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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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207 squadron badge
11/12.11.1944 No 207 Squadron Lancaster III PB428 EM-T F/O. Sparks

Operation: Harborg

Date: 11/12th November 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 207 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB428

Code: EM-T

Base: RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Bratoft, Nr. Skegness, England

Pilot: F/O. (Peter) William Angus Sparks 130251 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: F/O. Augustine Frederick Cullington 51876 RAF Age 24. Killed

Nav: P/O. Wilton Garnet Armour J/92726 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. John Albert Baker AUS/420808 RAAF Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Arthur Leslie Plowman AUS/424880 RAAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Nugent 1895775 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. George Rye K/251459 RCAF Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 16:24 hrs from RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire to bomb the Rhenania-Ossag oil refinery that the USAAF had previously attacked in daylight operations, but was still operating. 237 Lancasters with 8 Mosquitoes bombing the area with reports that the residential and some industrial ares were hit but the reports did no mention the actual factory.

119 people were killed on the ground with 5,205 bombed out of their homes.

Returned safely from the operation to Germany when at 21:31 hrs they collided with another Lancaster III from 44 Squadron whilst doing circuits ready to land. All 14 crew from both aircraft lost their lives.

No 1 Initial Training School, Somers, Victoria.

Back row, left to right: 420808 F/O. John Albert Baker; 420023 Sgt. Colin Cameron Martin (died in an accident in Australia on 27 March 1943); 420839 AC2. Norman Rex Mitchell; unidentified; 410139 F/O. Frederick St John Bennett; 420813 Fl/Lt. Frank Hercules Dengate; 410185 LAC. Roland Bruce Walker; and 420030 Fl/Lt. Keith McChesney.

Second row: 410151 W/O. Clifford James Edsall; 410193 Fl/Sgt. Charles Clement (killed during operations over France on 10 June 1944); 410157 W/O. John Bertram Goldie; 420091 F/O. Aubrey James (Honest Abe) White (killed during operations over UK on 14 August 1943; Haughten (not further identified); 410146 F/O. Frank George Calder; 410162 W/O. Noel Frederick (Mustard) Keens; 410202 Fl/Lt. Roger John Evans; and 420829 F/O. Jack Sheldon Clark.

Third row: 420066 Fl/Sgt. Leonard George Sellen (died in an accident in Scotland on 14 August 1943); 420816 Fl/Sgt. Leslie Joyce (killed during operations over UK on 19 November 1943); 410194 LAC. Francis Lisle Harris; unidentified; 410143 W/O. Beamish Gore Brett; 410178 F/O. Edward Dennis Stott; unidentified; 410148 W/O. Reuben Kent Davey; unidentified; 409800 Cpl. Maxwell David McClure.

Front row: A33114 Fl/Sgt. Thomas William Boyce; 410175 W/O. Leslie Charles Sharp; J Johnson; 409658 W/O. Stuart David Black; 410297 W/O. Claude Lionel Beckett; 410170 F/O. Francis John Harris; 410172 A/Cdr. Edward Thomas Pickerd; 420821 LAC. Alwyn Clayton (Wizard) Thomas; 410181 F/O. Richard Frank Oldmeadow; L Jennings; 410112 F/O. Albert Irving (Bert) Wiggins; 410164 W/O. Arthur Charles Lobb (Ranks shown are later promotions - courtesy AWM)

Group portrait of recently graduated Bomber Command Wireless Operators from their course at Dumfries, Scotland. Three of these men later became Special Duty Operators (SDOs) using radio jamming equipment, code named Airborne Cigar, (ABC), with 101 Squadron.

Back row: Fl/Sgt. Marsh, RAAF; 419480 F/O. John Earlom Plympton, RAAF; Sgt. Staunton-Smith; 424880, P/O. Arthur Leslie Plowman, RAAF, of Orange, NSW. Fl/Sgt. Plowman enlisted at Sydney, NSW, on 9 October 1942 and was posted to 207 Sqn, RAF. He was later killed on operations on 11 November 1944.

Centre row: Sgt. Bill Kelly, RAAF; Fl/Sgt. Hardacre, RAAF, later with 101 Sqn, RAF; Fl/Sgt. Cowell, RAAF, later killed on operations; Sgt. Ware, RAAF; 424409 Fl/Sgt. John Donald Hance, RAAF, of North Sydney, NSW. Formerly a sales clerk, Fl/Sgt Hance enlisted at Sydney, NSW on 12 September 1942 and he was posted to 15 Sqn, RAF. He was later killed whilst on flying operations over Germany on 5 November 1944, aged 23 years; 419700 Fl/Sgt. Ronald Sutton Camier, RAAF, originally of East St Kilda, Vic. Fl/Sgt. Camier enlisted at Melbourne, Vic, on 12 September 1942 and he was posted to 90 Sqn, RAF. He was later killed whilst on flying operations over North West Europe on 13 August 1944, aged 20 years; 424428 F/O. Adrian Montague Marks, RAAF; Fl/Sgt. Eric Henry, RAAF.

Front row: Fl/Sgt. Alston, RAAF; Fl/Sgt. Dutch, RAAF; Fl/Sgt. Baldwin enlisted at Melbourne, Victoria, on 9 October 1942 and was posted to 17 Operational Training RAF. He was later killed in an accident on 17 March 1944. RAAF; Fl/Sgt. Rawling, RAAF; Fl/Sgt. Elger; W/O. Trimble, RAAF; Fl/Sgt. Crapp, RAAF; 417604 Fl/Sgt. Ernest Hugo 'Snowie' Traeger, RAAF, later with 101 Sqn, RAF. Formerly an orchardist, Fl/Sgt. Traeger enlisted at Adelaide, SA, on 9 June 1942 and he was posted to 101 Sqn, RAF, as an SDO. He was later killed whilst on flying operations over Germany on 31 March 1944, aged 32 years. (photo courtesy AWM)

Burial details:

F/O. (Peter) William Angus Sparks. Barking (Riverside) Cemetery. Sec. H. Grave 1708. Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Alfred John Sparks, husband of Doris Gaynor Sparks, of Bognor Regis, Sussex, England.

F/O. Augustine Frederick Cullington. Liverpool (Ford) Roman Catholic Cemetery. Sec. T.W. Grave 81. Son of Augustine Beuno and Lilian Cullington, of Seaforth, Liverpool, England. Husband of Margery Cullington

P/O. Wilton Garnet Armour. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. G. Row C. Grave 20. Son of Elwood G. Armour and Sarah Armour, of Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada.

F/O. John Albert Baker. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15151. Son of Albert Edward and May Baker, of Ashford, New South Wales, Australia.

P/O. Arthur Leslie Plowman. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15152. Son of Daniel and Christina Plowman, of Orange, New South Wales, husband of Enid Ruby Plowman, of Orange, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. James Nugent. Vale of Leven Cemetery. Sec.S. Grave 334. Son of Gavin and Mary Nugent, of Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

Fl/Sgt. George Rye. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. G. Row C. Grave 19. Son of George Errington Rye and Alice Rye, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Researched and dedicated to Wendy Gruner - daughter of P/O. Plowman and all the relatives of this crew with thanks to Fay and Gerald McPherson, with thanks to Mike McQuaid for grave photo - February 2017, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 09.02.2017 New map added

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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