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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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106 Squadron Crest
30/31.07.1943 No. 106 Squadron Lancaster I R5665 ZN-D P/O. Kenneth Maxime Reid

Operation: Remscheid, Germany.

Date: 30/31.07.1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 106 Squadron. Motto: Pro Libertate (For Freedom)

Badge: A lion sejant, rampant, holding a banner charged with an astral crown. Based on the crest of the County Borough of Doncaster, the squadron being stationed near there at the time of adopting the badge.

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: R5665

Code: ZN-D

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: Unknown

Pilot: P/O. Kenneth Maxime Reid J/18143 RCAF Age 23. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Frederick G. Benson 625905 PoW No. 222448 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (2)

Nav: Sgt. J. Scott 1551978 PoW No. 222450 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg-Elbe - 4B (3)

Air/Bmr: P/O. James Delbert Golds J/22536 RCAF PoW No. 2530 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (4)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor Askey 1216172 PoW No. 222451 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg-Elbe - 4B (5)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cecil Miles Pearce 1391446 PoW No. 222447 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (6)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Kirkham 1029424 PoW No. 222445 Camp: Stalag Mühleberh-Elbe - 4B (7)

We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via our helpdesk


Took off from RAF Syerston at 22.00hrs on a bombing mission to Remscheid, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

This aircraft was armed with: 1 x 4000lb. GP, 1200 x 4lb IB, 64 x 30lb IB.

Special Equipment: Gee, Monica - see abbreviations

Route as per RAF Bomber Command Night Operations Report: East Coast - 5140N 0200E - Furnes - 5030N 0735E - 5100N 0740E - Target - 5102N 0630E - 5150N 0230E - East Coast. (Furnes = Veurne, Belgium)

This operation turned out to be the last bombing raid of what in the ensuing years would become known as the Battle of the Ruhr. Over the previous five months the RAF had dropped in excess of 30000 tons of bombs on the area, yet apart from the odd stray bomb, Remscheid had remained hitherto untouched by the offensive. The town, covering an area of about 28 square miles had a population of a little over 100,000 and being at the centre of the precision and machine tool industry it was unlikely that it would escape the attentions of the RAF indefinitely.

A force of some 273 aircraft was assembled for this bombing raid on the town of Remscheid. Zero hour was 0100hrs and though the attack was scheduled to end at 0118hrs the period of bombing overran by 10 minutes. The Pathfinder force consisting of 9 Oboe Mosquitoes (6 + 3 reserves) and 13 Halifaxes and Lancasters as Backers Up were evenly spaced throughout the bomber stream with the first Mosquito attacking at Z-4 and the final one at Z+16. The main force consisting of 74 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes and 87 Stirlings attacked in three waves. There was haze over the target and no moon; visibility was described as moderate. Marking by the Mosquitoes was continuous throughout the attack; the timing almost exactly as planned. There was one incident of target markers being dropped off target but this caused no significant problem. Target defences were weak and ineffective with only a few searchlights in evidence; heavy and light flak was described as slight. 228 Aircraft reported bombing the primary target and 4 attacked alternative targets. 26 aircraft aborted the mission mainly because of technical and manipulative defects and 15 failed to return. It is estimated that 7 of the losses were due to flak, 6 were shot down by fighters and 2 due to unknown causes.

In little more than 30 minutes 871 tons of bombs fell on Remscheid with devastating effect. The bombing and ensuing firestorm almost completely destroyed the town killing 1120 and injuring 6700. Daylight reconnaissance photographs taken the following day showed fires still burning and great damage throughout the town. The town centre near the main railway station was almost totally destroyed with 90% of the built up area demolished or gutted. The main workshops of Bergische Stahlindustrie were damaged, the engineering works of Alexandrawerk almost totally devastated, 49 other factories were affected and 107 industrial buildings destroyed. The main railway station and goods depot were almost completely destroyed, 7200 houses were left uninhabitable and some 40000 people rendered homeless.

Part of a RAF reconnaissance photograph taken over Remscheid following the raid of 30/31 July 1943 showing the very heavy damage sustained by the steel works of Bergische Stahlindustrie. (Courtesy IWM)

According to Flight Engineer Sgt. Benson, Lancaster R5665 having safely negotiated the hazards of the outward journey had arrived over Remscheid where Bomb Aimer P/O. Golds had released the bomb load. Whether before or after dropping its bombs is not clear but the aircraft was coned by the German searchlights and suffered some flak damage before escaping and turning for home. The extent of the damage is not reported but the aircraft had reached Dusseldorf and was flying at 20000' when it was attacked by a night fighter that completed its demise. P/O. Reid gave the order to bale out and Sgt. Benson says that he baled out at 18000'. Sgts. Scott, Askey, Pearce and Kirkham were all known to have baled out and were eventually all together with Sgt Benson. At that stage they believed that P/O.Reid and P/O Golds were dead but it later transpired that P/O Golds had baled out without a parachute and survived. As for P/O. Reid there appears to be no explanation as to why he failed to bale out. Sgt. Benson stated that he spoke to him shortly after the order to bale out was given and that to the best of his knowledge he was uninjured. Sgt.Kirkham said 'BA jumped without his chute and got away with it that makes 6 out of 7 alive - (previous letter from A/G "we know for sure that the pilot took the plane into his target in a (Illegible) and was killed". Sgt. Askey stated that 'whilst being detained at a German civilian police station I was shown the personal effects of pilot who according to police had been found (killed?) in aircraft'. On the reverse of the RAF Loss Card P/O. Reid is said to have been buried on 2 August 1943 at Mönchengladbach 5112N 0625E but on the front of the Loss Card it states that he has no known grave.

The fate of Kenneth Reid has never been satisfactorily resolved and though a body of a Canadian was found in a barley field 50 yards from the crash ans reportedly buried in Mönchengladbach cemetery his remains were not identified when all the remains of allied servicemen in the cemetery were exhumed after the end of the war.

Statement concerning Pilot Officer K.M. Reid by Sergeant Jack Kirkham at Stalag IVB 16 August 44

P/O. Reid gave orders to abandon aircraft. When I did so, he was then, to the best of my knowledge, uninjured. When being interrogated I was informed that he had been killed.

Statement concerning Pilot Officer K.M. Reid by Pilot Officer James D. Golds at Stalag Luft III 26 August 1944

"Believed killed. The aircraft was (censored) but was under perfect control when I abandoned it at approximately 01.05 hours. (Censored) about six weeks later, the (Censored) informed me that all the crew were prisoners of war, but the pilot P/O. Reid was killed. This German Officer stated that P/O. Reid was killed while trying to extinguish the fires. I have no further information.

Air Ministry letters P. 406985/43 dated 28 February 1949 and P. 406985/43/S.14 Cas. A.6 dated 20 July 1949 refer.

1. The aircraft

German documentary evidence states that on 31 July 1943 at 0130 hours a Lancaster was shot down by a night fighter. The aircraft crashed on the grounds of the T.B. Hospital, Viersenerstrasse, Muenchen Gladbach. The Squadron letters of the aircraft were ZN-D and the aircraft number R5665.

The head gardener of the hospital, Martin Lauter, states that on the day of a big attack on Remscheid an aircraft approached from Muenchen Gladbach losing height. It caught fire and a main plane fell off. On impact with the ground the engines were thrown clear of the fuselage. The German army took charge of the crash but no body was found.

2 The Aircrew

Witnesses state that one day after the crash the body of a dead Canadian was found in a barley field about 50 yards from the crash. It was removed for burial to the cemetery of Muenchen Gladbach which is right next door to the place of the crash.

On checking the cemetery record of Muenchen Gladbach we find that in Row 7 grave 301 "Reid" was buried on 2 August 1943.

On [In?] circumstances as detailed in a covering letter to the Muenchen Gladbach Cemetery Schedule (A.M. ref. T.23797/48/S.14.Cas/C.7 dated 10.8.1948) the bodies buried in this part of the cemetery were found 9 graves further on in the row than the grave marked with their name. This gives grave 310 for Reid. In grave 310 NZ.416578 F/Sgt. Reid, A.M. was identified on circumstantial evidence. i.e. 1048381 Sgt. Clifton, L. (DFM) and 1556205 Sgt. Gray, W.L. in the adjoining graves. These two crew members have not been positively identified but graves were marked that his body has been removed by A.G.R.C.. There was no trace of the remaining four members of this crew (P.406990).

3. Conclusion

(a) The exhumation report, which is enclosed, gives no details regarding the identity except the height of 5 foot 9 inches.

(b) Through the unfortunate coincidence that two crew members both called Reid crashed on the same day in the same area it will be difficult to decide which of the two (NZ416578 F/Sgt. Reid A.M. or J. 18163 P/O. Reid K.M.) has been buried in grave 310. But the height might supply a clue.

It was ultimately decided that the remains were in fact those of F/Sgt. A.M. Reid NZ416578. Alas when all the remains in the cemetery had been exhumed, none could be identified as those of Pilot Officer Kenneth Maxine Reid.

On 8 August 2017 Aircrew Remembered was contacted by Clive Smith a researcher specialising in No. 106 squadron and the author of "Lancaster Bale Out" which tells the story of the Rosner crew in 106 Squadron who flew between April and July 1943. See

Clive kindly provided the above photograph of Lancaster R5665 ZN-D and gave the following details regarding the crash and its aftermath.

The Lancaster crashed at the Tuberculosis Hospital, viersener strasse in Munchen Gladbach.

P/O Reid wasn't found in the wreckage but was located the following day in a field of barley about 50 yards away. It was stated that he was buried on 2nd August 1943 but when the post war MRES team investigated they could not find his remains and he is therefore listed at Runnymede. There seemed to be some confusion with another Reid - Flt Sgt Alexander Millson Reid RNZAF the Navigator of Stirling BK775 of No. 90 Squadron who was killed when his aircraft crashed at Konigshofen on the same operation. It is probable that the remains were incorrectly associated with the wrong aircraft when they were re-interred at Rheinberg.


(1) P/O. Kenneth Maxime Reid was born on 17 May 1920 at Rutherglen Scotland the son of Robert Reid and Elizabeth Simpson Reid nee Gilmour. He was educated at Rutherglen Academy 1926-1932. He had two siblings, Robert Reid born 1908 and Muriel Reid born 1913

In 1933 the family emigrated to the United States of America where they lived at 62 Franklin Avenue, Sea Cliff, Long Island New York State. From 1934 to 1938 he attended Glen Cove High School, Long island and Pace Institute from 1938-1939 where he studied Accountancy.

He engaged in track, swimming, soccer and tennis and was a member of the Sea Scouts.

After leaving school he was employed by the National Electric Manufacturers Association as a Receptionist for two years to December 1940 and from January to June 1941 as a Clerk by the Michigan Alkali Co.

When he enlisted at Montreal on 27 June 1941 he was 5' 8" tall weighing 115lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair.

From No. 4 Manning Depot RCAF St. Hubert, Quebec he was posted to No. 8 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Moncton, New Brunswick on 9 August 1941 followed on 10 October with a posting to No. 3 Initial Training School at RCAF Victoriaville, Quebec. Whilst here he was seriously injured in automobile accident on 5 November 1941 and subsequently hospitalised until 16 December followed by 7 days sick leave.

On 1 March 1942 he was posted to No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School at RCAF Windsor Mills, Quebec and on 23 May to No. 11 Service Flying Training School RCAF Yorkton, Saskatchewan. He graduated from Course No 56 on 11 September when he received his Flying Badge and was promoted to Sergeant.

On 28 October he embarked for the UK and on arrival was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth on 5 November and on 17 November to No. 18 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Church Lawton Warwickshire for training on Airspeed Oxfords. Posted to No. 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss Moray Firth, Scotland on 8 March 1943 he was promoted to Flight Sergeant three days later.

Having crewed up at No. 19 OTU and trained on Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys the Reid crew was posted to No. 1954 Conversion Unit at RAF Wigsley, Nottinghamshire on 20 May for conversion training on Avro Lancasters.

Kenneth Maxime Reid was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 4 June 1943 and the Reid crew was posted to No. 106 Squadron at RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire on 3 July 1943.

He is commemorated on the Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle.

Having no known grave Kenneth Maxine Reid is commemorated on Panel 177 of the Runnymede Memorial

(2) Sgt. James Frederick G. Benson was born on 23 April 1919 at Woolwich, London the son of John Benson (a Painter) and Daisy Hannah Benson nee Currie. He had six siblings: Winifred Frederica Benson born 1907 Dora Gladys Benson born 1909, Grace Eveline Benson born 1910 John R. Benson born 1913, Kathleen F. Benson born 1916, William F. Benson born 1921

He married Agnes H. Bone at Woolwich in 1940. They had two children, Philip J. Benson born 1946 and Zoe J. Benson born 1948

He died at Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire Wales 1991.

(3) Sgt. J. Scott - nothing further known - if you have any information please contact our helpdesk

(4) P/O. James Delbert Golds the son of Neri Golds of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Nothing further known - if you have any information please contact our helpdesk

(5) Sgt. Victor Askey was born on 26 April 1921 at Rosemary Cottages, Knutton, Staffordshire the son of John William Askey and Florence Askey nee Bagguley.

He had six siblings: John William Askey born 1917, Eric Askey born 1919, Frank Askey born 1923 Joan Askey born 1926 and twins Ivan and Olga Askey born 1928. All five Askey brothers served in the Armed Forces during the Second World War

Victor attended Silverdale Infants School and Knutton Secondary Modern School until leaving at the age of 14. His first full time employment was as a Butcher's Assistant with a family butcher in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

In 1939 the family lived at 39 Mill Street, Siverdale, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

He enlisted in the RAFVR in January 1941 and whilst training at No. 1 Air Gunnery School RAF Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales Victor met his wife to be, Miss Dilys Mary Comley of Landore, Swansea, she being a member of the W.A.A.F.s.

He was posted to No. 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss Moray Firth, Scotland and having crewed up with the Reid crew trained on Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys. With the Reid crew he was posted to No. 1954 Conversion Unit at RAF Wigsley, Nottinghamshire on 20 May for conversion training on Avro Lancasters.

The crew was posted to 106 Squadron at RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire on 3 July 1943.

In May 1945 after liberation Vic Askey was repatriated to England.

On leaving the RAF he obtained employment with The English Electric Company in Stafford.

On February 15th 1947 he married Dilys at The Civic Buildings, Swansea and they set up home at 16 Mill Street, Silverdale. On March 23rd 1948 their son Paul was born there.

In 1960 Victor was transferred into the Planning Department and the family subsequently moved to Stafford and on April 8th 1962 their second son Stephen was born.

Victor always enjoyed sport but after the war he found it impossible to participate in sport due to problems with his left knee, a result of landing awkwardly when he parachuted out of the Lancaster. He therefore enjoyed watching sport, such as football, rugby union football, (a shared following with his wife), boxing (he is thought to have boxed whilst in the RAF) and athletics.

He liked problem solving and Crossword puzzles and told his son Paul that at the end of the war he had been invited to go to Bletchley Park to help them with their work. He had declined the offer because he wanted to return to a more normal peace time life.

Dilys Askey died on 5 March 1986. Victor survived her by 13 years and died on 4 October 1999.

Details kindly provided by Paul Askey, the son of Victor Askey.

(6) Sgt. Cecil Miles Pearce was born on 21 December 1921 at Barnet, middlesex the son of Fred J Pearce and Elsie Pearce nee Miles. He had one sibling: Harry J. Pearce born 1926. Prior to joining the air fore Cecil Pearce was a Butcher and lived at 'The Poppies', London Road, Newington, Kent. He enlisted in the RAFVR on 6 April 1994.

In 1946 he married Rose Phyllis Cooper at Walsall, Staffordshire and they later had two children.

Cecil Miles Pearce died at Maidstone Kent on 6 April 1994 aged 72

(7) Sgt. Jack Kirkham was born on 6 June 1921 at Bucklow, Lancashire the son of Albert Kirkham (a Coal Dealer) and Gladys Kirkham nee Clegg. He had one sibling: robert Kirkham born in 1921. In 1939 the family lived at 50 Park Road, Wilmslow, Manchester at which tome Jack Kirkham was an Apprentice Joiner. He enlisted in the RAFVR on 13 December 1943.

After being captured he was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag 4B at Mühleberh-Elbe, Germany. On 21 April 1945 he escaped with two others and joined Russian forces at Torgau.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - May 2015

Special thanks to Paul Askey for providing the biological details and photographs of his father.

With thanks also to the sources quoted below.

RW 09.08.2017 - Further information from Clive Smith added

RW 22.06.2018 - Biographical details and photographs provided by Paul Askey added

RW 22.06.2018 - Biographical details of the pilot and other significant details of the crash added

RW 05/04/2024 - Biolographical details of Cecil Pearce and Jack Kirkham added. 

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