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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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27.06.1944 No. 1655 M.T.U. Mosquito IV DZ550 F/O. Donovan DFM

Operation: Training

Date: 27th June 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 1655 MTU. (Mosquito Training/Conversion Unit)

Type: Mosquito B.IV

Serial: DZ550

Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire (Then Huntingdonshire)

Location: Chesterton Farm, Benwick, Cambridgeshire

Pilot: F/O. Walter Spruce Donovan DFM. 126763 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Gordon Royall 1582033 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Taking off from RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire at 14:48 hrs. on a cross-country exercise and to land at RAF Wyton after completion.

At around 17:40 hrs dived and crashed into land at Chesterton Farm, Benwick, Cambridgeshire - no details available. The pilot gained his DFM. in 1941 whilst flying Hampdens with 61 Squadron, the London Gazette for 23rd December 1941, carrying the details.

Left: F/O. Donovan outside Buckingham Palace after receiving his DFM. L-R: Ada Donovan (wife), Walter, Eva Donovan (mother) Enid Donovan (sister). (courtesy John Wilkinson)

Burial details:

F/O. Walter Spruce Donovan. DFM. Sheffield Cemetery (Burngreave). Sec G.G. Cons. Grave 2879. Son of Walter Spruce Donovan

and of Eva Agnes Donovan (née Freeman) and husband of Ada Mary Donovan, of Sheffield, England. Born in Hull and married Ada Mary Dixon from Sheffield on the 21st March 1942 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Gordon Royall. Horninglow Churchyard (St. John). Plot C. Row 1. Grave 20. Son of George Edward and Elsie Royall (née Selby) and brother of Joyce, John, William and Margaret, of Burton-upon-Trent, England. William was to name one of his sons Gordon after his dead brother.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Stephen Farnell for information on the location of pilot grave. Also to Linda Ibrom, Burton Daily Mail, family of Gordon Royall, with special thanks to Pauline Scott for her research to obtain the photo of the navigator, Sgt. Royall. Finally, many thanks to John Wilkinson for sending in the photo of the pilot - January 2018.

LI - Updated page 04.08.2017

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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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