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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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100 Squadron Crest
27/28.05.1943 No. 100 Squadron Lancaster III ED821 HW-A Fl/Sgt. Townrow

Operation: Essen

Date: 27/28th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 100 Squadron (motto: Sarang tebuan jangan dijolok - 'Never stir up a hornet's nest')

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED821

Code: HW-A

Base: RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Witmarsum, Netherlands

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Arthur Townrow NZ/415041 RNZAF Age 24. PoW Hospitalised

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Parker Fitchett 1150600 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Stanley Adolfson Bishop J/13118 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Eric Short 1319336 RAFVR Age 20. Seriously Injured

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Bolderson 129941 RAFVR Age ? PoW No: 1442 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Michael Cosgrove 1585898 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Edward Chapman AUS/414764 RAAF Age 25. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23:32 hrs. from RAF Grimsby in Lincolnshire with 20 others from the Squadron to join a further 498 from Bomber Command t0 attack Essen. 274 Lancasters, 151 Halifaxes, 81 Wellingtons, 12 Mosquitoes made up the force which was undertaken in very cloudy conditions, with no moonlight. The results were that many aircraft undershot the target and bombing was scattered over a large area. Having said that, German reports state that 488 buildings were destroyed killing some 196 people on the ground and injuring 547.

The allies lost 23 aircraft, almost all due to night fighter intercepts over the Netherlands and Western Germany.

Lancaster III ED821 was intercepted and shot down by Hptm. Rudolf Sigmund (2) the Luftwaffe ace of 10./NJG1 claiming his 13th victim. The aircraft came down at 01:45 hrs at Wimarsum in the Netherlands. It is understood that some of the crew did manage to bale out with two surviving.

Sgt Eric Short is described as being badly injured but managed to get to the house of a farmer Mr. J. Hettinga, knocked on the door and was allowed in - he died a few moments later. Other crew members were discovered in various locations providing evidence that they had left the aircraft alive.

The two remaining crew were taken as prisoners but the pilot, Fl/Sgt. Leonard Townrow suffered injuries to which he succumbed some 11 months later on the 24th April 1944.

(1) Sgt. Joseph Bolderson remained in the RAF post war and reached the rank of Fl/Lt in 1956.

(2) Hptm. Rudolf Sigmund was himself killed on the 03rd October 1943 - see Kracker Archive on this website for further details.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Leonard Arthur Townrow. Leeuwarden Northern General Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 5. Born on the 20th August 1920 at Dunedin, the son of Walter Howard Townrow and of Ruth Townrow (née White), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. A total of 484 flying hours logged and having completed 16 operational sorties.

Sgt. James Parker Fitchett. Wonseradeel Protestant Churchyard (Witmarsum). Row 36. Grave 16. Son of William Fielding Fitchett and Hilda Fitchett, of Harborne, Birmingham. Grave inscription reads: "Jimmy. Always Loved And Remembered By Mother And Sister Penny".

F/O. Stanley Adolfson Bishop. Wonseradeel Protestant Churchyard (Witmarsum). Row 36. Grave 18. Born in New York, USA, the son of Montague Victor and Anna Bishop, of 1083 Drummond Street, Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Duty Done - Honor Won, Now To Thee, O Lord, I Come".

Sgt. Eric Short. Wonseradeel Protestant Churchyard (Witmarsum). Row 36. Grave 19. Son of Bertie Charles and Mabel Edith Short (née Way), of 3 White Horse Drive, Epsom, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember".

Sgt. Peter Michael Cosgrove. Wonseradeel Protestant Churchyard (Witmarsum). Row 37. Grave 17. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Arthur Edward Chapman. Wonseradeel Protestant Churchyard (Witmarsum). Row 36. Grave 17. Born on the 31st January 1918 at Brisbane, the son of Wilfred Knight Chapman and Alma Chapman, of Paynes Road, West Ashgrove, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "He Died For Those He Loved And Those He Loved Remember".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, International Wargraves Photography Project and Rene Bosma for grave photographs, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 27.02.2019

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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