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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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608 Squadron crest
09/19.10.1944 No. 608 Squadron Mosquito KB261 6T-D F/O. Reginald G. Gardiner

Operation: Wilhelmshaven

Date: 9/10th October 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No.608 Squadron

Type: Mosquito XX

Serial: KB261

Code: 6T-D

Base: RAF Downham Market, Norfolk.

Location: Downham Market base.

Pilot: F/O. Reginald George Gardner 68776 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Nav: F/O. Oswald Cuthbert Sweetman DFM. 145171 RAFVR Age 27 Killed (1)


Took of at 18:03 hrs from Downham Market to accompany 46 other Mosquitoes to attack Wilhelmshaven. This was planned as a diversionary raid to protect 435 aircraft that were to bomb Bochum some 30 minutes later.

The navigator, F/O. Oswald Cuthbert Sweetman DFM on his wedding day to Jessie.

On return to their base in Norfolk KB261 the aircraft was seen to enter the funnels and then from around 1,000 ft. dive into the ground at 21:30 hrs, killing both crew members.

(1) F/O Sweetman had previously flown with 104 Squadron in the Middle East. Citation for DFM:

“Sergeant Sweetman has completed a tour of operational duty with No 104 Squadron lasting over six months during which time he has operated against the enemy 33 times and flown 221.40 hours. A Navigator of outstanding skill, his courage under fire has inspired all who have flown with him and  the results he has got have been an example to the other Navigators in the squadron which had materially raised the standard of bombing in the unit. Flying during the intensive operations during our last withdrawal, he showed outstanding skill and determination in seeking out the enemy in the battle area and bombing his transport and tank concentrations with an accuracy which resulted in fires in many cases. The complete set of operations over a wide variety of targets can be summed up as completely satisfactory.”

Burial details:

F/O. Reginald George Gardner. Bearsted (Holy Cross) Churchyard. Sec N. Grave 184. Son of Samuel and Agnes and husband of Nancy of Bearsted, Kent, England.

F/O. Oswald Cuthbert Sweetman D.F.M. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (All Saints) Cemetery Sec E. Uncons. Grave 191. Son of William and Mary and brother to Cyril, Constance and Marie. Husband of Jessie (née James) of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, father of Jacqueline, born 1943.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom - dedicated to Patricia Armstrong and Jacqueline Sweetman relatives of F/O. Sweetman DFM. and for the relatives of F/O. Gardner. With thanks to Malcolm Wilson. Further sources as quoted below. 

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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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