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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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466 Squadron crest
26/27.01.1943 466 Squadron Wellington X HE368 HD-L Sgt. McKenzie

Operation: Lorient

Date: 26/27th January 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: 466 Squadron RAAF, 4 Group (motto: 'Brave And True')

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE368

Code: HD:L

Base: RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire

Location: Near Retford, Nottinghamshire

Pilot: Sgt. Donald Maxwell Lang McKenzie 414726 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: Sgt. William Charles Bush 1385767 RAFVR Age 21. Injured

Air/Bmr: Plt.Off. Harry Edwin Bonest 126961 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Colin Crawford Brownlee 411059 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Arthur Ferris 1272104 RAFVR Age 21. Injured

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Took off from RAF Leconfield at 17:04 hrs. to attack the submarine pens at Lorient, north-west France.

Left: Sgt Donald M.L.McKenzie; Right: Plt.Off. Harry E. Bonest (Courtesy Bruce Quinton)

Left to Right: Sgt. William C. Bush, Sgt. Colin C. Brownlee, Sgt. Reginald A.Ferris

On return, the aircraft had sustained flak damage and having lost a great deal of fuel and with one engine feathered, it could not maintain height and hit the top of small trees before crashing and bursting into flames, in a field close to the Sutton-cum Lound railway crossing near Retford, at 23:00 hrs.

Three of the crew were killed, The navigator Sgt. Bush died from his injuries on January 27th 1943. The rear gunner Sgt. Reg Ferris was injured but survived the crash. Survived the war and remained in the RAF, reaching the rank of Squadron Leader.

Burial details:

Sgt. Donald Maxwell Lang McKenzie. Finningley (Holy Trinity and St. Oswald) Church Extention. Row C. Grave 4. Born on the 12th March 1920 at Waluku, the son of Richard McKenzie and of Charlotte Margaret McKenzie (née Lang), of Rotorua, Auckland New Zealand. Further information: Sgt. McKenzie entered the RNZAF at Levin, in August 1941, he passed out of Wigram with his wings in March 1942 and left for England. His wing commander has written to his parents of is outstanding skill, courage and determination and of his last flight. This raid was a vital one, and one of the many daring and courageous acts the Royal Air Force is called. Prior to service worked as a bank officer with the National Bank of New Zealand. A total of 323 flying hours logged with 100 on the Wellington and on his 1st operational sortie.

Sgt. William Charles Bush. Southgate Cemetery Sec. G. Grave 95. Son of William George and Minnie Elizabeth Bush, of Southgate, England. Grave inscription: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends".

Plt.Off. Harry Edwin Bonest. Finningley (Holy Trinity and St. Oswald) Church Extention Row C. Grave 3. Son of William George Harry and Beatrice Rhoda Bonest, husband of Mary Bonest, of West Norwood, London, England. Grave inscription: "God Takes Our Loved Ones From Our Homes But Never From Our Hearts".

Sgt. Colin Crawford Brownlee. Finningley (Holy Trinity and St. Oswald) Church Extention Row D. Grave 2. Born on the 27th July 1919 at Otago, the son of George Herbert Brownlee and of Margaret Lorimer Brownlee (née Crawford), of Sawyer's Bay, Otago, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as a nurseryman with his father. A total of 174 flying hours logged.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand. Thanks to Bruce Quinton for the photograph of Plt.Off. Harry E. Bones, other sources as quoted below:

RS 11.02.2020 - Inclusion of photograph for Plt.Off. Bonest

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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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