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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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15 Squadron Crest
18/19.09.1942 No. 15 Squadron Stirling I N3759 LS-Q P/O. James E. Land

Operation: Gardening

Date: 18/19th September 1942 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 15 Squadron

Type: Stirling I

Serial: N3759

Code: LS-Q

Base: RAF Bourn, Lincolnshire

Location: Kattegat area

Pilot: P/O. James Edward Land J/85241 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Frederick Lowrie 575843 RAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Sgt. George Hayes 1377993 RAFVR Age 32. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. William Douglas Probert R/74972 RCAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frank Edward Davidson R/62936 RCAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Frederick Eldridge 911677 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Charles Frederick Bee R/98141 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed


Taking off for a Gardening operation at 20:00 hrs from RAF Bourn in Lincolnshire to lay mines in the Undergrowth and Yew Tree areas (Kattegat) (code names for RAF Mine laying areas see here) 115 aircraft taking part in this operation dropping mines in various areas. 5 aircraft were lost, 2 Stirlings, 2 Lancasters and 1 Wellington.

The aircraft was reported to have been to hit by Marine Flak and 2/lei Flak Abt 844, II/1/lei Flak Abt 836 and Alarm Flak Battery 11/XI. The aircraft crashed into the sea 70km North West of Esbjerg at 0100 hours. (Nachtjagd Combat Archives The Early Years Part 3 - Theo Boiten).

Also lost from the Squadron on this operation:

Stirling I R9351 LS-R Flown by P/O. John miller Steel 126588 RAFVR taken PoW at Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria with PoW number 720. He was knocked unconscious when the aircraft hit the water, quickly recovered and swam to the surface. Picked up by a passing ferry. Sadly the remaining 6 crew were posted as missing - believed killed.

Burial details:

P/O. James Edward Land. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 100. Son of John Frank and Beulah Ellison Land, husband of Helen Louise Land, of Baldwyn, Mississippi, USA.

Sgt. Robert Frederick Lowrie. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 88. Son of John Robert and Florence Gertrude Lowrie, of Halstead, Kent, England.

Sgt. George Hayes. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 85. Son of George and Lilian Beatrice Hayes; husband of Lilian Mary Hayes, of Cheam, Surrey, England.

Fl/Sgt. William Douglas Probert. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 106. Son of William and Elsie May Probert, of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Frank Edward Davidson. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 103. Son of James S. and Elsie Davidson, of Debert, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sgt. Gordon Frederick Eldridge. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 82. Son of Sidney Eldridge, and of Beatrice Eldridge, of Ewell, Surrey, England.

Fl/Sgt. Charles Frederick Bee. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 102. Son of Earle R. and Dora L. Bee, of Leamington, Ontario, Canada.

Researched for Garrett Kalem. Thanks to John Jones for the Theo Boiten information. Sources as quoted below.

RS 15.08.2019 - Update with loss information

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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