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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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431 Squadron Crest
29/30.05.1943 No 431 Squadron Wellington X HE203 SE-B Fl/Sgt. Smith

Operation: Wuppertal

Date: 29/30th May 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 431 Squadron

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE203

Code: SE-B

Base: RAF Burn, Yorkshire

Location: Heers, Belgium

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith NZ/415204 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

Obs: Sgt. James Henry Bloxwich 1432654 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Alan Spence 1076957 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Benjamin King 1376608 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Martin Levi Buxton 1199580 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Burn in North Yorkshire at 23:10 hrs. Part of a massive 719 aircraft operation to bomb the city.

Above left: Kathleen the sister (mother of Mandy Wallace see credits) of Fl/Sgt, Smith shown on the right of group. Right unarmed group of pilots, with Fl/Sgt, Smith.

Above, pilot Fl/Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith.

City attacked between 00:49 hrs and 01:43 hrs with extremely effective bombing some 80% of the town was destroyed with some 3,500 civilians killed in the firestorm created by 1,186 high explosive bombs, 342,000 incendiaries with a further 28,454 phosphorous canisters dropped.

Flak was reported to be moderate over the target area but many encounters with night fighters over Belgium during the return trip - 33 aircraft failed to reach home.

Wellington HE203 was shot down by night fighter ace, Oblt. Eckart-Wilhelm von Benin of 6./NJG1 his 14th claim of the war. Between 0029 - 00.43 hrs over Heers.

(1) Oblt. Eckart-Wilhelm von Benin survived the war (with a total of 35 claims) and passed away on the 11th January 1992 age 73. He lost two other brothers during the war, both served within the Luftwaffe. Oblt. Hubertus von Bonin (77 claims) killed on the 15th December 1943 during combat with Soviet P-39’s near Vitebsk. The other brother, Jürgen-Oskar von Bonin, was killed in action while serving as an observer in a transport Geschwader.

Above: 22A Pilot Training course at Wigwam 18th October 1941. 31 year old, Sgt. Thomas Fraser Munro NZ/415005 RNZAF - Killed on the 10th September 1942 whilst with 11 Operational Training Unit returning from an operation to Dusseldorf Wellington IC DV930 Crashed in Suffolk on return. 20 year old, F/O. Laurence John Kirkpatrick NZ/414990 RNZAF - Killed on the 23rd September 1943 whilst with 75 Squadron during an operation to Mannheim. F/O. Henry James Bennett NZ/414722 - Killed 03rd February 1945 whilst with 22 squadron on a Rhubarb operation in Burma, Beaufighter TF.X NE445. 27 year old, F/O. David Ross Scrymgeour NZ/414687 RNZAF - Killed on the 19th April 1943 whilst with 13 Squadron, Blenheim V BA727 failed to return from an armed reconnaissance off Tunisia. 32 year old, F/O. Murray Archer Legg NZ/415071 RNZAF - Killed on the 24th January 1943 whilst with 58 Squadron, Halifax II DT684 during a transit flight. 31 year old F/O. Athol George Greentree NZ/414974 RNZAF - Killed on the 12th November 1943 whilst with 42 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X LX912 during a torpedo strike off Crete. 23 year old Peter Sydney Watt NZ/415046 - Killed on the 02nd January 1944 whilst with 83 Squadron, Lancaster III JB114 operation to Berlin.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12.H.4. Son of Holdsworth and Honora Smith, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Sgt. James Henry Bloxwich. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12.H.2. Son of Frank Henry and Ellen Bloxwich, of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Alan Spence. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12.H.3. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Benjamin King. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 7.H.4. Son of Charles and Esther King, husband of Eva Elizabet F. King, of Sidcup, Kent, England.

Sgt. Martin Levi Buxton. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 7.H.3. Son of Levi and Olive Mary Buxton, husband of Mary Elizabeth Buxton, of Alfreton, Derbyshire, England.

With thanks to Maj. Ian Martyn of “Medals Reunited New Zealand”, also to Mandy Wallace - relative of pilot, Fl/Sgt. Smith, Errol W. Martyn for his volumes of the RNZAF losses. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.

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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