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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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431 Squadron Crest
431 Squadron Wellington X HE203 SE-B Flt.Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith

Operation: Wuppertal

Date: 29/30th May 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: 431 Squadron (motto: Hatiten Ronteriios - 'Warriors of the air') 6 Group

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE203

Code: SE-B

Base: RAF Burn, Yorkshire

Location: Heer (Limburg), 3km east of Maastricht, Holland

Pilot: Flt.Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith 415204 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

Obs: Sgt. James Henry Bloxwich 1432654 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. Alan Spence 1076957 RAFVR Age ? Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Benjamin King 1376608 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Martin Levi Buxton 1199580 RAFVR Age 25. Killed


Taking off from RAF Burn in North Yorkshire at 23:10 hrs. Part of a massive 719 aircraft operation to bomb the city.

Above left: Kathleen the sister, and mother of Mandy Wallace (see credits) of Flt.Sgt. Smith. Above right: Rear 2nd from left: Sgt. Thomas Frazer Munro; Front 3rd from left: Flt.Sgt. Smith.

Above, pilot Flt.Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith.

The city was attacked between 00:49 hrs and 01:43 hrs with extremely effective bombing some 80% of the town was destroyed with some 3,500 civilians killed in the firestorm created by 1,186 high explosive bombs, 342,000 incendiaries with a further 28,454 phosphorous canisters dropped.

Flak was reported to be moderate over the target area but many encounters with night fighters over Belgium during the return trip - 33 aircraft failed to reach home.

Wellington HE203 was shot down by night fighter ace, Oblt. Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin of 6./NJG1 his 14th claim of the war, over Heer 3km east of Maastricht at 3500m at 00:29 hrs. HE203 was also claimed by Flak of 1./schw.Falk Abt.514. The victory for Oblt. von Bonin confirmed on 20.12.1944. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 3 - Theo Boiten).

Wellington HE203 crashed at Heer (Limburg) on the outskirts of Maastricht, Holland.

(1) Oblt. Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin survived the war (with a total of 35 claims) and passed away on the 11th January 1992 age 73. He lost two other brothers during the war, both served within the Luftwaffe. Oblt. Hubertus von Bonin (77 claims) killed on the 15th December 1943 during combat with Soviet P-39’s near Vitebsk. The other brother, Jürgen-Oskar von Bonin, was killed in action while serving as an observer in a transport Geschwader.

Above: 22A Pilot Training course at Wigwam 18th October 1941. 31 year old, Sgt. Thomas Fraser Munro 415005 RNZAF - Killed on the 10th September 1942 whilst with 11 Operational Training Unit (OTU) returning from an operation to Dusseldorf Wellington IC DV930 Crashed in Suffolk on return. 20 year old, Fg.Off. Laurence John Kirkpatrick 414990 RNZAF - Killed on the 23rd September 1943 whilst with 75 Squadron during an operation to Mannheim. Fg.Off. Henry James Bennett 414722 - Killed 3rd February 1945 whilst with 22 Squadron on a Rhubarb operation in Burma, Beaufighter TF.X NE445. 27 year old, Fg.Off. David Ross Scrymgeour 414687 RNZAF - Killed on the 19th April 1943 whilst with 13 Squadron, Blenheim V BA727 failed to return from an armed reconnaissance off Tunisia. 32 year old, Fg.Off. Murray Archer Legg 415071 RNZAF - Killed on the 24th January 1943 whilst with 58 Squadron, Halifax II DT684 during a transit flight. 31 year old Fg.Off. Athol George Greentree 414974 RNZAF - Killed on the 12th November 1943 whilst with 42 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X LX912 during a torpedo strike off Crete. 23 year old Peter Sydney Watt 415046 - Killed on the 2nd January 1944 whilst with 83 Squadron, Lancaster III JB114 operation to Berlin.

Burial details:

Flt.Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12.H.4. Born on the 16th February 1911 in Christchurch. Educated at Harewood school. Worked as a salesman for Andersen and Hudson, Enlisted at Levin on the 07th September 1941. With No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School on the 18th October 1941, No. 1 Flying Training School on the 29th November 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 10th January 1942 and promoted to sergeant on the 28th February 1942. Embarked for England on the 08th March 1942. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 20th April 1942. With Pilot Advanced Flying Unit on 16th May 1942. Further training with 25 Operational Training Unit flying the Wellington 28th July 1042. Then to No. 26 Operational Training Unit flying the Wellington on the 29th September 1942. Finally joining 431 squadron on the 20th January 1943 where he carried out 11 operational sorties. Son of Holdsworth (died 27th May 1948) and Honora Smith (née Plank - died 21st September 1961), of St. Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Sgt. James Henry Bloxwich. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12.H.2. Son of Frank Henry and Ellen Bloxwich, of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.

Flt.Sgt. Alan Spence. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12.H.3. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Benjamin King. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 7.H.4. Son of Charles and Esther King, husband of Eva Elizabet F. King, of Sidcup, Kent, England.

Sgt. Martin Levi Buxton. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 7.H.3. Son of Levi and Olive Mary Buxton, husband of Mary Elizabeth Buxton, of Alfreton, Derbyshire, England.

With thanks to Maj. Ian Martyn of “Medals Reunited New Zealand”, also to Mandy Wallace - relative of pilot, Fl/Sgt. Smith, Errol W. Martyn for his volumes of the RNZAF losses. Thanks to Ann Munro for the identification of Sgt. Thomas Munro. For further details our thanks to the following sources as shown below.

RS 14.03.2020 - Correction to crash location and update on fighter claim details

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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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