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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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21 Squadron Crest
12/13.03.1945 No. 21 Squadron Mosquito VI SZ923 W/Cdr. Victor R. Oats

Operation: Road and rail communications

Date: 12/13th March 1945 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 21 Squadron

Type: De Havilland Mosquito VI

Serial. SZ963

Base: B.87 ALG. Rosières-en-Santerre

Location: Linnerstraße, Bottendorf, Germany

Pilot: W/Cmd. Victor Rundle Oats 34246 RAF Age 29. Killed

Navigator: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Charles Gubbings 1800005 RAFVR Age 23. Killed


Taking off at 22:05 hrs from the Advanced Landing Ground at Rosières-en-Santerre east south east of Amiens in France.

From eyewitness accounts in Bottendorf, it is stated that Mosquito SZ963 attacked the Frankenberger Bahnhof (Railway station) and then the Thonet Werks, during this attack it was noted that the aircraft was on fire and flying very low.

The crew must have realised the danger and W/Cdr. Oats tried desperately to gain altitude so that they would have sufficient height to bale-out. Instead, the aircraft flew on a curved course towards Willesdorf but tragically crashed on the Linnerstraße, between Bottendorf and Willesdorf.

The crew were found the next day and laid to rest by an old Oak tree at the Linner Mill. The two crew members were later exhumed and re-buried at Hanover War Cemetery.

Right: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Charles Rubbings with his wife Olivia.

Burial details:

W/Cmd. Victor Rundle Oats. Hanover War Cemetery. Joint grave 4.J.13-14. Son of Francis and Dorothy Oats, husband of Elizabeth Jean Oats, of Oxted, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: "No Greater Love".

Fl/Sgt. Frederick Charles Gubbings. Hanover War Cemetery. Joint grave 4.J.13-14. Son of Albert and Alice Gubbings, husband of Olivia Ellizabeth Gubbings.Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Shall Remember Him".

Information via Pete Joseph. With thanks to Bob B for taking the grave photographs for us in March 2019 - other sources as quoted below.

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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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