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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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158 squadron badge
20/21.07.1944 No 158 Squadron Halifax III MZ352 NP-E Fl/Lt. Platten

Operation: Ardouval, France

Date: 20/21st July 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 158 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ352

Code: NP-E

Base: RAF Lissett, Yorkshire

Location: Target area Ardouval, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Anthony Platten 141887 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Christopher Maurice Ashford 574775 RAF Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. James Alvin Smith J/22369 RCAF Age 27 Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Bedford Philip Upper J/89809 RCAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Whitley Bellhouse 1080344 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry Edward Laurence Craze 578032 RAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Howarth Witham 1568125 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 22.26 hrs to bomb the flying-bomb site at Ardouval, France.

As described by Bill Chorley, the loss may be attributed to poor weather conditions on the night.

A total of 87 aircraft took part in the operation to bomb both this target and the other facility at Wizernes. It was reported that only 23 aircraft actually bomber Ardouval and none at the other target.

V1 Launch site at Ardouval, France (insert image courtesy Hemis Sas)

Above: Crew graves photographed by our Kate Tame during her visit in 2012. Any relative who would like a higher resolution image of the graves and or the church please don't hesitate to contact us.

Right: St. Hellier Churchyard, Seine-Maritime, France.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. John Anthony Platten. St. Hellier Churchyard. South East corner. Collective grave. Son of Sidney George and Edith Miriam Platten, of Norwich, Norfolk, England.

Sgt. Christopher Maurice Ashford. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Maurice Esmonde Ashford and Eleanor Mary Ashford, of Ilford, Essex, England.


F/O. James Alvin Smith. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Andrew Godfrey and Jean (nee Irving) Smith of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

James was born at Wingham, Ontario on 7 April 1917. His father was born at Kincardine, Ontario and was a Sales Manager and also the editor and publisher of the Wingham Advance Times. His mother was born in Lucknow, Ontario. He had a brother Andrew Irving and a sister Edythe Euphemia. He attended Allenby Public School, Toronto,1925- 1933 and North Toronto Collegiate Institute 1933-1937. He then went to Northern vocational 1937-1938 studying a special course in Accountancy. His sport interests were baseball, hockey, rugby and lacrosse. He was particularly good at rugby. James was a Salesman at Imrie Brothers, 1938-1940 and then during the summer of 1940 he gave Physical Instruction at the Board of Education. He was then Paymaster and Secretary at Insulation Products Ltd in Toronto from 1940 until enlisting on 3 November 1941.
After training James was posted to the U.K. where he disembarked at 3PRC. He then went to 10 (0) AFU on 22 June 1943, 20 OTU 3 August 1943, 1652 CU on 27 October 1943 and to 158 Squadron 15 April 1944. James sadly lost his life on 21 July 1944.

Courtesy International Bomber Command Centre


Son of James Albert Upper and Alma Leatta Upper (née Green), of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Husband of Lillian Jean Upper (née McLeod) - marriage in Stamford Township on 30 December 1942. Father of Norman Bedford Upper (born 15 December 1943).

Bedford was born on 8 June I922 in Stamford Township, Ontario. Bedford had a brother Raymond and a sister Norma Leatta. His father had worked as a dairy man and was born at Alanburg Ont. His mother born Stamford. They all lived in Prince Edward Avenue, Niagara Falls. His schools were - Separate School #6 1927-1935. Stamford Collegiate 1935-1940 and then Galt D P Y T. September-December 1940 for machinist training. He attained his High School Entrance, Junior and Senior Matriculation. Bedford worked at the Burgess Battery Company, Niagara as a laboratory assistant and also as a machinist.
He enlisted 16 April 1942 in Hamilton and after training embarked from Halifax on 27 May 1943. After 3 PRC on 5 June 1943 he went to 6(0) AFU on 5 July, 20 OTU ON 3 August 1943, 1652 CU 27 October 1943 and 158 Squadron on 16 April 1944.
He enjoyed hunting.

Courtesy International Bomber Command Centre



Fl/Sgt. Edward Whitley Bellhouse. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of John Whitley Bellhouse and Emily Bellhouse, of Horsforth, Yorkshire, husband of Joan Bellhouse, of Horsforth, England.

Fl/Sgt. Bellhouse's widow Joan, was chosen to represent the relatives at the unveiling of a memorial at York Minster by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1955.

Sgt. Henry Edward Laurence Craze. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Sydney Lawrence Craze and Lynda Nellie Florence Craze, of Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

Sgt. Jack Howarth Witham. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Leonard and Gladys Whitham, of Glasgow, Scotland.

The wonderful award winning memorial at RAF Lissett village. Unveiled in 2009 and made from metal - it is inscribed with the names of the 851 people who lost their lives at or departing from the airfield during WW2.


A miniature of the memorial is available direct from the designer Peter Naylor. At date of publication these cost from £25.00. (Please mention us when you apply for one)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old'.


KTY 06.10.2015 - Aircraft code corrected - with thanks to Jack Brook.
CHB 11.11.2022 - Portraits of F/O Smith and P/O Upper added with biographical data. Bellhouse news clipping added.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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Acknowledgements
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', 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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