerous operational sorties.

F/O. Richard Dillicar Ferguson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Born on the 27th March 1912 at Te Kuiti. A teacher for the Auckland Education Board prior to service. Enlisted in the RNZAF after serving two years in the territorial army on the 02nd May 1942. Embarked for Canada on the 31st October 1942. Awarded his pilots badge and received his commission on the 02nd April 1942. Embarked for England on the 07th July 1942. Served with various units flying the Catalina, Beaufighter and Sunderland before joining 302 Ferry Training Unit on the 22nd May 1944. Son of Donald Peter and Ada Mary (née Dillicar) Ferguson, of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 325 Flying hours logged.

Sgt. Roy Lewis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 233. Son of George and Lily (née Blackman) Lewis, of Sittingbourne, Kent, England.

F/O. William Alexander Thompson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 239. Born on the 07th January 1914 at Christchurch. Prior to service worked as a clerk for Shell Oil. Enlisted in the RNZAF after serving two years in the territorial army on the 04th May 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 17th November 1941. Awarded his navigator badge and received his commission on the 31st October 1942. Embarked for England on the 24th November 1943. Son of Thomas James Thompson and Mabel Bessie Thompson (nee Steel) and husband of Joan Dorothea Thompson (nee Wilson - later McKenzie), of Fendalton, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. The family also lost his brother, 23 year old Sgt. Colin Maurice Thompson NZ/40442 RNZAF. Flying as second pilot on 75 Squadron Wellington IC Z8909 when shot down and crashed at Cologne on the 11th October 1943.

W/O. John Raymond Lloyd. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 263. Born on the 08th October 1921 at Wellington. Worked as a warehouseman for Johnson an Company prior to service. Served 18 months in the territorial army before enlisting in the RNZAF on the 10th February 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 20th October 1941. Awarded his air gunner badge and promoted to sergeant on the 20th July 1942. Embarked for England on the 12th December 1942. After serving in various units joined 302 Ferry Training Unit on the 22nd May 1944. Son of Richard John and Minnie Lloyd (nee Smith), of Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand and husband of Muriel Elizabeth Lloyd (nee Freeman), of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.

Sgt. Oliver George Reed. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 264. Born on the 05th August 1918 in Melbourne, Australia. Moved to New Zealand when he was 20 years old. Worked as an engineer for NZR prior to service. Enlisted in the RNZAF on the 21st October 1940. Embarked for Canada on the 05th December 1940. Awarded his air gunners badge and promoted to sergeant on the 22nd July 1941. After serving in various units joined 302 Ferry Training Unit on the 22nd May 1944. Son to George Charles and Ruth Myra (née Smith) Reed of Avernel, Victoria, Australia. A total of approx 270 Flying hours logged. Completed about 30 operational sorties.

Fl/Sgt. Bryan Bowker. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 215. Son of Arthur and Ada Emily Bowker and husband of Mary Bowker, of Stockport, Cheshire, England.

Sgt. Francis Matthew Robertson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 264. Born on the 07th June 1920 at Takaka. A farm labourer for Robertson Brothers in Takaka. Joined the RNZAF on the 10th July 1940 at Levin. Embarked for Canada on the 24th December 1942. Awarded his air gunners badge and promoted to sergeant on the 10th December 1943. Embarked for England on the 01st January 1944. After serving in various units joined 302 Ferry Training Unit on the 22nd May 1944. Son of Maurice leigh and Violet Caroline Robertson (née Poultney), of Takaka, Nelson, New Zealand. A total of 146 Flying hours logged.

Sgt. David John Chubbin Roulston. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 264. Born on the 03rd February 1917 at Hunterville. Prior to service worked as a salesman for A.W Holder and Sons at New Plymouth. Enlisted on the 13th July 1942. Embarked for Canada on the 12th February 1943. Awarded his air gunners badge and promoted to sergeant on the 10th December 1943. Embarked for England on the 01st January 1944. After serving in various units joined 302 Ferry Training Unit on the 22nd May 1944. Son of James David and Louisa Jane Eliza (née Chubbin) Roulston and husband to Beatrice Sybil (née Holder) Roulston, of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 88 Flying hours logged.

Sgt. James Scoular Thomson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 239. No further information - are you able to assist? Possibly from Kirkfieldbank, Lanarkshire, Scotland.


Other names mentioned on the memorial:

Beaufighter LX798 304 Ferry Training Unit crew missing on the 03/04th June 1943:

Based at Port Ellen, Islay, crashed on Hirta, St Kilda within 100 metres (328 ft) of the summit of Conachair. Most of the wreckage slid down the hillside and was lost over over the cliffs, and no bodies were ever found.

Sgt. William Duxbury 1139258 RAFVR Age 20. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 148. Son of Joseph and Doris Duxbury, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Stanley Alban Thornton 1127535 RAFVR Age 22, Runnymede Memorial. Panel 167. Son of Samuel Lindsay Thornton and Jennie Thornton, of South Shields, Co. Durham


Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones, Ralph Snape, Marc Calhoun, Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 28-04-2021

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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, 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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