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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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No 9 Squadron
8/9.08.1941 9 Squadron Wellington Ic T2973 WS-G Sgt. Bernard George Pitt

Operation: Munster, Germany

Date: 8/9th July 1941 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: T2973

Code: WS-G

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: Willich near Krefeld, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Bernard George Pitt 748000 RAFVR Age 21 Killed

2nd Pilot: Sgt. John Arthur Grady 401268 RNZAF Age 19 Killed (1)

Obs: Sgt. Henry Thomas Barrett 754552 RAFVR Age 22 Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Fred Gilby 939525 RAFVR Age 21 Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Marvin Edson Burtis R65505 RCAF Age 23 Killed (2)

Air Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Ray Rawlings 938396 RAFVR Age? Killed (3)


Took off at 32.31hrs from RAF Honington on an operation to bomb Munster. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft after take-off. Reports that an aircraft was coned by 2&3 Res Flakscheinw Abt 250 and 12/III Flakscheinw Abt 611. Hit by 1 Res Flak Abt 541 and 5 Res Flak Abt 233. The aircraft crashed at Willich near Krefeld, Germany (Nachtjagd Combat Archives Part 1-1941).

A total of 51 Wellington aircraft were detailed for this operation. Reports state that large fires were claimed in the railway station area of the city and much damage was caused

RAF Honington (courtesy Fold3) Wellington aircraft of No 9 Squadron (courtesy National Library of New Zealand)

A map showing the area of the crash of Wellington T2973

The city of Munster after a bombing attack (courtesy Library and Archives Canada) Rheinberg War Cemetery (courtesy CWGC)

Photograph of what appears to be group of airmen recruits as their forage caps do not have the light coloured flash signifying aircrew trainees and they were all Aircraftman (AC). AC Gilby is front row 1st from the left (Courtesy Neil Evans)

A collection of memorabilia for Sgt. Fred Gilby (Courtesy Neil Evans)

Burial details:

Sgt. B.G. Pitt, Sgt. F Gilby (both courtesy James Loof) Sgt. J.A. Grady (courtesy Online Cenotaph, Auckland War Memorial Museum)

Sgt. Bernard George Pitt. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 6. B. 15-17. Son of Frank and Madge Pitt. Husband of Marjorie Pitt of Hull.

Sgt. John Arthur Grady. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 6. B. 15-17. Son of Arthur and May Gertrude Grady of Rongotea, Wellington, New Zealand (1) John is remembered on the War Memorial in Palmerston North.

Sgt. Henry Thomas Barrett. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. B. 12. Son of Henry and Jessie Barrett of Stanford-le-Hope, Essex.

Sgt. Fred Gilby. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 6. B. 15-17. Son of Arthur and Edith Gilby of Hull.

Sgt. Marvin Edson Burtis (courtesy Globe and Mail 3 October, 1941) Democracy at War, Canadian War Museum.

Sgt. Marvin Edson Burtis. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. B. 13. Son of George Wallace and Isobel M Burtis. (2) Marvin was born on the 21st July 1917 in Edmonton and enlisted in 1940.

Sgt. Douglas Ray Rawlings. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. B. 14. No further information on next of kin. (3) Douglas is remembered in the Highbury County School book of remembrance and in the book of remembrance at St. Mary and St. Cuthbert Church, Chester-le Street, Durham.

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Thanks to John Jones for the Nachtjagd Combat Archives Part 1-1941 information. Thanks to Neil Evans for the images for Sgt. Gilby.

RS 23.06.2020 - Update for Sgt. Gilby

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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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