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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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106 Squadron crest
30/01.05.1943 No. 106 Squadron Lancaster III ED451 ZN-O Sgt. Sydney Abel

Operation: Essen, Germany.

Date: 30th April / 1st May 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 106 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED451

Code: ZN-O

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: Wulfen, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Sydney Abel 1335643 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Gordon Alderson R/89283 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: P/O. Vincent Anthony Nono 127018 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Stanley Plaskett 145328 RAFVR Age 22. Killed.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Malcolm Harrower 1377395 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Lionel Barber 1200694 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Brown 1004817 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Took off at 23:55 hrs from Syerston, Nottinghamshire - part of a force made up of 305 aircraft (190 Lancasters, 105 Halifaxes and 10 Mosquitoes) to attack the city of Essen.

The raid was considered a success despite the cloud cover this night. No bombing photographs were available but 238 crews reported that they had bombed Essen.

189 buildings were destroyed, 237 severely damaged. The Krupps factory was hit again and 53 people on the ground were killed and a further 218 injured. The raid cost the RAF 12 aircraft (6 Lancasters and 6 Halifaxes). 81 crewmen were killed, 2 injured and a further 17 made Prisoner of War. The bombing commenced at 02:31 hrs and continued until 03:19 hrs. on the 1st May.

Above as described (Courtesy Geoffrey Bibby, John Leaf and Douglas Callow - all relatives of these crew members)
Left to right: G/Crew ?, G/Crew ?, Sgt. Harrower, G/Crew ?, P/O. Plaskett, G/Crew ?, Sgt. Barber (Courtesy John Leaf - relative of Sydney)The crew of Lancaster ED451. Left to right: Sgt. Brown, P/O. Plaskett, P/O. Nono, Sgt. Alderson, Sgt. Abel, Sgt. Harrower and Sgt. Barber.

It is thought that ED451 had been taken down by flak as no reports from the German night fighter have claimed this loss (they claimed 3 x Halifaxes and 3 x Lancasters).

Left: Crew graves at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery (courtesy Mitch Buiting from Denmark - we are happy to supply these individually at a higher resolution for relatives - courtesy of Mitch, please contact us)

Burial details:

Sgt. Sydney Abel. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 17. B. 12. Son of Hugh Stanley Abel, and of Lily Abel, of Stretford, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. John Gordon Alderson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 17. B. 13. Son of W.T. and Elspeth Alderson, of Alliston, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Vincent Anthony Nono. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 17. B. 10. Son of Joseph and Nora Nono, husband of Jean Ramsay Henry Nono.

P/O. Stanley Plaskett. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 17. B. 11. Son of Clive and Margaret Jane Plaskett, of Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales.

Sgt. Charles Malcolm Harrower. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 17. B. 14. Son of Alexander and Isabella Harrower, husband of Mary A. Harrower, of Coldstream, Berwickshire, England.

Sgt. Alfred Lionel Barber. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 17. B. 8-9. Son of Alfred Thomas Barber, and of Elizabeth Barber, of East Dereham, Norfolk, England. (Shown right)

Sgt. Douglas Brown. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 17. B. 8-9. Son of David and Fanny Rae Brown, nephew of Mrs. M. Carson, of Kirkcudbright.

With thanks to the following: Mitch Buiting from Denmark, Geoffrey Bibby, John Leaf, also thanks to Douglas Callow, who contacted us in March 2018. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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