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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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214 crest
08/09th February 1945 214 Squadron Fortress III HB796 F/O. Robertson

Operation: Radio counter-measures Krefeld

Date: 08/09th February 1945 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 214 Squadron (motto: Ultor in umbris - 'Avenging in the shadows') 100 Bomber Support Group

Type: Fortress III

Serial: HB796

Code: BU-T

Base: RAF Oulton, Norfolk.

Location: English Channel - see map

Pilot: F/O. (A) James Peter Robertson NZ/422318 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Wilfred Henry Usher 3050447 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Peter George Buckland 1337316 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Sp/Op: Fl/Sgt. George Swan Murray Fowler AUS/442340 RAAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Rossini Olds NZ/427313 RNZAF Age 31. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Lionel John Bennett NZ/42287 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert James Carrott 1816917 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Dobson 1590215 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Taylor Banner 2221107 RAFVR Age 37. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Bunyan 1118147 RAFVR Age 35. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Oulton in Norfolk at 03:29 hrs. Tasked with dispensing 'Window' (1) west of the Ruhr in support of an operation to Krefeld.

At 04:30 hrs it was seen to be flying very low over New Romney and Lydd. Witnesses stated that they heard the aircraft diving towards the sea and then heard a muffled thud.

A coast guard watcher at Denge Marsh was of the opinion that the aircraft attempted to land on the foreshore, bounced up and crashed into the sea. Debris was found on the shore above the high water mark which seemed to confirm that.

The body of the pilot was washed ashore at Dungeness.

(1) Window - radar countermeasure using small, thin pieces of aluminium or chopped wire which either appears as a cluster of primary targets on radar screens or swamps the screen with multiple returns.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. James Peter Robertson. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 2. AA. 6. Born on the 04th December 1921 at Invercargill. Worked as a student teacher for the Otago Education Board prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 04th April 1942. Awarded his pilots badge on the 29th December and promoted to sergeant on the 06th March 1943. Joined 214 squadron on the 19th September 1944 after serving in 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit and 28 Operational Training Unit. Commissioned on the 31st October 1944 and was acting F/O. on the date of his death. Son of William Alexander Robertson and of Violet Bessie Robertson (née Neas), of Waikiwi, Southland, New Zealand. A total of 674 flying hours logged. On his 19th operational sortie.

Sgt. Thomas Wilfred Henry Usher. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 277. Son of James Wilfred and Hannah Elizabeth Usher, of Stanton Gate, Nottinghamshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Peter George Buckland. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 270. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. George Swan Murray Fowler. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 284. Born on the 21st April 1925 at Bridgewater. Son of George Swan Murray Fowler and Marie Katrine Fowler, of Bridgewater, South Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Frederick Rossini Olds. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 285. Born on the 15th June 1914 at Eketãhuna. Worked as a flour miller for Zealandia Milling Company prior to service. Enlisted on the 11th July 1942 at Gisborne as an aircrafthand but remastered as observer on the 04th February 1943. Trained in Canada Awarded his air bombers badge and promoted Ito sergeant on the 01st October 1943. Joined 214 squadron on the 19th September 1944 after serving in 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit and 28 Operational Training Unit. Son of Martin Gilbert and Eva Lucretia Eveline Olds (née Anderson), of New Brighton, Canterbury, New Zealand and husband of Olive Kathleen Olds (née Wyatt). Tragically she was killed in a motor cycle accident on the 17th August the previous year. Buried at Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Bromley, Christchurch. A total of 391 flying hours logged. On his 19th operational sortie.

W/O. Lionel John Bennett. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 285. Born on the 04th November 1919 at Whangarei. Worked as a clerk for the Postal and Telecommunications Department prior to service. Enlisted on the 25th January 1942 at Levin. Trained in Canada. Awarded his observers badge and promoted on the 08th March 1943. Joined 214 squadron on the 19th September 1944 after serving in 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit and 28 Operational Training Unit. Son of John William Bennett and of Minnie Bennett (née Carpenter), of Whangarei, Auckland, New Zealand. Fl/Sgt. Olds had a total of 741 flying hours logged. On his 20th operational sortie.

Sgt. Robert James Carrott. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 274. Son of Harold and Florence Ellen Carrott, of Great Glen, Leicestershire, England.

Sgt. Ernest Dobson. Scholemoor Cemetery and Crematorium. Panel 1. Son of Arthur and Alice Dobson, of Allerton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. William Taylor Banner. Sutton-In-Ashfield Cemetery (Astley Bridge). Sec. C. Grave 10289. Son of Thomas and Ruth Elizabeth Banner, of Sutton-in-Ashfield and husband of Martha Alice Banner. Grave inscription: 'Treasured Memories Of A Dear Son, Daddie And Brother. Always Remembered'.

Sgt. William Bunyan. Bolton Cemetery. Div. L.B. Sec. L. Nonconformist. Grave 88. Son of John Thomas Bunyan and Jane Bunyan, of Bolton and husband of Mary Ann Bunyan, of Eagley Bank, Bolton. Grave inscription: 'He Gave His Life That We Might Live At Peace'.

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

KTY 28-03-2021

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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