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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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75 Squadron Crest
11/12.09.1944 75 (New Zealand) Squadron Lancaster I LM268 AA:D Fg Off. Hadley

Operation: Gardening

Date: 11th/12th September 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: 75 (New Zealand) Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LM268

Code: AA:D

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).


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.

Burial details:

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)

RS 03.01.2022 - Addition of link to Søren Lottrup story

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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