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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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Bomber Command Crest
23.08.1941 20 OTU Wellington Ic R1622 Sgt. Bagnall

Operation: Training

Date: 23rd August 1941 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 20 Operational Training Unit

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: R1622

Code: Not issued

Base: RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland

Location: North Sea

Pilot (Inst): Sgt. Trevor Horace Bagnall NZ/40640 RNZAF Age 26. Survived - Injured

Pilot U/T: Sgt. Richard Lyle Killen AUS/402661 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Pilot U/T: Sgt. Ronald Frank Lawrence 1376060 RAFVR Age 25. Survived - Injured (note)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alan Thompson 1379144 RAFVR Age 30. Killed


Taking off from RAF Lossiemouth on a night flying practice exercise.

Shortly afterwards the aircraft clipped the roof of a hanger which removed the Pitot Head (1). The cause of very slow rate of climb was that the flaps had been set in the incorrect position. It is not known which pilot was flying at the time.

The crew were then forced to ditch the aircraft at around 01:05 hrs. Two of the crew were either killed during this or drowned. The body of Sgt. Killen was recovered near Helmsdale at the end of November.

Records show that Sgt. Trevor Bagnall was hospitalised from the 24th August until the 17th September.

Note: We have found details on one Sgt. Ronald Frank Lawrence who was killed in 1942. Then we found another mentioned in the London Gazette dated 16th June 1959 where a Fl/Lt. Ronald Frank Lawrence 4065522 is mentioned regarding promotion. (However, that service number relates to ATC so probably not the right one)

(1) Pitot Head - used in aircraft to measure airspeed.

Burial details:

Sgt. Richard Lyle Killen. Kiltearn Parish Churchyard Sec. 1. Grave 55. Born on the 30th May 1920 at Forbes, the son of Edward Cecil Lyle Killen and Bessie Marie Killen, of Benerembah, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription: "He Died For Freedom Honour His Memory".

Sgt. Alan Thompson. South Shields Churchyard (St. Simon, Simonside). Grave 811. Son of Thomas William Thompson, and of Mary Ann Thompson, of Simonside, South Shields. Husband of Beatrice Thompson, of Simonside, England. Grave inscription: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Him".

At a later date:

W/O. Trevor Horace Bagnall. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 117. Born on the 11 November 1916 at Palmerston, the son of Henry Gordon Bagnall, and of Maud Janetta Bagnall (née Ames), of Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand. A clerk working for Bagnall and Keeble prior to service. A total of 1015 flying hours logged and completed 30 operational sorties (with 40 and 75 Squadron). Missing - believed killed on the 18th December 1942 whilst with 75 (NZ) Squadron. Further details here.

Sgt. Ronald Frank Lawrence. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 87. Son of Louis Frank and Edith Lawrence, of Norwood, Surrey, England. The husband of Constance Lawrence. 26 year old Sgt. Lawrence 1376060 RAFVR was listed as missing believed killed with 101 Squadron on the 09th March 1942.

Researched 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 War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 22.08.2019

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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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