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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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RAF Crest
23rd October 1942 1 OADU Wellington V HX775 Sgt. Chester

Operation: Deliver Flight

Date: 23rd October 1942 (Friday)

Unit: No. 1446 Ferry Training Flight . No.1 Overseas Air Despatch Unit. 43 Group

Type: Wellington V

Serial: HX775

Code: -

Base: Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire

Location: Las Palmas, Canary Islands.

Pilot: Sgt. John William Chester R/94989 RCAF Age 25. Safe - interned

Pilot: Sgt. Walter Gordon Forsberg R/107547 RCAF Age 19. Safe - interned

Obs: Sgt. Maurice Newton Walker NZ/405348 RNZAF Age 23. Safe - interned

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Hubert Edward Maxwell Howell Aus/400304 RAAF Age 28. Safe - interned

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Donald Drew Gardner Aus/416257 RAAF Age 22. Safe - interned

Air/Gnr: F/O. John Hudson Wilkinson DFC Aus/400444 RAAF Age 27. Safe - interned


Took off from Gibraltar at 03:00 hrs en route to Bathurst, Gambia and then onto England.

During the flight the crew experienced engine problems and were forced to land in neutral territory at Las Palmas, Canary Islands. Before they were interned the crew managed to set fire to the aircraft.

Arrived back in England 15th March 1943 after release in Gibraltar on the 22nd February 1943.

John William Chester - Born 23rd December 1917 at Minto, Manitoba. Enlisted on the 18th April 1941 at Regina. Killed whilst with 30 Operational Training Unit flying Wellington III X3564 on the 03rd September 1943. Buried at Jurby Churchyard (St. Patrick) Isle of Man.
Walter Gordon Forsberg - Born in Saskatchewan in 1923. Enlisted on the 02nd May 1941. Number changed to J/88878 on receiving his commission. Awarded DFC in September 1944 and then a bar in April 1945. Survived the war. Died suddenly in 1964 age 41. Buried at Pioneer Cemetery at Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.
Maurice Newton Walker - Born 26th of November 1919, at Cambridge, New Zealand. Awarded commission 04th September 1944. Survived the war. Died 22nd September 1997, at Hamilton, age 77. Buried Newstead Cemetery, Hamilton.
Hubert Edward Maxwell Howell - Born 22nd January 1914 at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Enlisted on the 18th August 1940. Survived the war. Discharged in May 1945 with the rank of F/O. Died natural causes, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 23rd May 1996, age 82. Springvale Garden of Remembrance and Crematorium, Victoriam Australia.
Donald Drew Gardner - Born 23rd August 1920 at Moonta, South Australia. Discharged March 1945 with rank of Flying Officer. Survived the war. Died natural causes 04th December 2005, age 85.
John Hudson Wilkinson - Born 18th February 1914 at Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia. Enlisted 02nd September 1942. Awarded DFC whilst with 83 Squadron. Gazetted 19th September 1944. Missing believed killed on the 30th August 1944 on Lancaster III PB249. Further details here.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones, National Archives Australia, Auckland Museum, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17-10-2021

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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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