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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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101 Squadron Crest
20/21.01.1942 No. 101 Squadron Wellington IC Z1110 Sgt. P.L. Chapman

Operation: Emden

Date: 20/21st January 1942 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 101 Squadron (motto: Mens agitat molem - "Mind over matter")

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: Z1110

Code: SR-

Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire

Location: North Sea - West Terschelling

Pilot: Sgt. Peter Lewis Chapman 1376923 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed (2)

Pilot: P/O. Colin Hubert Curtis 107980 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Sgt. Alan Herbert Hancox 1256776 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Ernest Dunn 1284969 RAFVR Age 28. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Sidney Spackman 1326356 RAFVR Age 27. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert William Mantle 1388195 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed


Taking off from RAF RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire in the early evening to bomb Emden - 38 aircraft taking part in the operation.

Of the four aircraft that failed to return Oblt. Becker claimed there of them with the fourth claimed by Ofw. Paul Gilner - already a nightfighter ace with 24 claims.

Wellington IC Z1110 was shot down by Oblt. Ludwig Becker (1) of 6./NJG2 at 22:07 hrs.

‘Deadlines’ Author Mike Curtis. ISBN: 9781788033381: Published September 2017 – some 75 years after the death of Pilot Officer Colin Hubert Curtis RAFVR. Paperback with 304 pages. Also available as an E book. Mike Curtis is a freelance journalist and author, but also the nephew of P/O. Colin Hubert Curtis - lost on this aircraft. He worked in local newspapers before joining BBC Radio where he spent more than 30 years as a reporter, presenter, journalism trainer, producer and news editor in local radio and at the Asian Network national radio station. He has had a lifelong interest in aviation. Mike also runs a website ‘Deadlines’.

12) Ludwig Becker was a Luftwaffe ace, but not just any Luftwaffe ace. After his 25th victory his was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on July 1st 1942. He was an important developer of the German night fighter tactics, and he also designed a piece of night fighting equipment. After his 46th victory (all at night) he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross on February 26th 1943. At the same day he left for his 165th sortie. However this time it was a daylight attack with a Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 on a group of American Boeing B-17 bombers. The Me110, Ludwig Becker, and his radar operator sergeant (Oberfeldwebel) Josef Straub were reported missing in action over the North Sea, north of the island of Schiermonnikoog. The portrait shows Ludwig Becker with the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross. That picture is a bit of an enigma, because it was made in Munich! How that could have been made there on the same day the medal was awarded, and knowing that he was shot down at that day 700 kilometres to the north is a bit of a mystery! He was posthumously promoted to captain (Hauptmann) of the reserve.

Above: panels for the crew at Runnymede - courtesy of researcher Andrea Ruddick - available at a higher resolution to relatives.

(left) Sgt. Peter Lewis Chapman. (right) Sgt. Chapman and fellow trainee aircrew (courtesy Julia Botsford)

(1) Sgt Chapman was one of four children. (He had a twin sister and two younger twin brothers). He attended Magnus Grammar School in Newark and on leaving he joined the post office. Although he was in a reserved occupation he joined the RAF as soon as he could after the war started. His father was Head Post Master in Ware, Hertfordshire during the war.

Left: P/O. Colin Hubert Curtis (courtesy Michael Curtis)

Burial details:

Sgt. Peter Lewis Chapman. Runnymede Memorial, panel 80. Born on the 17th July 1922 in Newark, Nottinghamshire. The son of John Lewis and Dora Kate (née Overell) Chapman.

P/O. Colin Hubert Curtis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 69. Born on the 21st July 1919, the son of the Revd. Harold Eaton Curtis and Lilian Estella Curtis, of Wyberton, Lincolnshire, England. (note: the CWGC list his age incorrectly as 24)

Sgt. Alan Herbert Hancox. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 84. Son of Herbert and Maud Hancox, of Southall, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Francis Ernest Dunn. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 82. Born 1914, the son of Ernest Georg and Mirian Dunn (née Upwood of West Ham, London, England.

Sgt. Arthur Sidney Spackman. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 94. Son of Leonard Arthur and Maud Sophia Spackman, of Forest Gate, Essex, England.

Sgt. Herbert William Mantle. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 89. Son of Sydney John and Ella Mantle, of Sittingbourne, Kent, England.

For further details our thanks to Michael Curtis, nephew of P/O. Colin Curtis. Our thanks to Julia Botsford, the niece of Sgt. Chapman for the photographs and additional information. Also to Andrea Ruddick for visiting Runnymede for us and for obtaining further information on some of the crew. With thanks also to the following sources:

RS - 10.10.2018 - Update for Sgt. Chapman

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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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