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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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214 Squadron Crest
24/25.02.1945 No. 214 Squadron Fortress III HB805 BU-C F/O. Joseph M. Shorttle DFM

Operation: Bomber Support (BS)

Date: 24/25th February 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 214 Squadron

Type: Fortress III

Serial: HB805

Code: BU-C

Base: RAF Oulton, Norfolk

Location: River Niers near Neersen

Pilot: F/O. Joseph Malpass Shorttle DFM. 157422 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Lt. Frank Richard Woodger 52114 RAFVR Age 32. Killed (1)

Nav: Fl/Lt. Leslie Gordon Fowler DFC. 126036 RAFVR Age 23. critically injured

Air/Bmr: P/O. Richard William Towell 195111 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Kenneth Cecil Allan 183538 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Francis Herbert Dix MiD. N/Z411069 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Stanley Llewellyn Jones 1256275 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Allan Milton Jones DFM. 178636 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas William James Pollard 1865782 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Geoffrey James Edward Jennings DFM. 1394514 RAFVR PoW (no further details)


Took off from RAF Oulton, Norfolk at 17:15 hrs. for window duties. The purpose of the raid was to make a diversionary sweep over the Ruhr whilst another 74 aircraft (from training squadrons) also lured German night fighters over Northern France to enable 63 Mosquitoes to attack Berlin, another 18 to attack Neuss and a further 3 on "Siren duties".

4 Halifaxes lost and this Fortress on this operation - 34 crew members killed and another 6 being made PoW.

Fortress III HB805 BU-C from 214 Squadron was shot down at 20:08 hrs - 20-30 km West of Dusseldorf airfield by Oblt. Kurt Matzak of Stab IV/NJG1 - a Luftwaffe night fighter ace with 19 kills to his score. He survived the war. No further details available post 1945.

Fortress HB805 was the first aircraft to be intercepted which was attacked resulting in the starboard inner engine on fire and subsequently crashed into the River Niers near Neersen. The survivors were not aware of a night fighter attack and the squadron ORB’s assessed the loss as being caused by an engine fire and not due to "enemy action". Fl/Lt. Leslie Gordon Fowler DFC was injured during the attack, sadly he died later on the 15th March 1945.

F/O. Shorttle and Fl/Lt. Fowler had also completed a tour with 199 Squadron earlier in the war. Both men were part of one of the first crews to operate with 199 after the Squadron had reformed in November 1942 at Blyton. Between 31st December 1942 and the middle of June 1943, Sgt. Shorttle and F/O. Fowler flew 23 operations with 199 from Blyton and Ingham in Vickers Wellington bombers. During this time, they completed eighteen bombing operations (six to Lorient, three to Essen, two to Duisburg, two to Bochum and one each to Cologne, Wilhelmshaven, Kiel, Dortmund and Dusseldorf) and five sea mining operations.

Fowler was to continue his tour with 199 after the Squadron had moved to 3 Group and converted to Short Stirling bombers at Lakenheath between June and July 1943. He flew on another four operations between October 1943 and February 1944 consisting of a bombing operation to Kassel, a sea mining operation and two Special Missions.

Sgt. Shorttle was awarded the DFM and P/O Fowler the DFC in September 1943

Right: Fl/Sgt. Edmund Murray Corlett - courtesy Kete Horowhenua "Adopt an Anzac"

(1) Fl/Lt. Frank Richard Woodger survived an earlier incident on 20/21st November 1942 also with 214 Squadron. Stirling I W7584 BU-D on an operation to Torino - crew experienced severe engine problems, on return with very low fuel and bad weather the pilot, 33 year old Fl/Sgt. Edmund Murray Corlett NZ/412207 RNZAF ordered the crew to bale out - which they all did. The pilot is understood to have remained in the aircraft until it crashed at 03:42 hrs at Stradishall, Suffolk, England.

Burial details:

F/O. Joseph Malpass Shorttle DFM. Rheinberg War Cemetery 14.B.6. Son of Joseph and Liza Shorttle, husband of Joan Shorttle, of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England.

Fl/Lt. Frank Richard Woodger. Rheinberg War Cemetery 6.E. 22. Son of Frank Herbert Stubbs Woodger and Gertrude Woodger, husband of Anne Glenys Woodger, of Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales.

Fl/Lt. Leslie Gordon Fowler DFC. Zuidlaren General Cemetery Plot 1, Row E. Grave 12. Son of George Robson Fowler and Mabel Lilian Fowler, of Worcester Park, Surrey, England.

P/O. Richard William Towell. Rheinberg War Cemetery 6.E. 24. Son of William John and Maud Kathleen Towell, husband of Margaret Ruth Towell, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England.

F/O. Kenneth Cecil Allan. Rheinberg War Cemetery 6.E. 19. No further information - are you able to assist?

W/O. Francis Herbert Dix MiD. Rheinberg War Cemetery 6.E. 18. Son of Herbert George Dix, M.M., and of Ethel Louisa Dix (née Rivett), of Milford, Auckland, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Llewellyn Jones. Rheinberg War Cemetery 6.E. 21. No further information - are you able to assist?

F/O. Allan Milton Jones DFM. Rheinberg War Cemetery 6.E. 23. No further information - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Thomas William James Pollard. Rheinberg War Cemetery 6.E. 20. Son of Thomas and Florence Beatrice Pollard, of Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England.


Fl/Sgt. Edmund Murray Corlett. Haverhill Cemetery. Sec U. Grave 245. Son of Murray and Rubina Corlett, of Tokomaru, Wellington, New Zealand.

Researched for Peter Gibson (Retired fire-fighter) for one of his contacts, Douglas Woods within the Fire Service searching for details of his Uncle, F/O. Kenneth Cecil Allan. Sources as quoted below.

KTY - 25.06.2017 New photo 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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