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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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58 Squadron crest
23/24.12.1940 No. 58 Squadron Whitley V T4159 GE-J Sgt. Smith

Operation: Mannheim

Date: 23/24th December 1940 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 58 Squadron

Type: Whitley V

Serial: T4159

Code: GE-J

Base: RAF Linton-On-Ouse

Location: English Channel

Pilot: Sgt. Stronach Vivian Smith NZ/39942 RNZAF Age 24. Missing

Pilot 2: Sgt. Keith Leonard Watson 754082 RAFVR Age 24. Missing

Obs: Sgt. Alistair Gowing-Scopes 755642 RAFVR Age 30. Missing

W/Op/A/Gnr: Sgt. James Rowlands 936289 RAFVR Age ? Missing

W/Op/A/Gnr: Sgt. John William Chamberlain 651713 RAF Age 20. Missing


Took off at 17.10 hrs for combined raids on Ludwigshaven, Mannheim and to various ports. 43 aircraft took part made up with Wellingtons, Blenheims and Whitleys.

T4159 was the only aircraft lost on these raids and crashed into the sea off Torbay, Devon. No bodies were recovered.

                                  Some of the crew: Sgt. Keith Leonard Watson (courtesy Mathew Fletcher) Fl/Sgt. Sgt. Stronach Vivian Smith (courtesy Auckland Museum Cenotaph) Sgt. James Rowlands (courtesy David Rowlands)      

Panels of remembrance at Runnymede Memorial (courtesy Rebekah Stuart-Wilson)

Burial details:

Sgt. Stronach Vivian Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 28. Son of Vivian and Muriel Elizabeth Smith, of Taihape, Wellington, New Zealand.

Sgt. Keith Leonard Watson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 20. Son of William James Watson and Lily Emma Watson of Barrow, Suffolk, England.

Sgt. Alistair Gowing-Scopes. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 14. Son of Edward and May Evelyn Gowing-Scopes, of Crofton, Kent, England.

Sgt. James Rowlands. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 19. N.o.K. details not currently available.

Sgt. John William Chamberlain. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 12. Son of Caroline Chamberlain, of Croydon, Surrey, England.

Researched  for David Rowlands nephew of Sgt. James Rowlands and for relatives of all the crew. Thanks to Mathew Fletcher for photo of his relative, Fl/Sgt. Watson.

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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Last Modified: 02 October 2015, 21:23