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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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61 Squadron Crest
19/20.09.1942 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster I W4166 Sgt. R.R.B. Owen

Operation: München

Date: 19/20th September 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4166

Code: QR-?

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: West of Cochem, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Robert Rupert Bisgrove Owen AUS/403292 RAAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Thompson 807161 RAF (Auxiliary) Age 34. Killed

Obs: P/O. William Harry Donovan J/9570 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Donald Tennant McLean AUS/403276 RAAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Olmstead Tuller R/77248 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Gladstone Sale 1184510 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter John Maxwell 1257889 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


Taking off from RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire at 19:45 hrs - a force of 89 aircraft tasked to bomb München. Night fighters claiming some 8 aircraft from both this and the raid to Saarbrucken - 3 others also lost probably due to anti-aircraft fire.

No night fighter claims for this aircraft so probably due to flak or mechanical damage - all the crew were killed when their aircraft came down in woods, west of Cochem.

Burial details:

Sgt. Robert Rupert Bisgrove Owen. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.18-22. Born on the 11th January 1917 in Sydney, the son of Charles Rupert Norman and Edith Margaret Francis Owen, of Sans Souci, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: “Cherished Memories Of Our Loving Son And Brother”.

Sgt. Thomas Thompson. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 9.H.17. Son of Thomas and Doris Thompson and husband of Doris Thompson, of Castletown, County Durham, England. Grave inscription reads: “Till Memory Fades And Life Departs. Remembered By Loving Wife And Family”.

P/O. William Harry Donovan. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.18-22. Son of William Henry and Dorothy Donovan of 58 Hillsboro Avue, Toronto, and nephew of Rose Harvey, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Give Peace In Our Time, O Lord”.

Sgt. Donald Tennant McLean. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.18-22. Born on the 29th November 1917 at Chatswood, the son of Edward Grierson McLean and Alice Isabella Florence McLean, of Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia and husband of Dorothy Ellen McLean, of Moree, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: “Greater Love Hath No Man Than This…”.

Fl/Sgt. John Olmstead Tuller. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.18-22. Son of Dr. Philo William Tuller, M.D., and Anna Alice Tuller, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Sgt. Arthur Gladstone Sale. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.18-22. Son of Walter and Elizabeth J. Sale, of Stechford, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: “Love So Amazing, So Divine, Demands My Soul, My Life, My All”.

Sgt. Peter John Maxwell. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 9.H.16. Son of Major John E.H. Maxwell and C.R. Doreen Maxwell, of Henleyin-Arden, Warwickshire, England. Grave inscription reads: “Sunward He Climbed And Slipped The Surly Bonds Of Earth”.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones for crash photograph, other sources as shown below.

KTY - 25.09.2017

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, 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', 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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