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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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90 Squadron Crest
20/21.04.1943 No. 90 Squadron Stirling III BF463 WP-Q P/O. Cross

Operation: Rostock

Date: 20/21st April 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 90 Squadron. 3 Group (motto: Celer - 'Swift)

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BF463

Code: WP-Q

Base: RAF Ridgewell, Essex

Location: Great Belt, Sproge, Denmark

Pilot: P/O. Sydney Nelson Cross NZ/414258 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Cyril Leslie Cruttenden 977000 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Sgt. Lancelot Tagg 1425260 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Norman Shield 1148284 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Edwin Hall 1359883 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Desmond Lindrea 1585760 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edwin Marley Offen 1252002 RAFVR Age ? Killed


Taking off at 21:53 hrs on an operation to Rostock by 86 Stirlings from various squadrons.

8 failed to return:

15 Squadron Stirling III BF476 LS-P - All 7 crew surviving as PoW. Further details check our Allied Air Forces Database. (Shot down by night fighter 03:42 hrs)
75 Squadron Stirling III BF506 AA-F - All 7 crew killed - further details here. (Shot down by flak 02:50 hrs)
90 Squadron Stirling III BF442 WP-E - All 7 crew killed. Further details check our Allied Air Forces Database. (Shot down by night fighter 00:33 hrs)
90 Squadron Stirling III BF463 WP-Q - All 7 crew killed. Further details check our Allied Air Forces Database. (Shot down by flak 01:31 hrs)
90 Squadron Stirling III BF508 WP-S - All 7 crew killed. Further details check our Allied Air Forces Database. (Shot down by flak 00:48 hrs)
149 Squadron Stirling III BF714 OJ-L - 6 crew PoW, 1 Killed - further details here. (Shot down by flak 00:20 hrs)
149 Squadron Stirling III BK698 OJ-L - All 8 crew killed - further details here. (Shot down by night fighter 03:54 hrs)
218 Squadron Stirling I BK596 HA-B - 4 crew killed, 3 crew PoW. Further details check our Allied Air Forces Database. (Shot down by night fighter 03:25 hrs)

(Claims courtesy of the 2019 edition of the Nachjagd Combat Archive - Dr. Theo Boiten)

Understood to have been hit by light anti-aircraft fire during the outbound trip from 1./lei Flak Abt. 985 crashing at 01:31 hrs east south east of Sproge in the Great Belt

Burial details:

All the crews bodies were recovered, some as late as the end of the following month. We hold images of each of the crew member graves for interested parties.

P/O. Sydney Nelson Cross. Svino Churchyard. Grave 31. Born on the 19th February 1919 at Tuapeka Mouth, the son of Joseph John and Harriet Annie Cross (née Stowell), of Tuapeka Mouth, Otago, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as a clerk/traveller for Wright Stephenson and Company. 425 flying hours logged and having completed 7 operational sorties.

Sgt. Cyril Leslie Cruttenden. Svino Churchyard. Grave 30. No further information, are you able to contribute?

Sgt. Norman Shield. Svino Churchyard. Grave 25. No further information, are you able to contribute?

Sgt. Lancelot Tagg. Copenhagen Cemetery (Bispebjerg). Grave X.7.45. Son of Lancelot and Frances Tagg and husband of Frances Mabel Tagg, of Arksey, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription: "At The Rising Of The Sun As At The Setting We Shall Remember Him".

Sgt. Thomas Edwin Hall. Copenhagen Cemetery (Bispebjerg). Grave X.7.130. Son of William Cunningham Hall and Marie Leon Hall, of Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, England. Grave inscription: "O Most Compassionate Heart Of Jesus, Give Unto Him Eternal Rest R.I.P".

Sgt. John Desmond Lindrea. Svino Churchyard Grave 28. Son of Gilbert William Lindrea, and of Elsy Lilian Lindrea, of Shalford, Surrey, England. Grave inscription: "O Valiant Heart".

Sgt. Edwin Marley Offen. Svino Churchyard. Grave 33. From Crundale, Kent, England. No further information, are you able to contribute?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire, also to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

JL/KTY 05.09.2019

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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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