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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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61 squadron crest
24/25.09.1942 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster I R5679 QR-O Sgt. Morrison

Operation: Gardening

Date: 24/25th September 1942

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: R5679

Code: QR-O

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: Grønhøj, Denmark

Pilot: Sgt. Leavis Wilson Morrison 656649 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Cedric Nils Coldicott 570285 RAF Age 22. Killed (1)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. ('Jack') John Alvin Duffield R/68670 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Alexander McGee Cormack 1290672 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edwin Dyson 1059428 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Young Emerslund R/92023 RCAF Age 22. Killed (5)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Ralph Bevan 1317942 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Took off from RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire at 19:50 hrs. on a gardening operation (Laying mines - see abbreviations) with 50 other aircraft laying in various locations. They were to drop magnetic mines in the shipping lanes off the Frisian island chain.

Above as described (courtesy of David Geddes, nephew of Sgt. Morrison and Scott Duffield, nephew of Fl/Sgt. Duffield)

R5679 was claimed by Lt Karl-Heinz Brandes 7./NJG2 - West of Viborg (9755 D): 1,900m at 0213. (Nachtjagd Combat Archives The Early Years Part 3 Theo Boiten).

One crew member did manage to bale out of the aircraft but it was too low for his parachute to deploy.

Lancaster R5679 (courtesy of Scott Duffield, nephew of Fl/Sgt. Duffield)

61 Squadron Lancaster's (Courtesy Tony Cantlow)

Another aircraft also from 61 Squadron was hit by flak and then attacked by Lt. Karl-Heinz Brandes (4) 7./NJG2 an hour later at 02.13 hrs. The crew (3) put up a fierce fight and managed to drive him and another off. The aircraft Lancaster R5724, although badly damaged was skilfully flown back to England and crash landed at Wittering, Northamptonshire. All the crew survived, some were injured and all were awarded an immediate D.F.M.'s.

Moseley Grammar School and memorial

(1) Sgt. Cedric Nils Coldicott was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school. We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.
(2) This was the 5th kill (6 in total) for Oblt. Willi Eistermann before he lost his life on the 2nd February 1945 when he was shot down by flak.
(3) Sadly most of this crew were killed on the 11th November in Lancaster W4244, when they crashed in bad visibility at Dimonds Farm Honiton, Devon.
(4) This was the 3rd and final kill for Lt. Karl-Heinz Brandes as he was killed on the 18th May 1943 in a crash at Nissum, during a non-operational fight.

Above: Lewis Wilson Morrison with an unknown girlfriend, believed to have been taken in 1938 - do you know who this girl is? (courtesy of David Geddes - his nephew)

During training (courtesy of Scott Duffield, nephew of Fl/Sgt. Duffield)

On the back row, 4th from the left, the individual named Patterson, is Flt.Sgt. John W. Patterson RCAF, who ended the war as a Flt.Lt. with DFC and Bar. He flew on the same "Gardening" as the crew in this report.

He wrote in his diary; "Friday September 25, 1942, Trip successful. We got away south. I gave a wrong pin point; anyway we managed to get to Danzig only a few minutes late. There was some flak at Target but very little on the way back. Duffield and Morrison did not return from their first trip. That leaves 7 out of the 20 that came here with me.” (Information provided by Susan J. Paxton and Flt.Lt Patterson’s daughter).

Burial details:

Sgt. Leavis Wilson Morrison. Frederikshaven Cemetery. Allied Plot. Grave 31. Son of Lewis and Jessie Morrison, of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Sgt. Cedric Nils Coldicott. Frederikshaven Cemetery Allied Plot. Grave 28. Son of Reginald John and Olga Coldicott, of Sparkhill, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Died That Others Might Live In Peace".

Fl/Sgt. John Alvin Duffield. Frederikshaven Cemetery. Allied Plot. Grave 32. Charles Emms and Latitia Priscilla (nee Russell) Duffield of Fort William, Ontario, Canada.

Trained as a Navigator at No.2 Air Navigation School, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick. Jack Duffield's younger brother, William Walter Duffield, enlisted in the Canadian Navy in 1944 and served on the East Coast of Canada and the North Atlantic as a Stoker 1st. Class RCNVR at the age of 18. (shown left)

Sgt. Alexander McGee Cormack. Frederikshaven Cemetery. Allied Plot. Grave 30. Son of Robert Cormack and of Margaret Cormack (nee McGee), husband of Gladys Evelyn Cormack.

Sgt. Edwin Dyson. Frederikshaven Cemetery. Allied Plot. Grave 33. Son of Arthur and Lily Dyson, of Hillsborough, Sheffield, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Heavenly Love Abiding".

Fl/Sgt. William Young Emerslund. Frederikshaven Cemetery. Allied Plot. Grave 29. Son of Hjalmer August and Edna Young Emerslund, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Not Lost But Gone Before; He Lives With Us In Memory, And Will For Evermore".

Sgt. Thomas Ralph Bevan. Frederikshaven Cemetery. Allied Plot. Grave 27. Son of John and Annie Bevan, of Pontardulais, Glamorgan, Wales. Grave inscription reads:"He Gave His Life For Those He Loved And Left Us To Remember. Mother And Wyn".

Researched for the relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records, David Geddes, nephew of the pilot, all photographs kindly supplied by Scott Duffield, nephew of Fl/Sgt. Duffield and David Geddes, Thanks John Jones for the correction to the night-fighter claim. Thanks also to Susan J. Paxton for the information for Flt.Lt. Patterson, DFC and Bar.

Frederikshavn Cemetery - then and now (courtesy of David Geddes) - some individual crew graves available on request.

(5) Emerslund Lakes in the Cariboo Land District, British Columbia, Canada are named after Fl/Sgt. Emerslund

RS 17.09.2019 Update to include detail of Flt.Lt. Patterson, DFC and Bar

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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