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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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196 squadron crest
28/29.04.1943 196 Squadron Wellington X HE220 Sgt. Atkins

Operation: Gardening

Date: 28/29th April 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 196 Squadron

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE220

Code: ZO-?

Base: RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire.

Location: Eckernförde Bay, Baltic Sea

Pilot: Sgt. John Frederick Atkins 749747 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Sgt. Frank Guy 1335916 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Air Bmr: Sgt. Reginald Harry Tayler 1318170 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

WOp: Sgt. William McDonough 1083266 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Patrick William John Morrow 521097 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire at 20:45 hrs, for mine laying duties in the 'Forgetmenots' region (Kiel Canal).


This was the largest mining operation carried out so far but also the one with the heaviest percentage of aircraft lost (6 Wellingtons, 8 Stirlings, 2 Halifaxes and 8 Lancasters lost) during mining.


196 Squadron lost two other aircraft on this operation:

Wellington X HE170 Flown by Sgt. Frederick C. Swain killed with all 5 crew.
Wellington X HE395 Flown by Flt.Lt. Ian N. Bonard killed with all 5 crew.

Both of these shot down by Lt. Ernst Meess of 6./NJG3 in the early hours of the 29th. These were the first two kills (and only) by this nightfighter pilot. Lt. Meess survived the war, but no further details are available.

13 of the bombers were victims of the multi barrel flak units which were very active in these areas.

Wellington HE220 was coned in searchlights of M.Flak Abt. 211 and 221 between 23:52 and 23:59 hrs, hit by light and heavy Flak of M.Flak Abt. 211,221 and 251 and exploded and crashed in Eckernförder Bucht 5km east of Bockniseck at 23.59 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten)


Burial details:

Sgt. John Frederick Atkins. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 141. Son of John and Emily Atkins of Charlton, London, England. Trained to be a pilot in Warner Robbins, Georgia, where he met his fiancee, an American.

Sgt. Frank Guy. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 151. Son of Albert Norton and Kathleen Guy of Brighton, Sussex, England.

Sgt. Reginald Harry Tayler. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 166. Further information: Son of Harry Joseph and Catherine Tayler of West Malling, Kent, England. Born on the 10th November 1922 in Edmonton, London, England. One brother Derek and a sister, Doreen. Sgt. Tayler and the rest of the crew are listed in the 466 Squadron Operations Record Book.

Sgt. William McDonough. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 157. Son of John and Alice McDonough of Prenton, Cheshire, England.

Sgt. Patrick William John Morrow. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 159. Further information: Son of Francis and Margaretta Morrow of Dunmurry, Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland. Also remembered on the Lisburn War Memorial, Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Many thanks for information on Sgt. Tayler to Derek Tayler, (brother) and Simon Berry. Thanks also to the following for further information supplied: Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol. 1 and 2", Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 4", Commonwealth Graves Commission.

RS 17.05.2020 - Reference to Night Fighter claim added

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
Acknowledgements
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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