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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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106 Squadron Crest
25/26.06.1943 106 Squadron Lancaster I W4367 Plt.Off. Peter J. Page

Operation: Gelsenkirchen

Date: 25/26th June 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 106 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4367

Code: ZN:?

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: IJsselmeer, Holland

Pilot: Plt.Off. Peter John Page 143377 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Edward Ernest Tyler 576427 RAF Age 19. Killed

Nav: Flt.Sgt. James Hancock 1032799 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. John MacMillan 1366232 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Joseph Pass DFM 990571 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Hiram Edwin Davies 1317697 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. John Charles Welch 1251211 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed


Page dedicated to the memory of Flt.Lt. Noel Ernest Burton DFM 778740 (160039) RAFVR who knew the Navigator well. He also flew this aircraft as the pilot prior to its loss. Sadly Noel Burton passed away December 2015 and was unable to read the page. We hope to be able to place a page for Noel in 2017.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire to bomb the Oil refineries of Gelsenkirchen with 472 other aircraft - 214 Lancasters, 134 Halifaxes, 73 Stirlings, 40 Wellingtons with 12 ‘Oboe’ Mosquitoes.

The operation was considered to be a failure. Target was covered in 7/10 cloud, with no moonlight until later in the raid, the Mosquitoes failed to accurately mark the target, due to 5 of them having defective equipment. The reports from Dusseldorf state that 24 buildings destroyed, 3,285 damaged - most of them superficial. 20 Industrial premises were also hit, with only 4 suffering serious loss of production. 16 people on the ground were killed.

For Bomber Command the losses were extremely heavy with 34 aircraft lost, either on the operation or on return to their bases. 179 Crew were killed with 36 taken PoW.

Lancaster W4367 was shot down by Oblt. Hans Leickhardt (1) of I./NJG5 on detachment from II./NJG1 at 01:06 hrs 10 km. South west Urk in the IJsselmeer.

Flt.Sgt. Joseph Pass DFM whilst with 49 Squadron - Citation London Gazette 18th May 1943:

'This NCO has completed 19 operational sorties and 113 hours flying as a Wireless Operator in the Squadron Commander's crew. He has participated in two daylight attacks on Le Creusot and Osnabruck and his work, both in the air and on the ground, has been of the highest order. He alone, being responsible for the efficiency of his equipment, has maintained it at the high pitch that is necessary, and in the air he has been of the greatest assistance to the Navigator. On one occasion when serious compass trouble could have caused the abandonment of a sortie to Italy, by wireless aids alone he enabled the Navigator to ascertain his position and carry on accurately to the target and back to his country. His cheerful disposition and willingness to assist his crew in every way have been a source of constant inspiration and I most strongly recommend him for the award of the DFM.’

(1) This was the 2nd claim for Oblt. Hans Leickhardt who went on to become an ‘ace’ with 13 claims. He was killed in unknown circumstances on the 5/6th March 1945.

Burial details:

Plt.Off. Peter John Page. Harderwijk General Cemetery. British Plot 2. Grave 16. Son of Alfred and Lilian Page and husband of Joan Marjorie Glenn Page, of Glen Hills, Blaby, Leicestershire, England.

Sgt. Edward Ernest Tyler. Harderwijk General Cemetery. British Plot 2. Grave 7. Born in April 1924 in Lexden. Son of Edward H and Gertrude E Tyler. Lived at 7 the crescent Gt Horkesley, Colchester, Essex.

Sgt. Tyler is remembered on the WW2 memorial in All Saints Churchyard at Horkesley and on a private headstone.

Flt.Sgt. James Hancock. Harderwijk General Cemetery. British Plot 2. Grave 18. Son of James and Louisa Mary Hancock and husband of Mary Isabel Hancock, of Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham, England.

Flt.Sgt. John MacMillan. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row B. Coll. grave 13. Son of Robert Hugh and Helen Graham Macmillan, of West Coaltown, Markinch, Fife, Scotland.

Flt.Sgt. Joseph Pass DFM. Harderwijk General Cemetery. British Plot 2. Grave 8. Son of Joseph and Elizabeth Pass and husband of Ruby May Pass, of Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

Flt.Sgt. Hiram Edwin Davies. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 136. Son of Edwin and Alice Mary Davies, of Machen, Monmouthshire, Wales. (shown right - courtesy Clive Smith)

Flt.Sgt. John Charles Welch. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 139. Son of Harry and Violet Welch, of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England.

Researched for Diana - her father knew and flew with Flt.Sgt. James Hancock on other operations. Also thanks to Clive Smith for photo of Flt.Sgt. Davies - May 2017. Thanks to Steve Waters for the Next of Kin details for Sgt.Tyler. Dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below.

RS 31.07.2020 - NoK details for Sgt. Tyler added.

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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