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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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256 Squadron Crest
27.08.1941 No. 256 Squadron Defiant I N1745 JT-O Sgt. Ellmers

Operation: Training

Date: 27th August 1941 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 256 Squadron (9 Group)

Type: Defiant I

Serial: N1745

Code: JT-O

Base: RAF Squires Gate

Location: Blackpool, Lancashire

Pilot: Sgt. Lincoln John Ellmers NZ/40760 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Noel Anthony John Clifford NZ/402166 RNZAF Age 23. Killed


Whilst flying off the coast of Blackpool the Defiant collided with Botha L6509 from the General Reconnaissance School. The pilot of the Defiant was killed when the aircraft crashed onto a house at 97 Reads Avenue in Blackpool. The air-gunner baled out of the aircraft but was killed when his parachute failed to deploy fully as he was too low.

The three crew of the Botha were killed when it crashed into Blackpool railway station. Sadly many civilians (thought to be at least 14) also lost their lives either in the initial impact or from injuries later.

Above L-R: Sgt. Noel Clifford, Sgt. Lincoln Ellmers, P/O. Athol McKinnon (1), Sgt. Reginald Robinson (2), Sgt. Erle Fremlin (3). (courtesy Paul Broderick)

We recommend visiting the Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team website who covered the loss of lives associated with this page in far greater detail.

(1) P/O. Athol Charles McKinnon NZ/40772 RNZAF Age 24 when he was killed whilst serving with 488 Squadron on the 06th December 1942. Beaufighter IIF V8162. See here for further details.

(2) Sgt. Reginald Lee Robinson NZ/40211 RNZAF Age 24 when he was killed whilst serving with 256 Squadron on the 16th April 1941. During a bomber raid on London he was one of 1,180 people killed in the city on this night.

(3) Sgt. Erle Rutherford Fremlin NZ/402108 RNZAF Age 19 when he was killed on the 15th May 1941 whilst serving with 256 Squadron. See here for further details.

Burial details:

Both buried on Monday the 01st September 1941.

Sgt. Lincoln John Ellmers. Lytham St. Anne's Cemetery (Park) Sec. D. Nonconformist. Grave 725. Son of Frederick and Mabel Ellmers, of Gisborne, Auckland, New Zealand. A total 405 flying hours logged and having completed 15 operational sorties.

Sgt. Noel Anthony John Clifford. Lytham St. Anne's Cemetery (Park) Sec. D. R.C. Grave 514. Son of Denis C. Clifford and Margaret Ellen Clifford, of Wellington City, New Zealand. A total 149 flying hours logged.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, Lancashire Aircraft InvestigationTeam, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 11.11.2018

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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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