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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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61 Squadron Crest
22/23.11.1944 61 Squadron Lancaster I NG179 QR:C Fg Off. Thomas C. James

Operation: Trondheim

Date: 22rd/23nd November 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NG179

Code: QR:C

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire

Location: Unknown

Pilot: Fg Off. Thomas Cecil James 145058 RAFVR Age 25. MiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Raymond Eke 1594944 RAFVR Age 19. MiA

Nav: Fg Off. Herbert Arthur Jeffreys J38196 RCAF Age 23. MiA

Bom Aimer: Flt Sgt. Bernard Ewart Longhurst 1651990 RAFVR Age 21. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Ernest Morris 119961 RAFVR Age 24. MiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Norman Gordon Simpson 1818121 RAFVR Age 19. MiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Raymond John Sims 1817708 RAFVR Age 19. MiA

Above left: Fg Off. Jeffreys (From his Service Record); right: Flt Sgt. Morris (Courtesy of Clive Morris)


Took off from RAF Skellingthorpe at 15:55 hrs. on an operation to bomb the U Boat pens at Trondheim. 171 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes took part but the target was covered by a smoke-screen.

Above: U-Boat pens at Trondheim

Reluctantly the master bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned after the marking force had been unable to find the target.

17 aircraft from the Sqn were detailed on this mission. There was no cloud and good visibility. Enroute the aircraft received a "Do Not Bomb" message from the Controller. 15 aircraft jettisoned their bombs and 1 returned with its bomb load. NG179 was the only aircraft from the Sqn that failed to return and was lost without trace.

There are no German night-fighter nor Flak claims that can be associated with the loss of this aircraft and crew. A letter on the Service Record for Fg Off. Jeffreys, from the Wg Cdr of 61 Sqn, stated that "No observations were made by anyone that could have been reasonably connected with the non-return of Lancaster NG179".

The allies lost three aircraft during this operation the other two being:

Lancaster LL949 LE:E flown by Fg Off. George R. Flood RNZAF crashed near the Humber, killing 6 of the crew, another, Sgt Woodward died from injuries 9 days later.

Mosquito IV DZ642 AZ-H from 627 Squadron also crashed on return in Shetland. Flt Lt. John A. Reid RAF and his navigator Fg Off. Wesley D. Irwin RCAF were both killed.

Burial details:

Fg Off. Thomas Cecil James. Runnymede Memorial Panel 207. Son of Thomas John and Olive James of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England.

Sgt. Raymond Eke. Runnymede Memorial Panel 228. Raymond Eke was the son of Lawrence Eke and Edna (née Butcher) of 33 Stephen Rd, Rotherham, England. He was an only child, born in Rotherham in the second quarter of 1925. Raymond was educated at Spurley Hey Central School, and after leaving was employed by the Co-Op. He was an amateur actor known as Frank Randal and ventriloquist.

Fg Off. Herbert Arthur Jeffreys. Runnymede Memorial Panel 246. Born on the 25th February 1921 in Shawinigan Falls, Quebec. Son of Eric Sydney and Maud Mabel (née Wakefield) Jeffreys of Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, Canada.

Flt Sgt. Bernard Ewart Longhurst. Runnymede Memorial Panel 220. Son of David and Morfwdd Longhurst of Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

Flt Sgt. Ernest Morris. Runnymede Memorial Panel 220. Further information: Only son of Ernest and Agnes Morris and husband of Kathleen Morris of Hednesford, Cannock, Staffordshire, England. Ernest worked at his father’s barbers and hairdressing business before joining the Airforce. Their son Clive was born six months after Ernest failed to return from his last mission.

Sgt. Norman Gordon Simpson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 237. Son of Arthur and Ida Annie Simpson of Birmingham, England.

Sgt. Raymond John Sims.Runnymede Memorial Panel 237. Son of Arthur and Mary Cecilia Sims of Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Clive Morris, son of Flt Sgt. Ernest Morris for photo and information. Newspaper clipping for Fg Off. Jeffreys added by Aircrew Remembered (Jul 2020). Reviewed an updated by Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 14.11.2023 - Reviewed and updated

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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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