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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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619 Squadron Lancaster I ME846 P/O. Mark Anthony Hamilton Davis

Operation: Wesseling

Date: 21/22nd June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 619 Squadron 5 Group (motto:Ad Altoria - 'To higher things')

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME846

Code: PG-C

Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire

Location: North east of Postel Abbey, Belgium

Pilot: P/O. Mark Anthony Hamilton Davis 174023 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt W Dennis Belshaw 1808936 RAFVR PoW No: 381 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankan

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Leslie Taylor 1585057 RAFVR PoW No: 7896 Camp Stalag Luft Sagan

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Peter Edmund Knox Aus/418433 RAAF Evaded

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas A. Newberry 160206 RAFVR PoW Camp Stalag Luft Sagan

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Harry Moggridge 1896779 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. John Ernest Ralph Bowering J/88199 RCAF Age 19. Killed


Taking off at 23:01 hrs for a bombing operation against the synthetic oil plant at Wesseling in Germany with 15 others from the squadron.

Horrific losses were suffered by the RAF, 44 squadron from RAF Dunholme Lodge losing 5 aircraft, 49 squadron from Friskerton losing 6, 57 squadron from East Kirby losing 6, 83 squadron out of Coningsby losing 2, 101 from Ludford Magna losing 1, 207 squadron from Spilsby losing 5, 630 squadron from East Kirby losing 5, with 3 others also lost on bomber support.

The crew L-R: Fl/Sgt Peter Knox, Sgt. Thomas Newberry, Sgt. Dennis Belshaw, P/O. Mark Davis, Fl/Sgt. Leslie Taylor, Sgt George Moggridge and P/O. John Bowering. (Taken at 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit RAF Winthorpe prior to joining 619 squadron)

6 others from 619 squadron were also lost:

Lancaster I LL808 PG-D Flown by 22 year old, P/O. Peter Johnson 173903 RAFVR (3 killed, 5 PoW)
Lancaster I LL977 PG-H Flown by Fl/Lt. D.C Saunders 125573 RAFVR (1 killed, 7 PoW)
Lancaster I NE846 PG-G Flown by 20 year old, P/O. Mark Anthony Hamilton Davis 174023 RAFVR (3 killed 5 PoW)
Lancaster III ND859 PG-V Flown by 21 year old, Fl/Sgt. John Arthur Buckley 1451456 RAFVR (All 8 crew killed)Lancaster III ND986 PG-B Flown by 27 year old, P/O. Kent Elliott Crawford 23484 RAAF (All 8 crew killed)
Lancaster III NE151 PG-W Flown by F/O. Geoffrey Anthony Baker 162508 RAFVR (5 killed, 2 Pow)

During the outbound trip ME846 suffered severe damage in a Schräge Musik (1) attack by the C/O of II./NJG 1 Hptm. Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin. Flying a Bf 110 G-4 G9+BC he hit the starboard outer engine which caught fire at 01:20 hours.

The pilot knew the aircraft could not be saved, so he gave the order to the crew to bale out while he remained at the controls keeping the aircraft steady.

The two air gunners were killed in the process, but the remains crew all landed safely. Three crew were quickly captured but the Australian, Fl/Sgt. Peter Knox managed to evade with the assistance of the Belgians and returned to his unit after just six weeks. (The family of the Australian have made a well researched website on this loss - see links below.

(1) Schräge Musik, was the name given to a mount designed cannon for Luftwaffe night fighters in World War II.

Its main feature was that the guns were pointed upwards, allowing the fighter to approach and attack British bombers from below, out of visual range of the bomber crew.

British bombers at the time did not have any ventral defensive installations, so the Schräge Musik wreaked havoc on the Bomber Command forces.

Burial details:

P/O. Mark Anthony Hamilton Davis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 211. Son of John Frederick and Martha May Davis, of Birmingham, England.

Sgt. George Harry Moggridge. Schoonselhof Cemetery. Grave IVa. F. 16. Son of George and Clara Moggridge, of Dagenham, Essex, England. Epitaph: 'Be Prepared" Scouts Motto. We Shall Meet Again'.

P/O. John Ernest Ralph Bowering. Schoonselhof Cemetery. Grave IVa. F. 17. Son of Ernest and Helena Bowering, of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Epitaph: 'To Those Who Loved Him He Will Always Live'.

Above courtesy Newark Air Museum - see links

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Air -27-2131-25/26 National Archives, Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1944 part three, Knox family website, Kracker Archive, Newark Air Museum, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 04-11-2022

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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