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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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53 Squadron Crest
08.10.1940 No. 53 Squadron Blenheim IV T2036 PZ-K P/O. John C. Mallon

Operation: Gravelines France

Date: 8th October 1940 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 53 Squadron, Coastal Command (16 Group)

Type: Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV

Serial: T2036

Code: PZ-K

Base: RAF Detling, Kent

Location: Frethun, 5 km south west of Calais, France

Pilot: P/O. John Charles Mallon 42719 RAF Age 24. Wounded

Obs: Sgt. Wilfred Philip Whetton DFM 562350 RAF Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Thomas Shackleford 613282 RAF Age ? Killed


Taking off at 18:45hrs. joining a coastal command attack on motor transport and shipping concentrations - Gravelines north east of Calais.

Shot down by flak and crashed at Frethun, 5 km south west of Calais, at 22:45 hrs. P/O Mallon, a New Zealander from Taranaki, was captured and although treated for his injuries - died of his wounds some 3 days later - buried along with his crew in Guines Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais.

It is regretted that the CWGC has P/O. John Charles Mallon date of death incorrectly listed as 08th October 1940 and not the 11th. Sadly his parents, Alexander and Dora in New Zealand were also to lose another son later in the war. P/O. Thomas Mallon killed flying Mosquito MT484 on the 12th March 1945. The family had another son, also serving as a pilot - he survived the war, passing away in 2010 age 90.

Andrew Bird studied at Reading College of Art and Design and served in Royal Air Force Reserves for a considerable number of years. He has written for a number of newspapers and magazines. Also written several books on Coastal Command. A Separate Little War - ISBN-13: 978-1906502133, Coastal Dawn - ISBN-13: 978-1906502690 and his latest Heroes Of Coastal Command - ISBN-13: 978-1526710697. Purchase these via our Amazon link at no extra charge to you and assists us.

Burial details:

P/O. John Charles Mallon. Guines Communal Cemetery. Grave 4. Son of Alexander and Dora Christabel Mallon, of Bell Block, Taranaki, New Zealand. One of 3 sons - all 3 serving as pilots during the war and a daughter. 382 hours logged and on his 43rd operation

Sgt. Wilfred Philip Whetton DFM. Guines Communal Cemetery. Grave 3. Son of Arthur and Jessie Whetton, husband of May Whetton, of Bath, Somerset, England.

Sgt. Arthur Thomas Shackleford. Guines Communal Cemetery. Guines Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Born sometime in 1897. Joined RAF in 1938 and registered as a Wireless operator on the 12th April 1940. Married to Emily, of 264 Maxwell Road, Glasgow, Scotland (between 1930-1936).Also of 60 McNeil Street, Hutchesontown, Gorbals, Glasgow (1922-1932) Joined the RFC aged 20 in October 1917 - 1919. (see credits below)

Researcher: Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - December 2015. With thanks to Vic Jay for pilot and grave photo. Blenheim photo from the Michel Beckers collection. With many thanks to Andrew Bird for contacting us with information on Sgt. Shackleton - August 2018.

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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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