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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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77 Squadron Crest
25/26.05.1943 No. 77 Squadron Halifax II W7813 KN-C Sgt. Rees

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 25/26th May 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 77 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: W7813

Code: KN-C

Base: RAF Elvington, Yorkshire

Location: Gruitrode, Belgium

Pilot: Sgt. Lewis William Rees 657547 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ernest Vincent Pass 1036236 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Harry Roots 1392398 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Harold William Moore 1322934 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Reginald McLeod 1382656 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. David Ronald Gilchrist R/152522 RCAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Henry Sherwood 1063769 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

759 aircraft taking part on this operation. Halifax W7813 taking off from RAF Elvington, Yorkshire at 23.12 hrs. 22 aircraft from 77 Squadron were dispatched thanks to tremendous efforts by their ground crews. Two failed to take off with technical problems however.

77 Squadron Halifax, in a rural setting at Elvington (courtesy IWM)

The bombing effect was undermined by diversionary fires set by the Germans resulting in scattered bombing over a wide area with less than 100 buildings destroyed with some 30 people killed in the city. 

Right: Oblt. Wilhelm Telge (courtesy Kracker archive)

The allies lost 27 aircraft, with 2 lost from 77 Squadron. The other:

Halifax II JB837 KN-D flown by 20 year old Sgt. Richard Lewis 1425912 RAFVR from Farnborough, Hampshire. Killed with all other 6 crew, buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery. This was the first aircraft to be lost during this nights operation, carrying a full bomb load it exploded with such force that it took down two other aircraft, 7 Squadron Stirling EF361 together with a 15 Squadron Stirling BF534 - between 01.51 - 01.52 hrs. Claimed by Maj Walter Ehle from the same unit as Oblt. Telge.

Halifax W7813 KN-C was intercepted and shot down by Oblt. Wilhelm Telge with his radio operator, Uffz Telsnig  of Stab II./NJG1 at 01.40 hrs with the aircraft crashing at Gruitrode, Belgium

(1) Oblt. Wilhelm Telge - killed on the 31/01st September 1943 when he rammed a Stirling, South West of Berlin. This Stirling has not yet been positively identified. His crew member managed to bail out, surviving after the Bf110 G-4 G9+AN sheared a wing.

Nottingham Evening Post-26th May 1944 (courtesy Michel Beckers of the Netherlands)

     

Crew graves - available to relatives at a higher resolution (courtesy Michel Beckers of the Netherlands)

Burial details:

The crew were originally buried at St-Truiden, but reinterred after the area was liberated.

Sgt. Lewis William Rees. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.F.8-14. Son of William Jeffery and Winifred Annie Rees, husband of Nellie Hilda Rees, of Wimbledon, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Ernest Vincent Pass. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.F.8-14. Son of John Henry and Anne Pass, of 94 Derbyshire Lane, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Harry Roots. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.F.8-14. Son of Robert and Charlotte Roots, of Orpington, Kent, England.

Sgt. Harold William Moore. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.19. Son of Harold and Edith Moore, of Hampstead, London, England.

Sgt. James Reginald McLeod. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.F.8-14. Son of Reginald Henry and Eva McLeod, of Lee, London, England. (Asst. Scoutmaster)

Fl/Sgt. David Ronald Gilchrist. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.18. Son of David and Margaret Jane Gilchrist, of Miniota, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. Charles Henry Sherwood. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.F.8-14. Son of Charles Henry and Minnie Sherwood, of Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, England.

Researched for relatives of this crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Michel Beckers from the Netherlands, 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', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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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