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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
75 (NZ) Squadron Stirling III BR807 P/O. Douglas Vincent Hamer

Operation: Gardening (1)

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

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (NZ) Ake ake kia kaha - 'For ever and ever be strong') 3 Group

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BR807 (2)

Code: AA-M

Base: RAF Newmarket, Suffolk

Location: Baltic Sea

Pilot: P/O. Douglas Vincent Hamer 141713 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Len Lennox 950013 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Sgt. Desmond Ray Ross NZ/411451 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Ross Cameron Buckley NZ/411206 RNZAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Leslie Fred Brian NZ/411737 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harry Pears Holme 1301281 RAFVR Age 35. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Malcolm Edward John Shogren NZ/415375 RNZAF Age 29. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

8 aircraft from the squadron were detailed to lay mines in German and Danish waters in the Baltic, 1 returned early due to a faulty compass. Weather was described as fairly good with scattered clouds over the mining area.

BR807 took off at 20:30 hrs with its 1,500lb. sea mines.

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 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 23 aircraft were lost (75 Squadron lost 4 aircraft alone, with a total of 28 crew members killed) - 9 from the night fighters and the remainder from the flak.

Above BK807 and crew L-R: Sgt. George Lennox, AC. Harold Goadby ground crew, Fl/Sgt. Ross Buckley, LAC. Tom McGibbon ground crew, Sgt. Harry Holme, Sgt. Malcolm Shogren, P/O. Douglas Hamer, Sgt. Desmond Ross and Fl/Sgt. William Brian.

BR807 was coned by searchlights for 2 minutes then hit by anti-aircraft fire from Kreigsmarine (German flak ship), battery MAA508, It crashed at 00:08 hrs on the western side of Lolland Island

Although British listening stations heard some Nachtäger complaining that the British aircraft were flying too low and the German R/T traffic at times suffered from strong interference, the defenders enjoyed good visibility and nine mine-layers were destroyed by eight Nachtjagd crews including Stirling R9290 at 01:17hrs and Stirling W7513 at 01:45 hrs on their homeward bound of the trip.

The other three crews lost from the squadron:

Stirling I R9290 AA-X took off at 20:41 hrs. Flown by 25 year old, Fl/Sgt. Alfred Edward Lewis Aus/412458 RAAF from Coolamon, New South Wales, Australia. All 7 crew killed. Shot down by Hptm. Hans Baer of 4./NJG3 at 01:17hrs south west of Esberg, Denmark.

Stirling III BF467 AA-W took off at 20:38hrs. Flown by 21 year old, P/O Desmond Lewis Thompson NZ/413152 RNZAF of Onehunga, Auckland New Zealand. All 7 crew killed. All 7 crew killed. Aircraft was coned by searchlights for 3 minutes, hit by Flak of MAA508, crashed and exploded in sea, 300 metres from coastline off Lolland at 00:23 hrs.

Stirling I W7513 AA-G took off at 20:42 hrs. Flown by 23 year old, Sgt. Keith Halliburton NZ/415411 RNZAF of Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand. All 7 crew killed. Shot down by Fw. Rudolf Mangelsdorf of 12./NJG3 at 01:45 hrs south west Ringköbing, Denmark. Further details.

(1) For'Gardening' Operation map see here.

(2) The Operation records state it was BK664 but this was lost on the 06th February 1943 with 90 squadron. The pilot being Fl/sgt. John Wood 1375501 RAFVR. All eight crew missing - believed killed.

Burial details:

P/O. Douglas Vincent Hamer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 131. Son of John Hugh and Constance Winifred Hamer, of Balham, London, England.

Sgt. George Len Lennox. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 156. Son of Eccles and Jeannie Lennox, of Glasgow, Scotland.

Sgt. Desmond Ray Ross. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 199. Born on the 03rd October 1919 in Auckland. A warehouseman for John Burns and Company in Auckland. Enlisted at Levin on the 02nd March 1941 as a trainee pilot. Pilot training terminated and remastered as an observer on the 02nd July 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 22nd September 1941. Awarded observer badge on the 28th February 1942 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 01st May 1942. Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit and 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit before joining 75 squadron on the 17th March 1943. Killed on his 8th operational sortie. Son of Magnus Montgomery Ross and of Margaret Ross (née Clarkson), of Sulphur Point, Auckland, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Ross Cameron Buckley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 10th June 1913 in Auckland. A salesman for John Burns and Company in Auckland. Enlisted at Levin on the 16th February 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 29th May 1941. Awarded observer badge on the 15th September 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 23rd October 1941. Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit and 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit before joining 75 squadron on the 17th March 1943. Killed on his 8th operational sortie. Son of William Joseph Buckley and of Mabel Bernice Richards Buckley (nee Muklejohn), of Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. William Leslie Fred Brian. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 19th March 1920 in Christchurch. Worked as a metal finisher/panel beater for General Motors in Petone. Enlisted at Levin on the 16th March 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 26th May 1941. Air gunner badge awarded on the 22nd November 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 13th December 1941. Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit and 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit before joining 75 squadron on the 17th March 1943. Killed on his 8th operational sortie. Son of William Lloyd Cross Brian (died 11th July 1937, age 44) and of Rita Brian (née Pearse - died 21st September 1931, age 36) and husband of Rona Brian (née Lukins), of Lyall Bay, Wellington, New Zealand.

Sgt. Harry Pears Holme. Svino Churchyard. Grave 37. Also remembered on family grave in Ince-in-Makerfield Cemetery. Son of Thomas (died 16th January 1955, age 81) and Sarah Holme (died 08th January 1939, age 62), of Westwood Gardens, Lower Ince, Wigan, Lancashire; husband of Eveline Holme, of Lower Ince, Wigan, England. Epitaph: 'Nobly He Gave His Life For Us That We Might Still Live'.

Sgt. Malcolm Edward John Shogren. Svino Churchyard. Grave 27. Born on the 02nd December 1913 in New Plymouth. An engine fitter for Macewans Machinery in Auckland. Enlisted at Levin on the 28th September 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 17th November 1941. Air gunner badge awarded on the 22nd June 1942 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 20th July 1942. Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit and 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit before joining 75 squadron on the 17th March 1943. Killed on his 8th operational sortie. Son of Norman Leonard (died 07th December 1954, age 74) and Alice Rose Shogren (née King - died 16th January 1958, age 76), of Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.

Above: Malcolm Shogren grave marker with on the right Malcolm and friend taken whilst on leave (courtesy Neil Priest)


Above as described. Named in alphabetical order only. (courtesy Neil Priest / A.D Coachman)

Robert Carter Blanchard NZ/414853, George Herbert Borland NZ/412924, Alan Guthrie Brown NZ/41188, Norman James Casserley NZ/45515, Alan Douglas Couchman NZ/415518, Keat Dudding NZ/415522, Lloyd Francis English NZ/415524, Robert James Frizzell NZ/415525, Eric Richard Hadley NZ/414976, Albert Douglas Harris NZ/415529, Richard James Harris NZ/415530, Stanley Raymond Haynes NZ/402519I, Ian Richard Heays NZ/415532, Graham Christian Levy NZ/415537, Hilton Arthur Lister NZ/415538,
James Lovett NZ/415539, T.A. Love, Basil Duart Maclean NZ/415545, Basil Duart Maclean NZ/415545, Hector Copeland Maria NZ/414909, James Frederick Marks NZ/415546, Henry Herbert Marsh NZ/415547, John Hedley Marshall NZ/415548, R.J.Moore, William Martin O'Dwyer NZ/41550, Frederick Dale O'Gorman NZ/415555, Maurice Frederic Philpott NZ/415557, Arthur Andrew Porteous NZ/415573, J.W.Reid, Robert Francis Saunders NZ.415564, Harold Henry Sheather NZ/415560, Harold Edward Small NZ/415561, Cyril Richard Smith NZ/415563,
D.S. Smith, N.S.Smith, Malcolm Edward John Shogren NZ/415375, Rex James Thompson NZ/415565, David George Tibbles NZ/414896, Ronald Bert Upjohn NZ/414898, Terence James Vercoe NZ/415566, Edward Robert Williamson NZ/415570


Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, National Archives Kew, Air-27-646-31/32, International Bomber Command Centre IBCC, New Zealand Cenotaph, Air Museum of New Zealand, Neil Priest (relative of Malcolm Edward John Shogren), Peter Lucas for family grave photo of Harry Pears Holme. Kracker Luftwaffe Archive.

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 26-04-2023

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Acknowledgements
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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