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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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151 Squadron Mosquito NF.XII MM505 P/O. Howard Keith Kemp

Operation: Instep

Date: 11th April 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 151 Squadron (motto: Foy pour devoir - 'Faith for duty')

Type: Mosquito NF.XII

Serial: MM505

Code: DZ-?

Base: RAF Predannack, Cornwall

Location: Bay of Biscay

Pilot: P/O. Howard Keith Kemp NZ/411514 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed (1)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. James Reveley Maidment 1585685 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 07:50 hrs with five others on the first of two 'Instep' operations this day.. They made their rendezvous at approximately 09:30 hrs.

An air battle took place as they followed Black Leader into a fight with twelve Ju 88's. The formation of Ju88's was broken up and F/Sgt Heath singled out one Ju88 which was on the tail of one of the Mosquitos, and attacked. The pilot Ju88 realised it was under attack, and took severe evasive action, but in closing from 600 yds to about 200 yds, short bursts of cannon fire were given, which bit the enemy aircraft in the rear section of the fuselage and the rear gunner's cockpit, after which no more return fire was noticed.

P/O. Cottrill advised that there were another two Ju88's trying to get on to their tail, but these were shaken off by low level evasive action, after which, following a search round, the Mosquito left the battle area and picked up with W/Cdr, Geoffrey Horace Goodman DFC 70799 RAFVR and another Mosquito who were setting course for base. They landed at RAF Portreath at 11:15 hrs. During the combat, F/Sgt Heath heard a voice over the R/T saying- "I'm ditching, best of luck chaps". The message was believed to have come from P/O Kemp who did not return from this sortie.

The remainder returned safely to base by 12:15 hrs. The squadron claimed 6 x JU88 as destroyed,1 x JU88 probable and 3 JU88's damaged this day.

On the second 'Instep' operation taking off at 14:10 hrs ,22 year old, W/O. William George Penman 1230772 RAFVR and 20 year old, Fl/Sgt. Eric Clifford Charlesworth Stevenson 1236718 RAFVR in Mosquito MM475 was also shot down and listed as missing - believed killed.

Burial details:

(1) On the 28th August 1947, an exhumation of a mass grave at Lea Champs was undertaken. One body was found of a P/O from the RNZAF. The body could not be identified until they found letters and a half gold sovereign next of kin were then notified and he was given a proper grave at the Pornic War Cemetery.

P/O. Howard Keith Kemp. Pornic War Cemetery. Grave 2.H.3. Also remembered on family grave at Waikumete Cemetery. Born on the 06th September 1921 in Auckland. A warehouseman for John Burns and Company. Enlisted on the 2nd March 1941 in Levin. Son of Alfred John (died 09th June 1945, age 76) and Mary Kemp (née Gilmore - died 31st July 1969, age 89), of 36 Bellevue Rd, Mount Eden, Auckland City, New Zealand, 381 flying hours logged.

Fl/Sgt. James Reveley Maidment. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 220. Son of William James Maidment and Beatrice Florence Maidment, of Thornton Heath, Surrey, England.

W/O. William George Penman. Runnymede Memorial. Panell 214. Son of William Brown Penman and Ethel Florence Penman, of Erdington, Birmingham, England. His brother Richardson Anthony Penman FX 668673 Royal Navy also died in service on the 18th August 1945,

Fl/Sgt. Eric Clifford Charlesworth Stevenson. Runnymede Memorial. Panell 222. Son of Sydney Augustus and Sarah Ellen Stevenson, of Sherwood, Nottingham, England.

13b pilots course, No. 2 Service Flying Training School, RNZAF Woodbourne. 1941

(We have only been able to identify some of the pilots - E&OE)

L-R: Rear; William Renwick Cook NZ/411375, George Thirlwell Brown NZ/411364 killed 27 August 1942, George Samuel Beca NZ/39985, Benjamin Donald New NZ/411348, Alfred Coulston Allison NZ/41861, Garth Reginald Gunn NZ/411397 killed 21st September 1944.

Third row; Frank Louvain Leckie NZ/411418, Norman George Clark NZ/411370 killed 25th February 1943, W.C Anderson, William Francis McGechie NZ/411423, Howard Keith Kemp NZ/411514 killed 11th April 1944, Frederick John King NZ.411414, Ronald George Tait NZ/391427, Gordon Lindsay Kennedy NZ/411411.

Second row; Frederick Rex Higgott NZ/41329 killed 24th October 1942, Kenneth Leslie Boyd NZ/411381 killed 21st August 1944, Lincoln Leslie Arnold Craig NZ.411376 killed Died 07th November 1942, Colin Moncur NZ/411431 died 29th September 2009, Eric Roy-den Banks NZ/405002, James Sweeney NZ/411470, Olaf Patrick Olson NZ/411439 died in 1953, Robert Erle Rathbone NZ/41396, Herbert George Collins NZ/411063.

Front; Peter Reginald Kingsford NZ/ killed 19th July 1942, Lester Charles Woodward NZ/133107 died 09th August 1989, Russell William Strode Penny NZ/404937 killed 18th December 1942, Cyril Keith Silcock NZ411641 died 13th June 1977, Russell Henry Suckling NZ/411469 killed 28th September 1942, E.G Rhodes, James Elliot Jenkinson NZ/411410 killed 12th June 1944, Jack McGifford Cleland NZ/411371 died on the 1st February 1970. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, National Archive Kew, AIR - 27-1022-7/8, 151 Squadron website.

KTY 27-04-2024

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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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