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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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617 Squadron crest
16/17.05.1943 No. 617 Squadron Lancaster III ED927 AJ-E Fl/Lt. Robert N.G. Barlow DFC. The Dambusters Raid

Operation: Chastise

Date: 16/17th May 1943 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 617 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED927

Code: AJ-E

Base: RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.

Location: Haldern, 4 km ENE of Rees

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Robert Norman George Barlow DFC AUS/401899 RAAF Age 31. Killed

Fl/Eng: P/O. Samuel Leslie Whillis 144619 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Nav: F/O. Philip Sydney Burgess 124881 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Alan Gillespie DFM 144205 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Charles Rowland Williams DFC AUS/405224 RAAF Age 34. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Harvey Sterling Glinz J/10212 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Robert George Liddell 1338282 RAFVR Age 18. Killed

We are anxious to trace all relatives of the crew as a new Memorial is planned for May 2015.


Taking off from RAF Scampton and headed for the Sorpe Dam. Crashed 23.50 hrs. after colliding with high-tension cables at Haldern, 4 km. ENE of Rees. Bodies of the crew were taken to the Nordfriedhof at Dusseldorf, their graves are now in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. All had previously flown with 61 Squadron, their awards, in descending order of crew, being published on May 14th 1943 and July 20th 1945.

Not the crew of ED927 as thought by the relatives of Phil Burgess, probably taken during his training days. (courtesy John Wright via Bill Dick)

                                                                          Left: Sgt. Jack Liddell (courtesy Eric Rundle) Right: F/O. Philip Burgess (courtesy John Wright via Bill Dick)



Newspaper article: Sgt. Jack Robert George Liddell (courtesy Eric Rundle) 

Note: The Upkeep weapon from this Lancaster was captured intact. In 1993, Eric Fry wrote an account of F/O. Williams RAAF service under the title “An Airman Far Away”. (shown left) This was published in Australia by Kangaroo Press Pty and distributed in the United Kingdom by Gazelle Book Services Ltd. Available from Amazon and others. ISBN-13: 978-0864175014

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Robert Norman George Barlow DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.C.9. Son of Alexander and Frances May and husband of Audrey May Barlow of St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia.

P/O. Samuel Leslie Whillis. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.C.6. Son of Charles and Edith Whillis of Newcastle-On-Tyne and husband of Gladys Winifred Whillis of Fenham, Newcastle-On-Tyne, England.

F/O. Philip Sydney Burgess. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.C.7. Son of Willis and Marie Burgess.

P/O. Alan Gillespie DFM. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.C.10. Son of Robert and Margaret Gillespie of Carlisle, England.

F/O. Charles Rowland Williams DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.C.11. Son of Horace Edward and Hedwig Helena Williams of Torren Creek, Queensland, Australia.

F/O. Harvey Sterling Glinz. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 5.C.8. Son of Ernest Sterling and Pearl Emily Glinz of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. Jack Robert George Liddell. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 4.C.5. Further information: Son of Robert Hardinge and Winnifred Lillian Liddell and brother of Sheila Fenwick (nee Liddell) of Weston Super Mare, Somerset, England. Jack enlisted aged 17 on 30th May 1941, keeping his true age a secret and achieved his own personal goal of becoming an airman. He was the youngest fatality of this operation.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Special thanks to Eric Rundle for uniformed photo and details of Sergeant Liddell. William Bird from Australia. John Wright and family.

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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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