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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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218 Squadron Crest
29/30.05.1943 No. 218 Squadron Stirling III BK688 HA-A Fl/Sgt. Davis

Operation: Wuppertal

Date: 29-30th May 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 218 Squadron ' Gold Coast' (motto: 'In Time')

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BK688

Code: HA-A

Base: RAF Downham Market, Norfolk

Location: Diest Schaffen Airfield, Belgium (Later the RAF Advanced Landing Ground B-64)

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. William Arthur Mathias Davis AUS/408278 RAAF Age 31. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Alan Ashley Grant 572554 RAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Thomas Wilkinson Dixon 1527169 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Robert Howes 1284892 RAFVR Age 29. illed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Lloyd Portrey 1030622 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Alfred Bramble 653941 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Leslie William Abbiss 82184 RAFVR Age 41. Killed


719 aircraft attacked the town of Wuppertal, the home of the Goldschmitt firm which produced Tego-Film, a wood adhesive used in the production of the HE162 and TA154.

Around 1000 acres were destroyed in the firestorm that followed - 211 industrial buildings and nearly 4,000 houses were totally destroyed. A figure of 3,400 fatalities on the ground has been recorded.

Bomber Command did not escape lightly on this operation losing some 36 aircraft.

Stirling III BF565 was intercepted and shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Lt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer of Stab II.NJG1 whilst at 3,500 Mts, his 10th claim of the war. The aircraft came down at location shown at 00:48 hrs. He survived the war to be killed in a car accident in France, 1945. For further information, consult our Kracker Luftwaffe Archive.

Also lost from the Squadron by the same Luftwaffe pilot:

Stirling III BF565 HA-H Flown by 21 year old, P/O. Stanley Gordon Allan AUS/416404 RAAF killed along with all of the other six crew members.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. William Arthur Mathias Davis. Schaffen Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 12-14. Born on the 09th October at Moreland, the son of Arthur and Mary Elizabeth Davis and husband of Meryl Florence Davis, of 7 Beaver Street, Essendon, Victoria, Australia. A Pharmaceutical Chemist prior to service. Grave inscription reads: 'Sweet Memories'.

Sgt. George Alan Ashley Grant. Schaffen Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 12-14. Son of Leonard A. and Dorothy A. Grant, of Harringay, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: 'The Dreams We Dreamed Were Not To Be: Now Only Perfect Memories'.

Sgt. Thomas Wilkinson Dixon. Schaffen Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 12-14. Son of Henry Leonard and Alvena Dixon, of Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: ''Beloved Only Son Of H.L. And A. Dixon, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancashire ''Until The Day Break'.

Sgt. William Robert Howes. Schaffen Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 12-14. Husband of Mrs M.M. Howes, of Sheringham, Norfolk, England. Grave inscription reads: 'Loved And Remembered'.

Sgt. Thomas Lloyd Portrey. Schaffen Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 12-14. Son of Albert and Margaret Elizabeth Portrey and husband of Agnes Portrey, of Rothwell, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: 'Memories. With Love. Wife Agnes, Daughter Judith, Mother, Dad And Family'.

Sgt. James Alfred Bramble. Schaffen Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 12-14. Son of James Alfred and Kate Kathleen Bramble and husband of Edna Lilian Maud Bramble, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England. Grave inscription reads: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them. Edna'.

Fl/Lt. Leslie William Abbiss. Schaffen Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 12-14. Son of William Frederick and Elizabeth Abbiss. Grave inscription reads: 'In Proud And Glorious Memory'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the son of the Air Bomber.

KTY 09.04.2019

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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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