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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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61 squadron badge
14/15.01.1945 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster III LM720 QR-D F/O. Corewyn

Operation: Leuna, Eastern Germany.

Date: 14/15th January 1945 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: LM720

Code: QR-D

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire.

Location: Bard Hill, Salthouse, Norfolk.

Pilot: F/O. William George Corewyn 178520 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Peter Richard Earl 1649851 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Charles Battersby 1545932 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Edward James Boakes 1586951 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Sidney Joseph James 1583124 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Douglas 1373345 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Richardson 1590833 RAFVR Age ? Killed


Took off at 16:30 hrs from Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire to bomb the synthetic oil refinery in Eastern Germany. A total of 573 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes took part in two raids this night. The attacks were classed as very successful causing severe damage throughout the plant. 10 Lancasters were lost on this raid.

Lancaster LM720 carried out the raid and on return to it's base weather conditions worsened and it is thought that this together with a poor wireless transmission advising the crew to divert to Carnaby airfield near Bridlington, Yorkshire are the reasons behind the accident.(built solely for the use of damaged large aircraft, with a single runway - 5 times the normal width and with a length of 9,000 metres.

This airfield also had F.I.D.O.(1) in place to assist during fog.) however for some reason the aircraft headed towards Langham airfield, Norfolk. The aircraft was descending to land in very bad visibility and low cloud when the Lancaster hit a 200 ft.radar mast at Bard Hill, Salthouse, Norfolk at 01:21 hrs. 6 the crew were killed instantly the 7th, Fl/Sgt. Edward Boakes died in hospital at 06:25hrs the same day.

(1) "Fog Intense Dispersal Operation"

Lancaster LM720 Crew (Courtesy of the Earl family)

Left: Sgt. Peter Earl (courtesy of the Earl family) Right: Fl/Sgt. Edward 'Teddy' Boakes (courtesy Sian Boakes)

Photographs supplied by Gerald Cubitt (Salthouse born historian)

The pylon today (courtesy of airfield exchange)

With thanks to Val Fiddian for the use of the information and some photographs in this article. She and her website have been a tremendous help and hope that we are able to assist one another in the future with other Norfolk losses / memorials.

Some of the crew graves (courtesy of Andy Upton)

The private grave of Fl/Sgt. Edward James Boakes (courtesy of Andy Upton)

Burial details:

F/O. William George Corewyn. Dalnottar Cemetery. Sec. K. Grave 11. Son of William George and Annie Leeson Corewyn, of Scotstounhill, Glasgow, Scotland. Grave inscription: 'One Of The Brave Who Answered The Call, For Those He Loved He Gave His All'.

Sgt. Peter Richard Earl. Wells-Next-The-Sea Cemetery. Grave 374. Son of George William and Lizzie Earl, of Mayford, Woking, Surrey, nephew of Mr. R. C. T. Earl, of Knaphill, Woking, England. Grave inscription: 'He Gave His Life For Freedom. Ever Remembered By His Loving Sisters And Brothers, Uncle, Fiancee And Parents'.

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Charles Battersby. Leeds (Lawn Wood) Cemetery Sec. V. Grave 263. Son of Frederick and Louisa Battersby, of Headingley, Leeds, England. Grave inscription: 'Loving Memories Always Of A Dear Son And Brother'.

Fl/Sgt. Edward James Boakes. Churchdown (St. Bartholomew) Churchyard/ S.W of Church. Son of John Henry and Nellie Eva Boakes, of Gloucester, England. Grave inscription: 'E'en As He Trod That Day To God, So Walked He From His Birth; In Simpleness And Gentleness, And Honour And Clean Mind'.

Fl/Sgt. Sidney Joseph James. Broadway (St. Eadburgh) Churchyard. N.W. of Church. Son of Joseph Charles and Annie Elizabeth James, of Broadway, England. Grave inscription: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Him'.

Sgt. John Douglas. Wells-Next-The-Sea Cemetery. Grave 395. Son of J. Douglas and Mary A. Douglas, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Grave inscription: 'On Whose Soul Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy'.

Sgt. Richard Richardson Tadcaster Cemetery Sec. B.7. Row K. Grave 4. No further details available as yet.

With thanks to the following: Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 6", Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2", Martin Middlebrook "Bomber Command War Diaries". Commonwealth Graves Commission. The Salhouse History website in Norfolk. Airfield Information Exchange group. Also thanks to Matt Lacroix and the Earl family for their gracious permission to use the crew photograph together with Sian Boakes relative of Fl/Sgt. Edward James Boakes.

KTY Page updated 13.11.2019

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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