13/14.03.1944 No. 75 Squadron Stirling III LJ462 AA-O P/O. Rowberry
Date: 13/14th March 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 75 (NZ) Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Not known, probably off St. Nazaire - target area.
Pilot: P/O. Geoffrey Warren Rowberry NZ/414567 RNZAF Age 24. Missing
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Arthur William Horner 1641609 RAFVR. Age 24. Missing
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Graham Stanley Hadfield NZ/426239 RNZAF Age 23. Missing
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Brian Simnett 1392577 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Sidney Thomas Bishop 1322249 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond David Davies 1317623 RAFVR Age 21. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Newnham 1172993 RAFVR Age 24. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire joining some 35 aircraft on mine laying operations in various French ports. The only aircraft lost on this operation although another 75 Squadron Stirling flown by P/O. Baker crashed at Castle Combe airfield after suffering aileron failure. The aircraft overshot the runway with the undercarriage collapsing. It is understood that 3 mines later exploded, although all the crew were safe.
Stirling LJ462 was lost without trace.
P/O. Geoffrey Rowberry (courtesy Weekly News via Auckland War Museum)
Sgt. Alfred Newnham shown on extreme left with another crew he flew with. (courtesy Duane Hart) Others, L to R: Sgt. Pickering, Sgt. Cooper, P/O. Burke, F/O. Downing, W/O. Page and Fl/Sgt. Bromley taken at RAF Mepal in December 1943
P/O. Geoffrey Warren Rowberry. Runnymede Memorial Panel 263. Son of Charles William and Violet Florence Rowberry, of Wellington, New Zealand.
Sgt. Arthur William Horner. Runnymede Memorial Panel 231. Husband of Gladys Rhoda Horner, of Coventry, England.
Fl/Sgt. Graham Stanley Hadfield. Runnymede Memorial Panel 264. Son of Albert and Emily Ellen Hadfield, of Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand.
Sgt. Brian Simnett. Runnymede Memorial Panel 237. Son of Dudley V. and Norah K. Simnett, of Norwich, England.
Sgt. Sidney Thomas Bishop. Runnymede Memorial Panel 225. Son of Henry Edward and Edith Ethel Bishop, of East Acton, London, England.
Sgt. Raymond David Davies. Runnymede Memorial Panel 228. Son of Margaret Davies, of Porth, Rhondda, Glamorgan, Wales.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham. Runnymede Memorial Panel 235. Son of John Lionel and Mary Newnham, of Sittingbourne, Kent, England.
Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to the following for additional information, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Weekly News and Auckland War Museum for photo of P/O. Geoffrey Rowberry, to Duane Hart for photo of Sgt. Alfred Newnham.