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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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75 squadron badge
13/14.03.1944 No. 75 Squadron Stirling III LJ462 AA-O P/O. Rowberry

Operation: Gardening

Date: 13/14th March 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 75 (NZ) Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: LJ462

Code: AA-O

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

Location: Not known, probably off St. Nazaire - target area.

Pilot: P/O. Geoffrey Warren Rowberry NZ/414567 RNZAF Age 24. Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Arthur William Horner 1641609 RAFVR. Age 24. Missing

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Graham Stanley Hadfield NZ/426239 RNZAF Age 23. Missing

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Brian Simnett 1392577 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Sidney Thomas Bishop 1322249 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond David Davies 1317623 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Newnham 1172993 RAFVR Age 24. Missing


Taking off from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire joining some 35 aircraft on mine laying operations in various French ports. The only aircraft lost on this operation although another 75 Squadron Stirling flown by P/O. Baker crashed at Castle Combe airfield after suffering aileron failure. The aircraft overshot the runway with the undercarriage collapsing. It is understood that 3 mines later exploded, although all the crew were safe.

Stirling LJ462 was lost without trace.

P/O. Geoffrey Rowberry (courtesy Weekly News via Auckland War Museum)

Sgt. Alfred Newnham shown on extreme left with another crew he flew with. (courtesy Duane Hart) Others, L to R: Sgt. Pickering, Sgt. Cooper, P/O. Burke, F/O. Downing, W/O. Page and Fl/Sgt. Bromley taken at RAF Mepal in December 1943

Burial details:

P/O. Geoffrey Warren Rowberry. Runnymede Memorial Panel 263. Son of Charles William and Violet Florence Rowberry, of Wellington, New Zealand.

Sgt. Arthur William Horner. Runnymede Memorial Panel 231. Husband of Gladys Rhoda Horner, of Coventry, England.

Fl/Sgt. Graham Stanley Hadfield. Runnymede Memorial Panel 264. Son of Albert and Emily Ellen Hadfield, of Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Brian Simnett. Runnymede Memorial Panel 237. Son of Dudley V. and Norah K. Simnett, of Norwich, England.

Sgt. Sidney Thomas Bishop. Runnymede Memorial Panel 225. Son of Henry Edward and Edith Ethel Bishop, of East Acton, London, England.

Sgt. Raymond David Davies. Runnymede Memorial Panel 228. Son of Margaret Davies, of Porth, Rhondda, Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt. Alfred Newnham. Runnymede Memorial Panel 235. Son of John Lionel and Mary Newnham, of Sittingbourne, Kent, England.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to the following for additional information, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Weekly News and Auckland War Museum for photo of P/O. Geoffrey Rowberry, to Duane Hart for photo of Sgt. Alfred Newnham.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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