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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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51 Squadron Crest
04/05.07.1944 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster III EE186 QR-D P/O. W. North

Operation: Saint-Leu-d’Esserent

Date: 04/05th July 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: EE186

Code: QR-D

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire

Location: North of Harquency, France

Pilot: P/O. W. North 174326 RAFVR PoW No: 86438 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. D.J. Hatchett 1834626 RAFVR Evaded capture (1)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. H.E. Crowley 1422158 RAFVR Evaded capture (1)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Norman Eldridge Jarvis AUS/410413 RAAF Age 24. PoW No: 86119 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug (L6)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. G.I.W. Monteith 1518174 RAFVR PoW No: 475 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau (Bakow, Poland) (L7)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. D.A. Bartlet 1896762 RAFVR PoW No: 433 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau (Bakow, Poland) (L7)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. P.E. O’Shea 1813944 RAFVR PoW No: 401 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau (Bakow, Poland) (L7)


Taking off from RAF Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire at 23:22 hrs to bomb the flying bomb site at Saint-Leu-d’Esserent. Part of a series of night bombing attacks on these facilities during the Normandy invasion period.

On this operation some 231 Lancasters with 5 Mosquitoes took part in what was described as a successful operation with accurate bombing. It came at a cost with 13 Lancaster failing to return.

It is thought that Lancaster EE186 was shot down by the night fighter crew of F/W. Blank of 8./NJG5 at 01:53 hrs coming down some 2 km. North of Harquency, France - his first and only claim of the war from which he survived. (See Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)

(1) Sgt Hatchett evaded and returned to UK on the 29th August 1944 via Bayeux on B.14 airstrip at Banville. Fl/Sgt. Crowley returned later on the 09th September 1944.

Burial details:

None - all are survived.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown.

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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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