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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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7 Squadron Crest
14/15.08.1943 No 7 Squadron Lancaster III JA850 MG-M Fl/Lt. Matkin

Operation: Milano

Date: 14/15th August 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 7 Squadron 8 PFF Group

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA850

Code: MG-M

Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire

Location: Sassenay, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Sidney George Matkin DFC. 112440 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Pilot: F/O. James Warren O'Hara J/17065 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Alexander Whatmore 936166 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Royston Charles Clifford Taylor NZ/404426 RNZAF Age 28. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. James Burges Paterson 155393 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Kenneth Adrian Gough 123684 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Alexander Balcombe J/18378 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. John Henry Dugan AUS/411217 RAAF Age 25. Killed


Taking off from RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire at 21:02 hrs. to raid Milan with 139 other Lancasters.

Understood to be the only aircraft lost oaths operation with Lancaster JA850 being shot down with a full bomb load 23:53 hrs. The claim was made by Hptm. Hans-Wolfgang von Niebelschütz (1) of 5.NJG4 - his 4th claim in the war.

(1) Hptm. Hans-Wolfgang von Niebelschütz was shot down and killed on the 02/3rd January 1944 by flak and crashed at Engelsdorf, near Leipzig. Courtesy Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this website.

Burial details:

The local people in the area buried the crew - much to the consternation of the occupying German forces. So much so that the mayor was arrested by the Gestapo for allowing this - sentenced to two years imprisonment on the 20th September 1943 in Germany - eventually released. The locals then built a permanent memorial to the crew. The Missing Research and Recovery Unit exhumed the bodies on the 01st February 1947 and reports sent to the various authorities. The crew were then laid to rest within the local cemetery in a collective grave.

Fl/Lt. Sidney George Matkin DFC. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of George James Matkin and of Annie May Matkin (née Whetnall) and husband of Iris Grace Mellor Matkin, of Teddington, Middlesex, England. Reported to have completed over forty operational operations.

F/O. James Warren O'Hara. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Seymour B. O'Hara, and of Dorothy Warren O'Hara, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Alexander Whatmore. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Lt. Royston Charles Clifford Taylor. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Arthur George Taylor, and of Ida Florence Taylor, of Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand. He had accrued 531 flying hours logged and had completed 28 operational sorties.

P/O. James Burges Paterson. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. No further details - are you able to assist?

F/O. Kenneth Adrian Gough. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Harry and Madge Gough and husband of Moira Gough, of Nottingham, England. Grave inscription reads: 'Beloved Husband Of Moira, Father Of Shaun And Adrian. Requiescat In Pace'.

Fl/Sgt. Alfred Alexander Balcombe. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. Born on the 29th August 1918 and understood to be from Humberstone, Ontario, Canada.

W/O. John Henry Dugan. Sassenay Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of George Alfred and Maude Dugan and husband of Heather Isabell Dugan, of Hamilton, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: 'His Duty Nobly Done'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire for photograph and details on FlLt. Royston Charles Clifford Taylor.

KTY 19,03.2019

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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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