AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

• Kracker Archive
• Allied Losses
• Archiwum Polish
• Paradie Canadian
• Searchable Lists

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

21 squadron crest
05.04.1943 No. 21 Squadron Ventura I AE839 YH-A F/O. Gerald L. Hicks

Operation: Ramrod

Date: 5th April 1943

Unit: No. 21 Squadron

Type: Ventura I

Serial: AE839

Code: YH-A

Location: English Channel off Portreath, Cornwall

Pilot: F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks 104530 RAFVR Age; 32. Survived (1)

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles 1163245 RAFVR Age 26. Survived (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Rees RAFVR Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Taylor 1017135 RAFVR Age 29. Survived (1)


Took off at 16:40 hrs from RAF Portreath as part of a Ramrod to attack an oil tanker at Brest.

AE839 was hit and badly damaged by both flak and Luftwaffe Fw.190's. Managed to return to safe territory, but forced to ditch off Portreath, Cornwall. All crew were picked up safe within twenty minutes by fisherman.

Ventura I AE839 at Portreath, Cornwall (archives)

A further 3 Venturas from 21 Squadron were also shot down during this operation:
Ventura I AE715 YH-X Flown by 22 year old Canadian P/O. Melvyn A. McDonald, missing, with all 3 other crew members.
Ventura I AE726 YH-H Flown by 21 year old Sgt. Harold E. Blundell from Southgate, Middlesex, killed with all 3 other crew members.
Ventura I AE852 YH-S Flown by 28 year old Sgt. Eric J. Andrew from Dundee, Scotland, missing with all 3 other crew members.

(1) Survived this ditching but lost their lives in another operation just 2 weeks later on the 21st April on an operation to Abbeville.

Burial Details:

None - all survived - see Abbeville Operation

KTY 07.04.2016 Map added

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 22 March 2021, 14:31

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor