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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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102 squadron crest
06/07.09.1941 No. 102 Squadron Whitley V Z6574 DY-B P/O. Croucher

Operation: Hüls (now part of the city of Krefeld, Germany)

Date: 6/7th September 1941 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No.102 Squadron

Type: Whitley V

Serial: Z6574

Code: DY-B

Base: RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.

Location: North Sea, 60 miles N.E. of Bircham Newton, Norfolk.

Pilot: P/O. John Rhodes Croucher 63106 RAF Age ? Missing - believed killed

Co Pilot: Sgt. John Richard Tugman 1288767 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Sgt. Henry Leslie Benjamin Morphett AUS/407093 RAAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alan Leonard Halsey R/52691 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Glover R/56903 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed (2)


P/O. Croucher and crew took off at 20:34 hours as part of an operation to bomb the synthetic rubber plant at Hüls.

Nothing further was heard from the crew until they were on the return journey over the North Sea when a distress transmission was received.

A short while later, at approximately 01:35 hours, a second transmission was received advising that they were about to ditch in the sea.

Although a solid fix on their position was obtained and the Air Sea Rescue Service dispatched immediately, a 24 hour search of the area provided no sign of the aircraft or crew.

Sgt. Morphett, who was posted to 102 Squadron from No.10 OTU, had been with the squadron just twelve days when lost.

It is thought 'probable' that this aircraft was shot down by Uffz. Heinz Grimm (3) of 4./NJG1. The Whitley air gunners did return fire during the combat and hit Uffz. Grimm in the thigh, both him and his Bordfunjer, Ogefr. Meisnner were forced to bale out of his Bf110 C-4 to the north of Franeker.

(1) Halsey Lake in northern Ontario is named after Fl/Sgt. Halsey.

(2) Glover Lake in Manitoba is named after Fl/Sgt. Glover.

(3) Uffz. Heinz Grimm (shown right) became an ace with 25 night and 1 day kills before he died of wounds sustained on the 8/9th September 1943, his aircraft being hit by flak over Bremen.

Burial Details:

P/O. John Rhodes Croucher. Runnymede Memorial Panel 32. Details of Next of Kin not currently unavailable.

Sgt. John Richard Tugman. Runnymede Memorial Panel 53. Son of John Upton Tugman and of Hilda Mary Tugman of Timperley, Cheshire, England.

Sgt. Henry Leslie Benjamin Morphett. Runnymede Memorial Panel 62. Born on the 03rd December 1917 at Glen Osmond, South Australia, the son of Henry Louis Albert and Isabella Morphett and husband of Lois Grace Morphett of 26 Thornber Street, Unley Park, South Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Alan Leonard Halsey. Runnymede Memorial Panel 60. Son of Leonard Halsey and of Violet May Halsey of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. John Glover. Runnymede Memorial Panel 60. Son of Samuel and Annie Glover of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', National Archives of Australia and A Place of Honour - Manitoba's War Dead.

CHB 26.09.2011
KTY 01.11.2015 Serial number corrected - courtesy Jack Brook

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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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