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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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bomber command
03/04.08.1943 No, 27 O.T.U. Wellington X HE703 Fl/Sgt. Matthews

Operation: Training

Date: 03/04th August 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 27 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE703

Base: RAF Lichfield, Staffordshire

Location: Walton Park, Sale, England.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Matthews AUS/408859 RAAF Age 26. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Edward Sargent Newell AUS/410253 RAAF Age 21. Survived, injured (1)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Claude Thompson AUS/415909 RAAF Age 21. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Clive Prosdocimi Luther AUS/424546 RAAF Age 28. Survived, injured  (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. K. Forbes AUS/412261 RAAF Survived, injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Emanuel McCarthy 1836186 RAFVR Survived, injured  (4)


Taking off from RAF Lichfield, Staffordshire on a night navigation exercise when the front oil retainer on the port engine ran dry and the engine failed. Very soon afterwards at around 23.50 hrs the other engine lost power  and the aircraft had to force land in the allotments on Warton Road, Sale. The aircraft then caught fire.


Left: Fl/Sgt. Edward Claude Thompson (courtesy of Denise Thompson and relatives)

(1) Fl/Sgt. Newell was killed on the 18th March 1944 whilst serving with 466 Squadron. Halifax III LV827 on an operation to Frankfurt, pilot 30 year old P/O. Malcolm D. Watson RAAF killed with all 7 crew.

(2) The family of Fl/Sgt. Thompson also lost his younger brother, 20 year old Fl/Sgt. Eric M. Thompson on 28th April 1944.

(3) P/O. Luther killed on the 16th December whilst with 7 Squadron. Lancaster III JB656 MG-D Flown by 23 year old F/O. Francis W. Rush RAAF killed with 5 other crew with 1 evading capture.

(4) Sgt. McCarthy also killed, but on return from an operation to Stuttgart, Lancaster III ND419 flown by 23 year old F/O. Francis A. Cleveland RAAF crashed into trees during terrible blizzard conditions South of Grantham, Lincolnshire killing all 7 crew.



Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Matthews. Chester (Blacon) Cemetery. Sec A. Grave 371. Son of Frederick James Matthews and Minnie Matthew, husband of Elsie Catherine Matthews of Albury, New South Wales, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Edward Claude Thompson. Chester (Blacon) Cemetery. Sec A. Grave 458. Son of Claude and Maude Australia Thompson of Narrogin, Western Australia.

Crew killed ot a later date:

Fl/Sgt. Edward Sargent Newell. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 7.H.8. Son of Colonel Francis Sargent Newell and Alice Newell, of South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.

P/O. Clive Prosdocimi Luther. Oterleek (Stompetoren) Churchyard. Grave I. Son of Charles Royes Luther and Virginia Luther, husband of Elaine Dora Luther, of Lindfield, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. John Emanuel McCarthy. Templeton Congregational Chapel Cemetery. Row 6, Grave 10. Son of Patrick and Mary McCarthy, husband of Gladys Elizabeth McCarthy, of Narberth, Australia.

Researched for Relatives of the crew with information supplied by Denise Thompson,  Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol's. 4, 5 and 7, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Further information maybe obtained from a private publication named 'The Walton Park Wimpy' by emailing 'Trafford War Dead'.

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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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