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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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RAF Bomber Command Crest
11/12.04.1943 No 23 O.T.U. Wellington III BJ786 Fl/Sgt. Rogers crew loss

Operation: Night navigation sortie

Date: 11/12th April 1943 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 23 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BJ786

Coded: ?

Base: RAF Pershore

Location: Foley Cote Hill, Ripon, Yorkshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frank Edward Rogers R/131020 RCAF Age 19. Killed (1)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Joseph Onesime Thomas A.A.G. Toupin R/117511 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Nav 2: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Neil MacLellan R/135643 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Richard Archbald Killham R/136318 RCAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Donald Henry Smith R/127875 RCAF Age 30. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Anthony Alloysius Dorzek R/135853 RCAF Age 22. Killed


Took off at 21.5hrs from RAF Pershore on a night navigation exercise. The reports from the Royal Observer Corps indicate that the Wellington had been flying normally when, without any sign of trouble the aircraft dived into the ground at around 01.30hrs at Foley Cote Hill which is just under 2 miles from Sawley village near Ripon in Yorkshire.

(1) Tragically Fl/Sgt. Frank Edward Rogers older brother - F/O Frederick Lennox Rogers was killed, just four months after Frank's death on the 2/3rd August 1943, when his aircraft, a Halifax V EB274 NA-H failed to return from operations against Hamburg. The other pilot, Canadian Sgt. Mack Chepil D.F.M. was killed with all 8 crew members.

Left to right: Fl/Sgt. F. Rogers, Fl/Sgt. J. Toupin, Fl/Sgt. A. MacLellan, (courtesy of Inverness Academy Memorial wall via Mike Harrison)

L-R: Sgt. Richard Archibald Kilham, Sgt. Donald Henry Smith, F/Sgt. Anthony Alloysius Dorzek

Burial Details:

Fl/Sgt. Frank Edward Rogers. Dishforth Cemetery. Grave. 62. Son of Edward Lennox and Ethel W. of Port Colbome, Ontario, Canada. (Frederick Lennox Rogers. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 174)

Fl/Sgt. Joseph Onesime Thomas A.A.G. Toupin. Dishforth Cemetery. Grave. 60. Son of Thomas and Flore, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Alexander Neil MacLellan. Dishforth Cemetery. Grave. 59. Son of Ronald A. and Mary Isabella, of New York City, U.S.A.

Sgt. Richard Archbald Killham. Dishforth Cemetery. Grave. 61. Son of Henry G. and Annie M. of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Donald Henry Smith. Warwick Cemetery. Sec. 104. Grave 10. Son of Mr. and Mrs. F.H. Smith of Elfros, Saskatchewan, Canada

Fl/Sgt. Anthony Alloysius Dorzek. Dishforth Cemetery. Grave. 58. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Dorzek of Renfrew, Ontario, Canada.

(2) Smith Lake in Saskatchewan is named after Sgt. Smith

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew.

CHB 27.07.2020 Kilham, Smith & Dorzek photographs added. Funeral photographs added.

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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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