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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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17th July 1941 217 Squadron Beaufort I AW189 Fl/Lt. Kerr

Operation: Shipping Strike

Date: 17th July 1941 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 217 Squadron (motto: 'Woe to the unwary'). 19 Group. Coastal Command

Type: Beaufort I

Serial: AW189

Code: MW-X

Base: RAF St. Eval, Cornwall

Location: 4 miles west of St. Nazaire, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Thomas Francis Kerr 41588 RAF Age 20. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Allan Douglas Scott NZ/401234 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alec Windle 942630 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Eric Charles Whitehead 79200 RAFVR Age 35. Killed


Taking off at 20:15 hrs on an anti shipping operation to aSt. Nazaire.

They were last seen to be making a climbing turn to port about 4 miles west of the target area. Thought to have been hit by the vicious flak over the harbour.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Lt. Thomas Francis Kerr. Pornic War Cemetery. Grave 2. J. 3. 20. Son of James Kerr of Mount Royal, Montreal, Canada. Brother of James, Albert and also 4 sisters. He had joined the RAF pre war.

Sgt. Allan Douglas Scott. Escoublac-La-Baule War Cemetery. Grave 1. C. Born on the 18th September at Hamilton. Worked as a carpenter for his fathers business - Landboat Company of Hamilton. Enlisted at Levin on the 07th May 1940. Attached to No. 1 Air Observer School on 01st July 1940. Air observer bade awarded on the 21st September 1940 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 06th October 1940. Joined 221 squadron, Wellingtons, on the 14th December 1940, spent a short period with 26 squadron on the Lysander. From there he joined 97 squadron on the Manchester 18th April 1941.

Finally joining 217 squadron on the 02nd January 1942. Son of Walter William Scott (died 21st August 1946, age 65) and of Annie Rebecca Scott (nee Cave - died 12 May 1954, age 71), of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand. Brother of Elsie Eileen and Ronald Walter Havelock (killed in a motorbike accident, age 21 on the 13 May 1930. A total of 89 flying hours logged and his 17th operational sortie.

Sgt. Alec Windle. Escoublac-La-Baule War Cemetery. Grave 1. D. 18. Son of Arthur and Alice Gertrude Windle, of Brimington Common, Derbyshire, England.

F/O. Eric Charles Whitehead. Escoublac-La-Baule War Cemetery. Grave 1. C. 19. Son of William and Selina Whitehead; husband of Cynthia Eva Beatrice Whitehead, of Chiselhurst, Kent, England. Grave inscription: 'A Token Of Deepest Love. Sweetest Memories Always Of My Darling Husband'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 21-10-2021

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