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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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463 Squadron Crest
25/26.04.1945 No. 463 Squadron Lancaster I RA542 JO-Z F/O. Arthur Cox DSO

Operation: Tonsberg

Date: 25/26th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 463 Squadron (RAAF)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: RA542

Coded: JO-Z

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire

Location: Såtenäs, Sweden

Pilot: F/O. Arthur Cox DSO. 184305 RAFVR Wounded - Interned

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Wilfred Simpson CGM. 1594208 RAFVR Interned

Nav: F/O. John Alfred Wainwright DSO. 176147 RAFVR Wounded - Interned

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Smurthwaite 1500268 RAFVR Wounded - Interned

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Emile Parent 1811416 RAFVR Age 19. Interned (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Fred W.J.H. Logan 1853029 RAFVR Interned

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. ‘Jock’ W.D. Hogg 1834114 RAFVR Interned


Update April 2019: We have been contacted by a member of the public who hold further photographs and information - these directly relate to the son of F/O. John A. Wainwright DSO, a Mr Andrew John Wainwright - born in 1949. We would very much like to contact him or his family to be able to return these.

Update September 2019: The album has now kindly been sent to us - although many images have been misplaced there are still others that must be of interest to the family of F/O. Wainwright? Some will shortly be added to this page.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 20:14 hrs from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire to attack the oil refineries at Vallö near Tönsberg in southern Norway. This was one of the last night time operations of Bomber Command in WW2. It also is listed as one of the last air combats between a German night fighter and a Bomber Command 4 engine aircraft.

At 23:00 hrs and at 19,600 ft RA542 was attacked as it approached the target by a Schräge Musik equipped Ju88 of 4./NJG3 (Upward firing 20 mm canon) flown by Fw. Kurt Gross.

RA542 was heavily damaged with 3 crew members wounded but despite that, returned fire during this combat hit the Ju88 G-6 with all the crew killed when it crashed at Støledalen. The crew being Fw. Kurt Gross, Uffz. Reinhard Johnson, Fw. Otto Müller. (see Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)

The Lancaster continued to fly and despite frostbite the crew managed to set a course for Sweden when they made an emergency landing at Satenäs airfield.

Fl/Sgt. Smurthwaite was taken to Lidköping hospital. On the 27th April the rest of the crew travelled to Korsnäs, where they arrived on the same day and interned and spent the rest of the war confined (some 2 weeks!). Sgt. Smurthwaite recovered from his wounds and was repatriated directly from the hospital - see below telegrams that he sent.

After this F/O. Cox and F/O. Wainwright received the DSO. while Sgt. Simpson received the CGM. It states in the recommendations for these decorations that 'the coolness, courage and devotion to duty of these officers and airman were an inspiration to their Squadron'.


The Swedish airforce repaired RA542, but it is unknown if it ever flew again - it was subsequently scrapped on 23rd August 1946.

London Gazette: 1945-08-03

Arthur Cox: DSO John Wainwright: DSO George Simpson: CGM

One night in April, 1945, these officers and this airman were pilot, navigator and flight engineer respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack the heavily defended oil target at Tonsberg. When nearing the target the aircraft was attacked and severely damaged by an enemy fighter. Flying Officer Cox and Sergeant Simpson sustained injuries but nevertheless remained at their posts. The nose of the aircraft was shattered and gaping holes were torn in the fuselage. The windows of the pilot's compartment were blown out and much equipment was lost. The bombsight was rendered useless and it was therefore impossible to bomb the target with any accuracy. The aircraft began to lost height and it seemed as though it would have to be abandoned but Flying Officer Cox succeeded in regaining control. He then skilfully manoeuvred his aircraft to enable his gunners to attack the enemy fighter which was shot down in flames. Meanwhile, despite suffering intense pain from severe frost bite, caused to their hands by the bitter winds blowing through the open nose of the aircraft, Flying Officer Wainwright and Sergeant Simpson did everything possible to assist their pilot in his endeavour to fly the crippled aircraft to a friendly airfield. After much difficulty this was eventually accomplished and a skilful landing was made. The coolness, courage and devotion to duty of these officers and this airman were an inspiration to their squadron.


(1) We were contacted by the ex-wife of Fl/Sgt Fred Parent, Shirley, who informed that he had sadly died on the 24th August 2011. Fred was the last member of this crew to pass away.

Such is the importance that we try and gather as much information as we are able to place in our archives for future generations to remember. Obituary to another one of the ‘other few’.

Left: One of the 'Other Few' - Fred Parent.

Notes:

Arthur Cox became a schoolteacher in his hometown of Maltby, Yorkshire. He and his wife adopted 2 children. He died suddenly in 1974.

Jack Wainwright went to South Africa after the war and Fred Parent went to Canada, the others stayed in the UK.

Fred Parent and Bob Smurthwhaite met again in Yorkshire in 1995, the first time in 50 years. The two old vets went on a visit to Waddington, where they were allowed to look at the Lancashire Bomber that flies on special occasions. It all brought back many memories of their youth. Fred was 20 years old on the night of the Tonsberg Raid.

Their internment was at a comfortable lodge, where they were well looked after by the generous Swedes, who also knew how to take care of frost bites. Which was a great blessing for the crew.

Telegrams sent by Fl/Sgt. Robert Smurthwaite (click to enlarge):

2016 Original Article 2018-07-26 SY added London Gazette

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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