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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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69 Squadron Crest
18.11.1944 No 69 Squadron Wellington XIII HZ863 Fl/Sgt. A.H. Fairmaid

Operation: Reconnaissance

Date: 18th November 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 69 Squadron

Type: Wellington XIII

Serial: HZ863

Code: Not used

Base: RAF Melsbroek, Belgium

Location: Winksele-Delle, Belgium

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Allan Henderson Fairmaid NZ/424253 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Peter John Dawson 163571 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. George Older 1390089 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Aubrey Hayes 1619077 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Edward Atkinson 1897386 RAFVR Age ? Killed


During a Reconnaissance operation the crew called and reported that as the port engine had failed it was returning to the base at Melsbroek.

On arrival they then made a very wide circle of the base at a low altitude. When commenting its approach to landing they lost flying speed and the aircraft spun into a wood at 21:45 hrs beside the Mechelin - Louvain road close to the village of Winksele-Delle.

Although the pilot never reported the cause of the engine loss it is thought 'probable' that they had been hit by anti-aircraft fire.

Sold on a well known auction site in 2015 a pair of WW2 RAF Leather Flying Gloves 1941 pattern that supposedly belonged to the rear gunner Sgt. Robert Edward Atkinson (103 GBP)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Allan Henderson Fairmaid. Brussels Town Cemetery. Grave X.26.24. Son of Robert Lindsay Fairmaid and of Amy Davina Fairmaid (née Leslie), of Dunedin, Otago and husband of Betty Margaret Fairmaid, of Mosgiel, Otago, New Zealand

F/O. Peter John Dawson. Brussels Town Cemetery. Grave X.26.21. Born on 17th October 1922, the son of Colin Kieth Dawson, and Ethel Violet Dawson, of 30 Woodville Road, King's Heath, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "God Has You In His Keeping We Have You In Our Hearts. "Till We Meet Again".

Fl/Sgt. George Older. Brussels Town Cemetery. Grave X.26.23. No further details - can you assist?

Sgt. John Aubrey Hayes. Brussels Town Cemetery. Grave X.26.20. Son of Samuel Reed Hayes and Lucy Hayes, of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England and husband of Mary Hayes. Grave inscription reads: "Jesus! Lover Of My Soul, Let Me To Thy Bosom Fly".

Sgt. Robert Edward Atkinson. Brussels Town Cemetery. Grave X.26.22. No further details - can you assist?

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, other sources as quoted below:

KTY - 28.11.2017

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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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