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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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1945 Hurricane IIC PZ740 F/O. Parlato DFC / Lancaster LM130 P/O. Orchard

Operation: Fighter affiliation

Date: 11th March 1945 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 1690 Bomber (Defence) Training Flight (5 Group)

Type: Hurricane IIC

Serial: PZ740

Code: -

Base: RAF Metheringham, Lincolnshire

Location: Ashholt Field at Blankney village

Pilot: F/O. Sidney Frederick Parlato DFC. NZ/415778 RNZAF Age 34. Killed


Fighter Affiliation exercise at night. The Hurricane, flown by F/O. Parlato DFC took off at around 20:45. At 21:00 during an overtaking manoeuvre he then collided mid-air with Lancaster LM130 from 463 squadron. Both crews were killed.

The air accident report stated that visibility was about 3 miles with no cloud. It also stated that both aircraft had no technical defects. Both aircraft suffered fire damage when hitting the ground.

A memorial to both crews was erected near the crash site at Ash Holt Wood, Blankney, by family members of the crew on 23rd September 2014. (see credits)

Burial details:

F/O. Sidney Frederick Parlato DFC. Cambridge City Cemetery on the 16th March 1945 at 16:30 hrs. Grave 15368. Son of Ernest and Alma Parlato; husband of Phyllis May Parlato (née Edwards), of Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand. Born on 30 January 1911 at Taikorea. A total of 837 flying hours logged with 172 on the Hurricane. 56 operations served previously with the Path Finder Force in 139 squadron.

463 Squadron Lancaster I LM130 JO-N "Nick the Nazi Neutralizer" No. 5 Group. Motto: "Press on Regardless". Based at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. 5 Group.


Pilot: P/O. Norman Henry Orchard AUS/419136 RAAF Age 20. Killed. Cambridge City Cemetery on the 16th March 1945 at 16:30 hrs. Grave 15369. Son of Stanley Edwin And Annie Cecilia Orchard, of Denman Street, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This" Ever Remembered"

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Reginald Frederick Neale 1386352 RAFVR Age 23. Killed. Cambridge City Cemetery on the 16th March 1945 at 16:30 hrs. Grave 15366. Son Of Lily Neale; Grandson of Mrs. B. Neale Of Welling, Kent. Grave inscription: "A Noble Hero True And Brave Peacefully Sleeps In An Airman's Grave R.I.P"

Nav: Sgt. David Arthur Charles 1653100 RAFVR Age ? Killed. Llanelli (Old Road) Cemetery. No further details, are you able to assist?

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Harold Rollins 1588200 RAFVR Age 31. Killed. Leigh Cemetery. Sec. 36. Grave Q. 8. Husband of Mary Rollins, Of Leigh. Grave inscription: "For Liberty And Truth He Sacrificed His Glorious Youth"

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt, William Frederick Henry Elcome 1891920 RAFVR Age 21. Killed. Cambridge City Cemetery on the 16th March 1945 at 16:30 hrs. Grave 15370. Son Of William And Mildred Elcome; Nephew of Mr. W. H. Brown, of Walworth, London. Grave inscription: "As The Flower Of The Grass He Shall Pass Away James 1.10 And Isaiah 40.6-7"

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Bernard John Patch 1812236 RAFVR Age 21. Killed. Cambridge City Cemetery on the 16th March 1945 at 16:30 hrs. Grave 15367. Son Of Ernest And Ethel Elizabeth Patch.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Shaw 1811658 RAFVR Age 20. Killed. Heckmondwike Cemetery. Gen. Sec. L. Grave 11. Son of Vernon And Mary J. Shaw, Of Heckmondwike. Grave inscription: "Treasured Memories Of Our Dear Son. Some Time We'll Understand"

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these aircrew. With thanks to Stephen Farnell for photo of Sgt Charles, AWM for Lancaster photo, Richard Flagg for memorial photo and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY Dec 2020

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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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