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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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70 Squadron Crest
23/24.05.1944 70 Squadron Wellington X JA506 L Flt.Sgt. Gawith

Operation: Ferentino, Italy

Date: 23/24th May 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: 70 Squadron, 231 Wing, 205 Group

Type: Wellington X

Serial: JA506

Code: L

Base: Tortorella, Italy (Foggia No. 2)

Location: South of Ollvano

Pilot: Flt.Sgt. Arnold Gawith 422385 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Charles Peter Greenslade 1605365 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. Peter Francis Allwright 429023 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Tionga Waaka 425007 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Bruce Harding 1590964 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Taking off just after 23:00 hrs to attack roads though Ferentino, Italy along with 18 others. A 37 Squadron Wellington burst a tyre on take off and crashed. Although all the crew were safe the aircraft was struck off charge at the end of the month.

Whilst over the target area, JA506 and Wellington HE627 B collided. The aircraft both crashed in flames south of Ollvano where both crews were initially buried. Reinterred after the end of the war.

Burial details:

Flt.Sgt. Arnold Gawith. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XXII.G.2. Born on the 04th November 1919 at Hawera, the son of Frederick Gawith and of Mary Ann Gawith (née Black), of Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as a farmer / cheese maker for Eltham Dairy Company. A total of 507 flying hours logged and having completed 13 operational sorties.

Sgt. Charles Peter Greenslade. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy, XXII.G.1. No further details - are you able to assist?

Flt.Sgt. Peter Francis Allwright. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XXII.G.3. Born on the 23rd September 1923 at Wellington, the son of Robert Sydney and Doris Nina Pauline Allwright (née Clarke), of Wellington City, New Zealand. A student farmer prior to enlisting. A total of 431 flying hours logged and having completed 14 operational sorties.

Flt.Sgt. Tionga Waaka. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XXII.G.3. Born on the 20th February 1921 at Rotorua, the son of Te Wiremu Waaka and Ngahina Northcroft, of Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as a clerk for the Native Department at Rotorua . A total of 323 flying hours logged and having completed 13 operational sorties.

Sgt. Kenneth Bruce Harding. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XXII.G.4. Son of William Arthur and Irene Hrding, of Shipton-by-Beningbrough, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "He died that we might live".

The other crew details:

Lt. Arnold Frederick Deelman 123896V SAAF Age 32. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XIX.G.4. S. Son of Herman F. and Irene E. Deelman, of Durban, Natal, South Africa. Grave inscription reads: "He Is Not Dead... He Has Outsoared The Shadow Of Our Night. Shelley'.

Lt. Maurice Davis 542752V SAAF Age 21. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XIX.G.4. Son of Samuel and Dinah Davis, of Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa. Grave inscription reads: "In Sacred Memory Of Maurice".

(Left, Courtesy of Carol Ann Banks) Sgt. John Trevor Saunders 1620263 RAFVR Age 21. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XIX.G.5. Son of Robert and Ada Saunders, of Oldham. Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Peace And Honour Rest You Here, My Son, With Honour's Champions Their Duties Done".

Sgt. Archibald Brewster 975232 RAFVR Age 27. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XX.H.11-12. Son of James and Elizabeth Brewster, of Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "For Ever Near For Ever Dear In Hallowed Memory".

Sgt. Philip John Simpson 1580258 RAFVR Age 21. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XX.H.11-12. Son of James Harold and Evelyn Simpson, of Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Life, In Death, O Lord, Abide With Me".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these crews 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, Thanks to Carol Ann (née Saunders) Bank, the niece of Sgt. Saunders for his image and link to the site for Wellington HE627 'B'. Other sources as quoted below:

RS 16.05.2020 - Addition of image for Sgt Saunders and link to Wellington HE627 'B'

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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', 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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