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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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97 Squadron Crest
14/15.01.1944 No. 97 Squadron Lancaster III ND421 OF-S Fl/Lt. Kenneth M. Steven DFC

Operation: Brunswick

Date: 14th/15th January 1944

Unit: No. 97 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND421

Code: OF-S

Base: RAF Bourn, Cambridgeshire

Location: Fonteinsnol, Texel Island, Netherlands

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Kenneth Munro (Steve) Steven DFC 125906 RAFVR Age 30. Killed 

Flt/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Albert C (Ace) East RAFVR PoW No: 270026 Camp: Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe (4b)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Samuel Brown (Paddy) Stevenson DFM 1480507 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Ridley R. Brown RAFVR PoW No: 3298 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria (L3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Charles (Bill) Gadsby 1445080 RAFVR Age 22. Killed. (1)

Air/Gnr: W/O. Clifford John (Jack) Skinner 912689 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie Norman John Laver 1808343 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Reason for Loss.

Took off at 16.46 hrs from RAF Bourn. On the return from the target, S Sugar was either hit by flack or was the subject of a night fighter attack. 

Different versions of the incident are inconclusive. Even the two survivors were unable to confirm the real reason for the crash. 

Webmasters note: It has been discovered that the Lancaster was in fact shot down at 20.33 hrs by Lt. Kürt Matzak (2) of 12./NJG1.

                   

Above Fl/Sgt. William Charles (Bill) Gadsby and right, with his wife, Marjorie (courtesy Anthony Walton)

A monument to S Sugar has been placed in the pine forests at Fonteinsnol where the aircraft came down. 

The pine forest is roughly 100 years old, even in 2010 it was possible to see the track the plane took as younger trees have been planted, which of course are lower than those of the original forest.

(1) Bill Gadsy’s age is incorrectly shown as 27 in most documentation and even on his grave in the War Cemetery on Texel.

(2) This was the 2nd abschüsse for Kürt Matzak. He survived the war after becoming an ace with 19 confirmed abschüsse. 

He went on to fly for Lufthansa - no further details.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Kenneth Munro (Steve) Steven DFC. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery Plot K, Row 6 Grave 143. Son of Arthur and Wilhelmina Davina Steven, of Ilford, Essex, husband of Dorothy Margaret Steven, of Ilford, Essex, England.

Fl/Sgt. Samuel Brown (Paddy) Stevenson. DFM. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K, Row 6 Grave 144. Son of S.B. and Helen I. Stevenson, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Left: Grave of Fl/Sgt. Gadsby - showing incorrect age. (courtesy Anthony Walton)

Fl/Sgt. William Charles (Bill) Gadsby. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K, Row 7 Joint Grave 146-147. Son of Mr. William Henry Gadsby and Mrs Eliabeth Victoria (née Potter) Gadsby, husband of Marjorie Vivien Gadsby, of Greenwich, London, England.

W/O. Clifford John (Jack) Skinner. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K, Row 7 Joint Grave 146-147. Son of John Robert and Lilian Skinner, husband of Edith Mary Jean Skinner, of Worsborough Dale, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Leslie Norman John Laver. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K, Row 7 Grave 145. Son of William Henry Laver, and of Jenny Laver, of Sydenham, London, England.

Researched by Anthony Walton for Aircrew Remembered on behalf of his wife's father, Fl/Sgt. William Charles (Bill) Gadsby and dedicated to all the crew and relatives. 

For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Above: Details of the crash at the Texel War Museum.

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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