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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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149 Squadron crest
08/09.12.1942 No. 149 Squadron Stirling I W7639 OJ-Q P/O. John Philp B.E.M.

Operation: Gardening

Date: 08/09th December 1942 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 149 Squadron

Type: Stirling I

Serial: W7639

Code: OJ-Q

Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk.

Location: Brandon, Suffolk.

Pilot: P/O. John Philp BEM. 133028 RAFVR Age 33. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Stanley Hughes 570930 RAF Age 22. Killed

Obs: Fl/Sgt. George Edward Hills 1258086 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Christopher William Higgins 134511 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Craven 1185176 RAFVR Age 25. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Harold Harris 1201186 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Glenville Williams 545642 RAF Age 24. Killed


Took off at 16:34 hrs for a mining operation in the Jasmine region (Baltic). The pilot experienced technical difficulties and returned. During the trip the aircraft crashed at 21:35 hrs. at Fenhouse Farm, Brandon in Suffolk. No further details are available as yet.

Stirling I W7639 OJ-Q Courtesy of the late Keith Aspinall (3)

(1) P/O. John Philp obtained his BEM. earlier in September when the Stirling (BF334 OJ-R) he was piloting suffered engine failure and they were forced to ditch. Both he and another crew member towed severely injured Sgt. Frederick King as they swam ashore. Sgt. King had unfortunately died during their 4 hour swim when they were finally picked up by a small fishing boat.

(2) Sgt. Frank Craven was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school). We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.

(3) This print of one of his great paintings can be purchased amongst other fine aviation prints by Keith Aspinall from The Military Art Company.

Burial details:

P/O. John Philp BEM. Beck Row Churchyard. Row C. Grave 11. Son of Peter and Mary Philp, husband of Victoria Melita Philp, of Southsea, Hampshire, England.

Sgt. William Stanley Hughes. Beck Row Churchyard. Row C. Grave 12. Son of Thomas Stanley and Jessie Duncan Hughes, of Liverpool, England.

Fl/Sgt. George Edward Hills. Woolwich Cemetery. Sec 3. Grave 395. Son of Sydney Albert and Elizabeth Margaret Hills, of Woolwich, England.

P/O. Christopher William Higgins. Sheffield R/C. Cemetery. Sec. G.R. Grave 235. Son of Martin and Kathleen Higgins, of Sheffield, England.

Sgt. Frank Craven. Birmingham Cemetery. Sec. 15. R.C. Class B. Grave 2330. Son of Fred and Daisy Elizabeth Margaret Craven, husband of Dorothy Isabel Anne Craven, of Handsworth wood Birmingham, England.

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Harold Harris. Rhondda Cemetery. Plot C.Row 3. Grave 33. Son of William and Catherine Mary Harris, of 15 Penrhys Road, Tylorstown, Wales.

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Glenville Williams. Merthyr Tydfil Cemetery. Uncons. Sec. Row T.6. Grave 42. Son of Thomas Henry and Myfanwy Williams, of Cefn Coed, Wales.

Researched for relatives of crew. Info from Aircrew Remembered own archives with additional details from Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records, Clive Powell (1st cousin 2 x removed) for photo and details on Fl/Sgt. Thomas Harold Harris - April 2017.

KTY - 13.04.2017 new details added

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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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