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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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44 Squadron Crest
03/04.05.1944 44 Squadron Lancaster III EE185 KM:A Plt Off. Nolan

Operation: Mailly-le-Camp, France

Date: 4th/5th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 44 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: EE185

Code: KM:A

Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire

Location: Neron, France

Pilot: Plt Off. Allan William Nolan 412660 RAAF Age 29. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Eric Howard Charlton 1188067 RAFVR Age 26. KiA

Nav: Flt Sgt. Kenneth Brice Milton 1394305 RAFVR Age 22. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Eric George Blake 429027 RNZAF Age 24. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Clifford John Boreham 1390575 RAFVR Age 24. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Ronald Derek Crook 1762053 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Patrick Higgins 1109234 RAFVR Age? KiA

Crew of Lancaster EE185: Top Row left to right: Flt Sgt. Milton, Sgt. Boreham, Sgt. Charlton, Plt Off. Blake. Front Row left to right: Sgt. Crook, Plt Off. Nolan, Sgt. Higgins

Above: Wireless Operator and Bomb Aimer Course No. 24 - 14th September 1943 at 28 Operational Training Unit (OTU), RAF Wymeswold, Leicestershire. Plt Off. Blake, back row 2nd from left, Sgt. Boreham, seated 5th from the left. (Courtesy of Paul Markham)


Above: 44 Squadron, earlier in the war with Lancaster I's (IWM)

Mailly-le-Camp, a German military camp situated close to the French village of Mailly some 140 km east of Paris.

The publication ‘Battle Under the Moon’ covers the operation on Mailly-Le-Camp in great detail. Published by Crecy Publishing 1995 ISBN 978-0859791090

The bomber stream of 346 Lancasters crossed the French coast at around 23.15 hrs but control of the raid filed as although the initial low level marking made by 2 pathfinder Mosquitoes was accurate and backed up by Lancaster marker aircraft, the signal from the ‘Market Leader’ W/Cdr. Cheshire to come in and bomb was lost when the ‘Main Force Controller’ W/Cdr. Deane as his radio set was being drowned by American forces broadcast and his transmitter was incorrectly tuned.

However, the attack eventually started with over 1,500 tons of bombs dropped on the target area - with great accuracy. 114 barrack buildings were destroyed, 47 transport sheds and some ammunition buildings also hit.

The night fighters attacked over the target and continued during the homeward bound bombers.

Some 42 Lancasters were lost this night - all contributed to the Luftwaffe night fighters.

Lancaster EE185 was attacked and shot down by Hptm. Martin Drewes with his air gunner Ofw. Georg Petz of Stab of III./NJG1 at 01.18 hrs over Eure-et-Loir with the Lancaster crashing near Néron.

Above: Hptm. Martin Drewes - born on 20th October 1918 near Hannover - became a night fighter ace in the Luftwaffe - claiming 5 abschusse on the Mailly-Le-Camp alone. Eventually claiming a total of 43 allied aircraft flying mainly the Bf110. He survived the war emigrating to Brazil where he married a Brazilian woman. His wife died in 2010 and he died later on the 13th October 2013.

Burial details:

Above: Crew graves at Dreux Communal Cemetery (courtesy Trevor Boredom)

Plt Off. Allan William Nolan. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Grave Inscription: ‘HIS DUTY FEARLESSLY AND NOBLY DONE. EVER REMEMBERED’. Born on the 14th February 1915 at Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. Son of William and Ethel May Nolan, of Homebush, New South Wales, Australia.

Prior to service employed as a clerk at State Abattoir Homebush. Joined in Sydney 12th October 1940. Previously flown the Anson aircraft and obtained his wings on 27th August 1943. Trained with 28 OTU. 2 previous operations 28th April 1944 - Oslo. 1st May 1944 - Toulouse

Sgt. Eric Howard Charlton. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Grave Inscription: ‘SO DEARLY LOVED, SO SADLY MISSED. THO' LOST FROM SIGHT, TO MEMORY EVER DEAR. R.I.P.’. Son of Howard Edwin and Jane Charlton, of Northfield, Birmingham, England.

Flt Sgt. Kenneth Brice Milton. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Grave Inscription: ‘IN EVERLOVING MEMORY. MUM AND DAD’. Son of Thomas B. Milton and Florence L. Milton, of Lymm, Cheshire, England.

Fg Off. Eric George Blake. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Son of George Stanley Blake and of Mabel Frances Blake (née Nuttall), of Waihi Beach, Auckland, New Zealand.

This was his 2nd operation but had a total of 331 hrs on his log book in training etc.

Sgt. Clifford John Boreham. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Collective grave 13-16. Grave Inscription: ‘HIS LIFE A TREASURED MEMORY HIS DEATH A SILENT GRIEF. EVER IN OUR THOUGHTS’. Son of George and Beatrice Maud Boreham, of Hollington, St. Leonards-on-Sea. Sussex, England.

The brother of Clifford Boredom was also killed. Pte. Leslie Charles Boreham 6404070, 1st Bn., Royal Sussex Regiment was involved in the latter stages of the East African campaign at Asmara Eritrea where he was killed in action on the 8th April 1941. Buried at Asmara War Cemetery, grave 2.G.4.

Above: Asmara War Cemetery-last resting place for Pt. Leslie Charles Boreham.

His other brother, Robert George also served in the army during the war they also had a sister who served in the WAAF for several years

Sgt. Ronald Derek Crook. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 18. Grave Inscription: ‘A TOKEN OF LOVE AND REMEMBRANCE OF ONE WE SHALL NEVER FORGET’. Son of William and Gladys Crook, of Harrogate, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Patrick Higgins. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 17. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Researched by Trevor Boreham - relative of Sgt. Clifford John Boreham. Thanks to Paul Markham, 7 Sqn Association, for the OTU Photograph (Jan 2024). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Jan 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 22.01.2024 - Addition of OTU photograph and other updates

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'
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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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