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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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144 squadron crest
12.02.1942 No. 144 Squadron Hampden I AE141 PL-J Sgt. Nightingale D.F.M.

Operation: Fuller

Date: 12th February 1942

Unit: No. 144 Squadron

Type: Hampden I

Serial: AE141

Code: PL-J

Base: RAF North Luffenham, Rutland

Location: Mousehold Heath, Norwich, Norfolk

Pilot: Sgt. Ernest Ivo Nightingale DFM. 776067 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Nav: Sgt. E. 'Ned' Sparks survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. L. Ward survived

Air/Gnr (Beam): Sgt. R.S. Cole survived

Air/Gnr (Lower rear): Sgt L.G. Hewlett survived

Crew list corrected in November 2013, we are indebted to Mr. John Woodhead (144 Squadron researcher) for this revision


Took off to attack the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and also the light cruiser Eugen as they sailed from Brest to Germany through the English channel in a careful well executed plan by the Germans. Often called the "Channel dash". Weather was very poor and the results from the continual attacks from 92 Wellington's, 64 Hampden's, 37 Blenheims, 15 Manchester's, 13 Halifax's, 11 Stirling's and 10 Boston's. 


Most of the bombers could not find the targets which were very heavily defended and those that did bomb (39 aircraft) no hits were made on the targets although both the Battle cruisers were damaged by mines laid previously. The Cruisers all reached the safety of the German ports.

Hampden AE141 was one of the many hit by flak and on it's return whilst trying to make an emergency landing at Norwich crashed in the area now known as Mousehold Heath. Sgt. Nightingale earned his D.F.M on an earlier operation in May 1941.

144 Squadron incurred the most operational losses while operating the Hampden, suffering a total of 109 aircraft lost!


Above Left: Grave of Sgt. Nightingale - taken by Aircrew Remembered. Any relative who would like a high resolution copy of the grave please contact us and it will be sent free of charge. Right: Memorial plaque February 2015. (courtesy Jane Baron)

Burial details:

Sgt. Ernest Ivo Nightingale D.F.M. Norwich Cemetery Sec. 54. Grave 531. Son of William Maxwell Nightingale and Eleanor Mary Nightingale, of Nairobi, Kenya.

Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: John Woodhead - researcher on 144 Squadron, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol 3', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt 'Bomber Command War Diaries', the Commonwealth Graves Commission.

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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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Last Modified: 19 February 2015, 16:45

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