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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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10 Squadron Crest
26.12.1944 10 Squadron Halifax III NR246 Fg.Off. Yates

Operation: Saint-Vith

Date: 26th December 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: 10 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: NR246

Code: ZA-Y

Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire

Location: North Sea off Margate

Pilot: Fg.Off. Bernard Yates 182761 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Philip John Mansell 1867033 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Plt.Off. William Ross Douglas Macleod 183628 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Air Bmr: Plt.Off. Jack Gerald Gower 186476 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Peter Colin Edwards 38423 RAAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Thomas Murphy 2210907 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Dennis Edwards Addyman 184147 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Prior to this trip the crew were flying on Halifax III NA627 ZA-Y on an operation to Bingen on the 22/23rd December. On return with failing hydraulics they touched down at 16:25 hrs on the Fido runway but overshot running into the overrun area where the undercarriage collapsed. All the crew escaped injury. This aircraft was a little unusual as it had a mid-under gun fitted, WO. L.F. Froud was the air gunner holding this position.

The Halifax left it's base, RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire, at 12:50hrs with its crew of seven on a mission to Saint-Vith in Belgium in support of the Ardennes Counteroffensive (the 'Battle of the Bulge' as it became known).

From official 10 Sqn sources the aircraft was presumed to be over the target at 15:35 hrs and at 16:35 hrs a fix position, 50 57N, 01 53E (Calais) was obtained. At about 16:36 hrs, a radio message reporting "tail damage" had been received from an aircraft, estimated by radio bearings to have originated near Calais, however, there is no evidence that this was from NR246. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft.

There is no official confirmation of the anecdotal claim that the aircraft crashed off the English coast near Margate.

From official sources, the body of Sgt. Murphy was washed ashore on the 5th January, nine days after the mission. The bodies of Sgt. Mansell and Plt,Off. Addyman were also recovered after being washed up on shore. No trace of the remaining crew members was found and are now commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Plt.Off. Dennis Edwards Addyman when he was an NCO (Courtesy Frances Addyman)

Mr. Norman Job Edward, the father of Plt.Off. Edwards, in his frustration wrote to several authorities including the Lord Mayor of Perth, Australia requesting that perhaps further searches be made and as the water was quite shallow where it is thought the aircraft came down (based on where the bodies of the crew were washed up) a recovery of the aircraft could be found. However the authorities assured the family that a major search was conducted at the time and no location of the wreckage could be established.

Burial details:

Fg.Off. Bernard Yates. Runneymede Memorial. Panel 210. Son of Frank and Eliza Mary Yates, of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Philip John Mansell. Gaywood Churchyard (St Faith), Norfolk. The son of Rys and Kate (née West) Mansell, of Gaywood, King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. Grave inscription reads: "Love Is As Strong As Death".

Plt.Off. William Ross Douglas Macleod. Runneymede Memorial. Panel 212. The son of Alexander and Donaldina Macleod understood to be from Scotland.

Plt.Off. Jack Gerald Gower. Runneymede Memorial. Panel 211. The son of Henry Joseph Gower and Kate Bertha Gower (née Cable) and the husband of Mary (née Heyes) Gower, of Stalybridge, Cheshire, England. They had been married for only five months.

Plt.Off. Peter Colin Edwards. Runneymede Memorial. Panel 258. Born 8th November 1922 in Perth, Western Australia. Son of Norman Job and Hilda Edith Mary Edwards, of Wyalkatchem, Western Australia.

Above: Graves of two of the air gunners (courtesy Mike McQuaid and Kelvin Adams)

Flt.Sgt. Thomas Murphy. Ford Cemetery, Liverpool. Grave SD 455. Son of Thomas D. Murphy and Ann C.(née Dwyer) Murphy, of Liverpool Merseyside, England. Grave inscription reads: "Dearly Loved Son Of Thomas And Ann Murphy. Queen Of Martyrs, Pray For Him".

Plt.Off. Dennis Edwards Addyman. Thames Ditton Churchyard (St Nicholas), Surrey. Grave LH.6. Son of Walter Louis and Elizabeth (née Bryant) Addyman.

Researched by Mike McQuaid with some information from the Chelmsford War Memorial. With thanks to Kelvin Adams for grave photo of Plt.Off. Addyman and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks also to sources shown below and the Australian National Archives. Thanks to Frances Addyman for the photograph of Plt.Off Addyman.

RS 10.06.2020 - Addition of Image for Plt.Off Addyman and editorial update.

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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