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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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576 squadron badge
28/29.12.1944 575 Squadron Lancaster I NN750 UL:M2 Fg Off. Derrick Fletcher

Operation: Bonn

Date: 28th/29th December 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 576 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NN750

Code: UL:M2

Base: RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire.

Location: Manston, Kent

Pilot: Fg Off. Derrick Fletcher 179580 RAFVR Age 23. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Philip Arthur Lake 1895870 RAFVR Age 21. PoW * (1)

Nav: Flt Sgt. Charles Gerrard Campbell 1565575 RAFVR Age 22. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Kenneth Angus 1581067 RAFVR Age 22. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Leonard James Bull 1606722 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp) Flt Sgt. Gordon Warren R263594 RCAF Age 20. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. James Norris 1900179 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland.


Took off from RAF Fiskerton at 15:17 hrs on an operation to bomb the railway yards in Bonn. Reports made by the Bomber Command differ than that of the German authorities - they state that considerable damage was caused, the German police state that the only damage was that done to the Victoria road bridge across the main line from Cologne to Koblenz however a great deal of damage was done generally with many buildings hit along with the University and 2 public shelters received direct hits. 486 people on the ground were killed.

Above Flt Sgt. Leonard Bull (Courtesy of Stephen Bull)

Above Flt Sgt. Gordon Warren (from his service record)

NN750 was reported to have been attacked and severely damaged by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Plt Off. Fletcher and his crew did a superb job of controlling the aircraft to bring it back across the English Channel. Both elevators are understood to have been damaged and could not be used. The only way that the aircraft could be controlled was by using the trim (this was reported by the Flt Sgt. Bull at the time). They tried to land at Manston but this was not successful so the pilot decided to open the throttles and to go around again.

Unfortunately, while doing so, the aircraft lost too much speed, stalled and dived vertically into the ground where it completely burned out. The accident report dated, 7th January 1945 confirmed that the aircraft was a total loss and that six of the crew were killed and one, Sgt. Lake was missing.

(1) Sgt. Lake who was thrown clear of the aircraft through the nose escape hatch when the aircraft was attacked by a fighter on leaving the target. It appears that this hatch had been shot away or the fitting damaged by an attack shortly before. He was despatching bundles of Window through the Window chute in the nose at the time when the pilot commenced a violent corkscrew manoeuvre to evade another attack. He came down by parachute and was eventually taken prisoner. It was several weeks before notification was received that Sgt. Lake was a PoW. It was originally thought that he had perished in the crash along with the rest of the crew but no remains were recovered so he was recorded as missing.

Above: The PoW photographs of Sgt. lake (Courtesy of Neil Jordan)

Philip Arthur Lake was born on the 30th July 1923 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He passed away on the 11th February 1999 in Ruan Minor, Helston, Cornwall.

Burial Details

The superb Fiskerton Memorial dedicated to the lost crews. (origin unknown)

The poem was written by Cedric Roberts and dedicated to 57 Squadron

Grave markers for some of the crew (Courtesy Stephen Farnell - FindAGrave)

Fg Off. Derrick Fletcher. Mexborough Cemetery. Sec A. Uncons. Grave 188. Born on the 19th March 1921 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, West Riding. Son of Leonard and Ellen Kathleen (née Popple) Fletcher of Doncaster, Yorkshire, West Riding. Husband to Ellen (née Lafferty) Fletcher.

Flt Sgt. Charles Gerrard Campbell. Glasgow (St. Kentigern's) Roman Catholic Cemetery. Sec. 5. Grave 175. Inscription read: "FOR THE FINEST CAUSE IN THE WORLD; THE LIBERATION OF MANKIND". Son of Patrick Campbell, and of Ellen Campbell (née Callaghan), of Glasgow. Scotland.

Flt Sgt. Kenneth Angus. Cardington (St. Mary) Church Cemetery. Row H. Grave 15. Inscription reads: "LOVED AND REMEMBERED ALWAYS. YOUR DARLING WIFE KATHLEEN, MUM AND DAD". Son of William Young Angus and Violette Angus, husband of Kathleen Mary Angus, of Tranmere, Birkenhead, England.

Flt Sgt. Leonard James Bull. Dilton Marsh (Holy Trinity) Churchyard. Grave 188. Inscription Reads: "GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS; HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR US". Son of Charles James Bull and Beatrice Ellen Bull, of Westbury, husband of Phyllis May Bull, of Westbury, England.

Flt Sgt. Leonard James Bull. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 56.C.7. Inscription reads: "GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS". Born on the 1st March 1924 in Brandon, Manitoba. Son of William and Edna Pearl (née West) Warren of St. James, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Posthumously commissioned and promoted to Plt Off. (J93781) with effect 27th December 1944.

Warren Lake in Manitoba is named after Plt Off. Warren

Sgt. James Norris. Ferrybank Catholic Churchyard. Grave 71. Son of Mr and Mrs John Morris from Ard Mhuire, Ferrybank, County Claire, Ireland.

From a local newspaper (Munster Express, 5th January 1945):

It was with sincere regret that the death in England on Friday last of Mr. James, (Doc) Norris (20), Ard Mhuire, Ferrybank, was heard throughout Ferrybank and district. A popular voung man; deceased was a well known P. H. Pearse hurler. He was the son of Mr. John Norris, a member of- the composing room staff of Messrs.G. D. Croker, and Mrs Norris. He was brother of Mr. Maurice (Buddy) Norris, another P H Pearse hurler; Miss Gretta Norris Ard Mhuire; Mr. Sean Norris a member of the Defence Forces; and nephew of Mr. J. Norris, a former member of Waterford Corporation.
The remains of the late James Norris arrived by the 1.30 p.m. train ex-Kingsbridge at Waterford on Thursday and were met by a large and representative concourse of friends and sympathisers, which was indicative of the esteem and regard in which the late Mr. Norris was held. The coffin was borne by playing members of the P.H. Hurling and Football Club to the waiting1 hearse, and many beautiful floral tributes were placed on the coffin. The funeral, accompanied by Very Rev. E. Canon Brennan, P.P., V.F., and Rev. P. Hally, C.C., do. took place to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Ferrybank, and following the last prayers at the church, the interment took place in the family burial grounds.
To the bereaved parents, brothers and sisters we tender our sincere sympathy.—R.I.P.

Researched for Mr Lewis Bull (via his son Stephen E. Bull) cousin of Flt Sgt. Bull and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Stephen Farnell contributor at "Find A Grave". "A Place of Honour - Manitoba War Dead". Thanks to Trish Loughman for the newspaper transcription regarding Sgt. Norris (Sep 2021). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2021). Thanks to Neil Jordan for providing the information and photographs for Sgt. Lake. (Dec 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 30.12.2023 - new information and photograph for Sgt. Lake

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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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