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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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156 Squadron Crest
08/09.06.1944 No. 156 Squadron Lancaster III ND340 W/Cdr. Richard J. Burrough

Operation: Rennes

Date: 08/09th June 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 156 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND340

Code: GT-?

Base: RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire

Location: As above - returned

Pilot: W/Cdr. Richard James Burrough 33107 RAF Age 30. (1)

Fl/Eng: F/O. I.J. Fawcett RAFVR

Nav: W/O. Arthur Everest 1108727 RAFVR (1)

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Charles Ireland Hicks 182630 RAFVR (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. H.F. Jamieson RAFVR

Air/Gnr: Sgt. L.W. Crosskill RAFVR

Air/Gnr: W/O. John Egan 1098073 RAFVR (1)


Taking off from RAF Upwood in Cambridgeshire at 00:20 hrs to bomb the Rail facilities at Rennes, other aircraft from the squadron were detailed to bomb the airfield at Le Mans. Further squadrons (total of 483 aircraft) attacked various other towns and strategic points (Alençon, Fougères, Mayenne, Pontabault) to slow German troops reacting to the Normandy invasion.

At 02:43 hrs a green TI (Target Indicator) was seen some distance from the target which may have been a decoy, a yellow I followed at about 3 miles south of the green.

According to the squadrons operation records Lancaster ND340 the target was reached at 02:51 hrs when they commenced bombing.

During their first run in they heard the ‘Master Bomber’ inform the main force they were overshooting the target so they orbited again and then bombed on the next run. Bombing was well concentrated. The aircraft was then hit by flak with the result that the bomb doors could not be closed due to hydraulic damage. The starboard inner and port outer engines also were damaged, these were feathered over the target. Despite the problems they managed to return to base. Bomb load was 16 x 500 lb general purpose and 2 x 500 GPLD (General Purpose, Long Delay)

Lancaster ND340 at RAF Moreton Valance near Gloucester in 1948.

(1) W/Cdr. Burrough was later awarded the DFC on the 27th February 1945. He took command of 128 Squadron in September 1944. On the 17th December 1954 took up instructor duties at RAF Bridgnorth - retired from the RAF on the 12th January 1958. His wife, Veronica (nèe Steuart-Gratton) passed away on 3rd March 2009 - they had 3 daughters, Tish, Deborah, Priscilla and Gina. W/O. Everest received DFC on the same date. Sgt. Hicks - commissioned in November 1944 received the DFC on the 17th July 1945. W/O. Egan received his on the 16th January 1945, then a bar to the DFC on 13th November 1945.

Further Information:

Monday 13th December 1954 - Wing Commander Burroughs takes Command of No. 7 School of recruit training at RAF Bridgnorth, Salop. Educated at St. Pauls School and the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, Lincolnshire. He emerged with a permanent commission in 1934. Flew with No. 31 Squadron (Army Co-operation - Westland Wapiti) at Quetta and Karachi between 1935 - 1938. Later ho took a photographic specialist course, serving in the United Kingdom and then returned to India. For six months from October 1941 he commanded No. 225 Squadron (Army Co-operation - Westland Lysander Mk.III).

Flying duties with RAF Bomber Command occupied him between 1943 and 1945 during which period he flew in Lancasters of No 156 Squadron (Pathfinder) based at Upwood in Huntingdonshire.

In September 1944 he joined the ‘block-buster’ carrying No. 128 Squadron (Mosquito) on its formation at Wyton, Huntingdonshire and with this squadron won the DFC for his part in a low level bombing attack on the mouths of the Cochem Tunnel - an important tunnel south of Koblenz.

Later in 1945, Wing Commander Burrough began his third tour of duty in India, on staff duties with the RAF Transport Command and as officer commanding a RAF air trooping terminal.

Between 1946 and 1947 he commanded No. 246 and 511 Squadrons of Transport Command (Douglas C-54 Skymaster). In 1948 took the course at the RAF Staff College.

Returning yet again to the East in 1949, Wing Commander Burrough served in the combined operations room at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya and on staff duties with the Malayan Auxillary Air Force until 1951 when he joined the Air Ministry in London.

He lived at Downs Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, England.

Burial details:

None - all survived.

With thanks to James Gratton - relative of W/Cdr. Burroughs. Also many thanks to Gwynne Chadwick for his valuable assistance provided to me in December 2015. Gwynne runs the great RAF Bridgnorth website. Sources as quoted below.

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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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