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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 428 (Ghost) Squadron
15/16.03.1945 No 428 (Ghost) Squadron Avro Lancaster X KB846 NA-I F/Lt. James Douglas Crawford Craton

Operation: Hagen, Germany

Date: 15/16th March 1945 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 428 (Ghost) Squadron

Type: Avro Lancaster X

Serial: KB846

Code: NA-I

Base: RAF Middleton St. George, County Durham

Location: Nr Krefeld, Westphalia, Germany

Pilot: F/Lt. James Douglas Crawford Craton J/15666 RCAF Age? Injured (1)

Fl/Eng: P/O. George Tucker (Lew) Llewellin J/95384 RCAF Age 31 Killed (2)

Nav: F/Lt. Raymond (Ray) William Newton J/17196 RCAF Age 27 Killed (3)

Air/Bmr: F/Lt. Ross Curtis Hamill J/20884 RCAF Age 25 Killed (4)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Donald Curry Graham J/18627 RCAF Age 23 Killed (5)

Air/Gnr: F/O. Earle Robert Evans DFC J/17548 RCAF Age 20 Killed (6)

Air/Gnr: F/O. Bruce Burrard Gray J/18650 RCAF Age? Safe (7)


Lancaster KB846 took off from RAF Middleton St. George at 16.44hrs for a bombing operation on Hagen. On the return journey the aircraft was repeatetly attacked by enemy night fighters. The attack was so sever that the aircraft was set on fire and crashed near Krefeld. On the 24th March 1945 a singnal was received from Bomber Command Headquarters stating that a signal from No. 151 Repair Unit that an aircraft identified as the subject aircraft had been found and four bodies had been removed and buried in U.S. Military Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands.

Middleton St George (courtesy Bomber Command Museum Canada) Avro Lancaster X (courtesy IWM)

Left: Hptm Gerhard Raht

The aircraft was claimed as a possible by Hptm Gerhard Raht of Stab1./NJG2 at 20.49hrs - his 60 abschusse of the war. Gerhard Raht survived the war. See Kracker Archive on this site.

267 aircraft took part in this operation to Hagen on the night of 15/16th March 1945. The weather was clear with good visiblity. Much damage was caused to the centre and eastern districts and many large fire were seen with the loss of many lives. The total loss of 10 aircraft on this operation

Map showing the area of that Lancaster KB846 crashed

Burial details:

Left: U.S. Military Cemetery, Margraten (courtesy Herman Cummings) Right: Nederweert War Cemetery, Linburg, Netherlands (courtesy CWGC)

Those killed were first buried in the U.S. Military Cemetery, Margraten and reburied on the 20th November 1946 in Nederweert War Cemetery, Linburg, Netherlands.

P/O. George Tucker "Lew" Llewellin. Nederweert War Cemetery, Linburg, Netherlands. Grave Ref: IV. A. 13. Son of George H. and Elizabeth Llewellin of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Husband of Elizabeth Llewellin of Hamilton (2) Lew Llewellin enlisted in 1942 and arrived in the UK 1944, to complete his training in Wales. Lew was posted to No. 428 (Ghost) Squadron. George T Llewellin had been involved in a previous flying accident on the 13th January 1945 when he had baled out of Lancaster KB793. Details of this accident can be found (here) George was on his 2nd Tour of Duty and had completed a futher 12 operational flights when he lost his life. His family received his "Operation Wings" in 1947

P/O. George Tucker "Lew" Llewellin (courtesy Canadian War Museum)

F/Lt. Raymond (Ray) William Newton. Nederweert War Cemetery, Linburg, Netherlands. Grave Ref: IV. B. 1. Son of William Stead Newton and Beatrice Newton of Vancouver, Canada (3) Raymond was born on the 20 March 1918 in Vancouver. Ray worked for Cunningham Drugs in Vancouver as a pharmacist, he enlisted just after the war broke out. Completed part of his training in Alberta and Winnipeg. Ray was married on the 5 June, 1942 in Winnipeg, Manitoba after completing his training. Ray was on his 2nd Tour of Duty and had completed a further 13 operational flights

F/Lt. Ross Curtis Hamill. Nederweert War Cemetery, Linburg, Netherlands. Grave Ref: IV. B. 4. Son of Hugh Clayburn Hamill and Alva Turnell Hamill of Whitewood, Saskatchewan, Canada (4) Ross was born on the 21 June 1923 in Whitewood, Saskatchewan and enlisted in January 1942. Completing part of his training at No 2 Air Observers School. Ross was on his 2nd Tour of Duty and had completed a further 13 operational flights

F/O. Donald Curry Graham. Nederweert War Cemetery, Linburg, Netherlands. Grave Ref: IV. B. 6. Son of Fred Fuller Graham and Lena C Graham of Middleton, Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia, Canada (5) Donald was born on the 10 June 1921 in Avonport, Kings Co., Nova Scotia and enlisted 26 June 1940 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Donald was on his 2nd Tour of Duty and had completed 13 further operational flights

F/O. Earle Robert Evans DFC. Nederweert War Cemetery, Linburg, Netherlands. Grave Ref: IV. B. 7. Son of Albert Edward and Bessie Calburn Evans of Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada (6) Earle was born in Winnipeg , 1921 and enlisted 2 April 1941 and complted his training at No 2 ITS (Initial Training School), No 14 EFTS (Elementry Flying Taining School) and No 4 BGS (Bombing and Gunnery School) and was commisioned in 1943. Earle was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) with effective 1 September 1943 and was on his 2nd Tour of Duty and had completed a further 13 operation flights. Earle Robert Evans DFC is remembered on the Kelvin School Roll of Honour

The Two Survivers.

Both arrived back in the UK by the 26th March 1945

(1) F/Lt. James Douglas Crawford Craton DFC who was injured after he was flung out of the aircraft after it turned over. His parachute opened very near the ground and he landed near an American Army base. He arrived back in the UK and spent some time in No. 11 Canadian Hospital, Taplow, Buckinhamshire recovering from his injuries. James enlisted in Vancouver 6 January 1941 and completed part of his training at No 2. ITS (Initial Training School until graduating 29 April 1941. Posted for further training to No. 18 EFTS (Elementry Training School) and then at No. 15 SFTS (Service Flying Training School) Awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) effective 6 July 1945 "for his display of courage, fortitude and devotion to duty" James was on his 2nd Tour of Duty and had completed a further 14 operational flights. James Douglas Crawford Craton died in 1986

(7) F/O. Bruce Burrard Gray enlisted in Vancouver 26 June 1940 and completed his training at No 1 ITS (Initial Training School), No 2 WS (Wireless School and No 2 BGS (Bombing and Gunner School) Bruce was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) effective 6th June 1945 and had served with both No. 428 and No 425 Squadrons. Doug was on his 2nd Tour of Duty and had completed a further 10 Operational flights. Bruce died June 1st, 2007

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Joyce Murray Konwinski neice of F/Lt. Raymond (Ray) William Newton

KT 22.11.2015

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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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