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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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Bomber Command Crest
17.03.1944 No. 32 Operational Training Unit Dakota III MFL650 Sgt. Oliver

Operation: Training

Date: 17th March 1944 (Friday)

Unit: No. 32 Operational Training Unit

Type: Dakota III

Serial: FL650

Code: Not issued

Base: East Camp - Patricia Bay, Vancouver Island

Location: Lost without trace

Pilot: Sgt. Douglas Oliver 1565344 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Obs: P/O. John Benedict Murphy 55294 RAFVR Age 26. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Roy Alexander Hodge NZ/413756 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed


Fl/Sgt. Hodge posted to 32 OTU as he had evaded capture earlier when the Stirling III BF350 was shot down over Belgium. 6 of his fellow crew members were killed, 1 taken PoW and he evaded capture. Further information can be found here.

They took off on a night navigational exercise at 19:40 hrs. They were last in contact at 21:58 hrs and despite many searches made, no trace of the crew or aircraft were found. It is understood that two oxygen cylinders found within the Pearse Islands recovered later and these were of the same type carried by this aircraft.

In June 2017 Victoria International Airport unveiled a beautiful memorial to the 132 service personnel who lost their lives whist at Patricia Airbase. The main feature of this sculptural work will be 25 x 12 foot high Corten Steel Cooper’s Hawk Feathers. The Cooper’s Hawk is a predator known for its extraordinary agility in flight and ferocity in hunting. The names of the lost airmen have been water jet cut into the feathers.

The video of the dedication:

Ottawa Memorial - a larger photograph is available for the panel that this crew are listed on - please contact us for a free copy.

Burial details:

Sgt. Douglas Oliver. Ottawa Memorial. Panel 3. Column 3. Son of Tom Pattison Oliver and Mary Ethel Oliver, of Blackhill, Co. Durham, England.

Obs: P/O. John Benedict Murphy. Ottawa Memorial. Panel 3. Column 2. Son of Michael and Sarah Murphy, of Erris, Co. Mayo, Irish Republic.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Roy Alexander Hodge. Ottawa Memorial. Panel 3. Column 5. Born on the 16th June 1918, the son of Peter Frankland Hodge and Ella Hodge, of Wellington City, New Zealand, husband of Germaine (née Adam) Hodge, of St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada and father to Sandra. His wife, Germaine never remarried and passed away in 1966. At the time of his death Fl/Sgt. Hodge had 466 hours flying experience and completed 17 operations.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the great late Henk Welting and many others on the RAF Commands Forum also to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, other sources as quoted.

KTY - 17.02.2018

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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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