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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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139 Squadron BADGE
30.10.1939 No 139 Squadron Blenheim IV N6234 XD-E P/O. McCracken

Operation: Reconnaissance

Date: 30th October 1939 (Monday)

Unit: No. 139 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: N6234

Code: XD-E

Base: RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire

Location: Groß Berßen, Germany

Pilot: P/O. William George McCracken 36157 RAF Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Stanley Robert Mitchell 580376 RAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC1. Robert Boaler Smith 526371 RAF Age 21. Killed


Took off at 1026 hrs from Wyton in Cambridgeshire on a reconnaissance flight. Believed to be shot down by German fighters. A Blenheim was claimed by Leutnant Heinz Lange 1/JG21 - Groß-Berßen/Emsland at 1250 (local). The aircraft crashed at Groß-Berßen 10km North of Haselünne. (OKL Fighter Claims Reich & Western Front 1939-40).

F/O. McCracken graduated as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force in June, 1938, enlisted in the Royal Air Force on a short-service commission a month later. Educated in Melbourne first at Caulfield Technical School and later at Melbourne High School.

Burial details:

P/O. William George McCracken. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Special Memorial No.9 ('Believed to be buried in this cemetery') Son of William Gracen McCracken and Lillian McCracken, of St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Our Dearly Loved Son Gratitude Shall Not Die In Our Hearts".

Sgt. Stanley Robert Mitchell. Rheinberg War Cemetery Joint grave 17.B.10. Son of Robert and Louisa Alice Mitchell. Grave inscription reads: "Went The Day Well? I Died And Never Knew: But Well Or Ill, England, I Died For You".

AC1 Robert Boaler Smith. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 17.B.9. Son of George Allcroft Smith and Jessie Brown Smith, of Wellow, Nottinghamshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Unseen, Unheard, But Always Near. Loved, Remembered And Ever Dear".

Researched by Geoff Swallow for Aircrew Remembered. With thanks to the following: Australian National Archives, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol 1', the CWGC and Des Philipet for grave photographs. Thanks to John Jones for the German Fighter claim information.

RS 25.03.2019 - Update to include fighter claim

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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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