11/12.09.1944 75 (New Zealand) Squadron Lancaster I LM268 AA:D Fg Off. Hadley
Date: 11th/12th September 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 75 (New Zealand) Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire
Location: Orslev, Denmark
Pilot: Fg Off. Wilson Orchard Hadley 426041 RNZAF Age 30. Killed (1)
Flt Eng: Sgt. Colin Richard Fowler 1874701 RAFVR Evaded capture (2)
Nav: Plt Off. John Bernard Gudgeon 428786 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. David John Robert Wilcox 421244 RNZAF PoW No: 966 * (3)
WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles 425836 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. William James Victor Boyd 428303 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. John Matthew Biggar 427945 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
* Stalag Luft 7 Bankau nr. Kreuzburg O.S." (O.S. standing for Oberschlesien, Upper Silesia). Today called Bąków nr. Kluczbork (Poland).
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 19:35 hrs together with 7 others from the Squadron on a Gardening operation to the Kattegat area. All aircraft delivered their mines and commenced the return journey. A further 68 aircraft from other units also took part in the operation.
LM268 was claimed by Oblt. Arnold Brinkmann, his 10th Abschuss, from 8./NJG3, 5 to15 km south of Ringside at 3400 m at 22:52 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (24 July 1944 - 15 October 1944) Part 4 - Theo Boiten).
Oblt. Arnold Brinkmann who survived the war with 16 known victories. For further details please see the Kracker Archive entry.
The Lancaster crashed at Orslev - sadly, it hit a farmhouse killing five members of a family.
Two of the crew managed to bale out - Sgt. Fowler managed to evade capture but Flt Sgt. David Wilcox was badly hurt in the fall and although locals provided him with assistance and treatment, he required special care and consequently handed over to the Germans.
Above left: Flt Sgt. William James Victor Boyd with his parents. Right: Flt Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles with friend, Flt Sgt Aubrey Charles Kirk (courtesy Kirk family) Further details on Flt Sgt. Kirk can be read here.
(1) The family of Fg Off. Wilson Orchard Hadley also suffered the loss of another son. 22 year old, LAC. John Ross Hadley 422944 RNZAF. On a training solo flight in Harvard II DG413 when it crashed during low flying near Delta Airfield in the Wairau river bed at 14:50 hrs on Tuesday 06th April 1943. Buried at Balcairn Cemetery, Canterbury, New Zealand. (map of incident shown above)
(2) Sgt. Fowler returned via Stockholm on the 27th September 1944. Søren Lottrup recalls the crash and the assistance given to Sgt. Fowler.
(3) Flt Sgt. Wilcox was released from captivity on the 26th May 1945.
Fg Off. Wilson Orchard Hadley. Orslev Churchyard. Joint grave IIB. Son of Charles Hadley and of Ellen Hadley (née Hawke), of Amberley, New Zealand and husband of Esme Elizabeth Hadley, of St. Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 587 Flying hours logged and on his 17th operation.
Plt Off. John Bernard Gudgeon. Svino Churchyard. Collective grave 88. Son of John Edmund Gudgeon and of Mildred Gudgeon (née Trolove), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 293 Flying hours logged and on his 16th operation.
Flt Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles. Svino Churchyard. Collective grave 88. Son of George R. Giles and of Isabella Giles (née Bayne), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 327 Flying hours logged and on his 17th operation.
Flt Sgt. William James Victor Boyd. Svino Churchyard. Collective grave 88. Son of James Benjamin Boyd and of Lucy Eileen Boyd (née Westley), of Mapua, Nelson, New Zealand. 262 Flying hours logged and on his 16th operation.
Flt Sgt. John Matthew Biggar. Orslev Churchyard. Joint grave IIB. Son of Peter and Ivy Biggar, of Nakirikiri, Wellington, New Zealand. 267 Flying hours logged and on his 20th operation.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the Kirk family (Flt Sgt. Aubrey Charles Kirk was good friends with Flt Sgt. John Patrick Arthur Giles), Auckland Museum Cenotaph, for details and images, Erroll Martyn “For Your Tomorrow Vols 1-3”, Erik Skytte, Finn Halling Larsen
for grave photographs. Thanks to Lydia Randewijk for identifying the airbase name error. Also to Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand for crew images - April 2019. Image of Flt Sgt. John Matthew Biggar used under licence No: Auckland Library Heritage Collection : 6 December 1944 : AWNS19441206-26-35. Thanks to John Jones for the link to the Søren Lottrup story for Sgt. Fowler (Jan 2022)