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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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51 squadron badge
26/27.04.1943 No. 51 Squadron Halifax II HR778 Sgt. Fisher

Operation: Duisburg

Date: 26/27th April 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 51 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: HR778

Code: MH-?

Base: RAF Snaith, Yorkshire.

Location: Kottenforst near Meckenheim, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Guy Fisher 1238789 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Samuel Hawkins 633506 RAF Age ? Killed

Nav: Sgt. Brian Hugh James 1335785 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. John Scott Boyce 1387514 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Henry Stacey 1269939 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Leo Readman 1127540 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Leonard William Pond 1600465 RAFVR Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 00:57 hrs as part of a 561 aircraft on an operation to bomb Duisburg. The planned time of the attack would be between 02:17 hrs and 03:12 hrs.

Bomber Command lost some 17 aircraft during this operation with 9 of them claimed by various night fighter units. 98 crew members killed, 14 taken PoW. 1 evading capture. A further 7 crew members were injured on return to England in one crash and one aircraft abandoned over Stonegrave near Sowerby.

Damage reports from Duisburg 300 buildings destroyed, with casualties between 130 - 207 (reports vary) on the ground. The majority of the bombing was not accurate with most of the bombing North East of the city. Bombs were also known to have dropped on other towns in the Rhur.

Halifax HR778 crash site (courtesy Johann Flintorf)

Halifax HR778 is known to have been hit by flak and crashed in the Kottenforst near Meckenheim, Germany. The crew were initially buried in the town of Meckenheim on the 4th May 1943 - later reinterred at Rheinberg.

Rheinberg War Cemetery (courtesy CWGC)

Burial details:

Sgt. Guy Fisher. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 11.b. 13-19. Son of Albert Henry and Enid Fisher, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Samuel Hawkins. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 11.b. 13-19. No further information currently available. Are you able to assist?

Sgt. Brian Hugh James. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 11.b. 13-19. Son of Hugh Reginald and Edith Mabel James, husband of Iris James, of Petts Wood, Kent, England.

Sgt. John Scott Boyce. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 11.b. 13-19. No further information currently available. Are you able to assist?

Sgt. William Henry Stacey. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 11.b. 13-19. Son of Walter Charles and Beatrice Naomi Stacey, of Winchmore Hill, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. James Leo Readman. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 11.b. 13-19. Son of Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Readman, of Ugthorpe, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Albert Leonard William Pond. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 11.b. 13-19. No further information currently available. Are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Johann Flintorf, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 4, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.

KTY Updated 18.11.2019

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Acknowledgements
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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