Operation: Gardening (See abbreviations)
Date: 28/29th April 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No.75 Squadron (RNZAF)
Type: Stirling I
Base: Newmarket, Suffolk
Location: Unknown - probably over target area.
Pilot: Sgt. Keith Halliburton N/Z415411 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Devinder Singh Sidhu 946455 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: Sgt. Patrick Torre Hunter N/Z42297 RNZAF Age 29. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Leslie Thomas Scarfe 1261331 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. David Church 1196564 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Henry George Boxall 1393248 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alexander Clunie Howell N/Z392104 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
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. Stirling W7513 is not on the Luftwaffe claims list for this raid so it is thought that it had been taken down by flak - the aircraft was lost without trace.
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)
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. No further details as yet
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. With thanks to the following: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol 3', Martin Middlebrook 'Bomber Command War Diaries'. The CWGC. Crew photograph restored by Aircrew Remembered technical services from a considerably damaged original.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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