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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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No. 100 Squadron
24.12.1943. No. 550 Squadron. Lancaster III ND327 BQ-K Fl/Sgt. Cooper

Operation: Berlin

Date: 24th December 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 550 Squadron (note)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND327

Code: BQ-K (note)

Base: RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Near Fulstow, Lincolnshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. William Richard Cooper 1338065 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Gordon William Claydon 1583071 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Alan Robert Laurence 1395121 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. George William Guest R/162319 RCAFAge 20. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Walter Theobald 1386971 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Anthony Jordan R/187567 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Rawson 1591338 RAFVR Age 31. Killed


Took off from RAF Grimsby on a clear and starlit night for a bombing raid on Berlin. Lancaster III ND327 collided at 12,000 feet with another 550 Squadron aircraft Lancaster III ED730, both Lancasters crashed at 00:40hrs near Fulstow, Lincolnshire - killing all 14 crew. (Lancaster ED730)

Note: Some publications, indeed the CWWG, have this aircraft listed as a 100 Squadron - it has been discovered by Ian Reid, (author of 'To Fly Over Waltham' and 'Lancaster Operations) who contacted us in May 2016 that it was still under 550 Squadron on this date - joining 100 Squadron for this operation.

(1) Guest Creek which flows into Gordon River was renamed after Fl/Sgt. George William Guest in 1974.

Crew funerals - Cambridge Cemetery 1943

Sgt. Laurence, Sgt. Rawson, Sgt. Theobald Croydon War Memorial and Fl/Sgt. Guest Stonewall Memorial, Manitoba, Canada

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. William Richard Cooper. Harrow (St. Mary) Churchyard, Middlesex. Son of Cyril Wright Cooper and Winifred Dorothy Cooper of Harrow. At the time of his death William's address was 2 Pebworth Road, Harrow, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Gordon William Claydon. Walgrave Cemetery, Northamptonshire. Grave 228. Son of William Ridley Berry Claydon and Charlotte Elizabeth Claydon of Walgrave. Gordon is remembered on the Walgrave War Memorial, England.

Sgt. Alan Robert Laurence. Bishop's Hatfield (St. Luke) Churchyard, Hertfordshire. Plot 1. Row 12. Grave 2. Son of Wilfred Allen Laurence and Winifred Louise Laurence of Hatfield. Alan is remembered on the Hatfield War Memorial, England.

Fl/Sgt. George William Guest. Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Grave 13733. Son of Oliver Wilfred and Claribel Guest of Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada. George is remembered on the Stonewall War Memorial, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. Robert Walter Theobald. Malta Memorial, Malta. Panel 9. Column 2. Son of Dorothy Emma Theobald of South Norwood, London. Robert is remembered on the Croydon War Memorial, England.

Sgt. Joseph Anthony Jordan. Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Grave 13933. Son of Frederick James Jordan and Mary Gertrude Jordan (nee Conway) of London, Ontario, Canada. Joseph was born on the 19th July 1922, Kinkora, Perth County, Ontario, Canada. At the time of his death Joseph's address was 1236 Elsmere Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Jack Rawson. Wickersley (St. Alban) Churchyard, Yorkshire. Son of Herbert Arthur and Jessie Rawson. Husband of Connie Rawson of Listerdale. Jack was married in 1940, West Yorkshire, England.

Researched by: Kate Tame for aircrewremembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew

Acknowledgements: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, W.R. Chorley Bomber Command Losses 1943, Australian War Museum, Find a Grave, Croydon Roll of Honour, Manitoba Historical Society, Jill Ashby Hertfordshire Burials and Memorials, Heritage Explorer.

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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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