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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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42 Squadron Crest
17.05.1942 42 Squadron Beaufort II AW383 AW:V Fg Off. Archer

Operation: 'Prince Eugen', Norway

Date: 17th May 1942 (Sunday)

Unit No: 42 Squadron. 18 Group (motto: Fortiter in re - 'Bravely into action')

Type: Beaufort II

Serial: AW383

Code: AW:V

Base: RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland

Location: Listafjorden, Norway

Pilot: Fg Off. Rodney Bainbridge Archer DFC. 402148 RAAF Age 24. MiA (1)

Obs: Flt Sgt, David North Keeling 404033 RNZAF Age 23. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Barry Cain 1172541 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. George Jefferies 926101 RAFVR Age 21. MiA


Taking off at 17:55 hrs with 11 others to bomb the heavy cruiser the Prince Eugen, escorted by 4 Beaufighters and 6 Blenheims they spotted the targets off Listafjorden, Norway.

20 Luftwaffe aircraft intercepted the dive bombers and attacked - 3 were seen to be shot down and in flames in the target area.

A missing Research and Enquiry Unit who investigated this in June 1946 concluded that three members of the crew must have gone down with the aircraft at sea. The only body from the crew was recovered on the 15th June 1942 and received a burial - the others are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial in their local town war memorials.

Above: As described - note the anti-torpedo nets in place.

Above: RAAF Officers England 1941. L-R: Fg Off. Richard Chandler Hooper 400144, Fg Off. Rodney Bainbridge Archer 402148, Fg Off. Ernest Birchley 404166, Plt Off. Russell Devenish-Meares 402156, Fg Off. Harry Horwood Lawson 400204.

Plt Off. Russell Devenish-Meares. MiA on the 9th November 1941 whilst with Coastal Command 42 Squadron Beaufort I L9868 AW:S on a shipping strike off Kristiansand, Norway.

Fg Off. Harry Horwood Lawson. Killed on the 29th November 1941 whilst with Coastal Command 42 Squadron Beaufort I W6529 AW:J on an Air Test at Fife, Scotland.

Above: Members of the RAAF standing on the deck of SS Mosfruit en route to the United Kingdom after participating in the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) in Canada. L-R: Fg Off. Richard Chandler Hooper 400144, Fg Off. Rodney Bainbridge Archer 402148, Sqn Ldr. Stanley Charles Mutimer 400153, Sqn Ldr. Denis Russell Lawrence DFC. 402164, Fg Off. Harry Horwood Lawson 400204.

RAF Abbotsinch Airfield 1941 Fg Off. Rodney Bainbridge Archer 402148, Fg Off. Ernest Birchley 404166, Plt Off. Russell Devenish-Meares 402156, Fg Off. William Austin Thornton 400161, Fg Off. Harry Horwood Lawson 400204.

Fg Off. William Austin Thornton . MiA on the 18th March 1942 flying 86 Squadron Beaufort W6474. Married to a New Zealander, Theone Carina Mutimer, of Karon, Wellington, New Zealand

(1) Fg Off. Rodney Bainbrigg Archer was awarded the DFC in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

'On the afternoon of.the I2th February 1942, a force of Beaufort and Hudson aircraft carried out an attack on an enemy naval force, including the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau, off the Dutch coast. In the face of harassing fire from screening destroyers, the attack was pressed home with the utmost determination at very close range. Although it has not been possible to assess the damage inflicted, owing to the extremely poor visibility, it is believed that several hits were obtained. The operation which demanded a high degree of skill and courage, reflects the greatest credit upon the following officers and airmen who participated, London Gazette 24th March 1942:

Burial details:

Above: In addition to the CWGC grave stone for Sgt. Barry Cain there is a Memorial to him at the Ladywell Cemetery, Brockley Grove, Lewisham, London, (Courtesy of David Ayling (WMR-84520))

Fg Off. Rodney Bainbridge Archer DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 108. Born on the 9th October 1918 in Lindfield, New South Wales, the son of Rowland Bainbridge and Olga Blanche Archer, of 44 Balfore Road, Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia.

Worked for Quantas as a clerk prior to service. Engaged to a WAAF Officer, Miss April Eve Wilson who worked in the cypher section..

Flt Sgt, David North Keeling. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 117. Born on the 28th November 1918 at Wellington, the son of Hubert Allardyce Keeling and of Beatrice Elaine Keeling (née Simcox), of Raumati Beach, Wellington, New Zealand.

A sheep farmer for P.F. Brodrick prior to service. 331 flying hours logged and having completed 21 operational sorties.

Sgt. Barry Cain. Sola Churchyard. British Plot. Grave D.1. Grave inscription: "YOU SHALL LIVE ON IMMORTAL, BARRY, FOR EVER WITH THE BRAVE". Son of Charles and Edith Lucy Cain, of Deptford, London, England.

Sgt. George Jefferies. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 86. Son of Charles Jefferies, and of Marjorie Jefferies, of Denchworth, Berkshire, England.

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, National Archives of Australia, Weekly News of New Zealand. (Sep 2019). Thanks to Richard Maddox for the information regarding the memorial to Sgt. Cain. (Mar 2024). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Mar 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 17.03.2024 - Addition of memorial and other updates

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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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