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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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51 crest
51 Squadron Whitley VII Z9153 P/O. Arthur H.S. Brown

Operation: Patrol

Date: 16th October 1942 (Friday)

Unit: No. 51 Squadron (motto: 'Swift and Sure'). 4 Group. Coastal Command

Type: Whitley VII

Serial: Z9153

Code: MH-?

Base: RAF Chivenor, Devon

Location: Bay of Biscay

Pilot: P/O. Arthur Hugh Steyning Brown Aus/404867 RAAF Age 27. Missing - beleverd killed

Pilot: Sgt. Reuben John Benn 701008 RAF Age 24. Missing - beleverd killed

Obs: Sgt. Ronald Smith Fielding 655280 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - beleverd killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Philip Marsden Jones 1052291 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - beleverd killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Jack Vage Kerr 959887 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - beleverd killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Andrew Arthur Gillies 636033 RAFVR Age? Missing - beleverd killed


At 10:00 hrs. on the 16th October, 1942 Whitley Z9133 took off, for an antisubmarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 15:16 hrs. a signal was received from the aircraft reporting it was being attacked by enemy fighters.

No further communication was received and the aircraft and crew members are assumed lost at sea.

Above: Jack Kerry and fellow trainees believed to be taken at what we believe during Air Gunner training in 1941. In case other relatives may be able to identify them we have included their signatures at the end of this report.

(courtesy Wendy Kerr)

Earlier on the 11th June 1942 Whitley Z9201 flown by the same two pilots was involved in an overshoot of the airfield when stationed at RAF Dishforth. All four crew were injured and the aircraft was badly damaged.

Understood to have been jointly claimed by Lt. Dieter Meister and Lt. Kurt Necesany with the Whitley coming down in the Bay of Biscay at 16:14 hrs.

Oblt. Dieter Meister was shot down and killed on the 21st of November 1944. Lt. Kurt Necesany missing on the 15th of February 1944.

Burial details:

P/O. Arthur Hugh Steyning Brown. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 111. Born on the 18th May 1915 at Marlborough, Queensland. Worked as an insurance clerk prior to service. Enlisted at Brisbane on the 28th of September 1940. Joined 51 squadron from 19 Operational Training Unit on the 16th January 1942. Son of Frank Henry and Maude Eleanor Brown, of Maryborough, Queensland, Australia

Pilot: Sgt. Reuben John Benn. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 78. Son of Augustus and Gertrude Alice Benn, of Aldershot, Hampshire, England.

Obs: Sgt. Ronald Smith Fielding. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 83. Son of Benjamin and Edith Maud Fielding, of Cliviger, Lancashire, England.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Philip Marsden Jones. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 87. Son of John Percy and Lillian Jones, of Llandudno, Caernarvonshire, Wales.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Jack Vage Kerr. (shown left) Runnymede Memorial. Panel 75. Also remembered Church of Christ at RAF Cosford. Born on the 20th July 1921 at Howden, Yorkshire. Worked as a clerk prior to service. Enlisted on the 09th April 1940. Also served with 142 squadron before joining 51 on the 09th October 1941. Son of Robert Campbell and Dinah Kerr. Husband of Olive Kerr (née Fryer - later Bateman) of 36 Albert Road, Albrighton, Shropshire, England. Brother of Robert, Richard and Dinah.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Andrew Arthur Gillies. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 74. No further details, are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Wendy Kerr for her extensive details on her uncle Fl/Sgt. Jack Kerr, Australian National Archives, Kracker Archives, other sources as quoted below:

The rear of training photo:

KTY 04-01-2022

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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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