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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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10 Squadron crest
23/24.05.1943 10 Squadron Halifax II DT789 ZA:B Sgt. John Rees

Operation: Dortmund, Germany

Date: 23rd/24th May 1943

Unit: 10 Squadron

Type: Halifax ll

Serial: DT789

Code: ZA:B

Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire

Location: North Sea, Texel

Pilot: Sgt. John Rees 1317618 RAFVR Age 19. Missing

Flt Eng: Sgt. William Edgar Oliver 1238185 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

Nav: Sgt. Frederick Charles Rose 1387015 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Samuel James Gaywood 1393160 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Denis Birkhead 1218839 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Air Gnr: Sgt. Evan George David 1296897 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Air Gnr: Sgt. Frank William Farnell 1038623 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

Above left to right: Sgt William E. Oliver; Sgt. Frank W. Farnell, as an airman under flight training, clipped from his wedding photograph after his marriage to Rosemary C. Webster. (Credit: Simon Oliver)


Took off at 22:34hrs. from RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire. After a 9-day break in major operations, Bomber Command dispatched 826 aircraft to Dortmund - a record number of aircraft in a "non-1,000" raid so far in the war and the largest raid of the Battle of the Ruhr. The force comprised of 343 Lancasters, 199 Halifaxes, 151 Wellingtons, 120 Stirlings and 13 Mosquitoes. 38 aircraft - 18 Halifaxes, 8 Lancasters, 6 Stirlings, 6 Wellingtons - were lost.

The Pathfinders marked the target accurately in clear weather conditions and the ensuing attack proceeded according to plan. It was a very successful raid. Many industrial premises were hit, particularly the large Hoesch steelworks, which ceased production.

At 02:27hrs. a W/T message was heard when the aircraft's position was 5328N 0238E and under attack by a night-fighter.

Above: Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling and crew (Kracker archives)

DT789 was intercepted by Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling of 10./NJG1 40 km. north west of Texel and crashed into the sea. The height of the attack is placed at 5,400 mtrs. and the time 02.36 hrs.

This was the 11th victory of his career (he had two confirmed kills on this raid alone, this Halifax DT789 and also a 214 Squadron Stirling BF478. He was killed after 31 confirmed night victories when on the 20th/21st July 1944 he crashed following an interception by a Mosquito NT113 from 169 Sqn flown by Wg Cdr. Bromley OBE DFC. and Flt Lt. Truscott DFC, both of whom were also killed on the 6th September 1944 after their Mosquito VI PZ230 exploded in the air, the aircraft crashed at Acuum near Wilhelnshaven.

Runnymede Memorial (Aircrew Remembered 2012)

Burial details:

Sgt. John Rees. Keil War Cemetery 1. H. 18. Son of Daniel and Margaret Jane Rees of Beaufort, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Sgt. William Edgar Oliver. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 160. Son of Edwin William and Ethel Oliver of Ashtead, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Frederick Charles Rose. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 163. Son of Bertie George and Rosina Maude Rose; husband of Nora Emily Rose of Northolt, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Frederick Charles Rose’s body was recovered on the 8th July 1943 at Neufelderkoog and he was initially buried at Brunsbuttel, Germany. Now commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as probably unable to positively identify the body post war during exhumation.

Sgt. Samuel James Gaywood. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 150. Son of Samuel George and Mary Elizabeth Gaywood, husband of Maud Patricia Gaywood of New Eltham, London, England.

Sgt. Denis Birkhead. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 142. Son of George and Alice Birkhead of Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Evan George David. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 147. Son of Ernest Job David and Isabel Annie David of Cyntwell, Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt. Frank William Farnell. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 149. Born in September 1920 in Market Drayton, Shropshire. Son of Frank Robert and Edith Ann (née Langford) Farnell. Husband to Rosemary Clare (née Webster) Farnell from Birkenhead, Cheshire, England.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame for relatives of this crew. With thanks to the sources quoted below. Also to Jack broom for details on Mosquito PZ230 (5th September 2015). Thanks to Simon Oliver and family for the photograph of his cousin, twice removed, Sgt. Oliver and for the image of Sgt. Farnell courtesy of the family of his widow (Jun 2021). NoK details for Sgt. Farnell updated by Aircrew Remembered (Jun 2021).

RS 16.06.2021 Image of Sgt. Farnell added

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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