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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
28/29.08.1943 75 Squadron Stirling I W7513 AA:G Sgt. Halliburton.

Operation: Gardening Operation

Date: 28th/29th April 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 75 Squadron (RNZAF)

Type: Stirling I

Serial: W7513

Code: AA:G

Base: RAF Newmarket, Suffolk

Location: Between 40 km and 80 km SW of Denmark in the North Sea

Pilot: Sgt. Keith Halliburton 415411 RNZAF Age 23. MiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Devinder Singh Sidhu 946455 RAFVR Age? MiA

Nav: Sgt. Patrick Torre Hunter 42297 RNZAF Age 29. MiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Leslie Thomas Scarfe 1261331 RAFVR Age 21. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. David Church 1196564 RAFVR Age 29. MiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Charles Henry George Boxall 1393248 RAFVR Age 19. MiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Alexander Clunie Howell 392104 RNZAF Age 23. MiA


Took off at 20:42 hrs from RAF Newmarket in Suffolk. Part of a huge 207 aircraft force on a 'Gardening' (mine laying) operation. A total of 593 mines were laid off Heligoland, in the river Elbe and in the Great and Little Belts. Low cloud base forced the aircraft to fly very low over the German and Danish coasts. Because of this they took very heavy flak and also attacks from Luftwaffe night fighters.

Although this was the largest mine laying operation in one night of the whole war it came at a price. A total of 22 aircraft were lost (75 Squadron lost 4 aircraft alone, with a total of 28 crew members killed) - 9 aircraft were lost by the night fighters and the remainder from the flak.

W7513 or 75 Sqn Stirling R9290 was claimed as a probable by two German night fighters:

Hptm. Hans Baer his 5th Abschuss, from 4./NJG3 over the sea 40 km SW of Esbjerg at 1.600m. at 01:29 hrs;
Fw. Rudolf Mangelsdorf his 1st Abschuss from 12./NJG3 80 km SW of Ringköbing at 2.000 m. at 01:45. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten)

Stirling W7513 crew - Sgt. David Church on extreme left, Sgt. Patrick Torre Hunter 2nd left, Sgt. Devinder Singh Sidhu 3rd from left, centre Sgt. Keith Halliburton - remainder awaiting identification. (Photo courtesy of David Church and 75 Squadron Association, England branch)

Left above: Sgt. Keith Halliburton. Right: Sgt. Patrick Torre Hunter (courtesy Mike Harrison

Hoddesdon Journal - December 1943 (courtesy Mike Harrison)

Burial Details:

Above: The Runnymede War Memorial

Sgt. Keith Halliburton. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 199. Son of William Francis and Susan Halliburton, of Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Sgt. Devinder Singh Sidhu. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 147. No further details as yet.

Sgt. Patrick Torre Hunter. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 199. Son of Patrick Hunter and of Helena Hunter (nee Torre), of Havelock North, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

Sgt. Leslie Thomas Scarfe. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 164. Son of Edward Tevelin Scarfe and Sarah Grace Scarfe, of Hornsey, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. David Church. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 145. Son of James Arnold and Alice Mary Church; husband of J. Church, of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, England.

Sgt. Charles Henry George Boxall. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 143. Born in the 4th Qtr of 1923 in Camberwell, Greater London. Son of Charles H. and Rose (née Hull) Boxell of Camberwell, Greater London, England.

Sgt. Alexander Clunie Howell. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 199. Son of William James Stanley Howell and Ella Isabell Howell, of Wairoi, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

With further information supplied by Mike Harrison. Crew photograph restored by Aircrew Remembered technical services from a considerably damaged original. Update to loss details and Next-of-Kin information for Sgt. Boxall (Aug 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 09.08.2023 - Update to Next of details and loss information.

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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