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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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428 Squadron Crest
29/30.03.1943 No. 428 Squadron Wellington X HE175 NA-U Sgt. Martyn

Operation: Bochum

Date: 29/30th March 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 428 Squadron 6 Group (‘Ghost’ RCAF)

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE175

Code: NA-U

Base: RAF Dalton, Yorkshire

Location: North Sea

Pilot: Sgt. John Basil Martyn NZ/415001 RNZAF Age 24. Missing believed killed

Nav: Sgt. Norman Sidney Farr 1237623 RAFVR Age 22. Missing believed killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Kenneth Benjamin 1331554 RAFVR Age 21. Missing believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Leonard William Hayward 1270441 RAFVR Age 22. Missing believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Clifford Donaldson NZ/411746 RNZAF Age 26. Missing believed killed


Taking off at 19:35 hrs from RAF Dalton in Yorkshire part of a 157 aircraft operation to Bochum. A further 329 aircraft left at the same time to attack Berlin.

The operation (Oboe guided) was severely hampered by severe icing and electrical storms over the North Sea. Over 120 aircraft had to return due to these conditions - others pressed on to be met by fierce attacks from Luftwaffe night fighters both on the outward and return journeys.

It is thought that the aircraft reached and bombed the target. Wellington HE175, due to return at 02:15 hrs.

1st call: “At 3.000 ft - 158 mph - 270 degrees 0111 1/2 hrs.”
2nd call: “Now on steady course heading south west.” (Fix 5608 N - 0050 E. Time 01.07 hrs).
3rd call: “May be forced to land without further signal.” (Fix 5543 N - 0018 W. Time 01:37 hrs).Final call: 01:55 hrs informing their base that they were preparing to ditch in the North Sea - they were never heard from again and neither the aircraft or the bodies of the crew were recovered. The signal placed them some 26 miles east of Acklington (5535 N 0100 W).

Launches were immediately sent to search for the Wellington. Two aircraft from the squadron also commenced a search at 08:30 hrs, but due to weather conditions the search was stopped at 16:15 hrs.

Rear L-R: Sgt. Farr, Fl/Sgt. Hayward, Sgt. Martyn. Front L-R: Sgt.Benjamin, Sgt. Donaldson.

Another aircraft from 428 Squadron was lost on this operation: Wellington III BK564 NA-R - Flown by 21 year old P/O. Joseph Louis Raymond Ferrier Cartier J/17165 RCAF from St. Laurent, Quebec, Canada. He, along with two others were killed in the crash near Gelsenkirchen, Germany. 2 others survived but one of these died from his injuries despite being treated on the 12th April. Another crew member made PoW.

Above: 22A Pilot Training course at Wigram 18th October 1941.

31 year old, Sgt. Thomas Fraser Munro NZ/415005 RNZAF - Killed on the 10th September 1942 whilst with 11 Operational Training Unit returning from an operation to Dusseldorf Wellington IC DV930 Crashed in Suffolk on return.
20 year old, F/O. Laurence John Kirkpatrick NZ/414990 RNZAF - Killed on the 23rd September 1943 whilst with 75 Squadron during an operation to Mannheim.
29 year old, F/O. Henry James Bennett NZ/414722 - Killed 03rd February 1945 whilst with 22 squadron on a Rhubarb operation in Burma, Beaufighter TF.X NE445.
27 year old, F/O. David Ross Scrymgeour NZ/414687 RNZAF - Killed on the 19th April 1943 whilst with 13 Squadron, Blenheim V BA727 failed to return from an armed reconnaissance off Tunisia.
32 year old, F/O. Murray Archer Legg NZ/415071 RNZAF - Killed on the 24th January 1943 whilst with 58 Squadron, Halifax II DT684 during a transit flight.
31 year old F/O. Athol George Greentree NZ/414974 RNZAF - Killed on the 12th November 1943 whilst with 42 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X LX912 during a torpedo strike off Crete.
32 year old, Fl/Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth NZ/415204 RNZAF - Killed on the 30th May 1943 whilst with 431 Squadron, Wellington X HE203 SE-B on an operation to Wuppertal.
23 year old, Peter Sydney Watt NZ/415046 - Killed on the 02nd January 1944 whilst with 83 Squadron, Lancaster III JB114 operation to Berlin.

Burial details:

Sgt. John Basil Martyn. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 199. Born on the 01st March 1919 the son of Lionel Herbert and Edith Martyn, of Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand. Prior to service employed as an electrical apprentice at the North Canterbury Electric Power Board at Rangiora. 399 flying hours logged as a pilot. 47.16 on operations. This was his 9th operation.

Sgt. Norman Sidney Farr. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 149. Son of Thomas and Anne Farr, of St. Helens, Lancashire, England. 32.38 hours logged on operations.

Sgt. Kenneth Benjamin. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 142. Son of Albert William and Florence Mary Benjamin, of Stratford, Essex, England. 45.31 hours logged on operations.

Fl/Sgt. Leonard William Hayward. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 137. Son of William and Mary A. Hayward, of Edmonton, Middlesex, England. 38.56 hours logged on operations.

Sgt. John Clifford Donaldson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 199. Son of George Donaldson and of Bessie Donaldson (née Sturge), husband of Trevar E. Donaldson (née Port), of Whangarei, Auckland, New Zealand. 203 flying hours logged, 38.44 on operations. This was his 9th operation.

With thanks to Ian Martyn of “Medals Reunited New Zealand” for information and photographs, Errol W. Martyn for his volumes of the RNZAF losses. For further details our thanks to the following sources:

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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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