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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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199 Squadron Crest
13/14.02.1943 No. 199 Squadron Wellington III X3870 EX-S F/O. John M. Bell

Operation: Lorient - U-Boat pens

Date: 13/14th February 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 199 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3870

Code: EX-S

Base: RAF Blyton, Lincolnshire

Location: Target area - Lorient, France

Pilot: F/O. John Morling Bell 121435 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Obs: Fl/Sgt. Elwyn Knowles Jones 1062590 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Harold Eunson Woodruff 1190385 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Robert Joseph Keyes J/9738 RCAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Easey 1331999 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Arthur Cowie DFM 45949 RAF Age 25. Killed


Leaving RAF Blyton at 17:30 hrs - on an operation to bomb the town of Lorien, with 164 Lancasters, 140 Wellingtons, 96 Halifaxes and 66 Stirlings on the largest operation to this area of the war. Weather was good with clear visability, 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped causing further damage to the town -

Some 11 aircraft were lost, some victims of the Luftwaffe night fighters, others by the fierce anti aircraft fire, as was this Wellington X3870. Two aircraft collided on return, with another hitting a barrage balloon crashing off Plymouth in Devon.

Burial details:

Grave photographs taken by our Senior research editor Kate Tame during her visit in 2014 - any relative wishing for a higher resolution copy of a grave we would be happy to supply you free of charge.

F/O. John Morling Bell. Guidel Communal Cemetery. Row 5. Grave 4. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Elwyn Knowles Jones. Guidel Communal Cemetery. Row 5. Grave 2. Son of David and Ellen Jones, of Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales.

Fl/Sgt. Harold Eunson Woodruff. Guidel Communal Cemetery. Row 5. Grave 5. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Woodruff, of Alvaston, Derby, England.

F/O. Robert Joseph Keyes. Guidel Communal Cemetery. Row 5. Grave 6. Son of Robert James Keyes and Regina De Sales Keyes, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Born on the 02nd March 1918 and joined the RCAF on the 16th November 1940.

Sgt. George Easey. Guidel Communal Cemetery. Row 5. Grave 1. Son of George and Millicent Easey, of Laxfield, Suffolk, England.

Trevor Revell wrote to us regarding George:

"Just a couple of things I remember which are not relevant to air crew remembered but I will share with you are.
On the night of 13 February 1943 my dad took Georges bicycle to Halesworth railway station ready for him to come home on leave sometime after. Dad told me it was a very bright moonlit night and he kept thinking to himself how George had told him he did not like flying on moonlight nights.
The other thing was, that amused dad. Puddy (George) when home, spent a lot of time at dads house and on one visit he said to my Grandmother. "Mrs Revell would you like some nice apples from our orchard"?
She said "Puddy I would love some apples".
The next day he arrived at the gate on his bicycle with a large branch full of apples slung over his shoulder, claiming he didn't have time to pick them"!

Fl/Lt. Arthur Cowie DFM. Guidel Communal Cemetery. Row 5. Grave 3. Son of Archibald and Minnie Cowie, husband of Margaret Joyce Cowie, of Low Fell, Gateshead, Co. Durham, England. Fl/Lt. Cowie was the Squadrons Air Gunner leader.

Researched for Carol Watson niece of Fl/Sgt. Woodruff. Kate Tame for grave photographs. Also to Trevor Revell for photograph of Sgt. Easey - April 2019. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

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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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