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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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35 squadron badge
05/06.01.1945 No. 35 Squadron Lancaster III PB343 TL-M F/O. Potts D.F.C.

Operation: Hannover

Date: 5/6th January 1945 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 35 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB343

Code: TL-M

Base: RAF Graveley, Huntingdon

Location: Between Reide and Thedinghausen, Germany.

Pilot: F/O. Kenneth Potts DFC 183583 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Medley Benjamin Sharp 1803380 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. Murray” Mac” Allison Mills J/43411 RCAF Age 19. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr: F/O. Arthur Joseph Reeder J/43405 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. George Alfred Pope 1049025 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald William Bentley 1873484 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Vivian Montague Bailey Halls 2222007 RAFVR Age 22. Killed


Took off from RAF Graveley at 16.27 hrs.

This was the largest raid on Hannover since 1943 with 664 aircraft taking part - 14 Mosquitoes, 340 Halifaxes and 310 Lancasters. The bombing was reported as widespread over the city with 3,605 apartments/flats destroyed, 250 people killed on the ground The fatalities included 229 foreigners or prisoners of war. Over 2,000 tons of bombs were dropped.

The allies losses were huge, mainly due to night fighter attacks but also to the 'light to moderate' flak. (As described by returning crews)

33 aircraft were lost this night, 111 aircrew killed, 85 made Prisoners of War, 7 evading capture and a further 5 injured.

Map of crash area PR343

Hit by flak, and believed to have crashed 1904 between Reide and Thedinghausen, two small towns 12km S.S.E. and 14km S.E respectively from the centre of Bremen.

Above left: Sgt. Vivian Halls, right: Fl/Sgt. Ronald William Bentley (courtesy Clifford Fry via Linda Ibrom)

Above : F/O. Arthur Joseph Reeder (courtesy Elayne Reeder)

Touching memorial to Kenneth Potts

At the entrance to the gate at RAF Graveley, a memorial has been erected. Andy from Bedfordshire happened to come across a small tribute to the pilot of the crew. 
We felt that it just had to be placed on this page as it was so touching! (courtesy Andy in Bedfordshire)

"Dulce est decorum est pro patria mori"

'It is sweet and right to die for one's country'

Memorial to Sgt Pope on his parents' grave in Wallasey (Rake Lane) Cemetery, section 19G.

Photo courtesy Mike McQuaid via our Helpdesk

Burial details:

F/O. Kenneth Potts DFC. Runnymede Memorial Panel 267. Son of Charles Ernest and Katherine Potts and husband of Patricia May Potts (nee Davey)

Fl/Sgt. Medley Benjamin Sharp. Sage War Cemetery. Grave G8.D4. Son of William George and Jessie Sharp of Chingford, Essex, England.

F/O. Murray” Mac” Allison Mills. Runnymede Memorial Panel 279. Son of J.Murray and Ida M Mills of North Bay, Ontario, Canada. 
(1) Listed as "missing" and commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. However, according to "They Shall Not Grow Old" he is buried at the PoW Cemetery, Alhorn Cemetery, Germany.

F/O. Arthur Joseph Reeder. Runnymede Memorial Panel 279. Son of Leonard James Reeder and Edith Wixon of Toronto, Canada. Leonard, Arthur's father, originated from Norwich, Norfolk, England. George William Reeder cousin of Arthur, had also enlisted in the RCAF and was employed in clerical duties. He had the misfortune to receive Arthur's personnel effects, as part of his duties to forward them to his home - George, had no knowledge about his death and only found out this way!

F/O. George Alfred Pope. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 8D.7. Son of Alfred and Maria Royall Pope of Wallesey, Cheshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Ronald William Bentley. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 8D.6. Born on the 16th September 1924 in Ware, Hertfordshire. Son to William George Achley and Daisy Pretoria (née Bardell) Bentley of Ware, Hertfordshire, England

Sgt. Vivian Montague Bailey Halls. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 8D.8. Son of Arthur William and Nellie Halls of Wilmington, Kent. Later the family moved to Bristol, England.

Researched by Linda Ibrom and dedicated to Clifford Fry (cousin of Sgt. Vivian Halls), Elayne Reeder and all the relatives of the crew. Thanks to Les Allison and Harry Hayward - "They Shall Not Grow Old". Andy in Bedfordshire for the floral tribute photo. "Plane talk" for the lead to Andy. Thanks to Elayne Reeder for the photograph F/O Reeder.

RS 25.10.2018 - Addition of photograph for F/O Reeder and update to Fl/Sgt. Bentley details

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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