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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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489 Squadron Crest
09.04.1943 No 489 Squadron Hampden TB.I AT258 XA-T F/O. Latta

Operation: Shipping

Date: 09th April 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No. 489 Squadron (18 Group - Coastal Command)

Motto: Whakatanagata kia kaha - 'Acquit yourselves like men, be strong'.

Type: Hampden TB.I

Serial: AT258

Code: XA-T

Base: RAF Wick, Caithness, Scotland

Location: North Sea

Pilot: F/O. Selwyn Latta NZ/41339 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. Sydney Herbert Walpole 120137 RAFVR Age 30. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John McAllister 1052442 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Wallace John Douglas NZ/403618 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed (1)


Taking off at 14:45 hrs with five others from the Squadron - two failed to return. (2)

Some 250 km north of Bergen they found a convoy of three vessels which they then proceeded to attack. Fierce anti-aircraft fire was encountered along with defending fighters escorting the ships. AT258 dropped a torpedo which struck one of the ship. It was then seen to climb steeply away before crashing into the sea, exploding on impact. None of the crews bodies were knowingly recovered.

(1) Fl/Sgt. Wallace John Douglas was of Maori descent and enlisted with his brother W/O. Adrian Vincent Douglas 403617 RNZAF - both enlisted at the same time. Sadly he also was listed as killed later the same year on the 06th September 1943 whilst serving with 149 Squadron. For further details of his loss read archive report.

(2) The other, Hampden P1189 Flown by FO. Denis Walton Wheeler 121416 RAFVR was listed as missing along with two other crew, one of the crew bodies was later recovered and buried at Stavne Cemetery, Trondheim, Norway.

Burial details:

F/O. Selwyn Latta. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 197. Born on the 20th December 1916 at Greymouth, the son of Robert Sanderson & Annie Florence Latta (née Napper), Devonport, New Zealand. Completed 19 operational sorties with a total of 489 flying hours logged. Worked as a photographer with Crago Photography, New Plymouth prior to enlistment.

F/O. Sydney Herbert Walpole. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 130. Son of Sidney Robert and Florence Miriam Walpole, of Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire, England. (B.A - Manchester University) Also commemorated on the Eccles Grammar School Memorial.

Sgt. John McAllister. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 157. Born on the 17th July 1921 of Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland. An apprentice architect prior to enlistment.

Fl/Sgt. Wallace John Douglas. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 04th August 1921 at Rotorua, the son of Edward and Marguerite Douglas (née McPherson), Ohinemutu, Rotorua, New Zealand. Completed 15 operational sorties with a total of 343 flying hours logged. Worked as a compositor for the Rotorua Morning Post prior to enlistment.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand for bringing this loss to our attention, the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand for details, David McNay of the Scottish Military Research Group for details on Sgt. McAllister. Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17.01.2019

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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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If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

Andy UK 20th January 2019:

"This is absolutely fantastic- and thanks so much for letting me know you had done it. Some of the information on the page i'd never come across before, so it's even more appreciated thanks!

My mum (Selwyn's niece) will be very moved to know that he is being remembered so well and thanks to so much effort from you and everyone involved in the project. She visits the Runnymede memorial every year on the anniversary of the loss of him and his crew and the extra details of those who died alongside him will be very valuable to know. Thanks again and all the best"

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