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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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166 Squadron crest
28/29.04.1943 No. 166 Squadron Wellington X HZ278 AS-N P/O. Lawrence M. Clark

Operation: Gardening (Link)

Date: 28/29th April 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 166 Squadron

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HZ278

Code: AS-N

Base: R.A.F. Kirmington, Lincolnshire

Location: Saedden, Denmark

Pilot: P/O. Lawrence Maurice Clark J/20082 R.C.A.F. Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. David Edward Giles R/123266 R.C.A.F. Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. John Anthony Dalton J/20887 R.C.A.F. Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Hugh Archibald MacEachern R/104348 R.C.A.F. Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. H.R. Fisher R.C.A.F. P.O.W. No: 1066 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg-Elbe


Took off at 20.49 hrs to lay mines in a massive Gardening operation – laying mines to create a coastal blockade. These operation were usually carried out at low level which made it hard for the Luftwaffe night fighters to intercept. 

It did mean however they were extremely vulnerable to flak units.

During the operation 6 Mosquitoes attacked Wilhelmshaven, dropping many flares as a diversion for this raid

This operation proved to be the highest percentage loss to Bomber Command during mine laying of the war. 9 aircraft were shot down by night fighters and a further 13 destroyed by the multi barrel flak. 7 other aircraft were also damaged but managed to return home. It was also the heaviest mine dropping mission of the war with 207 aircraft taking part.

A total of 145 aircrew were killed, 4 others were made pow.

It is believed that Wellington HZ278 was one of the marine flak victims when on it’s return journey it was hit and crashed into the sea near Esbjerg at 01.04 hrs.


Lawrence Clark, shown on the right during training in Calgary we understand – do you recognise the chap on the left? (courtesy Larry Luckham)


P/O. Lawrence Maurice Clark (courtesy Larry Luckham)


Funerals of the crew (courtesy Larry Luckham)



Crew graves (Courtesy Peter Lund via Larry Luckham)

Burial details:

P/O. Lawrence Maurice Clark. Esbjerg Cemetery Grave A.10.2. Son of Mr and Mrs A.B. Clark, 1401 North Mansfield Avenue, Hollywood 28, California. U.S.A.

Fl/Sgt. David Edward Giles. Esbjerg Cemetery Grave A.11.1. Son of David Ernest and Sarah Isabella Giles, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. John Anthony Dalton. Esbjerg Cemetery Grave A.10.3. Merritt, British Columbia, Canada. N.o.K details currently not available – are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Fl/Sgt. Hugh Archibald MacEachern. Esbjerg Cemetery Grave A.10.1. Son of John (Joseph) and Margaret Campbell MacEachern of Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.

For Larry Luckham – nephew of P/O. Clark who supplied us with all the photographs used on the page of remembrance, also to Elizabeth MacEachern for next of kin information on Fl/Sgt. Hugh Archibald MacEachern and dedicated to all relatives of the crew. Larry has a more extensive website covering P/O. Lawrence Clark, including copies of the log book. 

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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