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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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No. 9 Squadron
17/18. 04.1941 No. 9 Squadron Wellington IC N2745 WS-O Sgt. Gordon Ernest Heaysman

Operation: Koln (Cologne)

Date: 17/18th April 1941 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: N2745

Code: WS-O

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: Neuwied, 12 miles NW of Koblenz, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Gordon Ernest Heaysman. 754459. RAFVR. Age 21. Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: Sgt. S. F. Whitlock. 926800. RAFVR. Age? PoW No 617. Camps L1 - Stalag Luft I - Barth, L6 - Stalag Luft Heyderkrug, 357 - Fallingbostel

Air/Obs: Sgt. Grant John Mavor. R/56873. RCAF. Age 25. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. T. Lancaster. 947744. RAFVR. Age? PoW No 604. Camps L1 - Stalag Luft I - Barth, L6 - Stalag Luft Heyderkrug, 357 - Fallingbostel

Air/Gnr: Sgt. B. Hanlon. 914255. RAFVR. Age?. PoW No. 599. Camps. L1 - Stalag Luft I - Barth, L6 - Stalag Luft Heyderkrug, 357 - Fallingbostel

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Charles Balch. 548758. RAFVR. Age? Camps. L1 - Stalag Luft I - Barth, L6 - Stalag Luft Heyderkrug, 357 - Fallingbostel (3)

If you have any further information on the loss of this aircraft, crew, their relatives and friends than please contact us via the "add info" button at the top of this page


Wellington IC of No. 9 Squadron (courtesy of Imperial War Museum) 1941 Refuelling a Wellington (courtesy Australian War Memorial)


Wellington N2745 took off from RAF Honington at 20.23hrs for an operation on Koln (Cologne). One of eight other Wellington that took off that evening from No 9 Squadron. A total of 97 aircraft took off on operations that evening. Wellington N2745 was route via Namur, Belgium. Nothing was heard from the aircraft until 23.43hrs when contact was made which stated that aircraft had engine trouble and that the crew were abandoning ship. The aircraft crashed at Neuwied, 12 km NW of Koblenz. The aircraft may have been hit by flak or shot down by a German night fighter

A telegram from the International Red Cross stated that three of the crew were PoW's

Sgt. George Charles Balch (left). Can you identify the chap on the right? (picture Aircrew Remembered archives)

3) Sgt. George Charles Balch. LAC Balch was posted to No 9 Squadron in 1939 and had completed many operation. He was one of the crew of Wellington N2873 on the night of the 18th December 1939 that took part in the operation to Wilhelmshaven.  Nine aircraft from No. 9 Squadron took part in this operation and LAC Balch was flying as part of Sgt. Petts crew. Their aircraft was badly shot up and the wing had been on fire. The starboard side of the fuselage was heavily peppered by gunfire. Sgt Petts managed to nurse the aircraft back and landed at Sutton Bridge at 16.00hrs. LAC Balch had been injured, but returned to duty after his recovery. Five of the nine aircraft from No 9 Squadron failed to return with the loss of twenty four lives

Burial details:

Rheinberg War Cemetery (courtesy CWGC)

Sgt. Gordon Ernest Heaysman. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 9. F. 25. Son of Ernest and Frances Heaysman of Three Bridges, Sussex. (1) Gordon is remembered on the War Memorial, St. Nicholas's Church Cemetery, Worth, Sussex

Sgt. Grant John Mavor. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 9. F. 24. Son of Clara P. Mavor of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (2)  Grant was born on the 6th December 1916 in Manitoba, Canada and arrived in the UK on the 20th November 1940

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew.  With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Robert Holmes - The Battle of Heligoland Bight 1939, W R Chorley - Bomber Command Losses of WW2 and Prewar Losses July 1936 - September 1939, W R Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1941, National Archives Air 27-126, Air 27-131, Air 27-125, Flight Archives, Wikipedia, Oliver Clutton-Brock - Footprints on the Sands of Time, Aircrew Remembered Archives, Gordon Thorburn - Bombers First and Last

For further detailed accounts we recommend the following publications: Bombers First and Last by Gordon Thorburn ISBN 10: 1 86105 9469 ISBN 13: 9 781861 059468. 

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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