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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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12 Squadron crest
23/24.05.1943 No. 12 Squadron Lancaster I W4861 PH-M F/O. William N. Mounsey

Operation: Dortmund

Date: 23/24th May 1943 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No: 12 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4861

Code: PH-M

Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire

Location: Markelo, Holland

Pilot: F/O. William Norman Mounsey 124550 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. W.B. Jowett PoW No: 183 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)

Nav: P/O. William Butler Whitaker 130596 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. A. Dews PoW No: 117 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug (L6)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Sydney George Miller 1313750 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr (mid upper): Sgt. Kenneth George Legg MM. 539691 RAF Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr (rear): Sgt. Harry Pierpoint 1181213 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

We would like relatives of this crew to contact us in order that we can place them in contact with the great people of Markelo, Holland who have adopted the crew graves and also for any further information they may have.


Took off from RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire at 22:55 hrs on a massive 826 aircraft raid on Dortmund.

Bombing took place between 01:03 hrs and 02:10 hrs. The operation caused devastation to the centre and outlying districts of the city. 2,000 buildings were destroyed, many of them industrial including the Hoesch steelworks. Casualties on the ground amounted to over 600 killed with a further 1,275 injured.

The force from Bomber Command was hit hard losing some 41 aircraft. 189 aircrew were killed, 68 being made PoW.

Lancaster W4861 was shot down by Oblt. August Geiger (1) of 7./NJG1 with combat taking place at 02.30 hrs. 3 Km. south east of Holten at 6.000 mtrs.

Luftwaffe crew - August Geiger and Luttje (archives)

(1) This was the 28th claim by the nightfighter ace Oblt. August Geiger (a total of 49 kills) was later shot down and killed by W/Cmr Bob Braham from 141 Beaufighter squadron after a fierce dogfight on September 29th 1943.

Markelo Cemetery, Holland (courtesy Darryl Robertson)

Burial details:

F/O. William Norman Mounsey. Markelo Cemetery, Holland. Sp. Mem. "C". Plot 4. Row B. Grave 7. Born on the 15th May 1916, the son of William Herbert Taylor Mounsey and Isabella Mounsey (née Richardson) of Sedbergh Yorkshire. In civilian life he was a surveyor for Yorkshire Electric Company.

P/O. William Butler Whitaker. Markelo Cemetery, Holland. Sp. Mem. "C". Plot 4. Row B. Grave 10. Son of John William Whitaker, and of Ellen Isadore Whitaker, of Fishponds, Gloucestershire, England.

Sgt. Robert Sydney George Miller. Markelo Cemetery, Holland. Plot 4. Row B. Grave 9. Son of William George and Amy Miller, of Newtown, Witchampton, Dorset, England.

Sgt. Kenneth George Legg MM. Markelo Cemetery, Holland. Plot 4. Row B. Grave 8. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Harry Pierpoint. Markelo Cemetery, Holland. Plot 4. Row B. Grave 6. Son of Harry and Hannah Elizabeth Pierpoint, of Alsager, Cheshire, England.

With thanks to the following: Darryl Robertson for information, also to Bill Richardson who contacted us in May 2016 with further information on the pilot - his cousin. Further sources as shown below.

KTY 15.05.2016 Further information added on pilot.

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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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