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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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49 Squadron Lancaster III ND695 P/O. Alexander Robert Ross

Operation: Wesseling

Date: 21/22nd June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 49 Squadron (motto: Cave canem - 'Beware of the Dog'). 5 Group

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND695

Code: EA-B

Base: RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire

Location: North Sea - off Dutch coast

Pilot: P/O. Alexander Robert Ross 174333 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Dennis William Palmer 961254 RAFVR Age 23.

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Charles Gregory Morton 1458241 RAFVR Age 21.

Air/Bmr: P/O. Gordon Fraser MacGregor J/89409 RCAF Age 24.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford Charles Holden 1392190 RAFVR Age 31.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Desmond Griffin 1521456 RAFVR Age 24.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas William Edward Hardy 650489 RAFVR Age 22.


Weather: Wind variable north to north east. Visibility 4/6 miles improving later, mainly dull.

133 Lancasters headed for the synthetic oil plant at Wesseling including 20 aircraft sent from 49 squadron.

Heavy night fighters attacked the bomber stream but despite heavy casualties,s the allied returning crews advised that the bombing was well concentrated, However due to cloud conditions prevented an accurate assessment of the raid.

49 squadron suffered particularly heavy losses. ND695 was thought to have been shot down by either Oblt. Walter Riedberger of 1./NJG4 or Hptm. Heinz Strüning of 3./NJG1 at between 02:24 and 02:30 hrs off the Dutch Coast.

The others lost from 49 squadron:

Lancaster I LL900 EA-T Flown by 27 year old, W/Cdr.Malcolm Crocker DFC and bar 123256 RAFVR (from USA) - killed with all 7 other crew.

Lancaster I ME808 EA-D Flown by 30 year old, Sq/Ldr. Leonard Edgar Cox 113418 RAFVR - killed with all other 6 crew.

Lancaster I ME675 EA-M Flown by 29 year old, Fl/Lt. John Rowland Hill 126789 RAFVR - killed with all 6 other crew.

Lancaster III NE128 EA-J Flown by 24 year old F/O. Leslie Norman Simpkin 157097 RAFVR - killed with 1 other, 5 taken PoW.

Lancaster III ND673 EA-N Flown by 30 year old, P/O. Albert William Shinn 170943 RAFVR - killed with all 6 other crew.

Note: Some websites list Fl/Sgt. Gerald Victor Mackew 655473 RAFVR was the bomb aimer of this crew. He was indeed killed on ND695 but earlier, on an operation to Brunswick on the 22/23rd April 1944. The only casualty of the crew, killed when flak hit the aircraft the pilot P/O. John Joseph Lett 170431 RAFVR managed to return to base at 05:24 hrs.

Burial details:

P/O. Alexander Robert Ross. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 212. Son of David Alexander Ross (died 14th November 1951, age 59) and Sarah Jane Ross (died 01st May 1970, age 84) of Kenton, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Dennis William Palmer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 235. Son of Florrie Palmer, of Redditch, Worcestershire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Charles Gregory Morton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 220. Son of Charles John and Nora Kingdon Holden, of Kingsbury, Middlesex, England.

P/O. Gordon Fraser MacGregor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 251. Born on the 02nd December 1918 in Hopeville, Vancouver. Served in the 2nd Battalion Irish Fusiliers reserve July 1940 - March 1942. Son of David Alex McGregor and Ethyle May (née Dezall) of 104 Essmond Avenue, Vancouver, Canada.

Sgt. Clifford Charles Holden. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 231. Son of Charles John and Nora Kingdon Holden, of Kingsbury, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Arthur Desmond Griffin. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 230. Son of George Booth Griffin and Elizabeth Harriet Griffin (née Rudd) of Dublin, Ireland.

Sgt. Douglas William Edward Hardy Runnymede Memorial. Panel 230. Son of William E. and Dorothy Sabina Phyllis Hardy (née Glayzer - died March 1985 in Plymouth) and husband of Bessie Hardy, of Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Air-27-482-7/8, Air 27-482-11/12 National Archives, Nachjtagd Combat Archive 1944 part 3, Theo Boiten, Paradie Archive.

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 11-02-2023

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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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