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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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10 Squadron Crest
18.12.1944 No. 10 Squadron Halifax III LV818 ZA-F Fl/Lt. Body

Operation: Duisberg

Date: 18th December 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 10 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LV818

Coded: ZA-F

Location: Rocroi, Ardennes, France.

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Deller Body 100086 RAFVR Age 27. Missing

Co/Pilot: Fl/Lt. Noel Curtis Tatam 39695 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Esmond Nicholson 1057527 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. John Henry Waldron 156776 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. William Hewison Leese J/92069 RCAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op: F/O. Douglas John Mole 168506 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Forshaw Matthews 1065498 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Ernest Mawson 2210542 RAFVR Age ? Killed


On the outward leg, just after 06:00hrs, in the vicinity of Rocroi, Ardennes, France, Halifax Mk VII NP699 QO-O of 432 Squadron RCAF collided with Halifax Mk III LV818 ZA-F of 10 Squadron RAF.

Both aircraft fell to earth, with fourteen of the fifteen crew on board killed.

The one survivor was F/O. Max Krakovsky, RCAF, the Pilot of NP699, landed safely by parachute near Bruly, Belgium. Max became a friend of David Mole but sadly he passed away recently. (The loss of NP699 also covered on this website)

A painting of LV818 by J.R. Taylor which David Mole commissioned

French women sitting on the wreckage of LV818

On the morning of the crash, six bodies were recovered by the Americans and buried in an American Cemetery at Fosse, near Namur, Belgium. A short time afterwards another four bodies were recovered, again by the Americans and buried in an American Cemetery at Champigneul, Marne, France. In late 1945 a further body was recovered and buried in the Communal Cemetery at Taillette, Ardennes, France, by the local Civil Authorities. A further body was found in 1948, and again buried in Taillette Communal Cemetery by the Local Authorities. In 1951 a body was found near Sevigny-la-Foret, Ardennes, France, and buried in the local Churchyard by the Commune.

After the War the bodies at Fosse were exhumed, identified, and re-buried at Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Belgium. The bodies from Champigneul were exhumed, identified where possible, then the two Canadians were re-buried at Dieppe Canadian Cemetery and the One British plus one un-identified were re-buried at Clichy New Communal Cemetery, near Paris, France. The body from Sevigny-la-Foret was exhumed in 1953, identified, and re-buried at Choloy Military Cemetery, France.

Above the original burial site at Fosse - the two grave markers shown are that of Fl/Lt Tatam Noel Curtis and Sgt. Matthews Kenneth Forshaw prior to moving them to Leopoldsburg.

The original marker for Douglas Mole and the new CWGC Gravestone.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Deller Body. Runnymede Memorial Panel 201. Next of kin details unknown, are you able to assist? Date of birth 30th June 1917.

Fl/Lt. Noel Curtis Tatam. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery VIII. B.9. Son of John Alfred and Essylt Gladys Tatam, husband of Kathleen Ethel Tatam of Barnwell, Northampronshire (A.M.I. Mech Eng), England. Grave inscription reads: "They Left All That Was Dear To Them. God Grant Grace".

Sgt. Esmond Nicholson. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 10. Grave 11. Son of John and Jessie Nicholson of Shildon, County Durham, husband of Joan Nicholson, Shildon. Grave inscription reads: "In Al His Lyf Un-To No Maner Wight He Was A Verray Parfit Gentil Knight".

F/O. John Henry Waldron. Taillette Communal Cemetery. Son of Henry Waldron and of Florence Waldron of Far Forest, Worcestershire, England. Grave inscription reads: "For God So Loved The World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son...".

P/O. William Hewison Leese. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery VIII. B.10. Son of Robert Vernon Leese and Mary Adeline Leese of Powell River, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "They Are Not Dead, Nor Sleep; They Have Awakened From The Dream Of Life".

F/O. Douglas John Mole. Taillette Communal Cemetery. Son of Albert Edward and Violet Mole, husband of Lilian Mole of East Boldon, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Him".

Sgt. Kenneth Forshaw Matthews. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery VIII. B.8. Son of Samual and Maggie Matthews of Wigan, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "To Be With Him, In His Kingdom Will Be His Reward".

Sgt. William Ernest Mawson. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery VIII. A.20. Next of kin details unknown, are you able to assist?

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to David Mole, son of F/O. Douglas John Mole for the research he has carried out on this and other losses and also for the use of many of the photographs used on this article. With many thanks to the many relatives who have assisted him and who continue to do so. Also to David Body, nephew of Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Deller Body for photograph of his Uncle. Latest contributions - the photo of Sgt. William Ernest Mawson sent in by his niece Hazel Syme. Sgt. Kenneth Forshaw Matthews's photo courtesy of his brother, Mr. Wycliffe Matthews.

KTY Updated 13.02.2019

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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', 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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