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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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218 Squadron crest
27/28.01.1943 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Stirling I N6077 HA:V Plt Off. Arthur E. Gough

Operation: Gardening

Date: 27th/28th January 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron

Type: Stirling I

Serial: N6077

Code: HA:V

Base: RAF Downham Market, Norfolk.

Location: Dassel, Germany

Pilot: Plt Off. Arthur Edward Gough 133219 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

2nd Pilot: Plt Off. Kenneth Alsey Taylor 568299 RAFVR Age 23. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Edward John Forward 568299 RAF Age 24. KiA

Navigator: Sgt. Geoffrey Charles Layley 137342 RAFVR Age 23. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Norman Whitehead 1213624 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. George Leslie 'Les' Banks 1113233 RAFVR Age 31. KiA

Air Gn (Mid Upp): Sgt. Loring Charles Ehrhart 964374 RAFVR Age 23. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. William Ewart Jackson 1281390 RAFVR PoW No: 27380. Stalag 8B,Teschen; Stalag 344, Lamsdorf. (1)

Above left: Plt Off. Taylor (Courtesy Colin and Brian Taylor and the sister of Kenneth Taylor, Marion Spores via Linda Ibrom) and Right: Sgt. Layley.

Relatives of Sgt. Banks contacted us in November 2013 and would like to be in contact with other crew families.


Left Downham Market at 17:03 hrs for mine laying duties in the Sweet Pea region (Rostock and Arcane) of the Baltic. Homebound N6077 was hit by heavy Flak of 1., 3. & 6./Schw Flak Abt 801(o). The aircraft crashed near Dassel-Relliehausen at 22:05 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten)

Sgt. Bill Jackson was thrown out of the aircraft, through some trees and into snow during the crash.

Note: This Stirling was delivered to 218 Squadron ex-works on 8th March 1942 and according to the figures published in the Stirling File, it flew twenty-seven operational sorties. Battle damage in November 1942 is recorded on form AM78, but it was of a minor nature and repairs took place on site. When lost, N6077 had flown a total of 221.45 hours.

Above: Course No. 36 for Observers at 19 Operational Training Unit (OTU) RAF Kinloss. Sgt Layley, last from the left. (Courtesy of Paul Markham)

Above: Course No. 37 for Bomb Aimers at 19 Operational Training Unit (OTU) RAF Kinloss. Sgt. Whitehead, sitting 2nd from the left. (Courtesy of Paul Markham)

Sgt. George Leslie Banks shown on the left (courtesy Susan Henshall)

Above: Press cutting reporting on the loss of the Layley brothers.

(1) Bill Jackson wrote a comprehensive book on his time with 218 Squadron and contains further details of this loss. Titled 'Three Stripes and Four Brownings - A True Story of WWII by a Lone Survivor'. ISBN: 0-919899-14-5.

Above: 'Three Stripes and Four Brownings - A True Story of WWII by a Lone Survivor'.

Burial details:

Plt Off. Arthur Edward Gough. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3. A11-17. Son of George Henry and Elizabeth Jane Gough of Kenton, Middlesex, England.

Plt Off. Kenneth Alsey Taylor. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3. A11-17. Grave inscription: ‘OUR LOVE AND REMEMBRANCE ALWAYS’. Son of Thomas Alsey and Ethel Taylor of Streatham, London, England.

Sgt. Edward John Forward. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3. A11-17. Grave inscription: ‘NO MORNING DAWNS NO NIGHT RETURNS BUT WHAT WE THINK OF YOU. FROM ALL AT HOME’. Son of John Lee and Lily Forward of Trallwn, Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt. Geoffrey Charles Layley. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3. A11-17. Son of Arthur Wilfred and Flora Victoria Layley of Highclere, Hampshire, England.

His brother Ronald George was also in the RAF and was sadly killed on 14th/15th of January 1944 aboard 7 Sqn Lancaster III JA935. Geoffrey Layley attended St. Bartholemews School and is remembered a being a quiet person who took up farming after leaving school. At the outset of war he joined the Army, later transferring to the RAFVR.

Sgt. Norman Whitehead. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3. A11-17. Grave inscription: ‘SUNSET AND EVENING STAR, AND ONE CLEAR CALL FOR ME!’. Son of Norman and Martha Whitehead of Almondbury, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. George Leslie Banks. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3. A11-17. Grave inscription: ‘IN LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF OUR DEAR SON GEORGE LESLIE (LES)’. Son of George and Eva Banks of Northenden, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Loring Charles Ehrhart. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3. A11-17. Born in the 1st Qtr of 1920 in Marylebone, London. Son of Carl and Leonie Marie (nee Vervenne) Ehrhart of London, England.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Thanks to Colin and Brian Taylor and Plt Off. Taylor’s sister Marion Spores for the uniformed photo. Also our thanks go to Katherine Garrett for the information and school magazine excerpt on the Layley brothers. Information and school magazine excerpt on the Layley brothers to Katherine Garrett. We hope to receive further information from the niece of Sgt Banks, Susan Henshall and Michael Long, nephew of the pilot Plt Off. Gough. Also to Dave Champion for details on Sgt. Ehrhart (Mar 2019). Thanks to John Jones for the flak claim (Nov 2021). Thanks to Paul Markham, 7 Squadron Association, for the OTU photographs (Jan 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 22.01.2024 - Addition of OTU Photographs

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'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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