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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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100 Squadron crest
04/05.03.1943 No. 100 Squadron Lancaster III ED559 JA-D Fl/Lt. R.A. Curle

Operation: Gardening (Deodars)

Date: 04/05th March 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 100 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED559

Code: JA-D

Base: RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

Location: Gironde Estuary, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Richard Alexander Curle 121280 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. David Adrian Hart 567377 RAF Age 24. Missing

Nav: F/O. Errol Clifton Crapp AUS/411113 RAAF Age 24. Missing

Air/Bmr: P/O. Charles Stuart Challoner 131995 RAFVR Age 37. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Harry Riding AUS/403699 RAAF Age 25. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Daniel Last Gooch 1336491 RAF Age ? Missing

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Garnet Walter Durdin AUS/416149 RAAF Age 25. Missing

Researched by Craig Smith - see acknowledgements.


On a Gardening operation taking off at 18:32 hrs from RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshre. 27 aircraft taking part on Gardening operations from as far south as Bayonne (Bay of Biscay) and as far north as Gydnia (Poland - Baltic Sea). (See map of Gardening operations here.)

Above L-R: F/O. Harry Riding, Fl/Lt. Richard Curle, Sgt. Daniel Gooch and Fl/Sgt. Garnet Durdin (courtesy Craig Smith)

Three aircraft were lost on these operations:
Wellington IC Z1109 from 28 OTU. Flown by 27 year old FlSgt. Charles C. Atkin AUS/12316 RAAF of East Maitland, NSW, Australia killed with one other crew member. Three others taken PoW.
Lancaster III ED549 also from 100 Squadron. Flown by Fl/Sgt. Gerald R. Avey R/9993 RCAF of Norwich, Ontario, Canada. Killed with five other crew members, one injured, during a crash landing at Langar Airfield in Nottinghamshire on return from the operation at 03:08 hrs.

No details on how Lancaster ED559 came to crashing in what is believed to be the target area. It is thought most ‘probable’ that they were hit by flak from the many batteries located in this strategically import an estuaries.

The only crew member who’s body was recovered for burial was that of the pilot, Fl/Lt. Curle, sadly the remainder are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial - details shown below.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Richard Alexander Curle. Le Chateau-D’oleron Communal Cemetery. Son of Alexander and Agnes Curle, husband of Sarah Edith Curle, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Sgt. David Adrian Hart. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 152. Son of David Johnathan Hart and Jessie Hart, husband of Muriel F. Hart, of Bognor Regis, Sussex, England.

F/O. Errol Clifton Crapp. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 187. Son of the Revd. Arthur Frank Crapp and Alma Crapp, of Singleton, New South Wales, Australia.

P/O. Charles Stuart Challoner. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 131. Son of Percy Joseph and Mary Ann Challoner, husband of Eva Challoner, of East Didsbury, Manchester, England.

F/O. Harry Riding. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 189. Son of John and Elizabeth Riding, of West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Daniel Last Gooch. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 150. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Fl/Sgt. Garnet Walter Durdin. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 192. Son of George Russell Durdin and Ruby Hilda Durdin, of Strathalbyn, South Australia.

Researched by Craig Smith and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Craig runs the ED559 website and contacted us to include his great research. Other sources as quoted below.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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