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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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RAF Crest
31.12.1944 No 3 (O) AFU Anson AX538 Fl/Sgt. Penonzek

Operation: Training

Date: 31st December 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 3 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit

Type: Avro Anson I

Serial: AX538

Code: Not issued

Base: RAF Halfpenny Green, Wolverhampton

Location: Ballcurphey Farm, Ballabeg, Arbory, Isle of Man

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Mervyn Penonzek R/180424 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Edward Cecil Comer 1803849 RAVFR Age 30. Killed

Obs: Sgt. James Vincent Hay 1806665 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alex Joseph Bell 1580819 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


Aircraft involved in a mid-air collision with Anson MH109, also of 3 (O) AFU over the Isle of Man. MH109 managed to make a forced landing with the crew safe. AX538 crashed at Ballacurphey Farm, Ballabeg, Isle of Man with the loss of all on board.

Burial details:

Penonzek Island in Wapeeminakoskak Lake was named after Fl/Sgt. John Penonzek in 1995.

Fl/Sgt. John Mervyn Penonzek. Buried Jurby Churchyard (St Patrick's). Grave 366. Son of Birt and Margarette Penonzek of Rossburn, Manitoba, Canada. After graduating he worked for a year at a general store at Augustville, Manitoba. After that he went to teach at Bird School. Grave inscription reads: "Our Loving Son John. Born At Rossburn, Manitoba, Canada. 27th October 1922".

Sgt. Edward Cecil Comer. Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium. Section J. 9, Grave 56726. Son of Herbert Henry and Agnes Comer of Finchley. Husband of Gladys Muriel Comer of North Finchley. London, England.

Sgt. James Vincent Hay. Charlton Cemetery, Greenwich, Section X, 2nd Gen, Grave 370. Son of George and Charlotte Hay. Husband of Madge Patricia Hay of Greenwich, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Loving Memory Of A Darling Husband And Daddy Sadly Missed. His Wife".

Grave photo shown right, clearly in need of restoration.

Fl/Sgt. Alex Joseph Bell. Wellingborough Cemetery (Doddington Road). Section N, Grave 65. Son of Alexander and Mary Bell. Husband of Mavis Hilda Jervis Bell of Wellingborough, Northants, England. Grave inscription reads: "Tho' You Are Gone From Us You Remain In Our Fondest Memories Ever".

Researched by Steve Hunnisett for Aircrew Remembered - April 2019. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.

SH/KTY 17.04.2019

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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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