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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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486 Squadron Crest
13.01.1945 No. 486 Squadron Tempest EJ577 SA-F Sq/Ldr. Umbers DFC

Operation: Air cover

Date: 13th January 1945 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 486 Squadron (83 Group)

Type: Tempest V

Serial: EJ577

Code: SA-F

Base: ALG B80 (Volkel)

Location: Near Euskirchen, Germany

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Arthur Ernest Umbers DFC. NZ/404003 RNZAF Age 25. Safe (1)


A disastrous operation for 486 Squadron!

Requested to provide air cover support for United States 1st Army during the Ardennes offensive. On arrival at 14:00 hrs they came under light anti-aircraft fire from the US forces. Sq/Ldr. Umbers was hit and forced to crash land within the American lines but escaped injury.

F/O. Kalka (2) was also hit and his Tempest EJ606 SA-E caught fire, he baled out and despite further shots being fired at him he also survived.

Fl/Lt. Appleton also hit by the friendly anti-aircraft fire, Tempest EJ752 SA-H crash landed after hit within the American lines. He suffered severe injuries to his neck and face and after treatment at American hospitals posted home to New Zealand to recover.

(1) Sq/Ldr. Arthur Ernest Umbers was shot down in Tempest V NV715, and killed on the 14th February 1945 during an attack on barges near Meppen.

(2) F/O. William Arthur Kalka was also shot down and killed on the 25th March 1945. Drowned after baling out from his Tempest NV981 - further details here.

Burial details:

All pilots survived this operation, later:

Sq/Ldr. Arthur Ernest Umbers. Munster Heath War Cemetery. Grave 1.D.21. Born on the 30th June 1919, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Arthur Umbers, of Abbotsford, Otago, New Zealand and husband of Pamela Marie Umbers, of Lyall Bay, Wellington, New Zealand, one daughter, Jennifer Ann, born on the 13th April 1945.

F/O. William Arthur Kalka. Uden War Cemetery. Grave 6.F.8. Son of Richard John Kalka, and of Annie Kalka (née Boggs), of Grey Lynn, Auckland City, New Zealand. 642 flying hours logged and on his 186th operational sortie.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks Errol Martyn and his research into New Zealand aircrew lost. Also to Auckland Cenotaph and Weekly News of New Zealand. Other sources as quoted below:

KTY - 29.08.2017

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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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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