23.07.1944 No. 98 Squadron Mitchell Mk II FW122 VO-R Fl/Lt. Weeks’
Operation: Railway Yards, Glos-sur-Risle, Eure, France
Date: 23rd July 1944 (Sunday)
Unit: No.98 Squadron
Type: American Mitchell Mk II
Base: RAF Dunsfold, Surrey
Location: Glos-sur-Risle, Eure, France
Pilot: F/Lt. William Derek St.Clair Weeks 116077 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: F/O. Eric Robert Mills 131825 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Taylor 1074957 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Walter Ernest Wilfred Eldred Thomas 1182832 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Dunsfold at 15:00hrs to bomb the railway yards at Glos-Montfort. The target was bombed on Gee-H from 10.000 feet with 500lb bombs. Mitchell FW122 was hit by debris from (Mitchell FV985).
This aircraft (FV985) while releasing their bombs over the target area exploded and the debris from this set fire to and destroyed Mitchell FW122 killing all on board.
The debris from Mitchel FV985 also damaged Mitchell FL186 which crash landed in the American sector of Normandy and Mitchell FV931 was forced to land at RAF Tangmere, West Sussex, England.
The crew of Mitchell FW122 had flown together for eight missions in July 1944 before they lost their lives on the 23rd July.
Left: American Mitchell Mk II of No. 98 Squadron
Above: F/O. Eric Robert Mills (courtesy Helen Jackson niece of F/O. E. R Mills) Sgt. Charles E. Thomas (courtesy Rosemary Thomas)
F/O. Mills, Fl/Sgt. Taylor, Sgt. Thomas and F/Lt. Weeks. (pictures courtesy of Kate Tame)
All the crew are buried in a collective grave in Glos-Sur-Risle Churchyard, Eure, France. The grave is near the centre of the western wall.
F/Lt. William Derek St.Clair Weeks. Son of William Clifford St.Clair Weeks and Julia Eleanor Weeks of Leicester. William was born in 1921 in Willesdon, Oxfordshire. At the time of his death William's address was 8 Camberly Avenue, West Wimbledon, London, England. Grave inscription reads: “His Life Was Beautiful, His Memory Treasured, His Presence With Us Always”.
Right: The medal collection of F.O. Eric Mills - on an auction website, October 2017. Note: Auction now cancelled - details to follow!
F/O. Eric Robert Mills. Son of John and Clara Mills of Bingley, Yorkshire. At the time of his death Eric's address was 11 Longwood Avenue, Bingley, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: “To Live In The Hearts Of Those We Love Is Not To Die”.
Fl/Sgt. William Taylor. Son of William and Margaret Taylor of Leyland, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Charles Walter Ernest Wilfred Eldred Thomas. Born on the 03rd June 1921, the son of Charles William and Marian Edith Thomas of Blackheath, South East London, England.
Researched by Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of this crew. Acknowledgements: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Imperial War Museum, National Archives U.K. Special thanks to Helen Jackson niece of F/O. E R Mills and to Rosemary Thomas for photo of Sgt. C.E. Taylor - March 2017.