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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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78 squadron badge
12/13.06.1944 78 Squadron Halifax III MZ631 EY:Y Flt Sgt. Stanley A. Rae

Operation: Amiens, France.

Date: 12th/13th June 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: 78 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ631

Code: EY:Y

Base: RAF Breighton, Yorkshire.

Location: Varengeville-sur-Mer, Seine Maritime, France

Pilot: Flt Sgt. Stanley Allen Rae 423420 RNZAF Age 29. Killed

Flt Eng: Sgt. Ronald Edward Miles 1192828 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: Fg Off. Harry Sager J29415 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Frederick George Tomlinson 1301516 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Harry George Colwell 1600445 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Frank Edwin Spinks 1625934 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Gilmartin 520265 RAF Age ? Killed


Took off at 22:21 hrs. from RAF Breighton to bomb the communication / rail facilities at Amiens. 671 aircraft took part in this and other raids during the night. Bombing of this target had been classed as reasonably accurate.

The losses from Bomber Command though were huge with 30 aircraft lost. A total of 140 aircrew were killed, 22 being made PoW however, a further 31 managing to evade capture. 78 Squadron lost 3 aircraft during this raid, the other two:

Halifax III LV915 EY:H Flown by Fg off. John Frederick Wyllie RCAF Killed with all 7 crew
Halifax III LV820 EY:F Flown by Fg Off. Henry Thomas Mills RAFVR Killed with all 7 crew.

The crew had completed their bombing run and were on their way home. This crew had only completed 4 operations, with the first on the eve of the 'D' day landings just the week before.

MZ631 was claimed by Hptm Gerhard Raht, his 36th Abschuss, from Stab I./NJG2 - Over Northern French coast: 1,500m at 00:53. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (12 May 1944 - 23 July 1944) Part 3 - Theo Boiten)

Burial details:

Above: Longueil Churchyard, Seine Maritime, France.

Crew graves, as taken by Kate Tame of Aircrew Remembered. Any relative who would like a higher resolution of these images, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Flt Sgt. Stanley Allen Rae. Longueil Churchyard, France. Grave 2. Son of William Michael and Lucy Caroline Rae, of Auckland City, New Zealand, husband of Thelma Alice Rae, of Grey Lynn, Auckland.

Sgt. Ronald Edward Miles. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Edward Charles and Jessica Gertrude Miles, husband of Alice Irene Miles, of Hawtonville, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England.

Fg Off. Harry Sager. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Moe and Mary (née Socransky) Sager, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. Born on the 26th January 1921 in Montreal, Canada. Enlisted May 1942, Joined the Sqn at the same time as Flt Sgt. Rae.

Sgt. Frederick George Tomlinson. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Frederick Wilson Tomlinson and of Phoebe Amelia Tomlinson (nee Shipley), husband of Mary Tomlinson, of Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Harry George Colwell. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Harry George and Fanny Constance Colwell, of Betchworth, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Frank Edwin Spinks. Longueil Churchyard, France. Grave 1. Son of Frank Alfred and Elsie May Spinks, of Southfields, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Thomas Gilmartin. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Next of kin details not currently available - can you assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Kate Tame. Thanks also to RAF Commands Forum for notifying us of the correct Squadron code. Thanks to John Jones for the German night-fighter claim (Apr 2021).

RS 27.04.2021 - Update to include German night-fighter claim

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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