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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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No. 158 Squadron Crest
10/11.04.1942 No. 158 Squadron Wellington II W5482 NP-X Sgt. Walter David Amos

Operation: Nickel (Leaflet Dropping)

Date: 10/11 April 1942 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 158 Squadron

Badge: A circular chain of seven links. The chain is indicative of the combined strength and co-operation of aircrews.

Type: Vickers Wellington II

Serial: W5482

Code: NP-X

Base: RAF Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire

Location: Believed to be off Oostende, Holland.

Pilot: Sgt. Walter David Amos 1377677 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed

Observer: Sgt. Ian Mactaggat Mackirdy 1161197 RAFVR Age 25 - Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Harold Till 934087 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed

2nd W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Basil Edwin Whitbread 923920 RAFVR Age 22 - Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Anthony Frederick Davies 977122 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed

We appeal to relatives of the crew with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via the Helpdesk


Took off from RAF Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire at 22:01 hours on an operation to drop leaflets in the Lille area of France. The aircraft is believed to have crashed into the sea approximately 8km off Oostende. The body of Sgt. W.D. Amos was washed ashore and later buried at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery in Holland. The bodies of Sgt. I.M. Mackirdy and Sgt. D.H. Till were also washed ashore and later buried at Oostende New Communal Cemetery in Belgium. The bodies of Sgt. D.H. Till and Sgt. B.E. Whitbread were not found.

Vickers Wellington aircraft being prepared for a Nickel drop at RAF Hixon. Courtesy IWM

Sgts. Amos, Till, Whitbread and Davies were all members of the home contingent of 104 Squadron that was renumbered 158 Squadron on 14 February 1942 whilst a detachment of 104 Squadron, at that time based in Egypt, remained as number 104 Squadron.

Sgt. I.M. Mackirdy however was originally with 102 Squadron and had only joined the new 158 Squadron on 7 April 1942 four days before he and the other members of the crew were killed.


Sgt. Walter David Amos was born in 1920 at Reigate, Surrey the son of Arthur David and Lilian Amos nee Sprague.

Sgt. Ian Mactaggat Mackirdy was born 31 October 1916 at Basford, Nottinghamshire, the son of William Mackirdy and Elsie Marie Charlotte Mackirdy nee Grob. He entered Nottingham high School in 1929 at the age of 12 and left in 1932. The family lived at 240 Station Road, Beeston, Nottinghamshire and his father worked as a Traveller. Ian Mactaggat Mackirdy is commemorated on the Nottingham High School War Memorial. (Details courtesy of Nottingham High School Archives)

Sgt. Douglas Harold Till was born in 1920 at Wokingham, Berkshire the son of William George Till and Daisy Beatrice Till nee Porter of Ilford, Essex.

Sgt. Basil Edwin Whitbread was born in 1920 at Headington Oxfordshire the son of Frank Gilbert and Clara Elizabeth Whitbread nee Hudson of Cowley, Oxfordshire. He is commemorated on the Didcot War Memorial, Oxfordshire

Sgt. Thomas Anthony Frederick Davies was born 27 June 1920 at Carmarthen, Wales the son of James Anthony and Mary Ellen Davies nee Barnett, of Carmarthen.


Sgt. W.D. Amos was buried at the Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland - Plot 85. Row C. Grave 14

His epitaph reads:

Deep in our hearts

A memory is kept

Of one we loved

And shall never forget

Sgt. Ian Mactaggat Mackirdy was buried at the Oostende New Communal Cemetery, Holland - Plot 9. Row 4. Grave 18

Sgt. Douglas Harold Till was buried at the Oostende New Communal Cemetery, Holland - Plot 9. Row 4. Grave 19

His epitaph reads:

He gave his life

That we might live,

Rest on, dear son

Sgt. Basil Edwin Whitbread having no known grave is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 96.

Sgt. Thomas Anthony Frederick Davies having no known grave is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 81.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - January 2016

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 21.01.2016

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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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