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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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138 Squadron Crest
14/15.03.1943 No. 138 Squadron Halifax II DT620 NF-T Fl/Sgt. Smith

Operation: SOE ’Slate’

Date: 14/15th March 1943

Unit: No. 138 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: DT620

Code: NF-T

Base: RAF Tempsford

Location: Baltic Sea off Store Heddinge, Denmark

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Leslie Rowland Smith 1110714 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Horace Robert Harrap NZ/414286 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Arthur Cyril Sixsmith 572445 RAF Age 21. Killed

Nav-Air/Bmr: Sgt. Colin Frederick Chambers 656382 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Donald Robb Ross R/79133 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Mairs 625386 RAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Eugene Shadrack Masson R/130273 RCAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

One of two Crews lost from the 138 Special Operations Executive Squadron on this night, although on separate drops. The other:

Halifax II BB281 NF-O Flown by 31 year old Sq/Ldr. Christopher Francis Gibson DFC 39981 RAF from Holne in Devon - killed with 6 other crew, one injured crew member died the following month from his injuries.

Halifax DT620 took off from RAF Tempsford at 17:50 hrs on ‘Operation Slate’ to a drop zone codenamed Wrona 614 in Poland to their resistance fighters.

Reported to have been shot down on their outbound trip by Oblt. Martin Drewes (1) of 7./NJG (shown left) with his BF. Uffz. Hrachowina at 21:42 hrs. Oblt. Drewes had just taken off from his base at Kastrup to intercept the aircraft when at a very low height of 200 metres he intercepted at shot down the Halifax over the Baltic Sea just a couple of hundred metres off the coast near Store Heddinge in Denmark.

Sgt. Thomas Mairs body was never recovered and is remembered at Runnymede - the bodies of the remainder of the crew were either picked up or washed ashore during the following days.

(1) Hptm. Martin Drewes - born on 20th October 1918 near Hannover, became a night fighter ace in the Luftwaffe. Eventually claiming a total of 43 allied aircraft flying mainly the Bf110. He survived the war emigrating to Brazil where he married a Brazilian woman. His wife died in 2010, he died later on the 13th October 2013.

Above: One of many memorials placed by the wonderful Danish people in memory of the crews lost over their country. I (webmaster) have personally experienced what they have and continue to do to remember our boys lost over Denmark and cannot speak highly enough about their work.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Leslie Rowland Smith. Copenhagen Cemetery (Bispebjerg) Grave X.6.48. Son of Rowland Evans Smith and Louise Florence Smith, of St. Annes-on-the-sea, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Horace Robert Harrap. Copenhagen Cemetery (Bispebjerg) Grave X.6.47. Son of Henry Edmond and Rosina Harrap, of Wellington, New Zealand. Reported to be on his 19th operation, with 458 hours logged.

Sgt. Arthur Cyril Sixsmith. Copenhagen Cemetery (Bispebjerg) Grave X.6.133. Son of James and Amy Sixsmith, of Tue Brook, Liverpool, Merseyside, England.

Sgt. Colin Frederick Chambers. Fjelie Cemetery. Grave, left of central path. No further details, perhaps you can assist with this?

Sgt. Donald Robb Ross. Copenhagen Cemetery (Bispebjerg) Grave X.6.49. Son of Hilton Robin and Edna Martha Ross, of Sherbrooke Province of Quebec, Canada.

Sgt. Thomas Mairs. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 158. Son of Charles Frederick and Sarah Elizabeth Mairs, of Warrington, Lancashire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Eugene Shadrack Masson. Copenhagen Cemetery (Bispebjerg) Grave X.6.50. Believed to be from Toronto, Canada - no further details, perhaps you can assist with this?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Mr. Brian Ramsay from New Zealand who instigated the page to the crew - February 2017. Also to Christian Haereroa Webster Romer for grave photograph and to Dolores for her wonderful work remembering the New Zealanders killed. With thanks to Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vol’s 1-3, New Zealand Cenotaph and other sources as quoted below.

KTY 07.02.2017

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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