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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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578 Squadron Crest
578 Squadron Halifax III MZ556 LK-P Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Thomas Hutton

Operation: Bottrop

Date: 20/21st July 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 578 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ556

Code: LK-P

Base: RAF Burn, Yorkshire

Location: Vluynbusch, Near Moers, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Thomas Hutton 178775 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. L.F. Taylor RAFVR PoW No: 493 Camp: L7 - Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg (1)

Nav: W/O. Herbert Frank Axford J/87271 RCAF Age 28. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. D.S. Stoddart RCAF PoW No: 4968 Camp: L1 - Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. C.H. Wilks RAFVR PoW No: 499 Camp: L7 - Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leonard Miles 1396768 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. A.E. Tommis RAFVR PoW No: 497 Camp: L7 - Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg


Leaving RAF Burn, Yorkshire at 23:10 hrs to attack the synthetic oil refineries at Bottrop. 166 aircraft taking part in this operation, 149 Halifaxes, 13 Mosquitoes and 4 Lancasters.

Above left to right: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Thomas Hutton, W/O. Herbert Frank Axford and Sgt. Leonard Miles (see credits)

Bombing the target between 01:29 hrs - 01:42 hrs the northern parts of the target were reported as badly damaged, but no further information on casualties on the ground.

12 aircraft were lost during this operation, resulting in 61 aircrews killed, 13 taken pow, and 1 evading capture with 4 crew members parachuting over friendly territory.

A tragic night for this squadron losing 6 aircraft, the others:

Halifax III LK834 LK-E Flown by Sgt William Davidson, killed with 7 crew when their aircraft collided with MZ696 over Balkholme, near Goole, Yokshire.
Halifax III MZ511 LK-M Flown by Fl/Lt. Alistair Hope-Robertson, killed with 4 other crew, 1 made pow and 1 escaping capture.
Halifax III MZ617 LK-D Flown by Fl/Lt. Joseph Couture RCAF killed with all 7 crew.
Halifax III MZ696 LK-K Flown by F/O. Maurice Day, killed with all 7 crew in collision described above.
Halifax III MZ572 LK-C Flown by F/O. Trevor Gordon Harrison, missing with all 7 crew.

It is understood that Halifax MZ556 was hit by flak and crashed at Vluynbusch, Near Moers, Germany. (See map for approximate location)
(1) L7 - Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg - situated in Silesia, Germany. Now Baków, Poland.
(2) L1 - Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang - situated in Barth, Germany.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. (Posth - P/O) Kenneth Thomas Hutton. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 2.E.12. Son of Thomas and Elsie Hutton, of Bridlington, Yorkshire, England.

W/O. (Posth - P/O R/52032) Herbert Frank Axford. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 29.E.7. Son of Daniel Neale Axford and Bessie Florence Kate Axford, of 337 Westminster Boulevard, Riverside, Ontario, Canada. Brother to Gwenith, William and Norman. Born 12th January 1916 in Peterborough, Canada. Enlisted in December 1939

Right: Grave of Sgt. Leonard Miles at Reichswald.

Sgt. Leonard Miles. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 15.D.8. Awaiting further details on NOK etc.

Researched for Barry Miles - nephew of Sgt. Leonard Miles and all the relatives of this crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Mitch Buitling for the Cemetery photo. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Windsor Daily Star. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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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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