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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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487 Squadron Crest
27.04.1944 487 Squadron Mosquito VI NS828 EG-A Fl/Lt. John C. Paterson

Operation: ‘D’ Day preparation training

Date: 27th April 1944

Unit: No. 487 Squadron (New Zealand)

Type: Mosquito VI

Serial: NS828

Code: EG-A

Base: RAF Swanton Morley, Norfolk

Location: North Elmham, Norfolk

Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Charles Paterson NZ/2150 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt John James Spencer Mellar 49175 RAF Age 29. Killed

With many thanks to Adrian S. Pye for memorial photographs - May 2016


Janet Woodhouse, who lives in the village of North Elmham, had heard about the crash in her village but no one seemed to have any details. So, for over a year she has been trying to find out further information with the hope that a memorial plaque could be placed in the area of the crash site.

She first discovered the story after talking to a neighbour, Mr. Ray Snowling (87) about the war. Ray had previously campaigned for a memorial back in the 1950’s but in those days not much interest was shown.

A memorial had been planned to be unveiled in April 2014 - 70 years after the loss of the two boys. Awaiting any further details on this, it was hoped that a local builder will be employed and that relatives of the crew will attend.

Note: May 2016 - memorial built by the Garrod Partnership Ltd with research by Ray Snowling and Janet Woodhouse - unveiled in April 2014 (photographs courtesy Adrian Pye - May 2016)

Above left: Fl/Lt. John Charles Paterson and right: 487 Squadron Mosquito

Eastern Daily Press coverage of the story November 2013 (courtesy Archant Newspapers and reporter, Rosa McMahon)

Official report to the crash states:

"Failure of port engine due to a glycol leak. Unsuccessful attempt at a single landing from too low a height and from too close a circuit which resulted in the pilot overshooting the end of the runway and going round again at 150-200 feet, either the use of 18 lbs. boost or a loss of power on the starboard engine caused the aircraft to turn into the dead engine. It spun to port and hit the ground vertically, having completed half a turn of a spin."

Left: Papakura-Karaka War Memorial, New Zealand (courtesy John Halpin)

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. John Charles Paterson. Shepperton Church Cemetery (shown above). Also remembered on the Papakura-Karaka War Memorial, new Zealand. Son of John Alexander and Alice Louise Paterson, of Papakura, Auckland, New Zealand, husband of Doris Josephine Paterson (nee Edmonds), of Shepperton, Middlesex, England. Brother L.A.C. Bruce Paterson also served. Remarried a Mr. George Abbot and lived in Leatherhead, Surrey.

Fl/Lt John James Spencer Mellar. Brookwood Cemetery Grave 24.D.20. (shown above) Son of William Edward and Eleanor Mellar, husband of Dorothy Freda Mellar, father to Ian. (Daughter of J.C. Mason M.B.E.) Married to John on the 30th January 1943 at Rock, Worcestershire. Dorothy remarried Mr Erick Packham who was also serving in Bomber Command.

Researched by Janet Woodhouse with thanks to New Zealand records Office, Eastern Daily Press, New Zealand Weekly News, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Shenstonian Solihull School, John Halpin for War Memorial photo, Imperial War Museum, Aircrew Remembered own Archives. Also to Adrian Pye for memorial photographs submitted to Aircrew Remembered in May 2016. Also to Garrod Partners Ltd for the building of the memorial.

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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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