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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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Bomber Command Crest
24/25.02.1945 No. 462 Squadron Halifax III MZ448 Fl/Lt. Frederick H. Ridgewell

Operation: Bomber Support

Date: 24/25th February 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 462 Squadron (RAAF)

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ448

Code: Z5

Base: RAF Foulsham, Norfolk

Location: Duisberg, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Frederick Harold Ridgewell 149967 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Greenwell Hodgson 1592935 RAFVR Age 20. PoW details not available from this period of the war.

Nav: F/O. Wilhelm Julius Mann AUS/437274 RAAF Age 25. PoW details not available from this period of the war.

Air/Bmr: F/O. William Kenneth Watson 154341 RAFVR Age 36. PoW details not available from this period of the war.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. John Raymond Boyce AUS/432692 RAAF Age 29. PoW details not available from this period of the war.

Spec Op: F/O. Thomas Pawsey 163583 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Edward Rolls 644506 RAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John George Lynch 650438 RAF Age 25. Killed


Taking off from RAF Foulsham, Norfolk at 17:01 hrs on a bomber support operation. The purpose of this support was to entice the Luftwaffe night fighter up in order that the Mosquito squadrons could intercept them. It was also to force the night fighters to use up precious fuel reserves.

462 Squadron led the force in order to drop 'window', bombs and incendiaries on various targets.

It is understood that both F/O. Mann and F/O. Boyes required hospital treatment after their release from the PoW camp.

Shot down by a night fighter over the target area - 3 possible night fighter claims for this loss.

Sadly the night fighters also managed to shoot down 4 of the squadrons Halifaxes, the others:

MZ447 Z5-A - Flown by 24 year old Fl/Lt. Allan John Rate AUS/423892 RAAF from Hurlstone Park, New South Wales, Australia - Killed with 6 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
MZ461 Z5-G Flown by 23 year old F/O. Vivian Clive Ely AUS/426221 RAAF from Ascot, Queensland, Australia - Killed with all 6 other crew.
PN429 Z5-E Flown by 26 year old Fl/Lt. John Stuart Tootal 116056 RAFVR from Colchester, Essex, England - Killed with all other 7 crew.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Frederick Harold Ridgewell. Body not recovered. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 265. Son of Frederick and Charlotte Ridgewell, of Putney, London, England.

F/O. Thomas Pawsey. Body not recovered. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 257. Son of Thomas and Mary Jane Pawsey, husband of Margaret Louisa Pawsey, of Prestwich, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. George Edward Rolls. Body not recovered. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 276. Son of George Edward and Janet Margaret Rolls, husband of Audrey Joan Rolls, of Hereford, England.

Sgt. John George Lynch. Venray War Cemetery. Grave VII.G.13. Son of Edward and Harriet Lynch, of Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription reads “Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten Ever Remembered By Father, Brothers and Sisters.”

Researched for relatives of the crew and to assist Find-A-Grave website with information. Further sources shown 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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