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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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467 Squadron crest
14/15.05.1943 467 Squadron Lancaster III ED543 PO:H Plt Off. Kevin E. Mahoney

Operation: Plzen

Date: 13th/14th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit No: 467 Squadron (RAAF)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED543

Code: PO:H

Base: RAF Bottesford Leicestershire.

Location: Kemphausen Nr. Damme, Germany.

Pilot: Plt Off. Kevin Eugene Mahoney 416223 RAAF Age 21. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Bernard George Hickling 1185786 RAFVR Age 23. KiA

Nav: Fg Off. Edwin Francis Hamilton Heard 128665 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Maurice Brian Squires 1388828 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. William Glover Berry 1368760 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. 'Harry' Henry William Cox 1586740 RAFVR Age 28. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. Byron Leo Haley R131435 RCAF Age 20. KiA


Taking off at 21:37 hrs from RAF Bottesford Leicestershire to join 155 other Lancasters and 12 Halifaxes to bomb the Skoda works at Pilsen (Plzen).

Note: The Skoda works were at this time producing gun turrets for the German Navy as well as the Panzer 35T tank

The target was deep inside German held territory and was well defended. Most of the bombers found the target difficult to find with the majority of the bombs released over open country, to the north of the works between 01:55 hrs and 02:43 hrs.

Shortly after this operation, a further 442 heavy bombers also bombed Bochum, to the south.

Lancaster ED543 was shot down by the Luftwaffe ace in a cloudless moonlit night by Hptm. E. Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld from Stab 1./NJ3, his 40th abschüss of the war. The engagement took place at 01:11 hrs flying at 3,000 m.

Above Hptm. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld

Hptm. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld went on to claim a total of 49 abschüsse. He was killed on the Sunday,12th March 1944 along with his crew in the Belgium Ardennes during a transit flight in poor weather conditions.

Burial details:

The crew were initially buried in a single coffin at the Town Cemetery in Diepholz. Following exhumation and identification that this was the crew of ED 543 by a team from No. 4 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit on the 29th August 1946 the remains were re-interred in Hanover War Cemetery.

Plt Off. Kevin Eugene Mahoney. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.8-14. Inscription: 'SACRED HEART OF JESUS GRANT HIM ETERNAL REST'. Born on the 8th August 1921 in Berri, South Australia, the son of Patrick and Amy Winifred Mahoney, of Berri, South Australia

Sgt. Bernard George Hickling. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.8-14. Inscription: 'DEARLY BELOVED HUSBAND OF MARY ELIZABETH. HE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE'. Son of Albert Edward and Edith Hickling and husband of Mary Elizabeth Hickling, of Middle Marwood, Devon, England.

Fg Off. Edwin Francis Hamilton Heard. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.8-14. Inscription: 'AU REVOIR BELOVED SON'. Son of Richard Hamilton Heard, and of Lily Frances Heard, of Croydon, Surrey, England.

Above: Sgt. Maurice Brian Squires (Courtesy of Stewart Alexander)

Sgt. Maurice Brian Squires. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.8-14. Inscription: 'WE SHALL REMEMBER HIM AS HE WAS A DEAR SON AND A GOOD BRAVE LAD'. Son of Sydney David and Elsie Squires, of Maidstone, Kent, England.

Sgt. William Glover Berry. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.8-14. Inscription: 'EVER LOVINGLY REMEMBERED BY FATHER, SISTERS AND BROTHER'. Son of Thomas and Isabella Glover Berry, of Methil, Fife, Scotland.

Sgt. 'Harry' Henry William Cox. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.8-14. Born on the 12th February 1915 in Hackney, the son of George Henry John and Maria Cox (nee Boswell). Henry married Florence Le'Nora Hocking in March 1942, Tavistock, Devon. Currently no known children.

Above Flt Sgt. Byron Leo Haley (Courtesy Veterans Affairs Canada)

FltSgt. Byron Leo Haley. Hannover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.8-14. Born on the15th October 1920, Ingersoll, Ontario. Son to Edward Leslie Haley & Myrtle Viola (née Jenvey) of Woodstock, Ontario Canada.

Enlisted at 10 Recruit Centre (RC) Hamilton on the 16th October 1941. Failed his elementary flying training at No. 4 Service Flying Training School (SFTS), Saskatoon and re-mustered to Air Gunner on the 28th May 1942.

Researched for Stewart Alexander by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) whose mother was brother to Sgt. Squires and dedicated to all the relatives of this crew, also to Julie Gilmore, great niece of Sgt. Henry William Cox who contacted us in November 2017. Thanks to Graham for the Next-of-Kin details for Flt Sgt. Haley (Oct 2019). Photograph of Flt Sgt. Haley added (Aug 2020). Thanks to Stewart Alexander, a nephew of Sgt. Squires, for his photograph (May 2023).

Other sources as listed below:

RS 11.05.2023 - Updated and photograph of Sgt Squires 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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