09/10.04.1945 No 170 Squadron Lancaster I PB704 TC-R Fl/Sgt. Roland H.A. Thorpe
Date: 9/10th April 1945
Unit: No: 170 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Hemswell
Location: North Sea?
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Roland Henry Albert Thorpe 1393293 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Harry Vernon Blakey 1621031 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Nav: F/O. John Wotherspoon 165703 RAFVR Age 32. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Frederick William Reece Goodenough 1607158 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alan Aubrey Jarvis 1864299 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Joseph Harford 3034035 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Lawrence Abraham Hill 3051022 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19:32hrs from RAF Hemswell to attack the Deutsche Werke U-Boat yard at Kiel. Although listed as lost without trace it is known that this Lancaster PB704 was intercepted and shot down on its return journey by either Hptm. Heinz Ferger (1) from III./NJG2 or Lt. Arnold Doring (2) 10./NJG3 / or Hptm. Franz-August Von Tesmar (3) of 11./NGJ3 - each one claiming a kill on this raid, but no records at this stage of the war were found. 3 Aircraft were lost, two claimed by night fighters the other to flak.
300 Squadron Lancaster III LM632 Flown by 32 year old, Sq/Ldr. Henryk Anatoliusz Rudakowski P-1770 PAF with all 7 crew killed. Coned in by searchlights over the target hit by flak, crashing in Kiel area.
622 Squadron Lancaster I NG447 Flown by 21 year old, Fl/Lt. Lionel Arthur Sydney Hodge 131036 RAFVR with all 7 crew killed. Shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Dörphof.
Crew of Lancaster LB704 Back Row L-R: Sgt. Harford, Sgt. Jarvis, Sgt. Hill. Front Row L-R: Sgt. Goodenough, F/O. Thorpe, F/O. Wotherspoon.
(1) Hptm. Ferger (Between 23 - 27 kills) killed just days later on the 13/14th April 1945 when shot down by a Mosquito on finals to Lübeck airfield. (see Kracker Archive on this site)
(2) Lt. Arnold Doring (13 night and 8 daylight kills) Survived the war, no further details. (see Kracker Archive on ths site)
(3) Hptm. Von Tesmar (2 kills) his aircraft was hit by debris from this Lancaster and was forced to ditch into the sea. His crew were all killed but he was picked up and rescued.
With many thanks to Rod J. Mackenzie (see credits) who provided this updated information. (see Kracker Archive on this site)
Fl/Sgt. Roland Henry Albert Thorpe. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 273. Born on the 26th October 1923 in St. Pancras, London the brother of Kenneth Thorpe. Enlisted on the 07th July 1941 at the age of 18 - left for training in Canada on the 18th February 1943. Returned to England, joining 170 Squadron on the 10th March 1943.
Fl/Sgt. Harry Vernon Blakey. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 270. Son of Thomas and Miriam Blakey of Wakefield, Yorkshire, England.
(No photograph available as yet)
F/O. John Wotherspoon. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 268. Son of John and Margaret Wotherspoon and husband of Efric Agnes (née Johnston) of Cambelltown, Argyll, Scotland. At the time of his loss he was a father of 3 children ages 7, 4, 2.
Sgt. Frederick William Reece Goodenough. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 275. Son of Frederick William and Lucy Fanny Goodenough of Nunhead, London, England.
Sgt. Alan Aubrey Jarvis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 271. Son of William Lester and Ethel Gertrude Jarvis of 39, Sussex Road, Dartford, Kent, England.
Further details: Alan was born on April 15th 1925, aged sixteen had just finished two years at Dartford Technical School when both he and his older brother, Lester having been in the Air Cadets for 3-4 years
prior to the war, decided to enlist as soon as Alan was seventeen. In the meantime, he worked in a local butchers shop managed by a close neighbour of the family. He was very interested in animals and birds, and had an aviary attached to the garden shed where he kept at least nine budgerigars. He also kept a few rabbits and chickens, which helped to supplement the meagre rations. His one canary was kept in a cage in the house and was found dead on the morning of Alan’s last flight. A horrific omen and so painful for his mother when the telegram from the Air Ministry arrived. Alan’s special hobbies were making planes from balsa wood and he made a plastic insignia with a golden “S” attached for his position in the crew. Through his early teenage years Alan was living just east of London and the family endured nightly air raids as well as the daily onslaught of German bombers en route to London. Una Barrett, Alan’s sister recollects that Sgt. Hill, the rear gunner spent his last leave with Alan at his home around Christmas 1944. She also recollects meeting the widow of F/O. Wotherspoon when she and her parents met up with her at the Northumberland Hotel, near Marble Arch in London.
Alan enlisted on 26th November 1942 and was mobilised on 5th July 1943. He attended No 4 radio school from December 31st 1943 where he completed 53.55 day/night hours. On 6th October 1944 he transferred to No 35 Operational Training Unit in Wellingtons. On 10th February 1945 he was assigned to 1656 HCU and started his bomber training, flying mainly with Fl/Sgt. Thorpe, completing 149.20 hours by 7th March 1945. His overseas flying commenced on 13th March 1945 and on 31st March 1945 (with Fl/Sgt. Thorpe as pilot) bombed the submarine yards at Hamburg, 3rd April 1945 bombing Nordhausen before his final, fatal mission on 9th April 1945.
Alan’s older brother, Lester Percy Jarvis also served in the RAF and came to Canada to train under the Commonwealth Air Training Plan as a pilot in October 1943. Affected badly by Alan’s death and the fact that he himself hadn’t seen active service, Lester worked for twenty five years for the Ministry of Defence, Bicester, Oxfordshire after previously contracting polio. On October 28th 1997, the Queen presented Lester with the MBE for his tireless work for the British Legion. His “Memories of World War Two” that he wrote is lodged at the War Memorial museum, London.Sgt. Richard Joseph Harford. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 275. Son of Richard Joseph and Ellen Mary (née Rutherford) Harford of Maidstone, Kent, England. Further details:
Named after his father but always known as ‘Joe’, he was born at Brook, near Ashford in Kent on 24th September 1925. He showed great artistic talent from an early age, entering and winning many children’s painting and drawing competitions. Fascinated by aviation and enjoyed making many scale models of various aircraft.
Having lived in Deal and Ramsgate, the family moved to Maidstone in 1938, where Joe attended St Francis RC School. After leaving school he found work as a grinder with Baker Richards. With the outbreak of war he joined the ATC as a cadet. In 1944 he enlisted with the RAF as an air gunner, stationed at Regents Park and was subsequently posted to RAF Bridgnorth, Salop. After promotion to the rank of Sergeant he was posted to Husbands Bosworth, Rugby before joining 170 Squadron at Hemswell, Gainsborough, Lincs.
Sgt. Lawrence Abraham Hill. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 275. Son of Abraham and Florence Hill of Quarry Bank, Staffordshire, England.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to the following: Fran Smith (née Harford), Henry Mills (Richard Harford), Una Barrett (sister of Alan Jarvis), Doreen Reeve, Lawrence Hill, Anthony Hill and family (Lawrence Hill). Thanks also to Kenneth Thorpe for providing further information on his brother, the pilot. Also to Efric Mcnell, son of John Wotherspoon who contacted us in November 2017 with corrected details. With thanks to Jack Brook or advising correct aircraft serial number - September 2017.
Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2’, other sources as quoted below.