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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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12 squadron badge
27/28.08.1943 No. 12 Squadron Lancaster III DV187 PH-A W/O. Aspden

Operation: Nürnberg (Nuremberg)

Date: 27/28th August 1943

Unit: 12 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: DV187

Coded: PH-A

Location: Michelau im Steigerwald

Pilot: W/O. Leonard Wilson Aspden 1336697 RAFVR Age 22. Klled

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Jack Bevis 1171184 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Edward Kelloway R/115923 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Graham King 134722 RAFVR Age 26. Killled

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Williams Dobbins 1178204 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr (Mid-Upper): Sgt. Eric Wilfred Clayton 1006016 RAFVR Age 36. Killed

Air/Gnr (Rear) Sgt. Norman Alfred Pinxton Chew 1810131 RAFVR. Age 35. Killed


Took off at 21.28 hrs. from RAF Wickenby as part of a 674 aircraft raid. Sgt. Chew replaced the usual rear gunner, Sgt.D.W.J Butler (reason as yet unknown). The crew were posted as a complete crew from 1662 Heavy conversion Unit at Blyton. The aircraft for unknown reasons crashed between Nuremberg and Schweinfurt at approximately 20 - 30 km South East of Schweinfurt. 



                                                                            Crash site today

Further research has failed to identify the German Night Fighter pilot claiming a kill for DV187, however from the reports it had been a very fierce battle over the target zone and a total of 33 allied aircraft were lost during this raid. However. according to a German Journalist it was shot down by German night fighter ace, Hptm. Ludwig Meister. German newspaper reports sent by Norbert Vollmann to Shaun McGuire - our thanks to Shaun McGuire for this extensive information.


Shown left Oblt. Ludwig Meister of 1./NJG4 the German night fighter ace who shot down DV187

List of operations carried out by this crew:

24th/25th June 1943 1st operation, Wuppertal, as part of a force of 630 aircraft from Bomber Command.  The C/O. of 12 Squadron, Wing Commander Wood, flies with the crew on their first operation.  Lancaster ED820, “PH-A”.

27th/28th June 1943 2nd operation, Minelaying operation to the French coast. All mines dropped successfully. Lancaster W4958 “PH-B”.

8th/9th July 1943 3rd operation, Cologne, as part of a force of 288 aircraft from Bomber Command. Lancaster DV171 “PH-K”.

9th/10th July 1943 4th operation, Gelsenkirchen, as part of a force of 418 aircraft from Bomber Command. Lancaster DV171 “PH-K”.  

24th/25th July 1943 5th operation, Hamburg, as part of a force of 791 aircraft fromBomber Command. Lancaster W4380 “PH-E”.

25th/26th July 1943 6th operation, Essen, as part of a force of 705 aircraft from Bomber Command. Lancaster DV185 “PH-D”.

29th/30th July 1943 7th operation, Hamburg, as part of a force of 777 aircraft fromBomber Command. Lancaster DV225 “PH-H”.  Sgt W.E. Jones replaces Sgt. Butler as rear Gunner.

9th/10th August 1943 8th operation, Mannheim, as part of a force of 457 aircraft from Bomber Command. Lancaster DV225 “PH-H”. Sgt Butler returns as Rear Gunner.

10th/11th August 1943 9th operation, Nuremburg, as part of a force of 653 aircraft from Bomber Command. Lancaster DV225 “PH-H”.

15th/16th August 1943 10th operation, Milan, as part of a force of 199 aircraft from Bomber Command. Lancaster DV225 “PH-H”.

23rd/24th August 1943 11th operation, Berlin, as part of a force of 727 aircraft from Bomber Command.Lancaster JA864 “PH-B”.

27th/28th August 1943 12th operation, Nuremburg, failed to return.




Burial Details:

W/O. Leonard Wilson Aspden Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 11. K. 10-14. Son of Wilson Birwell Aspden and Martha Aspden of Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England.

Sgt. Kenneth Jack Bevis Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 11. K. 10-14. Son of Frederick John and Caroline Bevis, of Weymouth, Dorsetshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Edward Kelloway Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 11. K. 10-14. Son of Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Kelloway of Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada.

F/O. Graham King Durnbach War Cemetery. 11. K. 8. Son of Francis William and Agnes Lily, of Watford, Hertfordshire, England. Husband of Molly

Sgt. Ronald Williams Dobbins Durnbach War Cemetery. 11. K. 9. Son of William Henry and Maud Dobbins, of Wolverley, Worcestershire, England. 

Sgt. Eric Wilfred Clayton Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 11. K. 10-14. Son of James Martin and Minnie Emily, husband of Bessie Nora Clayton, of Hull, England. 

Sgt. Norman Alfred Pinxton Chew Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 11. K. 10-14. Son of Ernest Alfred and Catherine Chew; husband of Dorothy Annie Chew, of Pinner, Middlesex, England. 

With thanks to the following: Shaun McGuire,  Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol 3", Theo Boiten - "German Nightfighter War Diaries Vol 2", Martin Middlebrook "Bomber Command War Diaries". The CWGC

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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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