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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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15 Squadron Crest
23/24.08.1943 15 Squadron Stirling III EH875 LS:S Plt Off. Eric R.I. Cornell

Operation: Berlin

Date: 23rd/24th August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit No: 15 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EH875 (Thornaby-on-Tees)

Code: LS:S

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: Döberitz Suburb of Berlin, Germany.

Pilot: Plt Off. Eric Raymond Ivan Cornell 149530 RAFVR Age 21. MiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Frederick Thomas Morris 578187 RAF Age 19. KiA

Nav: Sgt. Norman Pine Collins 1333918 RAFVR Age 21. MiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. William Steel 'Bill' Frame 1392756 RAFVR Age 29. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Edward Gorbert 1028923 RAFVR Age 21. MiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Handel Bottomley 1256133 RAFVR Age 29. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. John Charles Thomson 1710027 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

We have been informed by Thornaby Town Council that they putting out an appeal for the return of the 'Wings for Victory' plaque and log book for this aircraft, both of which went missing when the Town Hall closed in 1968. The Town Hall is now restored to it's former glory and we intend to display the plaque and Log book in a prominent position to honour the crew's sacrifice.

A facsimile of the Log book giving details of the aeroplane's operational record which includes a section on the crew has been reconstituted. If the plaque does not turn up Thornaby Town Council are determined to raise funds to buy a replacement.

We would like to invite any relative of the crew to contact us and perhaps supply further personal details - we have placed appeals such as this on other pages of remembrance, at times have managed to place all the relatives in contact with one another.


Took off from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk. Part of a huge raid on Berlin on which 710 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Stirlings took part plus a further 17 Mosquitoes. A total of 56 Aircraft failed to return, 31 came down over the target area. 4 claimed by German Flak and 51 claimed by the German night fighters.

Pilot of Stirling EH875, Plt Off. Eric Raymond Ivan Cornell (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

Above: Sgt. William Steel 'Bill' Frame and his medals (left to right, War Medal,1939-1945 Star, Aircrew Europe Star) (Courtesy of Gordon Thomson)

EH875 was claimed by Oblt Wilhelm Johnen 5./NJG5 - North West of Berlin: 4,200m at 01:02. Also claimed by Flak of 1./schw. Flak Abt. 516 and 1.-5./schw. Flak Abt. 605 (“Stirling Berlin-Buch 01:03”) Claim by Oblt Johnen not listed in OKL/RLM. Confirmed Abschussubersicht 5./NJG5 (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (13 July 1941 - 29 May 1942) The Early Years Part 2 - Theo Boiten).


15 Squadron (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

Friends of Plt Off. Eric Cornell - are you able to recognise any? (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

Left: Newspaper report on Sgt. Handel Bottomley and right: The Wings to victory Campaign poster (Andrew Bottomley)

This aircraft was also named "Thornaby-on-Tees" as in the Wings for Victory campaign during this year the residents of this district raised a huge amount of £100,920 which in this case, used to buy this Stirling and seven Spitfires.

British Flying Training School Course No: 3 at Miami, Oklahoma, USA. Plt Off. Cornell shown centre row, extreme left. This is available in a higher resolution if relatives of other pilots shown would like a copy, please contact us. (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

"C" Flight, 1 Squadron 4th Initial Training Wing. 15th October 1941 Paignton, Devon. Are you able to place names to these? (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

18/7 Flight Stockley Park. Can you assist to name any of these lads? (courtesy Sandy Tarling)

Burial details:

All the crew were buried at first in the crash area of Döberitz when after the war the three crew that could be identified were reinterred to the Berlin War Cemetery.

Plt Off. Eric Raymond Ivan Cornell. Runnymede Memorial Panel 131. Son of Richard William Cornell, and of Hilda Rose Cornell, of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England.

Sgt. Frederick Thomas Morris. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. 4.E.8. Grave inscription: '"THY WILL BE DONE"'. Son of Thomas and Daisy Margaret Morris, of Portsmouth; husband of Peggy Doreen Emily Morris, of Milton, Portsmouth, England.

Initially buried in Döberitz Standort Friedhof Plot 5 Row 12 Grave 8. Reinterred 1st November 1946

Sgt. Norman Pine Collins. Runnymede Memorial Panel 145. Born on the 14th November 1921 in Bromley, Greater London. Husband to Joyce Enid (née Light) Collins of Hampton, Wick, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. William Steel 'Bill' Frame. Runnymede Memorial Panel 150. Son of Daniel and Agnes Frame of Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Flt Sgt. Edward Gorbert. Runnymede Memorial Panel 136. Son of John and Annie Elizabeth Gorbert, of Hull, England.

Sgt. Handel Bottomley. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. 4.F.7. Born at Walney Island, Barrow-In-Furness. Son of Mr and Mrs John Handel Bottomley of 21, Pickford Road, Bexley Heath, England. .

Educated at Bexley Heath Central School, worked at Vickers Armstrong as a clerk - Joined the RAFVR in 1940. This was his 21st Operation.

Sgt. John Charles Thomson. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. 4.E.10. Son of Frederick James Thomson and Dorothy Thomson, of Kilburn, Middlesex, England.

His brother, Sgt. Peter Frederick Thomson 1254913, RAFVR. Age 22 died on the 16th December 1942 in the General Hospital at Cuttack from cerebrospinal fever whilst serving with 353 Sqn. Buried at the Madras War Cemetery, Chennai, India.

Researched for Sandy Tarling, Andrew Bottomley and all relatives of the crew. Thanks to John Jones for the German night fighter claim information (Dec 2021). Update to Next of Kin details for Sgt. Collins by Aircrew Remembered (Dec 2021). Thanks to Gordon Thomson, great nephew of Sgt Frame, for the photograph of him and his Medals (Mar 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 01.03.2024 - Addition of photographs for Sgt. 'Bill’ Frame

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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