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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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115 Squadron crest
14/15.09.1942 No. 115 Squadron Wellington III BJ693 KO-J P/O. F. Boaden

Operation: Wilhelmshaven

Date: 14/15th September 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 115 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BJ693

Code: KO-J

Base: RAF Marham, Norfolk

Location: Jade Estuary (Jadebusum) Germany.

Pilot: P/O. Frank Bruce Boaden NZ/411852 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Kenneth John Warner NZ/413162 RNZAF Age 20. Killed (2)

Obs: P/O. Frank Gordon Roy Jeffries 118894 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Laurence Arthur Shepherd 1430261 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank John Sears 1260920 RAFVR Age 25. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Arthur Roberts 1336016 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed


Took off at 19:58 hrs from RAF Marham in Norfolk to bomb the city of Wilhelmshaven. A total of 202 aircraft took part in this operation.

Pathfinder marking was accurate and the city reported the worst raid of the war to date. Mainly civilian housing and the city centre were hit the hardest. 77 people reported as killed on the ground and a further 50 injured.

Three aircraft were lost on this operation, the others:
From 12 Squadron, Wellington II Z8505 PH-F piloted by Fl/Sgt. Herbert Howard Lloyd Pryce 1382989 RAFVR and his 4 crew members were all killed - shot down probably by Uffz. Heinz Vinke (1) of 5./NJG 2 based at Leeuwarden.
218 Squadron Stirling N3725 HA-D piloted by F/O. John C. Frankcomb was killed along with 5 crew members (2 survived, injured) when an engine failed over the target area. They managed to return on three engines, but on final approach the starboard outer lost power and the Stirling spun into the ground at 00.55 hrs east of Stoke Ferry, Norfolk.

Wellington BJ693 was probably shot down by marine flak and crashed into the Jade Estuary at 23:15 hrs. Although other reports state that they suffered engine failure during the return trip and either ditched or crashed in the North Sea.

(1) Uffz. Heinz Vinke after a massive 52 claims went missing on the 28th February 1944 some 15 km. north west of Dunkirk after being shot down by two typhoon's of 198 Squadron (Fl/Lt. Cheval L'Allemand and F/O. George Hardy)

(2) The body of Sgt. Sears was washed ashore on the 12th October, whilst the body of Sgt. Shepherd was washed ashore later in October near Hjerpsted, Sgt. Warner was recovered in October and buried at Kiel.

Burial details:

P/O. Frank Bruce Boaden. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 115. Also remembered on the Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories, Auckland Grammar School War Memorial, New Zealand. Son of Richard James Boaden and of Agnes Hood Boaden (née Findlay), of Ellerslie, Auckland, New Zealand. 398 Flying hours logged and on his 17th Operational sortie.

Sgt. Kenneth John Warner. Esbjerg Fourfelt Cemetery. Grave A111.9.13. Son of Hugh Douglas and Florence Warner, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

P/O. Frank Gordon Roy Jeffries. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 70. Son of Frank and Florence Rose Jeffries and husband of Edna Agnes Jeffries, of Crayford, Kent, England.

Sgt. Laurence Arthur Shepherd. Esbjerg Fourfelt Cemetery. Grave A111.9.18. Son of Sidney and Elizabeth L. Shepherd, of Sheffield, nephew and ward of Ethel Shepherd, of Pitsmoor, Sheffield, England.

Sgt. Frank John Sears. Kiel War Cemetery. Grave 4.H.2. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Sears, husband of Daisy M. Sears, of Highbury, London, England.

Sgt. Herbert Arthur Roberts. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 92, Son of Herbert John and Dorothy Mabel Roberts, of Crowhurst, Surrey, England.

Researched for Barbara Jephcoat, the mother of Roger L. Jephcoat who is the cousin of Sgt. Shepherd. With thanks to sources as shown below.

RS - 08.06.2019 - Correction to acknowledgment paragraph

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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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