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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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44 Squadron badge
03/04.03.1945 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster III ME442 KM-V F/O. Ryan

Operation: Ladbergen

Date: 3/4th March 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No 44 Squadron

Type: Lancaster lll

Serial: ME442

Code: KM-V

Base: Spilsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Brocklesby Estate, Lincolnshire

Pilot: F/O. John Joseph Francis Ryan 428364 R.A.A.F. Age 33. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Handley Jarman 3010499 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Richard Raven Russell 1801287 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Hubert Joseph Terry 1580082 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harry Birtch 1575035 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Payne 1589407 R.A.F.V.R. Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Henry Rogan 2218611 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19. Killed


Took off at 18.42 hrs from Spilsby, Lincolnshire to join 212 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes of 5 Group to attack the Ladbergen aqueduct, which was breached in two places and put completely out of action. 


44 Squadron Lancasters (courtesy I.W.M.)

Homebound and nearly over the airfield Lancaster ME442 was picked up by an enemy intruder aircraft and shot down at 01.00 to crash amongst trees in Grannington Park on the Brocklesby Estate near Grimsby, Lincolnshire. 


Walkers pay respect at the place where the crew of seven were killed (courtesy Sharon Coates )

It is very important to adhere to the rules whilst walking through this area please. The Earl of Yarborough is allowing visitors to the memorial and the other fine walks in the area – but this is restricted from April to the end of August


A brass plaque is now fixed to a tree in the area erected by the Earl of Yarborough in memory of the seven aircrew killed that morning. Many walkers pass this spot, in August 2013 a Mrs Sharon Coates did the same – looked up for information on this – found our website and sent us further photographs.


(1) Fl/Sgt. Hubert Joseph Terry was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school). We are working very closely with the school’s historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.


Video of the crash-site also kindly supplied by Rod Collins

Burial details:

F/O. John Joseph Francis Ryan. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15718. Son of John Frederick and Julia Ryan; husband of Jean Elizabeth Ryan of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia.

Sgt. Thomas Handley Jarman. Stretford Cemetery, Lancashire, England. Section W. Grave 40. Son of John Thomas and Doris Jarman, of Offerton, Cheshire, England.

Fl/Sgt.. Richard Raven Russell. Hove New Cemetery, Sussex, England. Block 3. Grave 125. Son of James Henry and Alice Anna Russell, of Hove, Sussex, England.

Fl/Sgt.. Hubert Joseph Terry. Birmingham (Brandwood End) Cemetery, Warwickshire, England. Section 26. Grave 10361. Son of George and Rose Terry of Balsall Heath, Birmingham, England.

Sgt. Harry Birtch. Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire, England. Grave 15717. Son of John Henry and Elizabeth Ellen Birch of Nottingham, England.

Sgt. Herbert Payne. Liverpool (Kirkdale) Cemetery, Lancashire, England. Section 8. Nonconformist. Grave 241. Son of Frederick and Margaret Payne of Walton, Liverpool, England.

Sgt. William Henry Rogan. Liverpool (Kirkdale) Cemetery, Lancashire, England. Section 27. C. of E. Grave 328. Son of William and Gertrude Rogan of Liverpool, England.

Researched by Kate Tame for Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records and relatives of the crew.

With the thanks to Rod Collins for his research on this plaque and crew, Sharon Coates for further photographs, also to Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Bill Chorley – ‘Bomber Command Losses’ Vol. 6, 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”.

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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