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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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617 Squadron badge
12.01.1945 No. 617 Squadron Lancaster I PD233 KC-G Fl/Lt. Pryor

Operation: Bergen

Date: 12th January 1945 (Friday)

Unit: No. 617 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PD233

Code: KC-G

Base: RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.

Location: Lille Landon, Austrheim, Norway

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Henry John Pryor RAFVR Age. 27. Survived PoW

Fl/Eng: W/O. A.L. Winston RAFVR Survived PoW

Nav: F/O. H. Ellis DFC. RAFVR Survived PoW

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. George Aldred Kendrick 135033 RAFVR Age 24. Injured (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. A. Hepworth RAFVR Survived PoW

Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. E.N. Armstrong RAFVR Survived PoW

Air/Gnr: W/O. E.C. Temple DFM. RAFVR Survived PoW (2)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 08:40 hrs armed with the 'Tallboy' (3) bomb to attack the 'U' Boat pens at Bergen. 32 Lancasters from 9 and 617 Squadron were to take part in the attacks on both the pens and shipping in Bergen harbour.

The 'Tallboy' and left the pilot: Fl/Lt. Henry John Pryor

Local reports state that 3 'Tallboy' bombs had penetrated the 3.5 metre thick roof of the pens causing severe damage. 2 U- Boats were damaged and the 3,347 ton cargo ship Olga Simers was 'damaged' and had to be beached.

617 Squadron also lost another aircraft on this operation, Lancaster III Flown by F/O. Ross - all crew killed. Probably as a result of flak in the area. Further details here.

Different reports state different dates on which Fl/Lt. George Aldred Kendrick died. The CWGC state his death as 12th January, other reports say that he died on the 15th January after being found lying in deep snow with severe head and back injuries (no parachute deployed!) We will keep this open until, if ever, a confirmed report is received.

(1) Fl/Lt. Kendrick survived an earlier incident when Lancaster III, flown by Fl/Lt. O'Shaughnessy crashed at Snettisham in Norfolk on 20th January 1944. Pilot and 2nd pilot killed. Further details here.

(2) W/O. Temple also survived an earlier incident when Lancaster III ED765 AJ-M flown by Fl/Lt. Kellaway DSO and bar, crashed in the New Forest on the 5th August during a training exercise.

(3) The Tallboy or 'Bomb, Medium Capacity, 12,000 lb', was an earthquake bomb developed by the British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis and deployed by the RAF in 1944. It weighed five tons and, carried by the Avro Lancaster, was effective against hardened structures against which earlier, smaller bombs had proven ineffective.

Burial details:

The PoWs were released on or about the 1st April 1945.

Fl/Lt. George Aldred Kendrick. Bergen (Mollendal) Church Cemetery Grave D.5. Son of Archibald and Sarah Alice Kendrick, of Erdington, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription: 'Now Called To Higher Service. He Fought The Fight, He Kept The Faith'.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol's 5 and 6, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

KTY Page updated 14.11.2019

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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