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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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207 Squadron Crest
16.11.1944 No. 207 Squadron Lancaster I NF979 EM-B F/O. Anderson

Operation: Operation 'Queen' Düren

Date: 16th November 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 207 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NF979

Code: EM-B

Base: RAF Silsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Schenkelstrasse, Düren

Pilot: F/O. John Graham Anderson NZ/421344 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Philip Charles Russell 842512 RAF (A) Age 42. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Stanley Eccleston 1684843 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Joseph Norman Clark NZ/415076 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Leslie Wright 1678692 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Donald Rushworth 1399814 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Gerald McIlveney 1821827 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Taking off from RAF Spilsby in Lincolnshire at 12:54 hrs as part of 'Operation Queen' and Anglo-American operation against the German Siegfried Line. Between 15:23 and 15:44 hrs 467 allied bombers attacked Düren, Jülich and Heinsberg. 485 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitoes took part on the Düren operation.

The result of the bombing was mixed. The German towns being hit suffered from severe destruction. German communications after the bombing were heavily impaired, and there was a considerable effect on the morale, especially on units consisting of more younger and inexperienced troops. However, the direct damage dealt to the German frontline troops was low, and casualties were few. Allied air commanders admitted that the bombing did not measure up to expectations. About 12 aircraft were shot down during the initial bombing by meagre anti-aircraft fire - the Luftwaffe at this time no longer had the freedom of the skies.

It is calculated the allies dropped some 2,752 tons of bombs were dropped on †he town. 3,126 people were killed at Düren the survivors fled the burning ruins, the remainder of the civilian population from the town was evacuated on the 19th November by order of the Reich Defence Commissioner.

Four aircraft were lost on the Düren operation, 3 victims of flak and one other crashed on return:

156 Squadron Lancaster III PB609 Flown by 28 year old, W/Cdr. Donald Buchan Falconer DFC. AFC. 87052 RAFVR - survived with all his crew after undershooting runway on return. No crew members injured. W/Cdr. Falconer was to lose his life the following month on the 31st December 1944.
166 Squadron Lancaster III PB648 AS-B Flown by 21 year old, F/O. Edward Thomas Coles J/35865 RCAF - all 7 crew killed.
625 Squadron Lancaster I NG238 CF-E2 Flown by 24 year old, F/O. James Ross Copland NZ/426165 RNZAF - All 7 crew killed. The crew from this aircraft shared the graves with the crew of Lancaster NF979 at Venray War Cemetery.

Burial details:

F/O. John Graham Anderson. Venray War Cemetery. Collective grave V. C. 5-8. Son of George Anderson and Grace Wood Anderson (née Graham), of Auckland City, New Zealand. 615 flying hours logged and is thought to be on his 8th operational sortie. (Note: Sharing his headstone with Sgt. Donald George Bayliss 1622664 RAFVR - 625 Squadron)

Sgt. Philip Charles Russell. Venray War Cemetery (above). Collective grave V. C. 5-8. Son of Charles and Lucy Caroline Russell and husband of Elsie May Russell, of Ashford, Middlesex, England. Epitaph reads: "Years Pass By But Memories Remain". (Note: Sharing his headstone with Sgt. Kenneth Sawkins 1318133 RAFVR - 625 Squadron)

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Eccleston. Venray War Cemetery. Collective grave V. C. 5-8. No further details - are you able to assist with this and any further information. (Note: Sharing his headstone with Sgt. Grahame Arthur Levings 1606948 RAFVR - 625 Squadron)

F/O. Joseph Norman Clark. Venray War Cemetery. Collective grave V. C. 5-8. Born on the 28th April 1920, the son of Norman McLean Clark and Florence Ethel Clark, of Waiau Pa, Auckland, New Zealand. 401 flying hours logged and is thought to be on his 8th operational sortie. (Note: Sharing his headstone with F/O. James Ross Copland NZ/426165 RNZAF - 625 Squadron)

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Leslie Wright. Venray War Cemetery. Collective grave V. C. 5-8. Son of Harold Bernard Wright and Marion Wright, of Bradley, Staffordshire, England. Epitaph reads: "Eternal Rest Give Unto Him, O Lord; And Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him". (Note: Sharing his headstone with Fl/Sgt. John Meredit Taylor 1419271 RAFVR - 625 Squadron)

Sgt. James Donald Rushworth. Venray War Cemetery. Collective grave V. C. 5-8. Son of James Heap Rushworth and Agnes Dorothy Rushworth, of Jardim Paulista. Sao Paulo, Brazil. Epitaph reads: "The Lord Shall Be Thine Everlasting Light". (Note: Sharing his headstone with Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Martin 1514078 RAFVR - 625 Squadron)

Sgt. James Gerald McIlveney. Venray War Cemetery. Collective grave V. C. 5-8. Son of Patrick and Margaret McIlveney, of

Dumbarton, Scotland. Epitaph reads:"On Whose Soul, Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy. Our Lady Of Lourdes Pray For Him. R.I.P".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 06.05.2018

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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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