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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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21 Squadron crest
21.04.1943 No. 21 Squadron Ventura II AE913 F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks

Operation: Abbeville

Date: 21st April 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: 21 Squadron

Type: Ventura II

Serial: AE913

Coded: YH-?

Base: RAF Oulton, Norfolk

Location: Abbeville

Pilot: F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks 104530 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

Co/pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles 1163245 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Taylor 1017135 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Watson 652631 RAF Age 22. Killed


Took off at 10:58 hrs from RAF Oulton to bomb the marshalling yards at Abbeville.

Along with 2 other Ventura's from 21 squadron, shot down by Luftwaffe fighters after leaving the target area. Shot down at 12:15 hrs. Three of this crew survived a ditching earlier on in this month.

The other two:
Ventura I AE692 Flown by Sgt. Ronald Herbert Wells 1331819 RAFVR, missing with 2 other crew, one other killed.
Ventura I AE743 Flown by 22 year old F/O. Geoffrey Brian Chippendale 127842 RAFVR from Guarlford, Worcestershire, killed with 3 other crew members.

Burial Details:

F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 4. Son of Thomas Edwin and Mildred, of Epsom, Surrey, England, husband of June Hicks. Further information (kindly supplied by Brian Bouchards - December 2017) The marriage of Thomas Edwin Hicks to Mary Mildred Lambert was registered at Norwich for the June Quarter of 1904. Birth of their son Gerald Lambert Hicks came to be recorded in Edmonton, June 1910. Grave inscription reads: "A Beloved Only Son; On Whose Soul, Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy R.I.P".

The Ampleforth Journal reported that:-

'Gerald Hicks was at Ampleforth from 1922 to 1927 and was a member of St Bede's House. He will be remembered by his contemporaries as a boy of buoyant and adventurous disposition, overflowing with energy and a zest for life. He represented his House in all games, and was also in the School XV. On leaving School he went into business and at the outbreak of war, joined the L.C.C. Ambulance Corps, and did valuable rescue work... ' Enlisted with the RAFVR at Euston in August 1940 with a Service Number 1382461 but having risen to the rank of LAC was commissioned Pilot Officer (prob) on 10 August 1941. Confirmation of rank and promotion to Flying Officer followed, 9 August 1942. His marriage to June M Garlick had been recorded at Marylebone, 3/1942.

Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 1. Son of Frank and Lilian, husband of Winifred Bowles, of East Dulwich, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "So Dearly Loved In Life Let Us Not Forget Him In Death "Thy Will Be Done" R.I.P".

Sgt. Frank Taylor. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 3. Son of Mark Reed Taylor and Emily Taylor, of Hull, England.

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Watson. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 2. Son of James Thomas and Florence Edith, of Wandsworth, London, England, husband of Violet Mary, of Wandsworth Common. Grave inscription reads: "I See Him Everywhere, In Everything He Knew & Loved, Fields, Woods & Gardens Fair".

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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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