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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 Flt Sgt. Gawith

Operation: Ferentino, Italy

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

Unit No: 70 Squadron, 231 Wing, 205 Group

Type: Wellington X

Serial: JA506

Code: L

Base: Tortorella (Foggia No. 2), Italy

Location: South of Ollvano

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

Nav: Sgt. Charles Peter Greenslade 1605365 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Peter Francis Allwright 429023 RNZAF Age 20. KiA

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

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Kenneth Bruce Harding 1590964 RAFVR Age 19. KiA


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 collided with Wellington HE627 B. Both aircraft crashed in flames south of Ollvano where both crews were initially buried.

Burial details:

Flt Sgt. Arnold Gawith. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XXII.G.2. Born on the 4th 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. Born on the 16th January 1923 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland. Son of Charles Charles Federico Alexander and Charlotte Evelyn (née Ward) Greenslade of Uxbridge, England.

Charles Peter Greenslade was a pupil at Monkton Combe School and is remembered in the School Chapel.

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. Grave inscription: "HE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE". Son of William Arthur and Irene Hrding, of Shipton-by-Beningbrough, Yorkshire, England.

HE627 Crew Details:

Lt. Arnold Frederick Deelman 123896V SAAF Age 32. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XIX.G.4. S. Grave inscription: "HE IS NOT DEAD... HE HAS OUTSOARED THE SHADOW OF OUR NIGHT. SHELLEY'. Son of Herman F. and Irene E. Deelman, of Durban, Natal, South Africa.

Lt. Maurice Davis 542752V SAAF Age 21. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XIX.G.4. Grave inscription: "IN SACRED MEMORY OF MAURICE". Son of Samuel and Dinah Davis, of Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa.

(Above, Courtesy of Carol Ann Banks)

Sgt. John Trevor Saunders 1620263 RAFVR Age 21. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XIX.G.5. Grave inscription: "IN PEACE AND HONOUR REST YOU HERE, MY SON, WITH HONOUR'S CHAMPIONS THEIR DUTIES DONE". Son of Robert and Ada Saunders, of Oldham. Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Archibald Brewster 975232 RAFVR Age 27. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XX.H.11-12. Grave inscription: "FOR EVER NEAR FOR EVER DEAR IN HALLOWED MEMORY". Son of James and Elizabeth Brewster, of Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland.

Sgt. Philip John Simpson 1580258 RAFVR Age 21. Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio Grave XX.H.11-12. Grave inscription: "IN LIFE, IN DEATH, O LORD, ABIDE WITH ME". Son of James Harold and Evelyn Simpson, of Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, England.

Researched by kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) 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. (Jul 2019.) Thanks to Carol Ann (née Saunders) Bank, the niece of Sgt. Saunders for his image and the link to the site for Wellington HE627 (May 2020). Thanks to Jacqueline Burrows, historian at Monkton Combe School, for the date of birth for Sgt. Greenslade (May 2024). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (May 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 03.05.2024 - Next of Kin detail for Sgt. Greenslade

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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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