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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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142 Squadron crest
27/28.08.1942 No. 142 Squadron Wellington IV Z1424 QT-F P/O. Melvin F. Johnson

Operation: Kassel

Date: 27/28th August 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 142 Squadron

Type: Wellington IV

Serial: Z1424

Code: QT-F

Base: RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

Location: No details available.

Pilot: P/O. Melvin Florin Johnson J/7901 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Obs: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Rooney 99574 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Byron Stanley Biden J/15780 RCAF Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Walter Lewis Quinn J/15447 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie Mellor Tetley 545586 RAF Age 22. Killed


Taking off from RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire. at around 20:45 hrs to attack Kassel, a German City located on the River Fulda in Germany. 306 aircraft taking part. 21 Wellingtons, 5 Stirlings, 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden. Weather conditions were perfect for flying with a full moon and fine weather over Germany. That of course contributed to the 58 night fighter interceptions taking place, mainly on their return flight. Widespread damage was caused to the city with 144 buildings destroyed, 317 seriously damaged. Casualties on the ground amounted to 43 killed, 187 civilians 64 Germans soldiers injured.

The Allied losses were huge. 33 aircraft were lost either during the operation or during landing on return. 153 aircrew were killed, some were taken prisoner of war with 1 evading capture. One of the PoWs, Fl/Lt. Kiewnarski from 305 Squadron PAF later took part in the mass escape from Sagan 1944, was recaptured , then murdered by the Gestapo in 1944.

142 Squadron were particularly badly hit during this operation losing no less than 5 aircraft and crews. The others:

Wellington IV Z1266 QT-M Flown by Sgt. D.L.F. Toombs - taken pow with 3 others, 1 killed.
Wellington IV Z1338 QT-D Flown by 32 year old, F/O. Alfred Henry Paget from Cheam, Surrey, killed with 3 other crew, 1 taken pow.
Wellington IV Z1396 QT-B Flown by 23 year old, Fl/Sgt. Alan Harker from Letchworth, Herfordshire. Killed with the rest of his 4 crew.
Wellington IV Z1411 QT-Z Flown by 20 year old Cnadian, P/O. Charles William Keddy from High Prairie, Canada. Killed with all his 4 other crew.

No night fighter claims for this Wellington, it is thought probable that it was brought down by the fierce anti-aircraft batteries.

Above Sgt. Leslie Tetley - air-gunner for Wellington Z1424 (courtesy Jill Pick)

Above: original grave marker and grave for Sgt. Tetley ( courtesy Jill Pick)

Burial details:

P/O. Melvin Florin Johnson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 11.C.4. Son of Peter O. and Allette Johnson, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Rooney. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 11.C.5. Son of Stephen and Abigail Rooney, of Chapel Allerton, Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

P/O. Byron Stanley Biden. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 11.C.6. Son of Thomas Herbert Biden and Alma Biden; husband of Denolda Madoline Biden, of Sintaluta, Saskatchewan, Canada.

P/O. Walter Lewis Quinn. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 11.C.3. Son of Edward Patrick Quinn, and of Eva Mary Quinn, of Richmond Province of Quebec, Canada.

Sgt. Leslie Mellor Tetley. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 11.C.2. Son of Annie Tetley, of Siddal, Halifax, Yorkshire, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jill Pick, relative of Sgt. Leslie Tetley, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.

KTY 12.08.2015 Serial number 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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