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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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10 Squadron Crest
27/28.09.1943 No. 10 Squadron Halifax II JD272 ZA-F Sgt. Alfred Rostron

Operation: Hannover

Date: 27/28th September 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 10 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JD272

Code: ZA-F

Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire

Location: Wippingen

Pilot: Sgt. Alfred Rostron 1499353 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Henry Greest 1388948 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Sgt. William Alfred Brown 1496924 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ernest James Emrys Jarman 1419269 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack George Cavie 1330185 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Richard John Parsons 1807286 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Fernley Graham Chilcott 1303121 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Relatives of the pilot would very much like to hear from other relatives of the crew and are very keen to obtain further photographs of the crew or aircraft - please contact us in the first instance.


Taking off from RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire at 19:17 hrs together with 18 others from the squadron to join 678 aircraft comprising of 312 Lancasters, 231 Halifaxes, 111 Stirlings, 24 Wellingtons and 5 B-17’s. In total - 47 aircraft were lost, 38 over en-route to or from the target with a further nine crash landing in England.

Over the course of the Second World War the city of Hanover and environs were targeted 88 times. The city itself, being an important road and rail logistical centre, received heavy damage and by the end of hostilities 90% had been destroyed and over 6,000 inhabitants killed.

Around the city were clustered numerous industries producing weaponry and other supporting materials for the war effort. 

Left: Pilot, Sgt. Alfred Rostron (courtesy Tracy Jones)

At Stöcken to the north lay the AFA works producing batteries for submarines. On the east side a major oil refinery at Misburg and to the west the MNH tank factory at Badenstedt, the Hanomag military vehicle plant at Linden and the Continental rubber factory at Limmer.

According to RAF reports after the raid, the Pathfinders had used incorrect wind forecasts which blew the target markers away from the city centre. Reconnaissance photographs taken after the raid showed that the majority of the bombs fell in a concentrated area consisting of villages and open country some five miles to the north.

21 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary raid on Brunswick which was successful in drawing off some night fighters. 218 people were killed in Brunswick - 51 Germans and 167 foreigners. 1 Lancaster lost.

9 Mosquitoes on another diversion to Emden, 5 Mosquitoes on Oboe tests to Aachen (3 were successful), 19 aircraft minelaying in the Kattegat and the Frisian Islands, 4 OTU sorties. No losses.

No details as to how this aircraft was lost - although thought to have been a victim of the Luftwaffe night fighters, no positive claims have been discovered. Understood to have crashed in the area of Wippingen, where the crew were initially buried.

Also lost from the squadron on this operation:

Halifax II HR922 ZA-P - Flown by P/O. Norman Percy Wardman 157829 RAF from Bradford, Yorkshire - killed with 5 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
Halifax II HX159 ZA-L - Flown by 25 year old, P/O. Harry William George Cockrem AUS/414001 RAAF from Queensland, Australia - killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW.

Crew graves at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery (courtesy Mitch Buiting)

Burial details:

Sgt. Alfred Rostron. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.B. 14-16. Son of David and Annie Rostron, of Kirkham, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Thomas Henry Greest. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.B. 14-16. Son of Harry Horace and Ethel Greest, of Petworth, Sussex, England.

Sgt. William Alfred Brown. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 14.B. 17. Son of William and Margaret Keith McGill Brown, of Manchester, England.

Sgt. Ernest James Emrys Jarman. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 14.B. 18. Son of James Jones Jarman and Mary Hannah Jarman, of Watton, Brecon, Wales.

Sgt. Jack George Cavie. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 14.C. 1. Son of George and Lilian Eliza Cavie, of Penbury, Kent, England.

Sgt. Arthur Richard John Parsons. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.B. 14-16. Son of Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Parsons, stepson of J.N. Morris, of Willesden, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Fernley Graham Chilcott. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 14.C. 2. Son of Harry and Florence Chilcott, of Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon, England.

With many thanks to Tracy Jones and the family of Sgt. Alfred Rostron for photograph and also to Mitch Buiting for grave photographs. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

KTY 06.11-2015

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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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