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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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57 Squadron crest
01/02.04.1942 No. 57 Squadron Wellington III X3607 Fl/Sgt. John Nevill

Operation: Hanau

Date: 01/02nd April 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 57 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3607

Code: DX-?

Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk.

Location: Woods, East of Lorsch, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Oliver Nevill R/80124 RCAF Age 25. Killed (1)

Pilot 2: Sgt. Henry Eric Cruze 1187096 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Basil Lyne Randall 1182222 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Stanley Jones 630638 RAF Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Gerald Grant Giroux R/62704 RCAF Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael O’Brien 1312845 RAFVR Age 23. Killed


Took off from RAF Feltwell, Norfolk at 22:05 hrs to bomb the Hanau-Lorh rail junctions together with 48 other aircraft of 35 Wellingtons and 14 Hampdens.

The Hampdens attacked low at 750 ft between 21.53 and 23:40 hrs losing one by a night fighter. The Wellingtons bombed between 22:46 and 02:15 hrs bombing from between 3.500 - 4500 ft.

They were operating under a full moon and were very vulnerable to the Luftwaffe night fighters who claimed 12 aircraft (confirmed) as shot down.

No night fighter claim has been identified for the loss of Wellington X3607. It is known though that it crashed in woods to the East of Lorsch, Germany One of five lost from the Squadron this night:

X3410 Flown by 28 year old, New Zealander, Sq/Ldr. Guy De Laval Harvie, killed with all 5 other members of his crew. Further information on Guy Harvie can be read on Christ Church, Oxford Website with whom we work with.
X3425 Flown by 26 year old Sgt. Thomas Roper from Cumberland, killed with all 5 other members of his crew.
X3748 Flown by 29 year old, New Zealander, Fl/Sgt. Reginald Eric Knobloch, killed with his observer, 4 others made PoW.
Z1565 Flown by 22 year old, New Zealander, Sgt. William John Paterson, 4 crew killed, 1 taken PoW.

(1) Neville Lake, East of Nejanilini Lake, Manitoba Canada was named after Fl/Sgt. John Oliver Nevill in 1974.

Durnbach War Cemetery - The quality of these photographs shown here can not be fully appreciated when the size is reduced for the web page - scroll to the bottom of the page to see a sample of the detail. (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. John Oliver Nevill. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 2.f.10-18. Son of Thomas Nevill, and of Henrietta Maria Nevill (nee Varrelman). Silver Medallist, Manitoba Agricultural College.

Sgt. Henry Eric Cruze. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 2.F.10-18. Son of Henry Thomas Cruze and Olive May Cruze, of Devonport, England.

Sgt. Basil Lyne Randall. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 2.F.10-18. Son of George and Florence Victoria Randall.

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Jones. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 2.F.10-18. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Fl/Sgt. Gerald Grant Giroux. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 2.F.7. Husband of Mary Elizabeth Giroux.

Sgt. Michael O’Brien. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 2.F.8. Son of Johannah Allen, of Mountain Ash, Glamorgan, Wales.

Researched for relatives of the crew. Acknowledgements: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. With additional details from Aircrew Remembered own archives.

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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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