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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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97 Squadron Crest
26/27.06.1941 No 97 Squadron Manchester I L7374 Fl/Lt. Eustace DFC

Operation: Kiel

Date: 26/27th June 1941 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 97 Squadron (5 Group)

Type: Manchester I

Serial: L7374

Code: OF-?

Base: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire

Location: North Sea off Westerhever, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Francis Edwin Eustace DFC. 40613 RAF Age 25. Missing believed killed

Pilot: Sgt. Charles Paull Penberthy 74015 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Cecil Keith McKenzie NZ/401811 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Obs: P/O. Alan Albert Morgan 82963 RAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Joseph Clinch DFM. 616589 RAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Elkington 650805 RAF Age 21. Missing believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Victor McLaren DFM. NZ/391862 RNZAF Age 21. Missing believed killed


Took off from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire at 23.36 hrs as part of a 41 aircraft raid on Kiel. Made up from 18 Manchesters (6 from 97 Squadron), 15 Stirlings and 8 Halifaxes. There was 5/10th cloud and haze over Kiel spoiling the bombing and only light damage, with no casualties in Kiel.

2 aircraft were lost on this raid and both fell to the same nightfighter crew from 3./NJG1.

Signal was received from the aircraft that Sgt. Charles Penberthy had been killed during a night fighter attack , shortly afterwards the aircraft crashed into area shown with the loss of all the crew.

Oblt. Walter Fenske (1) 3./NJG1, who was already classed as an ace and with these claims (confirmed) brought his tally to 11. L7374 (this one) was shot down at 01.40 hrs and another Manchester L7304 from 61 Squadron was shot down shortly before at 01.31 hrs near St. Peter Ording, Westerhever. (Details on the loss of L7304 can be found here)

(1) Oblt. Walter Fenske’s first assignment was in 1939. He served in NJG-1 from March 1941 - July 1942 based at Venlo, he then went on to several other units. Achieved the rank of Hauptman (Captain) and was reported to have 15 victories. Killed in Action on the 26th March, 1944 during aerial combat over Kröpingen. (Details from the Kracker Archive on this site)

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Francis Edwin Eustace DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 29. Born on the 18th October 1915Son of William Howard Eustace and Vina Eustace, of Nelson, New Zealand. 878 flying hours logged and had completed 34 operational sorties.

Sgt. Charles Paull Penberthy. Kiel War Cemetery. Grave 4.C.12. Son of Ernest Penberthy, and of Clara Ida Penberthy, of Teddington, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Into The Mosaic Of Victory I Lay A Precious Peace, My Son. One Pilot Is Safe".

Sgt. Cecil Keith McKenzie. Hamburg Cemetery. Grave 6A.C.2. Son of Roderick Andrew and Ada Florence McKenzie, of Feilding, Wellington, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. John Joseph Clinch DFM. Kiel War Cemetery. Grave 3.C.11. Son of John and Jane Clinch, of Claughton, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. Grave inscription reads: "Sacred Heart Of Jesus Grant Him Eternal Rest".

Fl/Sgt. James Elkington. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 36. Son of George and Harriet Elizebeth Elkington, of Shire Green, Yorkshire, England.

P/O. Alan Albert Morgan. Kiel War Cemetery. Grave 4.C.13. Son of Henry Albert and Edith Hilda Morgan, of Maidenhead, Berkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Sweet Memories Of You In By-Gone Days Will Linger In Our Hearts Always".

Sgt. Peter Victor McLaren DFM. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 64. Son of Edwin McLaren and of Kathleen Mary McLaren (nee Halvey), of Point Chevalier, Auckland, New Zealand. 271 flying hours logged and had completed 33 operational sorties.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew 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, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17.11.2018

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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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