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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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RAF Bomber Command crest
25/26.06.1942 No. 14 OTU Hampden I P5312 GL-J3 Fl/Lt. T. E. Salazar DFC.

Operation: Bremen

Date: 25/26th June 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 14 Operational Training Unit

Type: Hampden I

Serial: P5312

Code: GL-J3

Base: RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, England.

Location: Borkum, Holland.

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Count Tristan Edward Salazar DFC. 62277 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Thomas Stanislaus Gaffney AUS/405441 RAAF Age 33. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Richard John Horlock 637223 RAF Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Sydney Howard Cusden 922350 RAFVR Age 27. Injured (1)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Some of this crew escaped an earlier incident when just a few weeks earlier the Hampden they were in had been hit by anti-aircraft fire. The report makes very interesting reading as it describes just what the pilot was like to fly with. Detailed report here.

The attack on Bremen was to be another 1000 bomber operation although only 960 aircraft were available in the end. Targets for the operation included the Focke Wulf factory, A.G. Weser shipyard, Deschimag Shipyard and others, including this Hampden, attack the town and dock areas.

The bomber force reported back that 696 aircraft managed to bomb their targets - 572 houses destroyed, 6,108 damaged, 85 people killed with 497 injured. 2,378 people were bombed out of their homes.

Bomber command suffered terrible losses with 48 aircraft failing to return!

Taking off from RAF Cottesmore, Rutland at 22:52 hrs with the very experienced Fl/Lt. Salazar DFC (2) in the pilot seat. Shot down by a Marine Flak of 246 Battery. The aircraft crashed on Borkum Island at 03:50 hrs.

Sgt. Sydney Cusden survived the crash, but despite treatment he died in hospital on the 18th September 1942 (the day after his 28th birthday).

Above left: Fl/Lt. Count Tristan Edward Salazar DFC. Right: cockpit of the Hampden (courtesy Valerie Davies Arends)

Above as described (courtesy Andrew Wyatt - September 2016)

Photo above as sent in by Andrew Wyatt - he is very interested to know where and in what capacity she served. He understands that it could possibly have been with some mapping section. If you are able to assist please contact us. A badge enlarged from one of the chaps in the photo is shown left - if that helps?

(1) As described in the text, he died later on the 18th September 1942 (age then 28).

(2) London Gazette 13th February 1942. DFC awarded whilst with 44 Squadron.

The Germans buried the crew with full military honours on the 30th June. The Luftwaffe provided a guard of honour, a German Naval band as well as five wreath bearers. (It is not known who the fifth person was) The graves were originally at the Lutheran Cemetery - reinterred post war at Sage as shown in details below.

Also present were there aircrew shot down the day of the funeral. Fl/Sgt. Merrill George Bailey of the RCAF, Sgt. Leslie John Keatley and Sgt. Donald Alfred William Peachey both of the RAFVR. All five others of the crew of 7 Squadron Stirling I N3706 MG-S were either killed or missing. (Further details shown on the database here)

Above: The three PoW's shot down earlier on the day of the funeral. Fl/Sgt. Merrill Bailey, Sgt. Leslie Keatley and Sgt. Donald Peachey.

Burial details:

Crew initially buried at the Lutheran Cemetery, Borkum on the 30th June 1942 and then reinterred on the 30th May 1947 to Sage.

Fl/Lt. Count Tristan Edward Salazar DFC. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 7.C.3. Son of Count and Countess Demetrio Salazar, of Malvern, Worcestershire, England. Grave inscription reads: 'As A Boy He Longed To Fly, Later Flew, But To Die For His Country. God Bless Him'.

Sgt. Thomas Stanislaus Gaffney. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 7.E.13. Son of James Peter and Grace Gaffney, husband of Josephine Patricia Gaffney, of Lilley Street. Hendra, Queensland, Australia. Born 30th April 1909 at Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. Enlisted in Brisbane, Australia. Grave inscription reads: 'Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Have Mercy On His Soul'.

Fl/Sgt. Richard John Horlock. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 7.C.1. Next of Kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Sydney Howard Cusden. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 7.E.1. Born on the 17th September 1914 in Wandsworth, Surrey, England, the son of Jonathan Albert Cusden and Gertrude Maria Cusden, née Jarvis. Husband of Phyllis May Cusden, (née Lack) married on the 26th November 1940 in Uckfield, Middlesex. (no children) Phyllis died in 1991. Believed to have lived at 66, Avondale Road, South Croydon, Surrey, England - she never remarried!

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Valerie Davies Arends for photograph of the pilot, Dave Mayo for next of kin details on Sgt. Sydney Cusden (Great nephew - Sept 2015) Also with many thanks to Andrew Wyatt for photograph of Sydney and Phyllis Cusden - submitted to us in September 2016. New details also submitted from direct relatives of the pilot. Other sources as quoted.

Update: In March 2014 we were contacted by James M. Metcalf, the great nephew of Fl/Lt. Salazar DFC - we forwarded the photo that we hold to him. In September 2015 David Mayo, relative of Sgt. Cusden also contacted us providing further details. Andrew Wyatt, September 2016, for the great photo of Sgt. Cusden and his wife. Tristan Salazar great nephew of the pilot who submitted the funeral photographs and many others.


KTY 20 Dec 2013

KTY 19.09.2015 Details added.

KTY 16.09.206 Details and photo added

KTY 23.11.2016 Further details and photo added

KTY 14.04.2018 Grave photo added

KTY 02.12.2019 Page under review

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', 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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