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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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9 squadron badge
22/23.04.1943 No. 9 Squadron Lancaster III ED799 WS-G Sgt. Ralph Brown

Operation: Gardening

Date: 22/23rd April 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED799

Code: WS-G

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. (1)

Location: Bay Of Biscay, just off the Cabo Higuer lighthouse

Pilot: Sgt. Ralph Brown 144183 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed (2)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Albert Storey 650050 RAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. Basil Carey 125672 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Ronald Yarwood Higginson DFM. 47665 RAF Age 22 Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Jenkins 1379148 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ralph James Mitchell Cox 1384385 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Arthur Bland 778988 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed


Took off from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire on a gardening operation to the Furze area (see map) Unable to locate any claims for night fighters and it is possible that it was brought down by flak (see updated report below).

Fl/Lt. Higginson was the 9 Squadron signals leader and had flown previously with 50 Squadron where he earned his DFM. (London Gazette 18th April 1941)

Another aircraft was lost this night, a Wellington X HE291 BH-V flown by Fl/Lt. Eugeniusz Przysiecki from 300 (Polish) Squadron - all crew also lost - all but one body recovered and buried at Escoublac-la-Boule War Cemetery, France.

(1) 9 Squadron had moved to RAF Bardney earlier on the 14th April. But returned to its former base for this operation.

(2) Promoted posthumously to P/O.

It is reported that Ken Dagnall flying Lancaster ED654 was directly behind this aircraft when it was hit, coming down in the Bay Of Biscay, just off the Cabo Higuer lighthouse.

Above: Runnymede memorial panels to each of the crew - high resolution copies are available to relatives of the crew - free of charge (courtesy Andrea Ruddick)

Burial details:

Sgt. Ralph Brown. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 131. Son of Robert Thomas Brown and Margaret Hannah Brown, of Cockton Hill, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham, England, husband of Nora Brown.

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Albert Storey. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 166. Son of Robert and Alice Elizabeth Storey, of Bitterne Park, Southampton, England, husband of Toni Mary Storey.

Nav: F/O. Basil Carey. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 123. No further details currently available.

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Ronald Yarwood Higginson DFM. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 119. Son of Robert and Edith Higginson, husband of Margaret Higginson, of Prestwich, Lancashire, England.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Jenkins. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 155. Son of Henry Alfred and Mary Eleanor Jenkins, husband of Annie Jenkins. of Gateshead, Co. Durham, England.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ralph James Mitchell Cox. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 146. Son of Elsie M. Cox, of Kilburn, Middlesex, England, husband of Phyllis Cox.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Arthur Bland. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 142. Son of Benjamin Adam and Mary Campbell Bland, husband of Ruth Irene Bland of Southern Rhodesia.

Researched for all the relatives of the crew. With special thanks to Debra Woods and the family of Fl/Lt. Ronald Higginson who contacted us in March 2016. Photo's submitted May 2017 with thanks. Also, thanks to Hugh Bland (nephew of Sgt. Joseph Bland) who contacted us in April 2017 - Hugh has researched this loss and may have further information on the loss location. Also, a great many thanks to Andrea Ruddick for her wonderful photographs at the Runnymede Memorial - May 2017. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY 18.03.2016 Map added

KTY 20.04.2017 Photo of Sgt. Bland added

KTY 08.05.2017 Photo of Fl/Lt. Higginson DFM added

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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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