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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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90 Squadron Crest
22/23.09.1943 No. 90 Squadron Stirling III MZ262 WP-K Sgt. Hayman

Operation: Hannover

Date: 22/23rd September 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 90 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: MZ262

Code: WP-K

Base: RAF Wrattling Common

Location: Brockley Green, Kedington, Suffolk

Pilot: Sgt. Francis Ernest Hayman 1339597 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Downing Law 1581950 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. John Fraser McKenzie Gunn 1389502 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Air/Bmr: W/O. II George Wallace Moore R/134338 RCAF Age 30. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur John Lane 1394728 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. G.L. Duffy Survived - injured

Air/Gnr: P/O. Ronald Payton 1649641 RAFVR Age 19. Killed (2)


Taking off at 18:50 hrs for an operation to Hannover. Very soon afterwards the starboard inner engine caught fire with the blaze rapidly spreading.

At 19:16 hrs the aircraft exploded whilst flying at 500 ft with much of the wreckage scattered over the village of Brockley Green near Kedington in Suffolk.

Tragic night for 90 Squadron losing some 3 aircraft with 14 crew members killed, 3 injured with 2 others PoW. The others:

Stirling III BF566 WP-G Flown by 20 year old, P/O. William Birdsall 124844 RAFVR from Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire, England - killed with all 6 other crew.

Stirling III EH944 WP-A Flown by W/O. R.F. Denton RAFVR injured with his navigator during return landing at RAF Lakenheath. 2 crew baled out in the confusion of the combat and taken PoW. 1 crew member, the tail gunner, 20 year old Sgt. William Alfred Morgan 1651941 RAFVR from Newport, Wales killed. Not known if he was killed during the night-fighter combat or from the crash landing. Two of the crew were awarded DFC’s with one other receiving the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for their actions.

(1) George Moore Lake, north of Bolton Lake was names after W/O. II George Wallace Moore in 1995.

(2) P/O. George William Payton 100795 RAFVR - Missing - believed killed on the 19th August 1941. Remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 34. Travelling on the Aguila Steamship en-route from Liverpool to Gibraltar when hit by 2 torpedoes fired by U-201 off the Fastnet Rock. The ship sank within 90 seconds with the loss of some 153 people. 21 women from the WRNS were amongst those lost. The RNLI named a lifeboat in honour of them ‘Aquila Wren’ in 1952. U-201 was lost with all 49 hands on the 17th February 1943 when depth charged by HMS Viscount. (see credits)

Above: The memorial and plaque on the wall inside Kedington Community Centre. Unveiled on the 17th September 2022.

Burial details:

Sgt. Francis Ernest Hayman. Torquay Cemetery And Extension. Sec. G.2. Grave 15466. Son of George Ernest and Alice Louisa Hayman, of Torquay and husband of Joan Mary Hayman, of Torquay, Devon, England. Grave inscription reads: “He Passed Into The Shadows That Others Might Walk In The Sun”.

Sgt. John Downing Law. Tipton Cemetery. Sec. A/E. Grave 183. Son of Joseph Wilfred and Lily Law, of Tipton, West Midlands, England. Grave inscription reads: “Killed On Air Operations May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him”.

Sgt. John Fraser McKenzie Gunn. Wick Cemetery. Sec. M. Grave 622. Son of John and Viva M. Gunn, of Barrock. (Holder of Master of Arts Degree from Glasgow University), Scotland.

W/O. II George Wallace Moore. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 13532. Born on the 11th September 1912 the son of George Robert and Mabel Frances Moore, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Embrace O Father And Receive They Heroic Servant Into Thy Kingdom”. (shown right)

Sgt. Arthur John Lane. Hurst Green Churchyard (Holy Trinity). Son of Arthur Edward John and Clara Frances Lane, of Hurst Green, East Sussex, England. Grave inscription reads: “At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning, We Shall Remember Them”.

P/O. Ronald Payton. Ely Cemetery. Sec. C. Grave 472. Son of George Roberson Payton and Elsie May Payton (née Gooch), of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. Grave inscription reads: “Also To The Memory Of Pilot Officer G.W. Payton Lost On Operations 19th August 1941 Age 20”.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Kevin Betts for information on the planned memorial. Fulham Rocks, Len, for grave photographs. U-Boat net for information on U-Boat attack, Library and Archives Canada, Operation Picture Me, other sources as quoted.

KTY - 06.07.2017

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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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