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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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31/01.08.1942 No. 27 O.T.U. Wellington DV552 F/O. McNeil

Operation: Dusseldorf, Germany

Date: 31st July/1st August 1942 (Friday/Saturday

Unit: No. 27 Operational Training Unit. 93 Group

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial No: DV552

Code: N

Location: Loonbeek, Belgium

Base: RAF Litchfield, Staffordshire

Pilot: F/O. Mervyn George McNeil NZ/40239 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Pilot (2): P/O. Arthur Frederick Richard Nash AUS/406576 RAAF Age 27. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Owen Morgan AUS/405450 RAAF Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Henry Robert McKee AUS/411031 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt.John Daniel O'Halloran AUS/403991 RAAF Age 32. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford Douglas Luedeke AUS/406809 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Reason For Loss:

Wellington DV552 was one of ten squadron crews briefed to attack a target at Dusseldorf. Taking off from RAF Litchfield, Staffordshire at 23:41 hrs. on the 31st August 1942.

It was shot down by Lt Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer and his Bordfunker, Uffz. Fritz Rumpelhardt of Stab II./NJG1 with combat taking place at 3,800 Mts.. over Huldenberg. E.S.E. of Brussels and crashed at Loonbeek, Belgium at 03:17 hrs. killing all the crew. Lt. Schnaufer survived the war with an incredible 121 night kills.

Circumstantial Report Wellington DV552:

‘I have the honour to submit this following report on the above-mentioned crew who failed to return from operations on the night of 31st July/1st August 1942.Ten crews were briefed to take part in the operation on Dusseldorf, of which two crews failed to return from the raid.F/O McNeil was screening the pupil crew who had completed 20 hours night flying operational training cross countries as a crew, but were not considered to be quite up to the requisite standard for an operation of this nature. It was an above average pupil crew, and it is considered that this crew was lost as the result of enemy action over the target area.’
Signed: Group Captain Commanding
RAF Station Lichfield
6th August 1942

Lt Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (right) and his Bordfunker, Uffz. Fritz Rumpelhardt (courtesy Mike Harrison)

Huldenberg Churchyard, Brabant, Belgium. (courtesy Jean-Michel Dominique)

Burial Details:

Sgt. Clifford Douglas Luedeke. Huldenberg Churchyard, Brabant, Belgium. British Plot, Grave 9. Son of Frederick T.and Beatrice Ethel Sarah Luedeke, of North Perth, Western Australia. Born on the 17th May 1922 at Albany, Western Australia. Enlisting into the Royal Australian Air Force at No 4 Recruiting Centre at Perth on the 26th April 1941. Grave inscription: "A Brave Son Of A Sorrowing Mother".

Sgt. Charles Henry Robert McKee. Huldenberg Churchyard, Brabant, Belgium. British Plot, Grave 6. Son of Charles and Doris Jane McKee, of Auburn, New South Wales, Australia. Born on the 10th June 1921. Employed as a junior clerk and postman. Enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force at No 2 Recruiting Centre at Sydney on the 31st March 1941. He then attended No 2 Initial Training School at Bradfield Park. He embarked from Sydney on route for Canada and the UK on the 20th May 1941. Grave inscription: "Your Duty Faithfully And Nobly Done. We Will Always Remember".

F/O. Mervyn George McNeil. Huldenberg Churchyard, Brabant, Belgium. British Plot, Grave 7. Born on the 09th December 1919 at Auckland, the son of George McNeil and of May Eva McNeil (née Goldsworthy), of Auckland City, New Zealand. A journalist prior to service working for the New Zealand Herald. Enlisted on the 15th June 1940. A total of 748 flying hours logged (a further 14 hours whilst with Auckland Aero Club) and completed 19 operational sorties - previously completed 16 with 218 Squadron.

Sgt. Owen Morgan. Huldenberg Churchyard, Brabant, Belgium. British Plot, Grave 5. Son of George Owen Morgan and Edith Morgan,of Clifton, Queensland, Australia. Born on the 1st October 1914 at Brisbane, Australia. Employed as a Cadet Draughtsman. Enlisting into the Royal Australian Air Force at No 3 Recruiting Centre on 29th March 1941. Both his parents were English born. After enlistment he trained at No 2 Initial Training School at Bradfield Park. He embarked from Sydney on the 17th July 1941 for Canada and the UK. Grave inscription: "He Did Not Falter In Fate's Allotted Task".

P/O. Arthur Frederick Richard Nash. Huldenberg Churchyard, Brabant, Belgium. British Plot, Grave 10. Son of Richard Harry and Ruby Nash, of Nedlands, Western Australia. Born on the 23rd June 1915 at Boulder City, Western Australia. Enlisted into the Royal Australian Air Force at No 4 Recruiting Centre Perth on the 3rd February 1941. Grave inscription: "He Died That We Might Live".

Sgt. John Daniel O'Halloran. Huldenberg Churchyard, Brabant, Belgium. British Plot, Grave 8. Son of Richard John and Cecily Margaret O'Halloran, of Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia. Born on the 7th April 1910 at Tamworth, New South Wales. Solicitor by profession. Before enlistment he served for a short time with the 33rd Battalion Militia. Enlisted into the Royal Australian Air Force at No 2 Recruiting Centre at Sydney on the 31st March 1941. Grave inscription: "Thy Will Be Done, O Lord; Grant Unto Him His Eternal Reward".

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Mr. Bob Wilton for relatives of this crew. With thanks to the sources shown.

KTY Page updated 21.08.2019

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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