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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
15/16.06.1944 514 Squadron Lancaster II LL690 JI:J Plt Off. Kingham, Iwuy, France,

Operation: Valenciennes

Date: 15th/16th June 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 514 Squadron

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: LL690

Code: JI:J

Base: RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.

Location: Iwuy, 7 miles North East Cambrai, France

Pilot: Plt Off. Ernest Arthur Kingham 174119 RAFVR Age 23. Killed (1)

Flt Eng: Sgt. Joseph Black 1531244 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Flt Sgt. Raymond Harold Hutt 1575248 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air Bmr: Flt Sgt. Frank Richard Spencer 1433953 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Benjamin Bloom 1414792 RAFVR Age? Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Neale Ansell 1895351 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Daniel George Davis R186172 RCAF Age 27. Killed


LL690 took off from Waterbeach at 23:14 hrs on 15/16th June 1944 to bomb the railway yards at Valenciennes.

Crew of Lancaster LL690: Rear: Sgt. Ansell, Sgt. Bloom, Sgt. Davies, Sgt. J. Black. Front: Flt Sgt. Hutt, Plt Off. Kingham and Flt Sgt. Spencer (Credit: Barbara Thacker via Linda Ibrom)

184 aircraft taking part bombing both Lens and Valenciennes in clear visibility, with both targets accurately hit.

Hptm. Josef Krahforst from 2./NJG4 claimed a 4-mot, his 5th Abschuss, near Iwuy, north east of Cambrai at 3.300m at 00:51 hrs. Theo Bioten’s Nachtjagd Combat Archive 12 May -23 July 1944 Part 3 identifies this 4-mot as being 514 Sqn Lancaster II LL690.

Michel Lespagnol has contacted us and informed us that his research has determined that LL690 was claimed by Oblt. Peter Ehrhardt from 9./NJG5. Theo Bioten’s Nachtjagd Combat Archive attributes 75 Sqn Lancaster LL888 to Oblt. Ehrhardt, his 16th Abschuss, over the Cambrai-Lille-Valenciennes area at 2.000m at 00:52 hrs.

This may be a case of "mistaken identity" and has yet to be resolved.

An eye witness to the crash Mons. Marliers a schoolteacher was living at the time in Iwuy and heard cannon fire with the Lancaster crashing shortly afterwards. He later visited the crash site and recovered some pieces, despite a German guard being posted at the scene. The local French people decorated the graves with a huge wreath and took photographs which they later handed over to the RAF authorities.

514 Squadron Lancasters over France 1944 (courtesy IWM)

Another 514 Squadron Lancaster was also lost during this operation:
Lancaster II DS816 JI:O piloted by 177531 Plt Off. Ted Prowles killed with 6 other crew members. The navigator, Fg Off Morrison evaded capture and returned to the UK on the 9th September 1944 with the assistance from the Bordeaux-Loupiac line.
(1) An excellent website, dedicated to Plt Off. Ernest Arthur Kingham has recently been built.

Above left: Flt Sgt. Frank Richard Spencer, Right: Sgt. Daniel George Davis (Credit: Veterans Affairs of Canada)

Burial details:

One of the crew, Flt Sgt. Raymond Harold Hutt was initially buried at Iwuy.

Plt Off. Ernest Arthur Kingham. Rieux Communal Cemetery. Grave 3. Son of Henry Joseph and Florence May Kingham and brother of John and Hephzibah Kingham of Luton, Bedfordshire, England.

Sgt. Joseph Black. Rieux Communal Cemetery. Joint grave 1. Son of Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Black of Newcastle on Tyne. England.

Flt Sgt. Raymond Harold Hutt. Iwuy Communal Cemetery. Row C. Grave 36. Born on 27th February 1921, Son of Edwin Arthur and Eveline Elizabeth Hutt (née Wilmott) Husband of Joyce Winifred Hutt of Leicester, England, father to Roger.

Flt Sgt. Frank Richard Spencer. Rieux Communal Cemetery. Joint grave 1. Son of Frank and Elizabeth Rose Spencer and brother of George and Freda.

Frank lived with his parents who ran the village bakery in Sandon Road, Hilderstone where he attended Stone Grammar School before leaving to work as a trainee engineer at the Post Office. He married Kathleen Mary Spencer of Blackley, Manchester. Some of his earlier flying training took place at Oudthoorn, South Africa before he was posted to 514 Squadron. He is also commemorated on his parent’s grave in the Christchurch Cemetery at Hilderstone, England.

Sgt. Benjamin Bloom. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 235. Husband of Olivia Bell, father of Clive and Paul of Wanstead, London, England.

Sgt. Frederick Neale Ansell. Rieux Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Son of William Reuben and Gertrude Leonard Ansell of Tottenham, Middlesex, England.

Plt Off. Daniel George Davis. Rieux Communal Cemetery. Grave 4. Born on the 21st March 1917 in Belle Ewart, Ontario. Son of Norman and Belle (née Wilson) from Gilford, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt Davis was commissioned and promoted to Plt Off with Service No of J92608 on the 14th June 1944.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Barbara Thacker (niece) of Sergeant Spencer. Also to Roger Hutt, who contacted us in June 2015. The Hilderstone Miscellany website. Veterans Affairs of Canada for permission to use the photograph of Sergeant Davis RCAF. Thanks to John Jones for the German Night-fighter claim details (Apr 2021) Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Apr 2021). Thanks to Michel Lespagnol for his information regarding the German night-fighter claim (May 2021).

RS 30.05.2021 - Additional information about night-fighter claim added

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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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