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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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35 Squadron Lancaster III ND846 Sq/Ldr. Alec Panton Cranswick DSO DFC

Operation: Villeneuve Railway Yards

Date: 04/05th July 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 35 Squadron (motto: Uno animo agimus - 'We act with one accord'). 8 Group

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND846

Code: TL-J

Base: RAF Graveley, Hertfordshire,


Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Alec Panton Cranswick DSO DFC 42696 RAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles Erickson 992684 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: F/O. Reginald Herbert Kille 147636 RAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Philip Richmond Burt DFC 120036 RAF Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr 2: Fl/Lt. Albert Clement Michael Taylor 159424 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Wilfred Rowland Horner 1318192 RAFVR PoW No: 52625 Camp: Stalag Luckenwalde (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Harold Wood 1603433 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Eric McHugh Davies 935690 RAFVR Age ? Killed


Taking off 23:16 hrs the weather was not as forecast, the cloud base being much lower than the predicted 12.000 ft.

Sq/Ldr. Cranswick manoeuvred the Lancaster into position while the bomb-aimer sought out the objective. The gunners scanned the skies for German night fighters as the plane remained steady for the bombing run. In order for intelligence staff to establish the accuracy of the mission, the plane had to remain in the area until the camera had photographed the actual bomb-bursts.

After the bombs had left the aircraft, enemy shells slammed into the empty bomb bay and fire spread into the fuselage, aft of the bay. Within seconds fire had spread throughout the plane, the fuselage shuddered, the wings snapped free and the nose dropped towards earth. Fl/Sgt. Wilfred Horner was the sole survivor, parachuted safely to the ground but suffered serious burns.

Claim by Uffz Kurt Stockbauer 4/NJG4 - South of Paris (AE-BE): 3,600m at 01:26.

(1) Hohemark Hospital Frankfurt/Reserve-Lazaret IX-C (a) Obermassfeld/Reserve-Lazaret IX-C (b) Meiningen/Stalag Luft VII Bankau near Kreuzberg Upper Silesia/Stalag IIIA Luckenwalde.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Alec Panton Cranswick DSO DFC. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 13. Grave 16. Son of Philip Cranswick (died 05th June 1928) and of May Cranswick (née Panton), of Oxford and husband of Doris Cranswick, of Oxford, England. Epitaph: 'Rest Eternal Grant Unto Them, O Lord; And Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Them'.
DSO Citation:
"This officer has taken part in a very large number of sorties, involving attacks on targets in Germany, occupied territory, Italy and in the Middle East. He has always pressed home his attacks with vigour, obtaining much success. His excellent and sustained efforts have been worthy of the highest praise."
DFC Citation:
"This officer has carried out 61 sorties over Germany and enemy occupied territory, against Italian targets and in the Mediterranean. Throughout he has proved himself a most capable captain, whose determination to complete his task, often under difficult conditions, has been exceptional.
He has excelled in the training of new crews in whom he has instilled the greatest confidence.

Sgt. Charles Erickson. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16 Row 13. Collective grave 5-7. No further details - are you able to assist?

F/O. Reginald Herbert Kille. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 13. Grave 12. Son of Alfred Henry and Margaret Ellen Kille and husband of Florence M. Kille, of Slough, Buckinghamshire, England. Epitaph: 'In Proud And Loving Memory Of A Dear Husband And Son. In Silence We Remember'.

Fl/Lt. Philip Richmond Burt DFC. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 13. Grave 11. He received a commission to P/O. on probation (emergency) on 6th May 1942 and on 6th November 1942 he was promoted to F/O. on probation (war subs). DFC Citation L/G 10th September 1943:
Flying Officer Burt, who took part in the Dunkirk evacuation, has completed many operational sorties against very heavily defended targets in Germany and occupied countries. In the face of the heaviest opposition he has always displayed a fine fighting spirit and an unconquerable desire to achieve his objective. This officer's outstanding ability has been a valuable asset to his squadron.

Fl/Lt. Albert Clement Michael Taylor. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16 Row 13. Collective grave 5-7. Son of Albert William Henry Gibson Taylor and Edna Amelia Taylor and husband of Joan May Gibson Taylor (née Peepall), of Moseley, Birmingham, England. Epitaph: 'With Glory Gained And Duty Done, Rest In Peace, My Love. Joan And Mummie',

Fl/Sgt. Alfred Harold Wood. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 13. Grave 10. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Eric McHugh Davies. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16 Row 13. Collective grave 5-7. Remembered at St Tysilio's Church, Cwmtydu, Ceredigion, Dyfed, Wales. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones, Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 3 - Theo Boiten, Roger Ward 'BBC WW2 Peoples War', 35 squadron research group, International Bomber Command Centre IBCC, National Archives Kew Air-27-381-13/14, Kracker Archive.

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17-03-2023

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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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