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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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514 Squadron Crest
24/25.02.1944 514 Squadron Lancaster II DS785 JI-D Fl/Sgt. Kay

Operation: Schweinfurt

Date: 24/25th February 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 514 squadron (3 Group)

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: DS785

Code: JI-D

Base: RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire

Location: Heidingsfeld, Germany.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Kay 1437600 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Edward George Marchant 1603363 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. John Handley David Fenwick 1395122 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John Joseph McKeown 1337038 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Payne McCormick 1493956 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Harrison 1128211 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Bertil Wilfred Bergquist J/87476 RCAF Age 22. Killed


Take off at 20:57 hrs. from RAF Waterbeach on an operation to bomb the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt as part of the second wave of 21 aircraft from 514 Squadron.

The Lancaster and crew were reported missing. The aircraft was coned by 6/Flakscheinw Abt 708 and hit by schw Flak Abt z.b.V. 6253 and 6256 and 6260. 4/schw Flak Abt 639, Flak Abt 482, 4/schw Flak Abt 263. The aircraft crashed at Heidingsfeld South of Wurtzburg at 01:14 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 15 March 1944) Part 1 - Theo Boiten).

After the war ended, the Missing Research and Enquiry Service investigating the loss of Lancaster DS785 discovered that it had crashed at 01:14 hrs at Heidingsfeld, near Wurzburg with loss of all the crew.

Originally buried in the cemetery at Heidingsfeld, the crew were re-interred in Durnbach War Cemetery.

Above: Sgt. John Payne McCormick shown during training. 2nd right, 2nd row up.

Above: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Kay shown 2nd row from front, 6th from the left.

Below: Durnbach War Cemetery - The quality of these photographs shown here can not be fully appreciated when the size is reduced for the web page. (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Alfred Kay. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8E.33-35. Son of Mrs and Mrs A. Kay and brother of Arnold of 18 Orchid Avenue, Farnworth, Bolton, Lancashire.

Further information: Alfred volunteered for the RAF in May 1942 and worked for Messrs Ryder’s of Bolton. He was also a playing member of Leonard’s X.I. and attended All Saints Church, Farnworth. He and his wife lived at 1, Clifton Street, Farnworth and their daughter Patricia was born in October 1944. On January 23rd 1944 Sergeant Kay and his crew were posted to No. 3 I.F.S., then 1678 C.F. on 4th February prior to 514 Squadron. He had also flown as second pilot to Fl/Sgt. Langley on an op to Stuttgart on 21st February 1944

Fl/Sgt. Edward George Marchant. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8E.33-35. Son of Edward Russell and Rose Violet Marchant of Dagenham, Essex, England.

Fl/Sgt. John Handley David Fenwick. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8E.33-35. Son of Emily and stepson of Ralph Charles Kelly of Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. John Joseph McKeown. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8E.33-35. Son of Joseph Miles and Emily Alice Mary McKeown of Hunton Bridge, Hertfordshire and husband of Vere Coral (nee Talbot) McKeown of Blackheath, London.

Sgt. John Payne McCormick. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8E.33-35. Son of Samuel and Sarah McCormick of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Known as “Jackie” by his family.

Sgt. Robert Harrison. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 11.J.7. Son of Robert and Isabel Harrison of West Cornforth, Co. Durham, England.

Fl/Sgt. Bertil Wilfred Bergquist. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 11.J.6. Son of Olof Wilhelm and Valborg Evelina Bergquist of Cadillac, Quebec, Canada.

Researched by Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. With thanks to Fl/Sgt. Alfred Kay's relative, Lis Germaine (niece), for photos and family information, additional information courtesy Michael Wright, for information and photo's on Sgt. McCormick to Robin McCormick. Finally to David Franklin for the wonderful grave photographs. Thanks to John Jones for the details of the loss of the aircraft.

RS 24.01.2020 - Inclusion of details for the shooting down of the aircraft

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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.
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