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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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bomber command badge
01.11.1944 619 Squadron Lancaster III PB540 PG-X F/Lt. Tanner

Operation: Meerbeck-Homberg oil plant, Germany

Date: 1st November 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: 619 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB540

Code: PG-X (some publications list it as being GI-Z)

Base: RAF Strubby, Lincolnshire

Location: RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk, England

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Llewellyn Elvet Tanner 123867 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert James Ward 957279 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Marshall Gow Gibson 1565824 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Arthur Parvin Goddard 1339439 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.R. Fletcher RAFVR Injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.F. Barton RAFVR Injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. R. Ralston RAFVR Injured


In October 2017 we were contacted by relatives of the pilot, Fl/Lt. Tanner. They would be very interested to hear from the relatives of Betty shown in the photographs below. Betty was a Canadian and it is assumed that they met during his training in Canada.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 14:07hrs from RAF Strubby to attack the Meerbeck Oil plant at Homberg. Lancaster PB540 was hit by flak, but managed to return to England and was attempting to land at RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk where it crashed.

Fl/Lt. Llewellyn Elvet Tanner with his fiancée, Betty Christapherson from Regina in Saskatchewan, taken at the Slipper Club, Manitoba, Canada. (courtesy Sandra Culham)

Of the three survivors Sgt. Ralston was seriously injured. Lancaster PB540 was the only aircraft lost on this mission. 226 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitoes of No. 5 Group and 14 Mosquitoes of No. 8 Group were involved in this attach with only 159 Lancasters attempting to bomb the oil plant.

RAF Woodbridge was constructed to assist damaged aircraft to land after raids on Germany

RAF Strubby Airfield, Lincolnshire Sgt. Tanner Mayfield School War Memorial

Above as described (courtesy Gary Lennie)

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Llewellyn Elvet Tanner. Barry (Merthyr Dyfan) Burial Ground, Glamorganshire. Sec. R. Grave 938. Son of John and Elizabeth Tanner of Barry. At the time of his death Llewellyn's address was 91 Porthycastell. Barry, Wales. Grave inscription reads: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends".

Sgt. Robert James Ward. New Southgate Cemetery, Hertfordshire. Sec. R. Grave 285. Son of Robert James Ward and Annie Ward. Husband of Ivy May Ward of Southend-on-Sea, Essex. At the time of his death Robert's address was 30 Cornwall Avenue, Woodgreen, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Many A Lonely Heartache Often A Silent Tear Always A Beautiful Memory Of The One I Loved So Dear".

Sgt. Marshall Gow Gibson. Dundee Eastern Necropolis, Angus. Sec. X. D. Grave 109. Son of David and Mary McGregor Gibson. Husband of Maggie Gibson of Dundee. Marshall is remembered in Victoria Street Church. His address at the time of his death was 13 Harriet Street, Dundee, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Truly Remembered".

Sgt. Arthur Parvin Goddard. Portsmouth (Milton) Cemetery. Hampshire. Plot C. C. Row 10. Grave 28. Son of George Arthur and Dora Emma Goddard of Copnor, Portsmouth, England. At the time of his death Arthur's address was 138 Hayling Avenue, Copnor, Portsmouth, England. Arthur is also remembered on the Mayfield School War Memorial (old Northern Grammar School) Grave inscription reads: "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth".

Researched by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives of the crew. Acknowledgements: City of Dundee Roll of Honour. With thanks to David Young for the correction of aircraft code - February 2017) Also to Gary Lennie for photograph of the grave for Sgt. Marshall Gibson - his mother the daughter of Sgt. Gibson - August 2017. Also to Sandra Culham who contacted us in October 2017 with photographs of the pilot and his fiancée. Gary Lennie who contacted us in March 2018 with photo of Sgt. Gibson (his mother was the daughter of Marshall Gibson). Thanks to Dr Jonathan Hicks, military historian from Barry, for additional detail for Betty Christapherson.

RS 07.01.2020 - Update re Betty Christapherson

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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