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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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75 Squadron Crest
30/31.08.1943 No. 75 Squadron Stirling III EH938 AA-F Fl/Sgt. Victor T. Parkin

Operation: Mönchengladbach

Date: 30/31st August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EH938

Code: AA-F

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Location: Lommel, Belgium

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Victor Trevor Parkin NZ/421090 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Trevor Silcock 1582936 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Terrence Watters NZ/417299 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ralph Valentine Johnson 1545885 RAFVR Wounded, Evaded capture

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan 1176649 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove 1581242 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders 1394719 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 00.19 hrs from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire. 18 Aircraft from 75 Squadron joining a total force of  660 aircraft (297 Lancasters, 185 Halifaxes, 107 Stirlings, 57 Wellingtons and 14 Mosquitoes) to make a double attack on Mönchengladbach and Rheydt. With a two minute pause after the first phase to enable the pathfinders to transfer the marking from Mönchengladbach to Rheydt. The attacks were classed as a ‘model’ of pathfinder marking.

Above: Group photo showing Fl/Sgt. Parkin front row, first left. Do you recognise the others? (courtesy Michel Beckers)

Mönchengladbach reported that over 1000 buildings were destroyed of which 171 were classed as industrial - Rheydt reported 1,280 buildings destroyed. Losses on the ground for the combined raids was 370 people killed on the ground and a further 2,152 people injured with 12 missing.

Left: Oblt. Heinz Struning (courtesy Kracker Archives)

75 Squadron aircraft were each carrying 30lb. and 4lb. incendiary bombs - all aircraft reported as hitting the target area successfully. The only loss to the squadron on this operation was EH938 which was attacked after dropping their bombs at 02.40 hrs on its homeward return by a nightfighter flown by Oblt. Heinz Struning (1) of 3.NJG1. The aircraft crashed at 03.45 hrs. south east of Lommel in Belgium. The air bomber, Sgt. Ralph Johnson was thrown out of the aircraft, parachuting into a field. Eventually, with the assistance of locals and the Belgium resistance, returned back to England on the 17th November.

(1) This was the 38th abschusse for the Luftwaffe ace, Oblt. Heinz Struning. He went on to make a total of 56 kills before being shot down on the 24/25th December 1944 by a Mosquito from 157 Squadron flown by Sq/Ldr. Doleman and Fl/Lt. Bunch DFC (2) Heinz Strüning was shot down over Referather woods near Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany, he baled out of his aircraft which was on fire, but hit the tail of his Bf110 and killed.

Crew graves at Hevelee War Cemetery (courtesy Michel Beckers)

Burial details:

Initially buried at St.Truiden, reinterred at Heverlee War Cemetery after war end.

Fl/Sgt. Victor Trevor Parkin. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.9. Son of Frederick Joseph and Wynna Ann Parkin, of Dargaville, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Trevor Silcock. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.10. Son of Trevor and Jessie Silcock, of Stoke-on-Trent. England.

Fl/Sgt. Terrence Watters. Heverlee War Cemetery. Joint Grave 4.A.13-14. Son of Francis and Moya Watters, of Dargaville, Auckland, New Zealand.

Right: Navigator, Fl/Sgt. Terrence Watters (courtesy Michel Beckers/Brian Eastwood)

Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan. Heverlee War Cemetery. Joint Grave 4.A.13-14. Son of Daniel Horrigan and of Mercy Horrigan (nee Hadley), of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.12. Son of Frederick George and Eliza Ann Grove, of Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire, Wales.

Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.A.11. Son of William Howard Saunders and Lucy Saunders, of Putney Hill, London, England.

For further details our thanks to the following, Michel Beckers, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page.

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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