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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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55 Squadron Crest
12.09.1941 No. 55 Squadron Blenheim IV Z9588 W/Cdr. Russell D. Welland MiD.

Operation: Anti-submarine sweep

Date: 12th September 1941 (Friday)

Unit: No. 55 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: Z9588

Code: Not known

Base: Beirut

Location: Mediterranean Sea

Pilot: W/Cdr. Russell Darby Welland MiD 37308 RAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed

Obs: F/O. James Dodds AUS/402014 RAAF Age 32. Missing - believed killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James William Lucas 751653 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Passenger: Major Ivor Kingsley Whittaker VX24 Australian Army Intelligence Corps Age 20. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Aircraft left Beirut at 03:15 hrs. to carry out anti-submarine sweep along the coast to 10 miles east of the Suez Canal and return.

At 05:15 hrs a message was received that they were on the return trip and ordered 4 late breakfasts - nothing more was heard from them.

When established they were overdue a search was immediately carried out by four aircraft. The following day, two further searches were made by eight and three aircraft covering areas likely to be a forced landing area - no trace was found.

(1) The family were to lose another son during service. P/O. David Laing Dodds AUS/411243 RAAF - missing on the 03/04th September 1943 whilst with 156 Squadron. Lancaster JA681 had taken off from RAF Warboys at 1948 hrs. on an operation to Berlin - again all the 7 crew members were classed as Missing - believed killed.

Burial details:

W/Cdr. Russell Darby Welland MiD. Alamein Memorial. Column 239. Son of Arthur Alfred and M. L. Welland and husband of Helena Alison Welland. of Hessle, Yorkshire, England.

F/O. James Dodds. Alamein Memorial. Column 245. Son of James and Mary Harcus Dodds, of 15 Castlestead Street, Concord West, New South Wales, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. James William Lucas. Alamein Memorial. Column 242. Son of Percival Walter and Jane Mabel Lucas, of Fulking, Sussex, England.

Major Ivor Kingsley Whittaker. Alamein Memorial. Column 93. Son of Robert Charles and Muriel Ada Matilda Whittaker, of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia.

Right: Mjr. Ivor Kingsley Whittaker

Researched for Kate Watts niece of F/O. James Dodds who contacted us in February 2017 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources indicated below:

KTY - 25.02.2017

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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Last Modified: 25 February 2017, 21:41

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