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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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409 Squadron Crest
12.12.1944 No. 409 Squadron Mosquito NFXIII HK512 KP-A Fl/Lt. Harry S. Ellis

Operation: Aircraft Test

Date: 12th December 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 409 Squadron

Type: Mosquito NFXIII

Serial: HK512

Code: KP-A

Base: B.51 Vendeville, Lille, France (Advance Landing Ground)

Location: Sailly-lez-Lannoy, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Harry Sinclair Ellis J/20366 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Nav: W/O. William D. King R/154053 RCAF Baled out - survived

Relatives of the pilot would very much appreciate any photographs of him - please contact us in the first instance.


Weather: conditions were 10/10 cloud, base 2500 top 4500, wind WNW/10, visibility 6 miles.

During an air test at about 14:25 hrs, accompanied by another Mosquito from the same squadron flown by its Wing Commander J.D. Somerville, DSO, DFC when the starboard engine was seen to catch fire. The W/Cdr who observed this, informed the crew to abandon the aircraft. W/O. King did so and landed safely. Fl/Lt. Ellis it seems, knocked the control column whilst trying to exit, resulting in the aircraft making a half turn to port - he was killed as unable to clear the aircraft. The Mosquito crashed at 15:00hrs.

Above left: Fl/Lt. Harry Ellis with Fl/Lt. L. Ward. Right: W/O. William King with Fl/Lt. L.M. Jones (courtesy Kit Kennard)

The resulting enquiry established that the cause of the crash was said to be a cracked cylinder in the Merlin XXIII starboard engine, causing a glycol leak, followed by a puff of white smoke, then three black puffs and fire which couldn't be extinguished. The engine had been stripped down and reassembled recently. And the pilot, who had considerable hours on type, had just returned from an illness.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Harry Sinclair Ellis. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery. Grave XI.G.10. Son of Harry Casci Ellis and Elizabeth Gertrude Ellis, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It seems that he had been courting an English girl at the time of his death who gave birth to a son after the accident.

Researched for Gregen Ronald Jackson (Grandson of the pilot) and dedicated to the relatives of the crew. Thanks also to Krista King, daughter of W/O. King who contacted us in January 2017. Finally to sources as quoted below:

KTY 05.06.2016

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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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