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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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12 crest
12 Squadron Wellington III BJ780 PH-W P/O. John Charles William Simpson

Operation: Gardening

Date: 08/09th October 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 12 Squadron (motto: 'Leads the Field')

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BJ780

Code: PH-W

Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire

Location: Lorient, France

Pilot: P/O. John Charles William Simpson 117426 RAFVR Pow No: 744 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

Obs: P/O. James Duncan Inglis 120546 RAFVR Pow No: 737 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Frank Wagner R/87054 RCAF PoW No: 27238 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Roy Smith 1220808 RAFVR PoW No: 27222 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Snowden Temple R/117084 RCAF PoW No: 27218 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf


Weather conditions were described as cloudy with short periods of rain, becoming fair later in the afternoon.

Taking off at 10:00 hrs with two others from the squadron on a Gardening operation in the St. Nazier region.
For 'Gardening' explanation see here.

Hit by anti-aircraft fire and forced landed near Lorient. The other two from the squadron returned safely. All the crew survived although Sgt. Temple was injured when he hit the main spa.

Crew L-R: P/O. Simpson, P/O. Inglis, Sgt. Wagner, Sgt. Smith and Sgt. Temple (courtesy Martijn Visser - see link in credits)

German Luftwaffe officers inspecting BJ780. (courtesy Martijn Visser - see link in credits)

The other crew lost this night:

301 Squadron WellingtonIV Z1255 GR-Z Flown by Sgt. Stanislaw Bielec 782806 PAF.(shown left) Hit by flak from Flak.ABT.845, crashed south of the Luftwaffe airfield at De K00y at 22:47hrs. Four of the crew were killed but the rear gunner Sgt. Stanisław Chudy 794612 survived to be taken PoW No 27200 at Stalag Lamsdorf. He survived the war and died in 2002 in the USA, at age 83.

Burial details:

None - all crew survived.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Martijn Visser of Stichting Egmond 40-45, Theo Boite The Early Years Part 3, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 08-04-2022

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'
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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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