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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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7 squadron crest
25/26.08.1944 7 Squadron Lancaster III NE123 MG:J Sqn Ldr. Ralph C. Chopping

Operation: Brest

Date: 25th/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 7 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: NE123

Code: MG:J

Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire

Location: Exact location unknown, English Channel/Celtic Sea

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Ralph Campbell Chopping DFC 70126 RAFVR Age 29. Missing - believed killed

Flt Eng: Sgt. Arthur John Cherry 1852728 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Fg Off. William Thomas Bolt 155377 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Roy Hensman Munsey 153903 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. William Ross 1354012 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Hugh Stenhouse 430067 RAAF Age 31. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Fg Off. Chester Joseph Francis Marchand 158046 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Page republished on the 25th August 2016 at the request of relatives - this being the 72nd anniversary of the loss of this crew.


Taking off from RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire at 22:24 hrs to illuminate 2 of 8 coastal battery positions at Brest assisting an attack by American bombers. It is understood that they succeeded in their tasks.

334 aircraft (4 from 7 Squadron) taking part with most of the bombing reported to be very accurate.

Two aircraft were lost on this operation the other, Halifax III MZ658 SE:E from 431 Squadron flown by Fg Off. Harrison of the RCAF ran out of fuel and abandoned in Northumberland on return. All the crew survived baling out.

Lancaster III NE123 was lost without trace over the English Channel/Celtic Sea, no nightfighter claims for this aircraft so it could be assumed that it was lost due to anti-aircraft fire from the ground.

Note: NE123 was delivered to 7 Squadron on the 7th May 1944.

Burial Details

Above: Runnymede Memorial panels (archives)

Above: Sqn Ldr. Chopping DFC (courtesy John Chopping)

Sqn Ldr. Ralph Campbell Chopping. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 200. Son of Wasey and Amy Mina Chopping, of Colchester, Essex, England.

Sgt. Arthur John Cherry. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 227. Son of William Arthur and Edith Caroline Cherry, of Crediton, Devon, England.

Fg Off. William Thomas Bolt. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 204. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Fg Off. Roy Hensman Munsey. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 208. Son of Ernest Hensman Munsey and Amy Louisa Munsey, of New Barnet, Hertfordshire, husband of Margaret Sonneva M. Munsey.

Flt Sgt. William Ross. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 222. Born in 1920. Son of William and Helen Ross, of Surbiton, Surrey. Brother to Malcolm Scott and Alexander Richard Ross.

Plt.Off. Alexander Richard Ross 84922 RAFVR, flying Spitfire IIa, P7684 from 610 Sqn failed to return from patrol and combat with Ju88 off the Isle of Wight on the 15th April 1941. Buried in Surbiton Cemetery Section 9, Grave 2675.

Flt Sgt. Hugh Stenhouse. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 261. Born on the 3rd May 1913 in Shipley, England. Son of Alexander Fisher Stenhouse and Lucy Stenhouse, husband of Christina McInnes Stenhouse, of Camberwell, Victoria, Australia.

Above: Fg Off. Marchand (courtesy Carribean Aircrew)

Fg Off. Chester Joseph Francis Marchand. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 207. Born on the 28th April 1920 in Belize City British Honduras. Son of Joseph Luis (Lucio Joseph)and Alice Erica (née Peebles) Marchland from Belize City, British Honduras.

Researched and dedicated to John Chopping and the relatives of this crew, with thanks to the Caribbean Aircrew of WW2, Thanks to Caroline Cook for the Next of Kin details for Flt.Sgt. Ross (Feb 2019). Thanks to John Jones for the NoK details for Fg Off. Marchand (Sep 2021).

RS 08.09.2021 - Update to NoK details for Fg Off. Marchand

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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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