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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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115 Squadron Crest
25/26.06.1943 115 Squadron Lancaster II DS666 KO-J Sgt. Ronald F. Rashley

Operation: Gelsenkirchen

Date: 25/26th June 1943

Unit: 115 Squadron

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: DS666

Code: KO:J

Base: RAF East Wretham, Norfolk

Location: North Sea, west of Den Helder, Netherlands.

Pilot: Sgt. Ronald Frederick Rashley 1336977 RAFVR Age ? Missing.

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Frank Lynford Beeston 1425681 RAFVR Age 21. Missing.

Nav: Sgt. Clyde Maxwell Sibbald 1049563 RAFVR Age 23. Missing.

Air Bmr: Fg.Off. Gideon Davidson J20818 RCAF Age 21. Missing.

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Alexander Corns 1131924 RAFVR Age 32. Missing.

Air Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Green 1581444 RAFVR Age 21. Missing.

Air Gnr: Sgt. Albert Worsdale 1577574 RAFVR Age 21. Missing.


Lancaster DS666 took off from RAF East Wretham, Norfolk on an operation to bomb Gelsenkirchen with another 217 Lancasters, 190 Halifaxes and 10 Mosquitoes. The raid was not at all as had been hoped. Equipment failure in half of the Mosquitoes and another dropping target markers 10 miles off target! The bombing as a result of this made the Germans think that the raid was actually on Bochum. However some industrial target were hit in the town.

This aircraft also dropped mines on route to the target - but no further details available on this to date.

Thought to be some of the crew of DS666 (courtesy Chris Sibbald)

From Left to Right: Sgt Sibbard, Sgt. Rashley, Fg.Off. Davidson, Unknown, Unknown

Davidson Sibbald

Left: Fg.Off. Davidson (courtesy Ellin Bessner); Right: Sgt. Sibbald (courtesy Chris Sibbald)

Two possible claims have been made for shooting this aircraft down, so it can be assumed that it was a victim of a German night fighter and that the area of loss can be a little better determined. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (13 July - 29 May 1942) The Early Years Part 2 - Theo Boiten)

1st claim is that it was Hptm. Franz Buschmann of Stab IV./NJG1 who shot DS666 down in the sea 60 km. west Den Helder - height 3,000 mtrs at 02.47 hrs.
2nd claim is that it was Ofw. Heinz Vink of 11./NJG1 who shot DS666 down in the sea 70 km west Den Helder - height - 2,400 mtrs at 02.47 hrs.

There is currently no evidence to positively identify the correct night fighter, but, it does narrow down the area where this aircraft was lost.

Left: Runnymede Memorial panels

Burial details:

Sgt. Ronald Frederick Rashley. Runnymede Memorial panel 162. Son of Ethel Maud Rashley.

Sgt. Frank Lynford Beeston. Runnymede Memorial panel 142. Son of William and Florence of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Clyde Maxwell Sibbald. Runnymede Memorial panel 164. Further information: Sergeant Sibbald was born on the 1st of November 1920, the third of four children of John Patrick and Carlotta Sibbald of Wallsend-on-Tyne, Northumberland.In 1934, Clyde studied engineering at the Technical Institute, Wallsend- on-Tyne, England.

Fg.Off. Gideon Davidson. Runnymede Memorial panel 173. Son of Jacob and the late Mrs Davidson of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. He was born and raised in Campbellton, NB. and graduated from high school there. His widowed father and siblings moved to BC where Gideon served in the NPAm for a few months before being called back by the RCAF to whom he had applied in 1940.

Sgt. Alexander Corns. Runnymede Memorial panel 146. Born 10th December 1910 in Bury, Lancashire. Alexander was the youngest of four siblings, Annie, Ethel-May & Ernest Henry. Son of Henry and Anon Corns and husband to Beatrice Frost (née Knight) Corns whom he married in 1933. Beatrice was remarried to William H. Atkinson in 1949.

Sgt. Ernest Green. Runnymede Memorial panel 151. Son of Frederick and Sabina of Braunstone, Leicester, England.

Sgt. Albert Worsdale. Runnymede Memorial panel 170. Son of John Edward and Bertha of Lincoln, England.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for Chris Sibbald and other relatives of the crew. Also for Alan Ridgers - relative of the pilot who contacted us in October 2015. Thanks to Michelle Kerswell, the great niece of Sgt. Corns for the additional NoK details. Thanks to Janice McKnight the great niece of William H. Atkinson for the additional NoK details for Sgt. Corns. Thanks to Samantha Jane Berry-Dagnall for the additional NoK details for Sgt. Corns.

Readers are referred to Professor Ellin Bessner's book 'Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII', available from Amazon

RS 13.07.2020 - Further update to Sgt. corn's NoK details

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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Last Modified: 13 July 2020, 06:51

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