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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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77 Squadron Crest
23/24.04.1944 No. 77 Squadron Halifax V LL235 KN-L Fl/Lt. Edward N. Thompson DFC

Operation: Gardening

Date: 23/24th April 1944 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 77 Squadron

Type: Halifax V

Serial: LL235

Code: KN-L

Base: RAF Elvington

Location: East of Nordborg (see map)

Pilot: Fl/Lt. ‘Ned’ Edward Noel Thompson DFC 54128 RAF Age 24. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Armstrong 953912 RAFVR Age 36. Missing

Nav: F/O. Gerald McClelland DFM. 160597 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Alfred Edward Robbins DFC. 144544 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Walter Harvey 1330253 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. D.M.M. Harris 931134 RAFVR  Pow No:  3589 Camp: L6 Stalag Luft Heydekrug

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Roy Reddall 1218557 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Elvington at 21:00 hrs on a ‘Gardening’ operation in the Baltic Sea. 113 aircraft taking part with dropping the ‘vegetables’ between 23:34 hrs and 00:27 hrs. The battle over Denmark resulted in an unusually high number of losses to the Luftwaffe who claim a Fw190 and a Ju88 claimed as destroyed, another unidentified as also being shot down. In the western Baltic a Bf110 was claimed as destroyed as well as a Fw190 over the target area. During the bombers return they also claim a Bf110 as damaged.

In the latest edition of the nightfighter war diaries the claim was credited to Oblt. Friedrich Berger of 2./NJG3 over Schleswig-Kappeln area. But this is too far south although this claim has been classed as a positive identification. Other publications quote Hptm. Werner Husemann (2) of Stab I./NJG3, the night fighter ace with this, his 16th abschüsse of the war, in the area of Nordborg at between 23:00 - 23:30 hrs. which although the claim is unidentified in the NFWD, seems more likely.

(1) Fl/Lt. Edward Noel Thompson DFC joined the RAF in January 1936 as ground crew. 1st June 1941 transferred to Booker (EFTS) to train as a pilot and there trained on Tiger Moths, under the supervision of Sgt Sproxton. September 1941, at Brize Norton training in an Oxford with Squadron No2 No2.FTR. October transferred to Bobbington No3.ADNS and trained in the Anson. He then passed through Ossington, Wigtown, Bramcote and Wigtown. May 1943, at Lossiemouth No. 20 OTU and training in Wellingtons. By now he had 584 hours and was transferred to No. 1652 HCU at Marston Moor, where he became familiar with the Halifax, before joining Squadron 77

Right: In April 2005 a memorial stone was unveiled to the crew. Taking the wonderful Danish stone and carved with the names of the crew and aircraft details as the Danish have done for hundreds of allied crews. (courtesy Anders Straarup - see links)

September 21st 1943, Halifax. His first raid as No 1 pilot was Hanover. October 22nd, 1943, Halifax on a raid to Kassel, returned with flak damage. Flew in raids to Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Stuttgart in November/December 1943. January 14th 1944 bombing raid on Berlin “Lost starboard Inner Engine over target. R/o hit JU.88” February 1944 commenced Mining Ops and on the 25th was again holed by Flak. March 1st to 7th, bombing raids over France including Meulan, Trappes and Le Mans.

13th March 1944, Mining Operation “Direct hit on nose by L/Flak. B/n killed. Nav. Injured. W/O/P hit by machine gun Fire”. Flew the damaged Halifax LL227 back and landed at Ford Aerodrome. 

For this he was award the DFC, citation entered in the Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette. Tuesday 4th April 1944 and reads:- Acting Flight Lieutenant Edward Noel Thompson, RAF April 1944.

‘This officer was the pilot of an aircraft detailed for a mine laying operation one night in March 1944. Whilst over the target area the aircraft came under heavy fire from the batteries on each side of the shore. Fl/Lt Thompson manoeuvred with much skill but eventually the aircraft was heavily hit. The nose of the aircraft was badly damaged and windscreen of the pilot’s cockpit was shattered. One crew member was killed and two seriously wounded. Never the less Fl/Lt Thompson released his mines and then set course for this country. Although deprived of his navigator who was too badly hurt to fulfil his duties, Fl/Lt Thompson flew the damaged aircraft to a home based airfield. In very trying circumstances this officer displayed skill, courage and determination worthy of the highest praise.’
20th March 1944 - New crew formed - air test at Butterworth.
April 18th 1944 - Mining operation
April 20th 1944 - Operation to Ottignies
April 22nd 1944 - Operation to Laon 

(2) Hptm. Werner Husemann - Born on the 10th November 1919 the holder of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He went on to claim a total of 32 night abschüsse surviving the war. Awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross - 250 combat operations. Died 2nd February 2014.

Left: Hptm. Werner Husemann (courtesy Kracker Archives)

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Edward Noel Thompson DFC. Aabenraa Cemetery Allied Plot. Row 2.1. Son of Peter and Grace May Thompson, of Grays, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘A Loving Son And Brother A Beautiful Memory’.

Sgt. John Armstrong. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 224. Son of John and Helen Armstrong; husband of Elizabeth Tait Armstrong, of Brixton, London, England.

F/O. Gerald McClelland DFM. Assens Ne Cemetery (Fyn), Sp. Mem. Son of Margaret McClelland, of Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland. Grave inscription reads: 'Peacefully Sleeping Free From Pain We Would Not Wake Him To Suffer Again.

F/O. Alfred Edward Robbins DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 224. Son of Albert Edward and Mary Margaret Robbins, of Dulwich, London, England, husband of Ruth Robbins.

Fl/Sgt. Frederick Walter Harvey. Faaborg New Cemetery. Grave 40. Son of Henry Edward and Hannah Ellen Harvey; husband of Rita Harvey, of Kilburn, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them’.

Sgt. Roy Reddall. Aabenraa Cemetery Allied Plot. Row 5.17. Son of William and Louise Redall, of Walsall, husband of Maud Redall, of Walsall, Staffordshire, England. Grave inscription reads: At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them’.

Research carried out by Steve Passfield - his wife’s Uncle had been the pilot. For further details our thanks to the sources as quoted below. For a more detailed report take a look at Anders Straarup website. Aircrew Remembered spent time with Anders in 2013 at another dedication ceremony. Mogens Jensen, AmyKimSto for grave photos.

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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At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
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Last Modified: 05 May 2015, 22:11

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