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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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15 crest
15 Squadron Stirling III BF569 W/O. Alexander William Niall

Operation: Dunlop rubber factory

Date: 15/16th September 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 15 Squadron (motto: 'Aim Sure'). 3 Group

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BF569

Code: LS-V

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: Ecluse des Roussets, 03190 Vaux, France

Pilot: W/O. Alexander William Niall NZ/404928 RNZAF Age 30. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Skillin 1348258 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. Lindsay David Glenday NZ/417279 RNZAF Age 33. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Ian Sydney Alexander Stevenson NZ/42194 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leonard Everard Scarisbrick 1219656 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Kennedy Prentice Peters 563653 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Green 1021000 RAFVR Age ? Killed


Page constructed only possible with the very kind assistance of Mr. Alain Godignon and Mr. Claude Grimaud with other sources shown below.


REASON FOR LOSS:

370 aircraft were detailed to bomb the Dunlop rubber factory at Montluçon including 5 American B-17s. Bombing taking place between 23:25 hrs and 23:58 hrs. Although the full moon and good visibility favoured enemy fighters they were only encountered on a small scale.

The raid was considered a success. Of the 26 major buildings 12 were destroyed, 12 others seriously damaged with four others suffering slight damage. Although the bombing was fairly accurate sadly 50 civilians were killed with 150 others suffering various degrees of injury. Some bombers inadvertently bombed the village of Tizon, in Saint-Victor causing many fires, possibly due to the markers covered in black smoke.

The Germans only had four or five units of anti-aircraft batteries in Montluçon and the allies felt it to be a soft target. The allies concluded that 14% reduction of vehicle and aircraft tyres for the German war machine would be made.

The French Vichy as well as the Germans made as much propaganda following the raid blaming the allies for killing civilians and making many homeless and of course unemployed.

BF569 took off at 20:39 hrs and was one of three to be shot down by enemy ant-aircraft fire. Another crashed in England on return.

It took the Germans a few days to remove the wreckage from the canal. The crew were all initial buried on the 20th September in Montluçon and later reinterred in Choloy War Cemetery.

The memorial (Stele) was originally placed in 1993 but later after it was damaged kept at the town hall. However, the mayor of Vaux (Jérôme Duchalet) decided it should be repaired and reinstated near the crash site. This was unveiled in 2015 on the anniversary of the crash. It now stands beautifully mounted in a public area surrounded in a wooden enclsure.

Mr. Alain Godignon who has assisted us greatly with this archive report and modern day photographs had an uncle had been seriously injured by the bombing whilst living in Les Varennes.

Burial and other personal details:

W/O. Alexander William Niall. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 3.F.16-22. Born on the 25th July 1913 in Ashburton. Educated at Timaru Boys High School. Worked as a barman/lorry driver for the Caledonian Hotel run by his mother. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 01st December 1940. With No. No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School 18th January 1941. No. 1 Service Flying Training School 01st March 1941. Pilots badge awarded on the 12th April 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 24th May 1941.

Embarked for England on the 18th June 1941 and with No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 31st July 1941. With Air Observer School as staff pilot on the 10th August 1941. Then to Air Gunner school as staff pilot on the 17th April 1942. Attended a short course in May flying the Hurricane and Master. Attached to 1414 Beam Approach Training Flight 06-12th February 1943. With 11 Operational Training Unit flying the Wellington on 23rd March 1943. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit flying the Stirling on the 17th June 1943. Joined 15 squadron on the 20th July 1943. Carried to 16 operational sorties and accumulated 907 flying hours.

Son of Alexander (died 31st May 1951, age 69) and Ellen Agnes Niall (née Dore - divorced 1945 - died 01st September 1950, age 62 then married to George Philip Miller who died 22nd June 1956) of 46 Bantry Street Alexandra, New Zealand. Husband of Audrey Anne Euphemia Glenday, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Sgt. Robert Skillin. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 3.F.16-22. Son of David and Alice Crichton Skillin, of Longniddry, East Lothian, Scotland. Epitaph: 'Him That Cometh To Me I Will In No Wise Cast Out" St.John Vi. 37'.

F/O. Lindsay David Glenday. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 3.F.16-22. Born on the 10th November 1909 in Christchurch. Educated at Timaru Boys High School and Canterbury University College. A teacher for Taranaki Education Board. Enlisted as an air observer under training on the 28th December 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 02nd March 1942. With No. 1 Air Observer School 12th April 1942. Air observer badge awarded on the 14th August 1942 and promoted to sergeant and received his commission. Embarked for England on the 03rd October 1942. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 19th October 1942. No. 9 Advanced Flying Unit (observer) 15th December 1942. With 11 Operational Training Unit crewing the Wellington on 23rd March 1943. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit flying the Stirling on the 17th June 1943. Joined 15 squadron on the 20th July 1943. Carried to 14 operational sorties and accumulated 315 flying hours.

Son of David (died 26th November 1950) and Sarah Martin Glenday (née Smith - died 16th November 1955). Husband of Audrey Anne Euphemia Glenday (née Clarkson - died 29th October 1983, age 77), and father of a daughter of Fendalton, Christchurch, New Zealand. His brother Neil Macmillan Glenday was killed just a couple of months earlier - see here for details.

F/O. Ian Sydney Alexander Stevenson. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 3.F.16-22. Born on the 18th June 1916 in Ashburton. Educated at Ashburton High School. A cloth finisher for Lane Walker Ruskin Ltd. Enlisted at Rongota on the 07th January 1942. Embarked for Canada on the 20th July 1942. With Air Observer School on the 25th October 1942. Air observer badge awarded on the 26th November 1942 and promoted to sergeant. Commissioned on the 04th December 1942. Embarked for England on the 30th December 1942. With No. 11 Personnel Reception Centre 15th January 1943. With 11 Operational Training Unit crewing the Wellington on 23rd March 1943. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit flying the Stirling on the 17th June 1943. Joined 15 squadron on the 20th July 1943. Carried to 14 operational sorties and accumulated 279 flying hours.

Son of John Renton Stevenson (died 15th June 1955) and Susan Armstrong Stevenson (née Turnbull), of Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Sgt. Leonard Everard Scarisbrick. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 3.F.16-22. Son of James and Amelia Scarisbrick, of Speke, Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Thomas Kennedy Prentice Peters. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 3.F.16-22. Son of Hugh C. Peters and Agnes K. Peters, of Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland. Epitaph: 'Loved, Remembered, Longed For Always. Till We Meet. Mum And Dad'.

Sgt. William Green. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 3.F.16-22. No further details, are you able to assist?

Above L-R: Rear; R.C Dunn, P. Durning, P.D McMillan, Douglas Kenneth Buchanan NZ/404887, L.V. W Dickison, J.C Finn, V.C Heddon, James Francis Sheridan NZ.404952, M.K McLaughlin, Frank Vernon Watkins NZ.404847 ✞.

Centre; J. Lukie, D.A Cameron, R.O Foster, Eric Howard Perry NZ/404938, A.F Brown, P.T Kippenberger, George Rattray NZ/404409, L.O Hunter, E.G Grainger, Alexander William Niall ✞.NZ/404928l.

Front; A.N Arnott, D.H Glengarry, W.R England, C.H Baker, Aubrey William Osman NZ/404935 ✞, W.M Murray, Trevor Bernard Robertson NZ/404948 ✞, T.H Morgan, Noel Bain Rankin NZ/404942 ✞, John Raulston Cooke NZ/404897, P.S Clark (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Alain Godignon and Claude Grimaud for photographs and information, James at WW2 Talk, La Montagne Entreprendre, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 14-10-2022

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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', 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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