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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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214 crest

Operation: Bremen

Date: 02/03rd July 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 214 Squadron (motto: Ultor in umbris - 'Avenging in the shadow'

Type: Stirling I

Serial: BF313

Code: BU-T

Base: RAF Stradishall, Suffolk

Location: Westernieland, Netherlands

Pilot: W/Cdr. Kenneth Duke Knocker 28043 RAF Age 35. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Tristram Edward Leonard Palmer 1212564 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John William Caddick Underwood 546445 RAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: P/O. Daniel Malofie J/8596 RCAF Age 31. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Frederick Inman 1108515 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Hendry Ritchie 817140 RAF(A) Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Fairhurst 1057396 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ernest George Wilson R/76046 RCAF Age 23. Killed


Taking off late at night joining 324 other aircraft from various squadrons to attack and bomb Bremen in good visibility. A Bremen report states that over 1,000 houses and 4 small industrial firms were damaged.

The RAF lost 13 aircraft, 8 Wellingtons, 2 Hampdens, 1 Halifax and 2 Stirlings. Another Stirling was lost during take off.

BF313 was shot down by a night fighter piloted by Ofw, Karl-Heinz Scherfling of II./NJG2 his 4th claim of the war) and crashed at 01:50. hrs 3rd July 1942 onto mudflats at Westernieland, 22km NNW of Groningen, Holland.

Burial details:

Germans buried the crew with military honours at Westernieland. In attendance were the Mayor and the German commander. That same day an unknown airman was also buried that had washed on the shore.

W/Cdr. Kenneth Duke Knocker. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.474. Born 1907 at Marlborough, Wiltshire, England. Son of Leslie Duke Knocker, and of The Baroness de Serclaes, M.M., of Ashtead, Surrey and husband of Susan Knocker. Father of Paul and Christopher. Grave inscription: 'Always In My Heart. Mother'. He was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1 September 1940. In April 1942 he assumed command of 214 Squadron. In July 1942, Wg/Cdr Knocker was also station commander of Stradishall. Served with 149 Squadron from January 1942, posted there from 419 Squadron.In May 1942. 214 Squadron indeed converted to Stirlings and needed experienced crews. Many airmen transferred in from other units including Kenneth Knocker, as well as others.

(note, his mother Mrs. Elizabeth ('Elsie') Knocker, OStJ, Knight of the Order of Leopold II of Belgium with Palm, MiD, led a very colourful life, a statue was placed to her and her friend Mairi Chisholm at Ypres, Belgium. Also a Blue Plaque erected on the house in Exeter where she was born on the 29th July 1884 - see below image) We recommend interested parties to read further about this remarkable lady here.

Sgt. Tristram Edward Leonard Palmer. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.470. Son of Harold Edward and Elizabeth Palmer, of Walton, Stafford, England. Royal Academy of Music Bronze Medallist. Grave inscription: 'They Shall Grow Not Old, As We That Are Left Grow Old; We Will Remember Them'.

Sgt. John William Caddick Underwood. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.472. Son of James Underwood and of Margaret Underwood (née Caddick), of Liverpool, England. Grave inscription: 'On His Soul, Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy. May He Rest In Peace. Amen'.

P/O. Daniel Malofie. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.471. Son of Wasyl and Anna Malofie. Of , Canada. Schoolmaster. Enlisted on the 09th January 1941.

Sgt. Peter Frederick Inman. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.473. Son of Joseph Frederick and Margaret Inman, of Cartmel, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription: 'Through The Cross To The Crown'.

Fl/Sgt. Robert Hendry Ritchie. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.476. Son of George and Jane Ritchie, of Aberdeen, Scotland. Grave inscription: ' Father, In Thy Gracious Keeping Here We Leave Our Loved One Sleeping'.

Sgt. Richard Fairhurst. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.475. Son of Richard Fairhurst, and stepson of Hannah Fairhurst, of Blackburn, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription: 'Gone But Not Forgotten By Those Who Loved Him'.

Fl/Sgt. Ernest George Wilson. Westernieland General Cemetery, De Marne. Grave N.469. Born on 16th November 1918 at Onston, Colchester, Canada. Son of Arthur W. and Cassie Curran Wilson, of Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Labouer and Truck Driver. Grave inscription: 'Grave inscription: 'He Giveth His Loved Ones Sleep'. Enlisted on the 10th October 1941.

Also buried at this cemetery:

Pilot. Fl/Lt. James Ian Wiseman 120629 RAFVR Age 24. Son of Herbert and Agnes Wiseman of Edinburgh, Scotland. Lost on the 22nd February 1944. 218 Squadron. Stirling EJ125.

As well as that of an unidentified airman buried on the same day as the crew of bf313.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Paul Bennett Knocker. Medals Reunited of New Zealand, Francois Dutil for Canadian crew members information, 214 Squadron Website, Kracker Archive, Epsom and Ewell History Explorer, Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd Combat Archive' Vol. 3, Wikipedia, CWGC, other sources as quoted below:

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
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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