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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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463 Squadron Crest
06/07.11.1944 No. 463 Squadron Lancaster I NG191 JO-A F/O. Austin

Operation: Gravenhorst

Date: 06/07th November 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 463 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NG191

Code: JO-A

Base: RAF Waddington

Location: Hambüren, Germany

Pilot: F/O. James Austin AUS/419452 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Tonks 1569087 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Stanley Rodgers 153910 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Emile Rene Lucien Maria Ameye 1424918 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Herbert Vincent Ellens AUS/424397 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Dennis Aubrey Holmes 1576329 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Baggaley 1492185 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Previous to this, on the 19th September 1944 after returning from an operation to Bremerhaven this crew on Lancaster III LM683 (without Fl/Sgt. Tonks) crash landed at 23:36 hrs at Bracebridge Heath Airfield in Lincolnshire - all the crew escaped injury.

Taking off at 16:50 hrs from the Squadrons base at RAF Waddington along with 234 other Lancasters from 3 Group to try and cut the Mittelland Canal at its junction with the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Gravenhorst. The markers found great difficulty finding the target with only 31 aircraft bombing, before the master Bomber ordered the operation to be abandoned - still, 10 Lancasters were lost!

No night fighter claims can be established for its lost. It appears from No. 4 Missing Research and Enquiries Unit in a report dated 25th June 1948 that Fl/Sgt. Emile Rene Lucien Maria Ameye, a Belgian national, baled out from the aircraft, but too low and was killed. The remaining crew remained in the aircraft until it crashed at approximately 19:00 hrs at Hambüren - with a full bomb load. There was very little left within the crater but the crews remains were collected by French PoWs and buried initially at Velpe.

The Squadron lost 4 aircraft during this operation, the others:

Lancaster I NF990 JO-Q Flown by 20 year old, F/O. Cyril Joseph Lynch AUS/424270 RAAF from Albury, NSW, Australia, taken PoW along with 4 other crew, 1 was killed in the crash with another dying later of his injuries.
Lancaster NG256 Flown by Sq/Ldr D.J. Sullivan crash landed the aircraft on return - no injuries to the crew reported.
Lancaster PD311 Flown by 23 year old, F/O. Peter John Powell AUS/422394 RAAF from Lindfield NSW, Australia - killed with all 6 other crew members.

Burial details:

F/O. James Austin. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 24.G.11-12. Born on the 24th August 1920 in Melbourne the son of Frank and Agnes Margaret Austin, of Lara, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "He Lived For Others He Died To Make A Better World.”

Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Tonks. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 24.G.11-12. Son of Edward and Clara Louisa Tonks, of Wingate, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription read “Kenneth. Dear Son of Edward and Louisa Tonks of Wingate, Co. Durham. England.”

F/O. Stanley Rodgers. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 24.G.11-12. Son of Oscar Bramwell Rodgers and Gertrude Rodgers, of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. Grave inscription reads “Thy Will Be Done.”

Fl/Sgt. Emile Rene Lucien Maria Ameye. Brussels Town Cemetery Belgian Airmen's Field Of Honour. Row 2. Grave 3.At the time of outbreak of the war he was studying to be a physician - ordered by the Belgian Government to mobilise and then sent to Canada for flight crew training. Born in Roeselare on the 17th July 1922, the son of Raphaël A.F.K. Ameye and Lutgarde C.J.E. Jaecques (+ 1975). This couple had two children, Emile and Marie Elise. Marie Elise became a piano teacher in Roeselare and was never married. She died in 1984. Emile's grandfather, also named Emile, was a physician in Roeselare.

F/O. Herbert Vincent Ellens. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 24.G.11-12. Born on the 27th September 1923 at Coogee NSW, the son of Herbert Vincent and Ellen Veronica Ellens, of Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: “ Duty and His Noble Spirit Led Him Here.”

Sgt. Dennis Aubrey Holmes. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 24.G.11-12. No further details, are you able to assist?

Sgt. Joseph Baggaley. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 24.G.11-12. Son of Joseph and Evelyn Baggaley, of Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, England. Grave inscription reads “Tread Softly Here, To Me This Ground Is Sacred. May He Rest In Peace.”

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Mitch Buiting for grave photograph at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery - Mitch does some incredible work remembering aircrews and sending photographs of graves to distant relatives. Thanks also to Dirk Ameye who contacted us in June 2017 with further details on Fl/Sgt. Ameye. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY - 09.02.2017

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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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