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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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183 Squadron Crest
24.10.1943 No. 183 Squadron Typhoon Ib JP542 F/O. Gerald E. Rawson

Operation: Roadstead

Date: 24th October 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 183 Squadron 10 Group (motto: 'Versatility')

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: JP542

Code: HF-?

Base: RAF Predannack, Cornwall

Location: English Channel of Cherbourg

Pilot: F/O. Gerald Edmond Rawson NZ/404943 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 17:30 hrs from RAF Warmwell when, during a very low level attack on a large merchant vessel moored in Cherbourg harbour believed to have been shot down by flak. Neither the pilot or aircraft were recovered - according to some records.

The late Rob Philips (Leading Dutch Aviation historian) has carried out extensive research into the many 'missing' aircrews and he feels sure that F/O. Rawson as well as that of Sq/Ldr Gowers do have graves within Cherbourg Cemetery and are buried as 'unknown'.

Gerry Rawson with his ground crew. Source: Paul Sortehaug, NZ, via Mickaël Simon/Rob Philips.

He had liaised with a Mr. Simon Strombon (the son of the sister of F/O. Rawson) also with Sylvia Barnard (relative of Sq/Ldr. Gowers DFC) who together tried to provide evidence to both the Dutch Airforce and later with the CWGC in 2007. To date the authorities are not convinced enough to exhume the bodies and carry out DNA testing to confirm the findings.

We strongly recommend reading the Rob Philips archive in particular this section.

Also lost from the squadron during this operation:

Typhoon Ib JP396 Flown by 30 year old, Sq/Ldr. Arthur Vincent Gowers DFC. 40166 RAFVR from Boscombe, Hampshire, England. Missing - believed killed
Typhoon Ib JP428 Flown by F/O. Phillip William Barry Timms 140913 RAFVR - Taken PoW after baling out some 12 miles north of the harbour. Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang.
Typhoon Ib JP368 Flown by F/O. D.N. Munrowd - safe, after a wheels up
landing at RAF Warmwell in Dorset - aircraft written off.

Burial details:

F/O. Gerald Edmond Rawson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 31st August 1918 at Temuka, the son of Ernest Arthur and Florence Bertha Rawson (née Holt), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand and husband of Edith Mary Rawson (later Boow) from Sheffield, father of Judith. Prior to enlisting on the 30th May 1940 worked as a student teacher for Auckland Education Board. Also served with 603 (Spitfires), 486 (Hurricanes), 532 (Hurricanes) Squadrons.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Rob Philips, Simon Strombon, Sylvia Barnard, Paul Sortehaug, Mickaël Simon, Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

Updated 07.12.2019

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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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