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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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05th November 1943 254 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X LZ178 F/O. Palmer

Operation: Conebo (1)

Date: 05th November 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No. 254 Squadron. Coastal Command. 16 Group

Type: Beaufighter TF.X

Serial: LZ178

Code: QY-F

Base: RAF North Coates, Lincolnshire

Location: North Sea off the Dutch coast

Pilot: F/O. William George Palmer NZ/416532 RNZAF Age 27. Missing - believed killed

Obs: F/O. Peter Warren Sykes Smallwood 130841 RAFVR Age 30. Killed


Taking off at 06:30 hrs to attack a group of four E-Boats off the Dutch coast.

LZ178 failed to return and no trace of the pilot was found. The navigator was buried at Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery.

(1) Conebo: This was a British air undertaking by Bristol Beaufighter heavy fighters of Air Chief Marshal Sir William Sholto Douglas’s RAF Coastal Command to blockade the eastern end of the English Channel during ‘Overlord’ and so deny the German navy any opportunity to launch a naval attack on ‘Overlord’, especially by S-boote from bases in the German-occupied Low Countries, but also larger warships from German and Scandinavian ports.

Burial and personal details:

F/O. William George Palmer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 21st March 1916 at Dunedin. Worked as a clerk for his fathers accountants company. Enlisted on the 29th November 1941at Levin. Awarded his pilots badge on the 03rd July 1942 when he was also commissioned. Son of Albert Edgar and Jessie Palmer, of Havelock North, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand and husband of June Palmer, of Westminster, London, U.K. 456 flying hours logged and on his 13th operational sortie.

F/O. Peter Warren Sykes Smallwood. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 31. B. 2. Born on the 30th November 1911. Son of John Russell Smallwood and Margaret Hilda Smallwood and husband of Norah Evelyn Smallwood (nee Walford), of Westminster, London. A.C.A.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 11-03-2021

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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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