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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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640 Squadron Halifax III NP965 Fl/Lt. Robinson DFM

Operation: Koln (Cologne)

Date: 02nd March 1945 (Friday)

Unit: No. 640 Squadron. 4 Group

Type: Halifax III

Serial: NP965

Code: C8-Y

Base: RAF Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire

Location: Floreffe, Belgium

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Kenneth Robinson DFM. 117514 RAFVR Age? Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Donald Henry George Tiley 1853257 RAFVR Age? Killed

Nav: F/O. Frank Edwin Watkin Aus/418895 RAAF Age 31. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Benjamin Francis O’Neill Aus/425048 RAAF Age 35. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Harold Wolfson Aus/424253 RAAF Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Henry William Turner 1813672 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Charles Kenneth Fielder 2206034 RAFVR Age 25. Killed.

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 07:40 hrs part of the 703 aircraft on the second raid (155 on the first wave). No Cloud over England - 2-5/10 Cloud over France - 5/10 Cloud, tops 8-9,000 ft around Target but Target was clear. All Aircraft were able to identify the Target by Visual means. A few ground-markers but most Aircraft bombed the Edge of Smoke as ordered by Master-Bomber.

Only 15 aircraft bombed in the second wave because the G-H station in England went offline. There are few details of the raid from local sources, such was the level of disarray. When the American troops arrived in the city just four days later they found at least 400 bodies lying in the streets.

The attack was well concentrated but appeared to be drifting to the South slightly.14 minutes before the estimated time of arrival, several crews heard the Master Bomber advise the main force to be 2 minutes late. This was evidently to let the cloud clear away from the Target Area.

Flak was moderate but accurate. No enemy fighter activity.

No details on how NP965 was lost although they were on the homeward bound part of the operation. It is thought they may have been damaged by flak and the pilot was attempting a forced landing.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Kenneth Robinson DFM. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 10. A. 6. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Donald Henry George Tiley. Heverlee War Cemetery. Collective grave 10. A. 2-5. Husband of L.M. Tiley of 1 Highland Terrace, Morris Lane, Blackwood, Caerphilly, Wales.

F/O. Frank Edwin Watkin. Heverlee War Cemetery. 10. A. 7. Born on the 16th June 1913 at Brighton, Victoria. Son of Stanley Entwisle Watkin (died 07th June 1960) and Alice Mary Watkin (died 26th August 1976) and husband of Rosaline Edith Watkin, of Malvern, Victoria, Australia.

F/O. Benjamin Francis O’Neill. Heverlee War Cemetery. Collective grave 10. A. 2-5. Born on the 02nd March 1910 at Gympie, Queensland. Son of Joseph and Ruby Annie O'Neill and husband of Ivy May O'Neill, father of two children, of Murgon, Queensland, Australia. Grave inscription: 'Always Remembered'.

P/O. Harold Wolfson. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 10. A. 8. Born on the 12 April 1915 at Kensington, New South Wales. Son of Jacob Percival (died 08th June 1959)and Rebecca Wolfson and husband of Peggy Ruth Wolfson, of Bellevue Hill, New South Wales, Australia. His brother 21 year old, Pte. Norman Wolfson NX79953 A.I.F. 55/53 Bn, also died on service, in New Guinea on the 07th December 1942. Grave description: 'Ye Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Make You Free'.

Fl/Sgt. James Henry William Turner. Heverlee War Cemetery. Collective grave 10. A. 2-5. Son of Henry Thomas Turner and of Ellen Emma Turner (née Seaborne).

Fl/Sgt. Charles Kenneth Fielder. Heverlee War Cemetery. Collective grave 10. A. 2-5. Born on the 05th September 1920 at Liverpool. Husband of Geraldine Margaret (née Neville) of 38, King Edward Street, Shotton, Flintshire, Wales.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Belgians Remember Them, National Archives Australia, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 22-12-2021

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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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