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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 Crest
11 OTU Wellington Ic X3170 Sgt. Albert Leonard Sanderson

Operation: Training

Date: 15th December 1941 (Monday)

Unit: No. 11 OTU (Operational Training Unit) 7 Group

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: X3170

Code: -

Base: RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire

Location: Whittlesey Mere, Huntingdonshire

Pilot: Sgt. Albert Leonard Sanderson NZ/41363 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Dennis James Dempsey NZ/405240 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Harold Bryan Livingstone Gittins R/74283 RCAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Basil Leonard Grove-Palmer 916275 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Reginald Myles AUS/404636 RAAF Age 31. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Norman Lister 1202558 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Update March 2024 - Medals Reunited of New Zealand are trying to trace relatives of Sgt. Dennis James Dempsey, contact them direct or Aircrew Remembered.



REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire (then Hertfordshire) for night cross country training exercise.

Whilst descending at high speed in a shallow dive the aircraft flew into the ground at around 23:00 hrs at Whittlesey Mere. The aircraft disintegrated on impact - killing all the crew.

Whittlesey Mere was once land covered in water (in fact the largest freshwater area in Southern England - covering some 3000 acres) before being drained to turn into farmland in around 1848. Still named the same today although no longer a Mere - the only water being an irrigation dyke running alongside the road.

Rear: T.J. Lyons, S.G.J. Yarnell (1), G.A.C. Carington (2), H.F. Tomalin (3), A.E. Coleman, R.T. Bowen (4), J.S. Stillwell, I.A. Flower (5), R.E. Curtis, K.A. Evans (6), W.E. Collis (7), J.V.C. Booth, D.A. Pebworth (8), J.E. Oram, P.E. Poulson (9), F.J. Goodwin (10), J.H. Fuller (11), W.G. Fissenden (12), W.L. Dark, L.S. Stewart (13).

Front: A.R. McCoy (14), S.L. Meadows, J.N.R. Nadeau, J. Hall, L.D. Orbuck (15), H.R. Wright, H.B.L. Gittins (16), H. Brooks, L.J. Tighe (17), T.J. Mills, W.R. Cooper, W.J.A. Shapter (18), A. Flint (19), A.G.J. Chandler, W.R. Lance, K.F.H. Hale, B. Weller.

(See below for notes A)

L-R: Rear; AA Fraser, EM Castles, V Arthur, DG Claasen, RE Brain, DJ Dempsey, WA Shannon, EB Hewitt, O Haynes, JF Keane, WB Tidy.

Front; LJ Carter, KP Andrews, SH Gunnings, ED Crossley, PL Elliott, KJ Holdaway, FH Drew, JE Sanders, CA McDonald, CF Hawker, WL Kauter, CE Papps.

Inset; PWD Finlayson, GA Williams, RS Bruce. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

(See below for notes B)

L-R: Rear; KL McAdam, SH Mortimore, WS Beattie, GMcLDensem, WA Brown, L Yates, PM Sharplin, EG Wagstaffe, JA Valentine, KC Phillip, AL Sanderson.

Middle; RA Hamilton, JMcL Cochrane, LH Baxter, RW Coddington, RC Barclay, RJ Watson, P Skinner, BS Spain, FA Piercy.

Front; R Bowling, BH Hay, RJ Dempsey, LG Malthus, CR Spence, EW Sachtler. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

(See below for notes 'C')


Burial details:

Sgt. Albert Leonard Sanderson. Bassingbourn Cum Kneesworth Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Row DD. Grave 10. Born on the 19th June 1019 in Otago. Enlisted on the 19th January 1941 at Levin. Trained with No 1 Elementary Flying Training School on the 01st March 1941, No. 1 Flying Training School on the 12th April 1941. Pilot badge warded on the 24th May 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 05th July 1941. Embarked for England on the 22nd July 1941 and with No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the 02n d September 1941. Joined 11 Operational Training Unit on the 16th September 1941. Son of John (died on the 24th September 1940, age 74) and Sarah Annie Sanderson (married 1899 in Northamptonshire, England - née Claxton - died in 1937, age 67), husband of Avis Mary Sanderson (married in 1941 in New Zealand - née Phelan - died on the 18th August 2008, age 89), brother of Robert Harrison (died 1954), Louisa (died 1997), George Cleveland (died 1967), Walter Eric (died 1986) and Ernest Claxton (died 1915) of 21 Lochend Street, Tainul, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. 214 total flying hours logged, with 85 of these, solo - 26 on Wellingtons.

Sgt. Dennis James Dempsey. Bassingbourn Cum Kneesworth Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Row DD. Grave 9. Born on the 18th September 1919 in Piopio. Served in the NZ Army for three months. Enlisted on the 22nd December 1940 at Levin. Trained at No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School on the 09th February 1941, No. 3 Flying Training School 22nd Marc Pilot badge awarded on the 05th May 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 14th June 1941. Embarked for England on the 22nd July 1941 and with No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the 03rd September 1941. Joined 11 Operational Training Unit on the 16th September 1941. Son of James (died 16th October 1949, age 66) and Annie Stuart Arawa Dempsey (née Breen - died 02nd October 1953, age 66), of Te Kuiti, Auckland, New Zealand. 202 total flying hours logged

Sgt. Harold Bryan Livingstone Gittins. Bassingbourn Cum Kneesworth Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Row EE. Grave 7. Born on the 18th June 1917 in Cordoba, Argentina. Worked as an automobile mechanic prior to service. Enlisted on the 17th October 1940. Observer badge awarded on the 07th July 1841. Son of George Leopold Carlyle Gittins (died 10th May 1952, age 71) and Rosa Elizabeth Magdalene Gittins (married on the 28th April 1909 in Vera, Santa Fe, Argentina - née Livingstone - died 1962, age 75), of Curumalan, Argentina. Left Argeilntina for Canada in 1941 to join the RCAF. Brother of John Norman, Warwick Carlyle (serving in RAF 1621545), Denni Campbell, (serving in RCAF R/146733), Arthur (serving in RAC), Phylis Amy and Noel Livingstone.

Sgt. Basil Leonard Grove-Palmer. Bassingbourn Cum Kneesworth Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Row DD. Grave 11. Son of Mervyn and Josefina Grove-Palmer, of Twickenham, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. William Reginald Myles. Bassingbourn Cum Kneesworth Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Row EE. Grave 8. Born on the 18th January 1910in Liverpool, England. Enlisted on the 15th October 1940 in Brisbane, Australia. Air gunner badge awarded on the 27th June 1941. Son of William and Lucy Myles, husband of Margaret Sylvia Myles (married on the 05th May 1940 - née , Nottle - died on the 28th January 2000, age 84) of East Malvern, Victoria, Australia.

Sgt. Peter Norman Lister. Arnold Cemetery (Also known as Redhill). Class B. Uncons. Grave 2655, Nottinghamshire. Son of Herbert Norman (died on the 20th June 1967, age 88) and Agnes Jane Lister (née Hobbs - died on the 15th August 1949, age 66) of 102 Leslie Road, Nottingeham, England.

For Chris Gardner in New Zealand and his colleagues who are preparing an article for Anzac Day on 25th April. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below. Also to Julia and Keld for grave photographs. Medals Reunited of New Zealand.


Photograph A notes:

(1) Believed to be P/O. Stanley Gordon James Yarnell 109034 RAFVR a member of 215 Squadron - killed on the 21st May 1942 - commemorated on the Singapore Memorial Column 413.

(2) Believed to be Fl/Lt. Graham Arthur Cecil Carington DFM 156449 RAFVR - killed on the 25th October 1945 - Commemorated on the Woking Crematorium. Panel 1.

(3) Believed to be P/O. Herbert Frederick Tomalin 159417 RAFVR a member of 51 Squadron - killed on the 15th March 1944 - Buried at the Choloy War Cemetery.

(4) Believed to be Fl/Lt. Raymond Thomas Bowen 109017 RAFVR - killed on the 13th September 1943 and buried at Chester (Blacon) Cemetery.

(5) Believed to be Sgt. Ian Arthur Flower 1166146 RAFVR a member of 214 Squadron - killed on the 30th November 1941 - Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 43.

(6) Believed to be Sgt. Kenneth Archibald Evans 1166119 RAFVR a member of 15 Squadron - killed on the 09th May 1942 - buried at Kiel War Cemetery.

(7) Believed to be Sgt. William Edward Collis 930440 RAFVR a member of 57 Squadron - killed on the 20th June 1942 - buried at Hellendoorn General Cemetery.

(8) Believed to be Fl/Lt. Denis Arthur Pebworth DFC 110304 RAFVR a member of 149 Squadron - killed on the 24th August 1942 - Buried at Swindon (Whitworth Road) Cemetery.

(9) Believed to be Fl/Sgt. Peter Ernest Poulson 1250821 RAFVR a member of 103 Squadron - killed on the 20th December 1942 - buried at Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery.

(10) Believed to be Sgt. Frederick James Goodwin 1162826 RAFVR - killed on the 27th September 1941 - buried at Smethwick (Uplands) Cemetery

(11) Believed to be F/O. John Henry Fuller 108127 RAFVR - killed on the 06th November 1942 - buried at City Of London Cemetery And Crematorium, Manor Park

(12) Believed to be Fl/Sgt. William George Fissenden 1250543 RAFVR a member of 38 Squadron - killed on the 13th July 1942 - buried at Heliopolis War Cemetery.

(13) Believed to be P/O. Leonard Scott Stewart 116891 RAFVR a member of 226 Squadron - killed on the 19th July 1942 - buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

(14) Believed to be Sgt. Anthony Richard McCoy 1166019 RAFVR - killed on the 05th December 1941 - buried at Wick Cemetery.

(15) Believed to be Sgt. Laurance David Orbuck AUS/400029 RAAF - killed on the 10th April 1942 - buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery.

(16) Believed to be Sgt. Harold Bryan Livingstone Gittins R/74283 RCAF a member of 11 OTU - killed on the 15th December 1941 - buried at Bassingbourn Cum Kneesworth Cemetery.

(17) Believed to be W/O. II Lawrence Joseph Tighe R/61115 RCAF a member of 149 Squadron - killed on the 30th September 1942 - Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 102.

(18) Believed to be W/O. II William James Aubrey Shapter R/78148 RCAF a member of 207 Squadron - killed on the 06th August 1942 - buried at Uden War Cemetery.

(19) Believed to be Sgt. Alfred Flint 1163046 RAFVR - killed on the 05th December 1941 - buried at Braunstone (St. Peter) Churchyard.


Photograph B notes:

Rear L-R:

(1) Believed to be Armistice Fraser NZ/404030, killed 21st June 1942. 75 squadron Wellington III X3760.

(2) Believed to Eion Malcolm Castles NZ/405232, Survived the war - died 10th October 1947, age 28.

(3) Believed to be Vincent Arthur NZ/405519 , killed in Malaya on the 22nd January 1942. whilst with 243 squadron.

(4) Believed to be V.D.G Claasen, No further details.

(5) Believed to be Ronald Ernest Brain NZ/402451. PoW doing the war - murdered 24th January 1948 Further details here..

(6) Believed to be Dennis James Dempsey NZ/405240. Killed 16th December 1941 11 OTU Wellington Ic X3176

(7) Believed to be William Alexander Shannon NZ/405328. Killed on the 16th June 1942 whilst flying a Blenheim with 60 squadron in India.

(8) Believed to be Edward Bertram Hewitt NZ/405269. Killed on the 25th December 1941 whilst flying a Buffalo with 67 squadron in Burma, Further details here.

(9) Believed to be Owen Haynes, NZ405742. Killed on the 19th August 1942 whilst with 61 squadron flying Lancaster I R5609.

(10) Believed to be John Francis Keane NZ/405522. Survived the war - died 29th June 1970, age 58.

(11) Believed to be Warwick Bruce Tidy NZ/405343. uSrvived the war - died 1993, age 75.

Front;

(12) Believed to be L.J. C Shannonarter, Survived the war - no further details.

(13) Believed to be Kenneth Purnell Andrews NZ/405216. Survived the war with 37 squadron - died 17th September 1993, age 77.

(14) Believed to be S.H Gunnings, Survived the war - no further details.

(15) Believed to be Edmond Douglas Crossley, NZ/402465. Survived the war PoW - died 20th January 1958.

(16) Believed to be Paul Lester Elliott NZ/402487. Killed 05th January 1942. Flying a Buffalo with 243 squadron over Singapore.

(17) Believed to be K.J. Holdaway, Survived the war - no further details.

(18) Believed to be FH Drew, Survived the war - no further details.

(19) Believed to be James Edward Sanders NZ/405325. Survived the war - died 01st October 1998 age 87.

(20) Believed to be Charles Alexander McDonald NZ/405294. Survived the war - died 03rd December 1970, age 60.

(21) Believed to be Cecil Frank Hawker NZ/405349. Survived the war - died 27th August 1984, age 81.

(22) Believed to be William Lynn Kauter NZ/405281. Killed 20th June 1942. Wellington Ic DV669 over Benghazi, Libya. Further details here.

(23) Believed to be Colin Ernest Baird Papps NZ/405523. Survived the war - died . 07th November 2007, age 89/

Inser L-R;

(24) Believed to be Peter Wm. Donald Finlayson NZ/404348. Survived the war - no further details.

(25) Believed to be Gordon Albert Williams NZ/405358. Survived the war - died 28th March 2006, age 86.

(26) Believed to be R.S Bruce. . Survived the war - no further details.


Photograph C notes:

Rear L-R:

(1) Believed to be Kenmir Loudon McAdam NZ/41485. Killed on the 20th April 1942. 58 squadron Whitley V Z9388. Further details here.

(2) Believed to be Stanley Harold Mortimore NZ/405307. Killed on the 13th May 1942. 104 squadron Wellington over Benghazi, Libya.

(3) Believed to be William Stuart Beattie NZ/41301. Killed on the 22nd December 1941. Halifax I L9522. Further details here.

(4) Believed to be G. McLDensem. Survived the war - no further details

(5) Believed to be William Arthur Brown NZ/41305. Survived the war - died 15th September 1985, age 71.

(6) Believed to be L Yate Survived the war - no further details

(7) Believed to be Philip Murray Sharplin NZ/41366. . Survived the war - died 04th March 1995, age 75.

(8) Believed to be Eric Gordon Wagstaff NZ/41382. Killed 22nd December 1942. 26 OTU Wellington

(9) Believed to be ames Archibald Valentine NZ/41379. Survived the war PoW - died 30th December 2009 age 87.

(10) Believed to be K.C Phillip. Survived the war - no further details

(11) Believed to be Albert Leonard Sanderson N/Z.41363. Killed 15th December 1941. 11 OTU Wellington Ic X3170, Further details here.

Centre L-R;

(12) Believed to be Robert Alfred Hamilton N/Z1328. Killed 26th January 1942. 51 squadron Whitley V Z9315. Further details here.

(13) Believed to be John McLean Cochrane N/Z/41309. Survived the war - died 19th April 1987.

(14) Believed to be Lawrence Heaton Baxter NZ/41300. Killed on the 17th April 1943. 44 squadron Lancaster I L7536

(15) Believed to be Robert Walter Coddington N/Z41310. Survived the war - died 01st October 2007, age 85.

(16) Believed to be Robert Clifford Barclay NZ/41505. Survived the war - died 10th February 1969, age 53.

(17) Believed to be Raymond Johnson Watson NZ/404978. Killed 05th March 1944 75 squadron Stirling III EF215 .

(18) Believed to be Phillip Holmes Skinner NZ/41498. Killed 12th March 1943. 149 squadron Stirling I EF330.

(19) Believed to be Brian Stephen Spain NZ/41370. Survived the war - died 02nd September 2006, age 85.

(20) Believed to be Frank Alexander Piercy NZ/41492. Killed 09th July 1943. No. 3 SFTS Harvard Ontario, Canada

Front L-R;

(21) Believed to be Ronald Harvey Bowling NZ/405222, Survived the war - died 02nd February 2004, age 80.

(22) Believed to be Bruce Hamilton Hay NZ/41511,Killed 18th August 1942, 3 squadron Hurricane IIb Z5257. Further details here.

(23) Believed to be Rowland John Dempsey NZ/41508. Survived the war - no further details

(24) Believed to be Leonard Gregory Malthus NZ/4134 Survived the war - died 07th August 1991, age 76.

(25) Believed to be Charles Ronald Spence NZ/41371. Killed 03rd December 1942. 58 squadron Whitley V Z9227

(25) Believed to be Euan Wilfred Sachtler NZ/41362. Killed 02nd May 1944. 75 squadron Lancaster I ME689. Further details here.

KTY 16.04.2016

KTY Updated 11-03-2021

KTY Updated 30-03-2024

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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', 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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