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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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76 Squadron Crest
27/28.04.1942 76 Squadron Halifax II W1017 MP:T Sgt. Peter C. Morris

Operation: Dunkerque

Date: 27th/28th April 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: 76 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: W1017

Code: MF:T

Base: RAF Middleton St. George

Location: Target area - Dunkirk

Pilot: Sgt. Peter Cant Morris 1058833 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

2nd Pilot: Sgt. Gerald Anthony Simpson 655086 RAF Age 23. Killed

Flt Eng: Sgt. Joseph William Brown (Rhodesia) 777718 RAF PoW No: 224 *

Nav/Bomb Aimer: Plt Off. William Alexander Trickett 400071 RAAF Age 25. PoW No: 213 **

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Potts 1054128 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Fg Off. William Arnot Shiells 109038 RAF PoW No: 210 **

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. George Sanderson 627929 RAF Age 21. Killed

* Stalag 357 (Stalag 11b), Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany.

** Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).

We would appreciate any contact from any of the relatives - in particular - Peter, son of the pilot.


Took-off at 22:05 hrs from Middleton St. George. Engaged by heavy flak over the target area.

At 14,000 ft, shortly after the ‘Bombs Gone’ signal the nose of the aircraft lifted towards a stalling position, the 2nd pilot asked if Sgt. Morris had control - he replied ‘I have nothing... the controls seem to have gone for a Burton’. He then quickly said ‘sorry boys but get to hell out of it’.

Above left with his father taken at Harraton Hall, at Birtley in County Durham. Right with his wife Audrey. (Audrey later remarried - no further information at time of writing, we would very much like further contact from the family to contact us to pass on to relatives)

All the crew heard this over the intercom. Plt Off. Trickett turned around from his position as Bomb Aimer to see the Wireless Op. struggling to jettison the escape hatch. As he left, Plt Off. Trickett followed, as he left he noticed Sgt. Simpson standing over the exit. It is thought that the rear gunner had been killed by the anti-aircraft fire. The survivors saw the aircraft go into a spin being followed by the German searchlight batteries.

The Germans informed survivors that they had found 3 bodies inside the aircraft. Although it seems that according to statements, Sgt. Potts also baled out - no further information on this.

Plt Off. William Alexander Trickett and Fg Off. Shiells were released by the Russians on the 21st April 1945.

Above as described (courtesy Alliierten Verluste über Deutschland and Victoria Zawadzki)

Burial Details:

Sgt. Peter Cant Morris. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2. Row 3. Joint grave 6. Son of Alexander and Louisa Darley Morris, husband of Audrey Gibson Morris - father to Peter aged 1 at date of loss, of Seaburn, Sunderland, Co. Durham, England.

Sgt. Gerald Anthony Simpson. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2. Row 3. Joint grave 7. Son of Thomas Hessel Simpson and Alice Mary Simpson of Osgodby, Selby, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. John Potts. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2. Row 3. Joint grave 7. Son of John and Elizabeth Ann Potts of Seaham, Co. Durham, England.

Flt Sgt. George Sanderson. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2. Row 3. Joint grave 6. Son of William Edward and Eliza Annie Sanderson, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Alex Morris (nephew of pilot), also to Peter Wallinson for information. Also to Victoria Zawadzki, relative of Flt Sgt. Sanderson who contacted us in July 2017. Update to crew positions and names by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2021). Other sources as quoted below.

22.09.2021 - Correction to crew positions and update to names

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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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